International Domain Names Meeting Backgrounder

International Domain Names Meeting
Friday, January 22, 1999 -- George Washington University Marvin Center

  • What is the purpose of the meeting?

    The International Domain Names Meeting has been convened through the cooperation of nine international organizations for the purpose of discussing the future of allocating Domain Names and the formation of ICANN's Domain Names Supporting Organization (DNSO).

  • What is ICANN?

    The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is the new non-profit corporation that was formed to take over responsibility for the IP address space allocation, protocol parameter assignment, domain name system management, and root server system management functions now performed under U.S. Government contract by IANA and other entities.

  • Who are the organizers?

    International Council of Registrars (CORE)

    CORE is a non-profit organization founded as result of a plan initiated by the Internet Society (ISOC) and the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) in Fall 1996 to add new structure, free enterprise and competition to the Internet Domain Name System (DNS) when the old monopoly on .com, .org and .net ends in 1998.

    Funded by its registrars and pursuing an aggressive development program, CORE is the world leader in developing the protocols, procedures, systems and software to administer competitive domain name registration. Its Shared Registry System (SRS) and Domain Name Service are deployed on computer systems around the world. The organization operates according to well-defined standards, global constitution and ethics documented in the generic Top Level Domain (gTLD) Memo of Understanding (MoU), which has been signed by more than 200 major companies throughout the world.

    CORE currently lists 85 registrars in 23 countries, including 24 U.S. registrars with a presence in more than 100 American cities. Membership is open to any individual or entity that can meet the financial and technical criteria outlined in the CORE Memo of Understanding. To better serve a global constituency and the future growth of the Internet, the CORE Secretariat is based in Geneva, Switzerland, near the birthplace of the World Wide Web, at CERN, the European Laboratory of Particle Physics (

    The Council of European National Top level Domain Registries (CENTR)

    RIPE CENTR is a project through which ISO 3166 Country-Code Top-Level Internet Domain (ccTLD) Registries in the RIPE geographical area intend to co-operate and to engage in concerted action on issues of common concern. It is anticipated that a suitably-constituted legal entity may be formed as a result of the project to continue this work.

    RIPE CENTR has developed from preparations made by RIPE, in particular in the RIPE Top-Level Domain Working Group. These preparations are documented in the working group task force report and in the RIPE-NCC proposal to run the CENTR project (respectively and ).

    Prior to the forming of RIPE CENTR, ccTLD registries presented their individual standpoints as best they could, but due to the sheer number of them and their individually small size in comparison to some gTLDs, this message was often drowned out.

    Although a proposal for RIPE CENTR had been on the table for a few months a decision to go ahead with the project was only made on 2 March 1998. On this date a meeting was held to which all RIPE area ccTLD registries were invited. Twenty registries were represented at this meeting, all of whom agreed to support and take part in the RIPE CENTR activities. In addition to those attending support has also been given by twelve other ccTLD registries, resulting in an initial participating group of 33 ccTLD registries as listed below. These registries are willing and able to fund the project for the initial period of operations which is completed on 31 December 1998. During that period the project will be managed by staff members of RIPE NCC on behalf of the participants in RIPE CENTR.

    An important point to stress is that RIPE CENTR has a coordinating function and not a controlling function for the RIPE area ccTLD registries.

    The Policy Oversight Committee (POC)

    The Policy Oversight Committee is the successor to the International Ad Hoc Committee (IAHC), which was created in September, 1996 as the result of proposals originally made by Prof. Jon Postel, of the Univ. of Southern California and the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA). The IAHC was created by IANA and the Internet Society (ISOC) with members originally appointed by IANA, ISOC, IAB, ITU, WIPO, INTA and NSF. Its charter was to study the domain name system and make recommendations for new generic top level domains (gTLDs) in addition to the .com, .net and .org presently in use. In February, 1997, the IAHC made its report, recommending the addition of seven new gTLDs, and further recommending the creation of new international administrative structures to register second level domains (SLDs) in the new gTLDs and to deal with trademark disputes.

    On May 1,1997, this resulted in the signing of a gTLD Memorandum of Understanding (the gTLD-MoU) by IANA and ISOC, as well as over a hundred entities from around the world. Since then, 88 new registrars have qualified to handle SLD registrations, and WIPO has proceeded to institute an administrative procedure for resolving trademark disputes arising from the assignment of SLDs. The 88 new registrars have formed a Council of Registrars (CORE) and have executed the CORE-MoU. CORE is incorporated not-for-profit inSwitzerland; POC is incorporated not-for-profit in Delaware.

    POC is presently cooperating with other interested parties in the preparation of an application to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the successor to IANA, for recognition of a Domain Names Supporting Organization.

    International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)
    The World Business Organization

    The International Chamber of Commerce promotes international trade, investment and the market economy system worldwide. In so doing, the ICC makes rules that govern the conduct of business across borders, provides essential services, foremost among them the ICC International Court of Arbitration, the world's leading institution of its kind.

    Members from 63 national committees and over 7000 member companies and associations from over 130 countries throughout the world present ICC views to their governments and coordinate with their membership to address the concerns of the business community.

    ICC permanent representatives at the UN in New York and Geneva monitor developments affecting business within the UN and its specialized agencies. The ICC ensures that business concerns are brought to the attention of governments, both through its international secretariat in Paris, and the representations of national committees throughout the world.

