This is part of the ICANN’s history. It is a transcript of an open meeting held during APRICOT 98 on the 17th February 1998, in Manila, Philippines (Part One)
Transcript provided by Ms. Laina Raveendran Greene
Record of discussions with Mr. Ira Magaziner with the APIA Board and members, in an open meeting held during APRICOT 98 on the 17th February 1998, in Manila, Philippines
Attendees were about 70 persons, which included:
The APIA Board members:
Dr Jin Ho Hur, Chairman ( Inet, Inc, Korea)
Mr Roger Hicks, Co-Chair(Clear Communications, NZ)
Mr Pindar Wong, Secretary (Verifi, Hong Kong)
Dr Toru Takahashi, Treasurer (Tokyo Internet, Japan)
Dr. Tommi Chen, (Asiapac.net, Malaysia)
Mr. Barry Greene, (Cisco Systems)
Prof Li Xing, (CERNET, China)
Advisory Board members:
Mr. Ole Jacobsen, (Cisco Systems)
Mr David Conrad, (APNIC)
Mr Bob Collett, (CIX)
Mr Bill Manning, (USC/ISI)
Ms Laina Raveendran Greene, Secretary General, (GetIT Pte Ltd)
Mr Steve Silver, (GetIT Pte Ltd)
Ms Gigi Wang (Ascend Communications)
Mr Paul McNulty (AUNET)
Mr Izumi Aizu
Mr JR Contreras
Dr. Hur, Chairman of APIA Board- Thanked Mr. Magaziner for coming to our meeting and spending time with us discussing the Green Paper. I would suggest that Mr. Magaziner present some background to the paper.
Mr. Magaziner- We will need to take notes for this meeting, which will have to be posted on the US Government website.
Since no provisions were made for this Ms Laina Raveendran Greene, Secretary General of APIA Secretariat and Mr. Steve Silver of APIA Secretariat made some notes.
Mr. Magaziner- The US government has legal authority over DNS, and the root servers for historic reasons. It has been run by John Postel and NSI. Contracts are coming to an end in December 1998, and the US government wants to end its authority over this, but the rational is to do this in a way that is responsible. There are large number of stakeholders; establishers of the Internet, commercial interests, and governments around the world, and the idea is to design a way to get away from this authority by having a bottom-up approach. Different private groups such as the IETF, APNIC, RIPE, IAB, etc. are private groups that should make up this group. IANA would move to this group, then continue to manage the domain names and numbers. There also needs to be a structure for protection against law suits, i.e. basically private bodies with formalized legal structures, with guides and incorporated. Last spring in 1997, to work towards this private/competitive systems, the US government issued an RFC and received 450 e-mail comments. We have considered all these comments. Over the November and December period alone, we have received over 1,000 e-mail comments per week and has held a series of meetings. The outcome of all this is the Draft Green Paper, which can be further revised. The US government is humble and can see weaknesses in the suggestions. The reason for today’s meeting is to receive Asia Pacific comments, and hope by end of March 98 to receive comments.
Mr. Wong- To give you a quick background of APIA’s activities in this area, we have been involved in looking at Internet Governance since early last year, and submitted our comments to the NOI in August. We also attended that WIPO meeting on trademarks and domain names, and most recently attended the Washington DC Executive Summit on Internet Governance.
Mr Hicks- There are enormous variations in viewpoints from this region, but two basic points are: 1) trademarks should not be the main issue. Trademarks should not equal domain names, but rather there should be proof of actual infringement, and 2) Jurisdiction issues- register with registrars who are willing to accept/or not accept names.
Mr Wong- What is the current state of discussions?
Mr Magaziner- We post everything on the website so that everyone will know what is happening. All material is made available to everyone.
Question from audience (Japan)- I am an IETF/ISOC member. ISOC has the authority to manage root domains. ISOC/IAMA should be settled in the USA, and ISOC should manage the root domains.
Mr Acascina (UNDP)- To have the deadline for decision making as the end of March, may be a little unrealistic. The process to get all stakeholders involved will take a lot longer and many countries are only just getting involved.
Mr Magaziner- What we are setting up is a private organization with a global Board, and the US government will be turning over authority to it. The structure will change and evolve over time. We have to find the balance between waiting for 1-2 years for the right answer, and meanwhile have the US government in control, NSI monopoly extended, and delay of competition. Decided to take the first step and have the US government turn over the authority to a private entity. This entity can then evolve and be more broadly representative. Other organizations/governments will still have an opportunity to participate.
