7 New Top Level Domain Names

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Posted by Newsroom on February 15, 1997 at 14:35:39:



WASHINGTON, DC, February 4, 1997 -- The number of names available to
specify Internet locations, such as web sites and email addresses,
will increase and more firms will be allowed to act as registrars for
the names, under a plan announced today by the International Ad Hoc
Committee (IAHC).

Internet users will have 7 new generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs), in
addition to the existing ones (.com, .net, and .org), under which they
may register Internet names, when the plan is implemented. The new
gTLDs and the intended fields of use are:

for businesses, or firms
for businesses offering goods to purchase
.firm for entities emphasizing activities related to the
.store WWW
.web for entities emphasizing cultural and entertainment
.arts activities
.rec for entities emphasizing recreation/entertainment
.info activities
.nom for entities providing information services
for those wishing individual or personal

In addition, up to 28 new registrars will be established to grant
registrations for second-level domain names under the new gTLDs. The
new registrars will be selected by lottery from applicants who fulfill
specific requirements established by the IAHC. All the new gTLDs will
be shared among the new registrars, meaning that each registrar may
effect registration of second-level domain names under all the new
gTLDs. It is intended that the three existing gTLDs (.com, .net, and
.org) would also be shared upon conclusion of the cooperative
agreement between Network Solutions, Inc. (NSI) and the United States
National Science Foundation (NSF), which allows NSI to act as the
registrar for those gTLDs.

The plan announced today is a result of efforts by an international
group named to resolve questions critical to the current and future
growth of the Internet. The eleven-member International Ad Hoc
Committee, chaired by Donald M. Heath, president and CEO of the
Internet Society, received input from individuals, organizations and
government agencies from around the world.

To guide future registrar developments, an association comprising all
the registrars, the Council of Registrars (CORE), to be established
under Swiss law will create and enforce requirements for registrar
operations. These requirements are spelled out in a separate legal
instrument to which each registrar must agree.

The IAHC plan includes the establishment of a non- regulatory policy
framework in the form of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which
both the public and private sector will be invited to sign. The MoU
will provide a mechanism for signatories to advise on future policy
evolution of the global Internet domain name system.

"I am pleased that the Secretary General of the International
Telecommunication Union (ITU) has agreed in principle to act as the
depository of the MoU and to periodically publish an updated list of
its signatories," Heath said in releasing the IAHC report. "The
structure we have established for the operation and oversight of
domain name administration insures that we will have stability and
continuing input from a broad spectrum of organizations and

Heath pointed out that the IAHC will continue to function for the
period until the new registrars are named and the MoU has entered into
force. At that time, the IAHC will change to act as the committee to
conduct oversight of CORE until a permanent gTLD DNS Policy Oversight
Committee (POC) is established to perform that function. The POC will
determine, in consultation with CORE and a gTLD DNS Policy Advisory
Body (PAB), the evolution of gTLDs, registrars, and any fees that CORE
may collect from its members, the registrars, for services it may

The POC and CORE will be advised by the gTLD DNS Policy Advisory Body
(PAB) that will consist of all of the signatories to the MoU and will
provide input and recommendations for general policy matters relating
to gTLDs and the Domain Name System (DNS). Signatories will include
representatives from governments, independent governmental
organizations, non-government organizations, and industry.

An earlier draft proposal by the IAHC had recommended a mandatory 60
day waiting period before activation of new domain names, in order to
alleviate what is considered to be a major source of instability in
the DNS, namely widespread piracy of famous trademarks by certain
domain name holders. In the final report, that recommendation has been
replaced by a more comprehensive solution that addresses the needs of
all classes of stakeholders. In addition to making the 60 day waiting
period optional for registrants, the final report institutes a system
for dispute settlement involving on-line mediation, mandatory
arbitration (if a domain name challenger chooses to initiate
arbitration), and a fast-track on-line administrative domain name
challenge procedure.

The administrative domain name challenge procedure would be conducted
on-line, and would allow an intellectual property right holder to
petition a panel of international experts to determine if a
second-level domain name violates the policy that a domain name which
contains an internationally known trademark may only be held by the
trademark owner. The dispute settlement procedures would be
administered under the aegis of the World Intellectual Property
Organization Arbitration and Mediation Center, located in Geneva.

"During the public comment period, we received over 4000 submissions
from the interested public, including 100 submissions from
organizations around the world and we are very pleased with the
acceptance and broad consensus that we have achieved in this process,"
Heath stated. "To attain its fullest potential, the Internet requires
true self-governance. The Internet Society's role is to facilitate
that requirement," he added.

The IAHC is a coalition of participants from the broad Internet
community, working to satisfy the requirement for enhancements to the
Internet's global Domain Name System (DNS). Organizations naming
members to the committee include: Internet Society (ISOC), Internet
Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), Internet Architecture Board (IAB),
Federal Networking Council (FNC), International Telecommunication
Union (ITU), International Trademark Association (INTA), and World
Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The full text of the IAHC
report is being published at the Internet site: http://www.iahc.org.

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