domain name research papers - October 4

domain name research papers - October 4

From: David Goldstein <goldstein_david§>
Date: Wed, 6 Oct 2004 22:06:20 +1000 (EST)
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An Economic Analysis of Domain Name Policy by KARL M.
The paper describes that as there are only five basic
options available for allocation of the root, this
resource allocation problem is analogous to problems
raised in the telecommunications sector, where the
Federal Communications Commission has a long history
of attempting to allocate broadcast spectrum and the
telephone number space. This experience reveals that a
case-by-case allocation on the basis of ad hoc
judgments about the public interest is doomed to
failure, and that auctions (as opposed to lotteries or
queues) provide the best mechanism for insuring that
such public-trust resources find their highest and
best use. Based on the telecommunications experience,
the best method for ICANN to allocate new Top Level
Domains would be to conduct an auction. Many auction
designs are possible. One proposal is to auction a
fixed number of new Top Level Domain slots each year.
This proposal would both expand the root resource at a
reasonable pace and insure that the slots went to
their highest and best use. Public interest Top Level
Domains could be allocated by another mechanism such
as a lottery and their costs to ICANN could be
subsidized by the proceeds of the auction.

The Case for gTLD Auctions: A Framework for Evaluating
Domain Name Policy by KARL M. MANHEIM and LAWRENCE B.
Abstract: We next argue for a specific set of
conclusions about gTLD policy. In particular, we
demonstrate that there is a compelling case for
allowing the market to operate in the creation of new
gTLDs. This could be accomplished through a variety of
mechanisms, including a rule of first occupation or
through an auction. Although the creation of gTLDs
should allow for the operation of market forces, it
does not follow that ICANN itself should act as a
profit-maximizer. Instead, we reason that, because
ICANN is a non-profit corporation and because it is
the trustee for a natural monopoly, ICANN ought to act
in the public interest. We conclude that ICANN should
structure the expansion of the root in a way that
insures the stability and efficiency of root service.
We offer a specific proposal for an auction of new
gTLDs, and show that this approach offers substantial
advantages over current domain name policy. Our
conclusions are reinforced by a set of comparisons
between the policy questions faced by ICANN as both a
participant in and regulator of the DNS and with
analogous policy questions faced by market
participants and regulators in other sectors of the
telecommunications system. In particular, we argue
that there are important insights to be gleaned and
lessons to be learned by comparing domain name service
with broadcasting and telephone service.

Site Finder and Internet Governance by JONATHAN
Abstract: In this paper, I unpack the Site Finder
story. Site Finder was highly undesirable from a
technical standpoint; it contravened key elements of
Internet architecture. ICANN had power to force
VeriSign to withdraw it, though, only if VeriSign was
violating the terms of its registry contracts. The
arguments that Site Finder violated VeriSign's
contractual obligations are plausible, but they don't
derive their force from Site Finder's architectural or
stability consequences. The registry contracts gave
ICANN no hook to invoke those concerns; if VeriSign
was in breach, it was by happenstance. Part of the
lesson of Site Finder is that there needs to be an
effective institutional mechanism for protecting the
domain name space infrastructure from unilateral,
profit-driven change that bypasses the protections and
consensus mechanisms of the traditional Internet
standards process. Notwithstanding ICANN's flaws, it
may be better suited than any other existing
institution to protect against that threat. Yet ICANN
regulation is itself highly problematic, and so any
plan to expand its authority must be approached with

Who Owns the Internet? Ownership as a Legal Basis for
American Control of the Internet by MARKUS MÜLLER
Abstract: The U.S. government's ultimate control of
the Domain Name System translates into substantial
power over the entire Internet. Other countries reject
this American dominance and would like to see control
of the Internet handed over to the UN or the ITU. The
United States could have a legal claim for control
based on ownership because the Internet is, or was at
least originally, an American "thing", which was
invented and funded by the United States. The paper
examines such an ownership idea by applying property
and intellectual property law on both the American and
the international level. The examination of ownership
is crucial because other approaches that could provide
a legal basis for special power, such as sovereignty,
face problems because U.S. sovereignty ends at its
borders and conflicts with the sovereignty of other
states that are affected by U.S. policy decisions
about the Internet.

Whither the UDRP: Autonomous, Americanized or
Cosmopolitan? by LAURENCE R. HELFER
This Essay explores these three evolutionary pathways
and the critical questions each presents for
institutions such as the Internet Corporation for
Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and the World
Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), for
national lawmakers and national courts, and for those
advocating procedural reforms of this new dispute
settlement system.

The End of the Experiment: How ICANN's Foray into
Global Internet Democracy Failed by JOHN G. PALFREY
Three lessons emerge from this study. First, ICANN's
failure shines further light upon the need for an
overhaul of its governance structure. Second, ICANN
should clarify the way in which users can involve
themselves in the decision-making process for managing
the domain name system, arguably through the
Supporting Organization process. Third, we should look
beyond the ICANN model, which has never been the
appropriate venue for experimentation in global
decision-making, toward new ways to govern the
technical architecture of the Internet in an
increasingly networked, less clearly bordered world.

