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Friday, December 1, 2006

.com renewal
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The Department of Commerce has (finally) given its stamp of approval to the renewal of VeriSign's contract to provide .com registry services. This is a good thing. However, the language accompanying the renewal seems quite regulatory. For example, there is now explicit public interest language in the criteria for renewal of the contract. Such standards are quite common for regulated industries, but obviously not for competitive industries where competition takes care of the "public interest". We have consistently cautioned against adopting a regulatory model for domain name registry services and urged ICANN to adopt pro-competitive policies, most recently in a paper by PFF Adjunct Fellow Bruce Kobayashi and testimony I delivered on ICANN Internet Governance. The most important contract should be the one between VeriSign and its customers, who should have sufficient choices to discipline the market. If that is the case, detailed contracts between a registry and its "regulators" - whether the Department of Commerce or ICANN - are at best superfluous and more likely harmful.

posted by Tom Lenard @ 5:36 PM | Internet Governance

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