    Commercial Internet Exchange (CIX)

    The Commercial Internet eXchange Association is a non-profit, 501(c)6, trade association of Public Data Internetwork service providers promoting and encouraging development of the public data communications internetworking services industry in both national and international markets.

    The CIX provides a neutral forum to exchange ideas, information, and experimental projects among suppliers of internetworking services. The CIX broadens the base of national and international cooperation and coordination among member networks. Together, the membership may develop consensus positions on legislative and policy issues of mutual interest.

    CIX enhances the growth and potential of this industry by encouraging technical research and development for the mutual benefit of suppliers and customers of data communications internetworking services.

    The CIX assists its member networks in the establishment of, and adherence to, operational, technical, and administrative policies and standards necessary to ensure fair, open, and competitive operations and communication among member networks. CIX policies are formulated by a member-elected board of directors.

    European ISP Association (EUROISPA)

    EuroISPA is the pan-European association of the Internet services providers associations of the countries of the European Union. The association was established when a number of such ISP associations signed the EuroISPA Memorandum of Understanding on 6 August 1997 in Brussels. On 10 September 1997 the signatories to the MOU met again and signed the agreement that formed EuroISPA EEIG, thereby creating the largest association of ISPs in the world.

    EuroISPA is being established to achieve several important purposes:

    • First, to protect and promote the interests of Europe as a whole within the global Internet, securing for Europe a premier position in the key industry of the new Millenium.
    • Secondly, to help deliver the benefits of this new technology of liberation and empowerment to individuals, while at the same time meeting the legitimate concerns of parents and others responsible for the weaker members of society.
    • Thirdly, to encourage the development of a free and open telecommunications market, something of great benefit to society as a whole but essential to the healthy development of the Internet.
    • And finally, to promote the interests of our members and provide common services to them where these cannot be had elsewhere.

    The International Trademark Association (INTA)

    The International Trademark Association (INTA) was founded in 1878 as The United States Trademark Association. The Association changed its name in May 1993 to International Trademark Association to reflect the scope and interests of its members worldwide. The Association is dedicated to promoting trademarks as essential to world commerce. A not-for-profit organization, INTA takes a leading role not only in serving members, but in actively pursuing public policy matters concerning trademarks. It also educates business, the media and the public on the proper use and importance of trademarks. INTA's membership includes more than 3200 corporations and firms in 117 countries. These include major multinational corporations and smaller companies that recognize the importance of trademarks to their continued marketing success. INTA's members are in every major industry, from aerospace to consumer goods, alcoholic beverages to textiles, electronics to financial services. Also included in INTA's membership are businesses that counsel trademark owners: intellectual property and general practice law firms, advertising agencies, design firms and industry organizations that recognize the importance of INTA to their clients

    Network Solutions, Inc. (NSI)

    Network Solutions has been successful in helping customers solve Internet and related networking problems since its founding in 1979. As the global registrar for the top-level domains of .com, .net, .org and .edu NSI has made a name for itself by giving Internet users an identity so they can communicate and conduct business online. Since 1993, they have registered more than 3 million .com Web Addresses representing businesses around the globe.

    Today, in addition to Web Address registration services, Network Solutions' Consulting Services division offers enterprise network solutions to satisfy complex computing and communications needs.

    Network Solutions has experienced tremendous growth since 1995 when they were acquired by the Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) as a wholly owned subsidiary. SAIC is the largest employee-owned research and engineering company in the United States. By January 1996, Network Solutions had increased its employee base to 100 employees and currently employs more than 300 individuals.

    In September 1997, Network Solutions completed an initial public offering (Nasdaq: NSOL).

    The World Information Technology and Services Alliance (WITSA)>

    The World Information Technology and Services Alliance (WITSA) is a consortium of information technology (IT) industry associations from economies around the world. As the global voice of the IT industry, WITSA is dedicated to advocating policies that advance the industry's growth and development; facilitating international trade and investment in IT products and services; strengthening WITSA's national industry associations through the sharing of knowledge, experience, and critical information; providing members with a vast network of contacts in nearly every geographic region of the world; and hosting the World Congress on IT, the only industry sponsored global IT event.

    Founded in 1978 and originally known as the World Computing Services Industry Association, WITSA has increasingly assumed an active advocacy role in international public policy issues affecting the creation of a robust global information infrastructure, including: increasing competition through open markets and regulatory reform; oprotecting intellectual property; oreducing tariff and non-tariff trade barriers to IT goods and services; and osafeguarding the viability and continued growth of the Internet and electronic commerce.

    In addition to its public policy work, WITSA, through its network of national associations, provides a unique opportunity to establish contacts and channels in the global IT industry. WITSA will continue to provide opportunities to discuss international marketing strategies and business development focused on different regions and countries. The impact of WITSA is perhaps best demonstrated through its World Congress on Information Technology, which every two years brings together over 1500 senior IT executives from around the world.

    WITSA serves as the oversight organization for the World Congress on Information Technology, an international meeting of IT executives from around the world. World Congress sites include: Tokyo, Japan in 1994; Bilbao, Spain in 1996; Fairfax, Virginia in 1998; and China, Taipei in 2000.

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