Governance in Namespaces by STEFAN BECHTOLD
The Article provides several dimensions along which
namespaces can be analyzed. From a legal and policy
perspective, it matters, for example, whether a
namespace is centralized or decentralized, whether the
namespace is controlled by a public or private entity,
and the degree to which the internal structure is
adaptive. These and other dimensions influence how
namespaces protect social values and how they allocate
knowledge, control, and responsibility. This Article
will also demonstrate that the "end-to-end argument"
was implemented on the Internet by a particular design
of a specific namespace. The taxonomic structure
developed in this Article can be useful to legal and
policy debates about the implications of various
namespaces. It may also be helpful to designers of
namespaces who consider the legal and policy
consequences of their actions.

The New, New Property by ANUPAM CHANDER
In rethinking entitlements to domain names, the
Article turns to the history of the American public
lands and the international law regimes governing
global commons spaces, such as the ocean bed, outer
space, and Antarctica. We see in each of these cases
the effort to craft a system that allocates rights to
a common or global resource paying heed to social
goals such as distributive justice, environmental
protection, and economic development. Thus far,
scholars and policy-makers have not paused to consider
any such concerns for the world of cyberspace. Drawing
upon the insights of diverse disciplines, this Article
proposes a global domain name regime that comports
with concerns for equality and distributive justice.

The Neverending ccTLD Story by PETER K. YU
This book chapter recounts the power struggle over the
control of the Domain Name System and authority to
delegate and administer ccTLDs. It traces how ccTLD
policymaking has been transformed from ad hoc,
informal coordination to international, contract-based
governance. It also discusses the various major
players in the ccTLD debate: ICANN, the Internet
Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), ccTLD managers,
national governments, the International
Telecommunication Union (ITU), and the World
Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

The Accountable Net: Peer Production of Internet
Abstract: Three problems of online life - spam,
informational privacy, and network security - lend
themselves to the peer production of governance.
Traditional sovereigns have tried and, to date, failed
to address these three problems through the ordinary
means of governance. The sovereign has a role to play
in the solution to each of the three, but not as a
monopoly and not necessarily in the first instance. A
new form of order online, brought on by private
action, is emerging in response to these problems. If
properly understood and encouraged, this emerging
order could lead to an accountable internet without an
offsetting loss of those aspects of online life that
we have found most attractive. There has been a great
deal of loose talk about the need for "internet
governance," particularly in the context most recently
of the World Summit on the Information Society, but
much less careful analysis of the question whether the
online world really does pose special problems, or
present special opportunities, for collective action.
There has been a general discussion as to whether the
internet, as a general rule, lends itself to
governance by traditional sovereigns or if something
in the net's architecture resists such forms of
control. We do not seek to re-open this debate,
acknowledging at the outset the important role that
traditional sovereigns have to play in most areas of
decision-making and enforcement on the internet.
Rather, we seek to look more closely at a series of
particularly thorny issues that have proven especially
challenging for policy makers seeking to impose
governance by states. We seek the special problems -
and corresponding opportunities - of online activity
and assess the relative merits of various options for
how to resolve them.

The end of the web as we know it?
Rumours about the collapse of the internet are greatly
exaggerated. Is the internet in imminent danger of
falling around our ears?

The Accountable Internet: Peer Production of Internet
Governance by David R. Johnson, Susan P. Crawford &
John G. Palfrey, Jr.
The Internet is so important to all of us that we must
act collectively to control pernicious forms of
electronic wrongdoing online. But we should keep the
fundamental architecture and values of the Internet in
mind as we do so. An increasing ability to verify that
a message comes from someone from whom we want to hear
can enhance our individual abilities to construct an
Internet that reflects and tolerates diverse values.
We should embrace that change. The risks involved in
an Internet that makes peers accountable to one
another are much lower than the risks of empowering
any centralized global authority to make connection
decisions for individuals. Someone is already in
charge of the Internet: we are.

We have yet to develop a compelling theory of
governance for the technical architecture of the
Internet. We ought to consider ICANN’s story in this
broader context of Internet governance, considering
the role not only of individuals but also of
corporations and governments in the process of
decision making regarding these issues of global and
common importance. I begin ICANN’s story in Section II
by briefly reviewing the history of ICANN to
illustrate how its founding principles and
organizational structure conflict to drain legitimacy
of authority from ICANN. In Section III, I argue that
a fundamental confusion about the meaning of
“openness,” combined with ICANN’s convoluted
decision-making structure, caused the experiment in
openness to fail, because users could not reasonably
believe that the board listened to their concerns.
Section IV argues that, in response to criticism
generated by the failure of the experiment in
openness, ICANN tried to achieve legitimacy through
representation. However, this too failed because it
made ICANN into a legitimacy-draining semidemocracy.
In conclusion, I point to some of the implications of
this short history for ICANN itself and for the study
of how best to govern the technical architecture of
the Internet.

Sources include Quicklinks ( and BNA
Internet Law News (".


(c) David Goldstein 2004

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Received on Fri Oct 03 2003 - 00:00:00 UTC

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