Mr JR Contreras- Concern over who represents whom. Financing is a problem for companies from countries such as the Philippines, and therefore those who get to participate in gTLD may not be representative.
Mr Magaziner- Stakeholder groups should not be based on money. These not-profit organizations should nominate people to be on the Board, and this should have no direct relationship to commercial interests. Therefore it was also proposed to have user organizations to nominate individuals to the DNS Board.
Ms Raveendran Greene- We had a discussion over your paper during the course of the policy tutorial that I conducted over APRICOT 98, and we noticed that there are two fundamental issues in your paper that are being dealt with. For this we would like to know what the rational behind each is. Firstly, for the creation of the new organization, why was a corporate structure chosen, and why incorporate in the US? Some people see this as a way of keeping US control over Internet Governance. Secondly, you introduce the concept of creating 5 new TLDs and having separate registries each having one TLD to compete with each other, why this monopoly and why competition in registries? The CORE apparently looked at this long and hard and decided that competition in registries is not the way. Comments?
Mr Magaziner-The rationale had more to do with the US government wanting to create a stable organization , and getting out as soon as possible. Since all the major players are already in the US, it made sense to incorporate in the US. This is only for a start, the organization can always be moved outside the US once it has formed. For now, John Postel, DNS root server, IANA, and users are all in the US. The international aspect is kept by having this International Board of Directors. This way the control of the organization is widely distributed.
As for the registry issue. There are many pros and cons. The pros are that a not-profit registry has advantages with coordination and for not commercializing it too much. The cons is that it does not stimulate innovation and there is no incentive to be efficient. There should be limited competition. In general, the US government would have preferred not to get into this at all. They would have preferred to set up the new organization and have NSI to give the DNS Root A server, etc. over to this new organization. The problem is that if we do nothing now, we may be perpetuating NSI’s monopoly longer and they may become stronger. Have to allow new TLDs in this transition period, while limiting it in some way. There needs to be some rules over who gets what. Under US law, John Postel cannot favour one commercial entity over another, and he could go to jail as a government official if he does this. There needs to be some objective process that is defendable. This has been said to CORE and other registries.
Ms Raveendran Greene- The other point raised in our discussion was why is the US government involved in this policy? In fact, some individuals from the POC felt strongly that John Postel is not a US government contractor. They feel that he was contracted only to do research work, not to run domain names and IP addresses. Some want to say he was only contracted to do IP addresses and not domain names, and domain names were done under his own initiative not under a US government contract. Any comments?
Mr Magaziner- While the US government may not dictate to John Postel what to do, he is a government contractor. The US government did not want to get too involved, but they have the legal responsibility. In fact, in recent suits against John, he was advised by his lawyers and he put in his defense that he was indemnified as a US government contractor and was only acting on behalf of the US government.
POC people and IAHC has certain goals, 1) setup of a private/nonprofit organization, 2) to remove NSI’s monopoly and 3) forcing NSI to share and turn over the root server and database.
Dr Takahashi- CORE registrants have already put up money, and it is unfair to dealy.
Mr Magaziner- The goal should be to get NSI to a competitive playing field. I would welcome suggestions on how to create this competitive playing field, whereby other registries can compete and commence.
Mr Conrad (APNIC)- You seem to imply that the database will be held by the not-profit organization.
Mr Magaziner- The ownership of the names will lie with the new organization. There could be licenses under certain conditions.
Mr Conrad- In terms of fairness, how do you see this?
Mr Magaziner- There is a need to allow registries to grow up for competition. We need to agree to NSI terms if we extend it. Why is the US government involved, is because we are trying to prevent further law suits.
Mr Jacobsen- NSI has had their day long enough, and now it is time to take it away from them.
Mr Magaziner- Will take the database away from NSI to the new organization. The US government is worried and therefore would prefer to keep the status quo while creating the private organization
Question from the audience (US)- Have you considered getting rid of TLDs altogether and have country codes instead. This in fact lines up better with the way trademark laws work. It is really not all that hard to redo letterheads, businesscards, etc.
Mr Magaziner- Yes, we did think about this. So many people have registered gTLDs and comments from these people was that they did not want this option. The majority view to their comments was not to remove gTLDs.
Question from the audience (US)- Basically part of the problem is that the US government has mismanaged .us and therefore the .com problem.
Mr Magaziner- Moving to country codes will not solve all the problems either.
