Critics Blast ICANN Proposed Registry Agreements
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The International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) can’t seem to draw up a decent agreement with registries to save its life. Its latest proposed contract, with the registries handling .biz, .info, and .org, drew literally thousands of comments over the 30 days it was publicly posted, most of them negative. Keep reading to find out what the uproar is about.
If you’re interested, you can read the proposed agreements here. Unfortunately, the public comment period has already expired; one can only hope that the comments ICANN has in hand will do their job. I’ll take each of the most significant points in the new contracts in order, and try to bring up the issues of controversy as we go along. We may be entering some deep waters here.
The first point is that the registry agreements for .biz, .info, and .org will run for a six-year term. If they are not renewed, the contracts for the .biz and .info registries will expire at the end of December 2012, and for .org at the end of June 2013. If you do the math on the current agreements, they’re not even due to expire for a year or more. Why the rush to put these new agreements in place?
The new agreements also contain a presumptive renewal clause. To quote ICANN’s web site, “The proposed new .biz, .info and .org registry agreements each provide for presumptive renewal, absent material and repeated breach of the agreement by the registry operator.” ICANN claims the language makes the agreement consistent with the 2005 .net registry agreement, as well as the proposed new .com registry agreement.
First of all, making the agreement with these three registries consistent with the proposed agreement with the .com registry is not necessarily a virtue. The presumptive renewal clause is a highly unpopular one with the Internet community at large, for both these agreements and the one with VeriSign (the .com registry). Think about it; there’s a good reason someone is running a web site called VeriSignsucks.com. And notice the terms: material and repeated breach of the agreement by the registry operator.
At least one observer thinks those terms are too lenient. Commenting to an article written by George Kirikos covering the changes, Paul Jones noted that “Afilias is incompetent and should have the .info registry taken away from them upon expiry. Many of the best .info’s are still locked 5 years after the Sunrise fiasco (some have even expired)…It is almost as if Afilias does not want its best .info’s being used as strange as it sounds. Maybe VeriSign who initially put the consortium of 19 registrars together set it up like this at the outset?”
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