Mr Folstrom (POC)- In general, these are all issues that we have looked at: such as how to handle a registry, how to create competition, to have registrars manage and police, and issues regarding Intellectual Property Rights over gTLDs.
Mr Conrad- Do you control price?
Mr Magaziner- The balance should be found between the registrars controlling the price and the market.
Mr Greene- How to deal with international TLD disputes and to guarantee internationalization in the structure?
Mr Magaziner- Not perfect ideas, but 1) the inter-governmental structure is there to keep governments out of the picture, 2) to make a tight formula to minimize legal actions. Instead also what might work is to divide the different functions: 1) numbering functions and get organizations such as APNIC, RIPE, ARIN, and other new registries as they form involved, 2) protocol functions with organizations such as IETF/IAB (they can make nominations), and 3) the DNS function which would require user group representation (regionally based). Therefore there will be membership from members of the numbering, protocol and DNS areas. There will also be representatives from the different registries and registrars.
Meanwhile, there are other groups that do exist as Internet user-based, and we will try and get them involved, e.g. GIIC. Will also consult initial convenors perhaps on a regional basis and global. First have to work on the Board members and process, over the year. Need to get a more formalized structure, such as maybe the IETF model, i.e. having periodic meetings with nominated functions. Could get groups started perhaps for the first year. John Postel is currently putting these ideas out to groups such as GIIC, IIC, ISOC, etc. and on a regional basis.
Dr Chen – Speaking as an individual, there is strong Asian concern over US dominance. What if the 5 TLDs are won only by US companies- Are there some controls to prevent this from happening?
Mr Magaziner- That is a very good question. May be a problem with the 5 TLDs but see it as an interim step, once the new organization is formed it will decide such policies and how to set objective open process.
Dr Chen- Yes, but there is also a financial issue here. The region is right now down.
Mr Magaziner- That is indeed a difficulty. There were many ideas explored and discarded. Final ideas put down were not the best. Not everyone is happy with it. Some say they should be auctioned but again only the big will win. Others say it should be prior claim since John Postel had already created a process, but this will be US based. There were even thoughts to try a lottery system and that has problems, as you need to make sure the winner has technical capabilities. Lottery does not work on this issue either as you could end up with the same country winning. There were pressures to say start the new organization first and not do 5TLDs. But here again there were problems since CORE has a headstart, so has ALTERNIC and all are primarily US based. Am open to suggestions on possible process to decide who the first 5 should be. There are weaknesses as you pointed out and look forward to alternative suggestions.
Mr Aizu- I am an APIA member. This new organization you refer to is a new not-for-profit organization. While international organizations as not-for-profit may be safer from law suits, there are still chances of law suits. National organizations, and issues such as E-commerce, security etc. faces similar challenges. There are limitations of existing law systems and there is no international law system based on technology. While do not want meta-governments to be formed, there is a need for some inter-governmental involvement. In the longer term, the solutions has to keep in line with the temporary ad hoc solution.
Mr Magaziner- Good point. Yes, there will still be law suits. The only questions is to set up a structure that is well covered that the first law suits will fail. This will discourage future law suits. Therefore there is a need to structure the organization to withstand law suits. As to the other point, on broader E-commerce issues, I believe that the industrial age paradigm of government passing laws and regulations to protect privacy, content, etc. does not work in a digital age. There needs to be instead tools available for them to protect themselves. I do not think that there will be a huge ITU, which while it may have been good for the industrial age, is not applicable for a decentralized medium and it may encroach on freedom and innovations. Instead, we may see a series of private not-for-profit organizations such as the IETF, IAB and others for new numbers of players and other stakeholder bases. As they evolve, governments will need to evolve legal recognition of them. Hope to develop this concept further, such as getting governments to recognize IAB, IETF, etc. Have been studying this for two years now, and am not quite sure where this is headed. In any case, all are headed towards a new legal and economic paradigm for the digital age.
Mr Aizu- Difference between government and private sector may not be so clear around the world. The solution may be private initiated but if government support is withheld, since they do not understand the new functioning of the new reality, then they will not get far with governments. Also, governments may go ahead and pass their own rules, as seen with the Malaysian cyberlaws.
Mr Magaziner- I have visited 22 countries so far to promote new style for this new reality, i.e. to ask them not to act. They have made mistakes as the US had with the CDA, and the US understands that this was wrong. The purpose of the discussions with them, however, is to say that governments need to keep a hands-off and not pass laws e.g. privacy, content, etc. They need to see a new way of things being done. The US government believes that there will be more than a billion people on the Internet by the year 2005. The Internet will be a main economic engine for growth. This will include IT and E-commerce. Those who try to overregulate are going to fail and be left behind. Those that realize that to grow they must be free, will succeed.
Mr Aizu- Do you think they will follow?
Mr Magaziner- Discussions with MITI and others, shown that they understand policies are becoming similar.
Mr Wong- These are all good conversations. As a Board member, I want to understand how we can carry this forward.
Mr Magaziner- That will depend on the reactions we receive. The first step is taking in comments, posting them on the web over the next 30 days. Depending on what we get, we may start all over again if people think it is all bad. But if they agree, but suggest changes, we will work on this and build consensus and come out with another draft and another if needed. Of course, there is no 100% consensus on the Internet, but am looking for just enough consensus. This can be a starting point to move forward. Right now, there already seems to be some consensus i.e. 1) people want the US government to move aside, 2) most agree that it should be a private not-for-profit organization and 3) most agree that NSI is a monopoly that should be ended and competition be introduced. The longer we delay, the longer the status quo will remain in place. Therefore will proceed ahead depending on what they get, may not even need 3rd or 4th drafts.
Mr Wong- How can we best structure our response.
Mr Magaziner- It is best if you represent your constituencies. It will provide wider input.
Ms Raveendran Greene – The comments we made to the NOI, were drafted after input from Board and members, then circulated for further comment. Only after receiving consensus did we hand it in.
Mr Magaziner- Good.
Question from audience (Japan)- Are you trying to reinvent ISOC? Do you know what ISOC is and how and why they were founded?
Mr Magaziner- Yes, I do know what ISOC is and while it does represent some interests, it does not represent all stakeholders. It does play an important role but do not think it can represent all.
Question from the audience (Japan)- does US government represent all?
Mr Magaziner- No and it does not claim to do so. We are looking to create a body that broadly is representative enough of these stakeholders and issues. If ISOC is in fact viewed by all to be broadly representative, then we will use ISOC. That is however, not the input we have been hearing. Of course, the easiest is to use an already existing organization rather than creating a new one. But it does not appear that we have one.
Mr Hicks- You mentioned that you talked to many different governments- are governments supportive of your approach? Most governments have not focused on this issue until recently. Those that have focused, agree that it should be more international and should not be controlled by the US government. Others feel that governments should run it and they want to take it over.
Mr Magaziner- The US government is not keen to participate in an inter-government body. We will see if we get public comments that say otherwise. Whatever the organization, it should be broadly representative and be international,
Mr Hicks- In New Zealand, we tried to just open the gates and found that it does not automatically result in competition. Even in the US, it was done in a careful way. A careful process is the right way.
Mr Magaziner- If we just walk away, a dominant player will take over and get a government sanctioned monopoly. There is a need to transition to a market approach.
Mr McNulty- You have been going around to governments and ask them to stay away from intrusion, yet the US does make laws on the Internet. Why not get rid of all gTLDs if it would help suppress the issue. This would not be an imposition or intrusion on the rest of the world, as most may be in the US e.g. .com,.net,.org.
Mr Magaziner- yes that would have been a good strategy 4 or 5 years ago. Not now.
Mr McNulty- Yet, if introduce other gTLDs, just creating a money making opportunity.
Mr Magaziner- Even within countries, same issues over domain names come up. They too have a designated monopoly as John basically said Ã¢â‚¬Å“You are itÃ¢â‚¬?. This leaves a unsatisfactory situation for most countries. Therefore even with nTLDs, they will need an international not-profit structure to start off with.
Mr McNulty- You are right.
Mr Magaziner- Same set of issues with gTLDs.
Mr McNulty- Do not see how you can level the playing field with just introducing more gTLDs.
Mr Hicks- Trademark lawyers have stated that if there are more gTLDs then they will just have to register more to protect their clients. Why not let them create .ibm, for example.
Mr Magaziner- That would be going in the opposite direction. Some want more TLDs e.g. acme hardware, acme pictures, etc. want to be able to have acme.com. Others say no more than 1 or 2 more. Yet another group says does not matter, since the directory services will make the debate go away. Hope that will happen soon but for now, cannot really see which is the right answer. Basically therefore it was a compromise reached from these differing positions, proceed and then let reality take over. Meanwhile, a stakeholder based organization can play an oversight role. For now, hard to say which is best. CORE would say need new gTLDs, and trademark lawyers do not want more, hopefully directory services will take over anyway.
Question from the audience (Hong Kong)- Why are you making your life difficult by trying to do TLD and then creating a new body. By this you will be leaving the new organization with the mess. Would it not be best to set up the new organization and say that it will decide.
Mr Magaziner- Yes, that would have been the easiest thing to do. However, CORE, IAHC and ISOC argued against that. There are already about 88 registrars under CORE, an any delay would destroy their business models. They say it will not help make competition work. That is why we added the TLDs.
Question from the audience (Hong Kong)- Adding new TLDs in the meantime does not give nTLDs a chance.
Mr Magaziner- Good point. If people say we should not add TLDs but work on the new organization, and let it debate it, then we will.
Question from the audience (Hong Kong)- Discussion on TLD, 6 months ago not of that point of view as did not see profile.
Mr Magaziner- When review input, will reconsider.
Question from the audience (India)- Problems have been trademark problems. I know we cannot run away from that even with nTLDs. Can you instead solve it as an engineering rather than a political issue, i.e. send it back to IETF. Domain names should not be related to trademarks. Why don’t we forget about domain names, do away with TLDs. Not interested in IP or domain names. There should be a directory service to map company names with url. Prefer to remember company names than name ibm.com. Feel that urls are not user-friendly and .com is indeed a very primitive way of finding an organization.
Ms Raveendran Greene- Yes, in fact back in February 1997 there was a paper put forward by Paul Vixie to do away with domain names and go back to numbers. Unfortunately, trademark lawyers and David Maher in particular convinced him that the ship had sailed on this issue, so he pulled back his paper. Many of us, feel that it was a pity that he did not pursue this or other alternative ideas.
Question from the audience (India)- Go back to company names, not even numbers. It still can be done.
Question from audience (Singapore)- The new TLDs will be handed over to the new organization with all the problems related to it. Many people see that the real problem is that the US government allowed NSI to charge US$50. What they should be doing is not adding new gTLDs but leveling the playing field with NSI first and incorporate the new IANA. Get rid of the NSI problem first.
Mr Magaziner- Did not designate NSI, but had an open bidding process. Open bid to all, therefore legally it was OK. Yes, it is fair to say that this was the problem because NSI charging policy affected a broad Internet community. Could indeed explore making NSI a not-for-profit organization which only has cost-based charges. This process could involve the Department of Justice and after this competitive registries could be set up. If do that, may not need new TLDs, the new organization created can decide. Question to POC however, if the US government does that would CORE registries feel cheated?
Mr Folstrom, POC- Yes. Registrars have invested money in creating new registry. Do want to get on with new registrations because of money. Some people may feel that NSI is the problem with a solution. Second problem is currently a problem with dispute resolution process.
Mr Magaziner- That can be solved. To get around that IAHC and POC got comments. There should be nTLDs etc. who felt that adding 7 and not more, is not the solution. Part of that was because browsers need .com. Have heard that alternative solutions are being developed. Question would be if we make .com, .net, .org, not-for-profit and then we don’t create new TLDs now but wait for new organization, and new organization can suggest new solutions, would this be acceptable?
POC- CORE would like to have new TLD because registrar have gone so far ahead and are waiting to go into business.
< b>Question from audience (Singapore)- The new IANA could do that. Do not see the need to get 5 TLD in transition period. NSI makes money and this should be stopped first.
Mr Magaziner- That can be done. Issue is the CORE and ALTERNIC issue. CORE invested money for new TLDs etc. and registrars are waiting to do business. May not of course, be a compelling argument or is it?
Question from audience (Singapore)- New IANA is the best judge of this. Investment returns etc. can be decided by the new organization. Please don’t add other problems to the new organization which need not follow. Create the new body and hold off the rest and stop the NSI problem.
Mr Magaziner- Please submit your comments.
Dr. Hur- At this juncture, we will not want to hold Mr. Magaziner any longer and we will resume tomorrow morning at 7am. Laina will give a quick wrap up for now.
Ms Raveendran Greene: Mr. Magaziner, we really appreciate your taking this time to come be with us during APRICOT 98. Your efforts to be here with us is an expression of your commitment to get universal input to your paper. We have had a very interesting debate tonight and it would be hard to summarize it all, suffice to say that we at APIA at a cursory reading are pleased at the direction you have taken. To a large extent, it would appear that you have taken our points into consideration. We will further study the paper and hope to provide a formal submission soon. Thank you once again for your time and for your openness.