Request for Comment on gTLDs Pursuant to Administrative Procedure Act
[Federal Register: July 2, 1997 (Volume 62, Number 127)]
>From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
Department of Commerce
Request for Comments on the Registration and Administration of Internet
Domain Names; Notice
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
[Docket No. 970613137-7137-01]
Request for Comments on the Registration and Administration of
Internet Domain Names
AGENCY: Department of Commerce.
ACTION: Notice; request for public comment.
SUMMARY: The Department of Commerce requests comments on the current
and future system(s) for the registration of Internet domain names. The
Department invites the public to submit written comments in paper or
\1\ This request for public comment is not intended to supplant
or otherwise affect the work of other public advisory groups,
established under law.
DATES: Comments must be received by August 18, 1997.
ADDRESSES: Mail written comments to Patrice Washington, Office of
Public Affairs, National Telecommunications and Information
Administration (NTIA), Room 4898, 14th St. and Constitution Ave., NW,
Washington, DC 20230. See SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION for electronic
access and filing addresses and further information on submitting
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Paula Bruening, NTIA, (202) 482-1816.
Electronic Access and Filing Addresses
The address for comments submitted in electronic form is
dns at ntia.doc.gov. Comments submitted in electronic form should be in
WordPerfect, Microsoft Word, or ASCII format. Detailed information
about electronic filing is available on the NTIA website, http://
Further Information on Submitting Comments
Submit written comments in paper or electronic form at the above
addresses. Paper submissions should include three paper copies and a
version on diskette in the formats specified above. To assist
reviewers, comments should be numbered and organized in response to
questions in accordance with the five sections of this notice
(Appropriate Principles, General/Organizational Framework Issues,
Creation of New gTLDs, Policies for Registries, and Trademark Issues).
Commenters should address each section on a separate page and should
indicate at the beginning of their submission to which questions they
The rapid growth in the use of the Internet has led to increasing
public concern about the current Internet domain name registration
systems. According to Internet Monthly Report, registration of domain
names within a few top-level domains (.com, .net, .org) has increased
from approximately 400 per month in 1993 to as many as 70,000 per month
in 1996, the overwhelming majority in the .com category. The enormous
growth and commercialization of the Internet has raised numerous
questions about current domain name registration systems. In addition,
the present system will likely undergo modification when the National
Science Foundation's cooperative agreement (NSF agreement) with Network
Solutions Inc. to register and administer second-level domains for
three top-level domains expires in 1998. Resolution of these issues
will also affect the future operation of the National Information
Infrastructure (NII) and the Global Information Infrastructure (GII).
The United States Government played a central role in the initial
development, deployment, and operation of domain name registration
systems, and through the NSF agreement as well as Defense Advanced
Research Projects Agency (DARPA) agreement(s) continues to play a role.
In recent years, however, Internet expansion has been driven primarily
by the private sector. The Internet has operated by consensus rather
than by government regulation. Many believe that the Internet's
decentralized structure accounts at least in part for its rapid growth.
The Government has supported the privatization and
commercialization of the Internet through actions such as the
transition from the NSFNET backbone to commercial backbones. The
Government supports continued private sector leadership for the
Internet and believes that the transition to private sector control
should continue. The stability of the Internet depends on a fully
interconnected and interoperable domain name system that must be
preserved during any transition.
Various private sector groups have proposed systems for allocating
and managing generic top level domains (gTLDs). The Government is
studying the proposals and the underlying issues to determine what
role, if any, it should play. The Government has not endorsed any plan
at this time but believes that it is very important to reach consensus
on these policy issues as soon as possible.
The United States Government seeks the views of the public
regarding these proposals and broader policy issues as well.
Specifically, the Government seeks information on the following issues:
A. Appropriate Principles
The Government seeks comment on the principles by which it should
evaluate proposals for the registration and administration of Internet
domain names. Are the following principles appropriate? Are they
complete? If not, how should they be revised? How might such principles
best be fostered?
a. Competition in and expansion of the domain name registration
system should be encouraged. Conflicting domains, systems, and
registries should not be permitted to jeopardize the interoperation of
the Internet, however. The addressing scheme should not prevent any
user from connecting to any other site.
b. The private sector, with input from governments, should develop
stable, consensus-based self-governing mechanisms for domain name
registration and management that adequately defines responsibilities
and maintains accountability.
c. These self-governance mechanisms should recognize the inherently
global nature of the Internet and be able to evolve as necessary over
d. The overall framework for accommodating competition should be
open, robust, efficient, and fair.
e. The overall policy framework as well as name allocation and
management mechanisms should promote prompt, fair, and efficient
resolution of conflicts, including conflicts over proprietary rights.
f. A framework should be adopted as quickly as prudent
consideration of these issues permits.
B. General/Organizational Framework Issues
1. What are the advantages and disadvantages of current domain name
2. How might current domain name systems be improved?
3. By what entity, entities, or types of entities should current
domain name systems be administered? What should the makeup of such an
4. Are there decision-making processes that can serve as models for
deciding on domain name registration systems (e.g., network numbering
plan, standard-setting processes, spectrum allocation)? Are there
private/public sector administered models or regimes that can be used
for domain name registration (e.g., network numbering plan, standard
setting processes, or
spectrum allocation processes)? What is the proper role of national or
international governmental/non-governmental organizations, if any, in
national and international domain name registration systems?
5. Should generic top level domains (gTLDs), (e.g., .com), be
retired from circulation? Should geographic or country codes (e.g.,
.US) be required? If so, what should happen to the .com registry? Are
gTLD management issues separable from questions about International
Standards Organization (ISO) country code domains?
6. Are there any technological solutions to current domain name
registration issues? Are there any issues concerning the relationship
of registrars and gTLDs with root servers?
7. How can we ensure the scalability of the domain name system name
and address spaces as well as ensure that root servers continue to
interoperate and coordinate?
8. How should the transition to any new systems be accomplished?
9. Are there any other issues that should be addressed in this
C. Creation of New gTLDs
10. Are there technical, practical, and/or policy considerations
that constrain the total number of different gTLDs that can be created?
11. Should additional gTLDs be created?
12. Are there technical, business, and/or policy issues about
guaranteeing the scalability of the name space associated with
increasing the number of gTLDs?
13. Are gTLD management issues separable from questions about ISO
country code domains?
14. Are there any other issues that should be addressed in this
D. Policies for Registries
15. Should a gTLD registrar have exclusive control over a
particular gTLD? Are there any technical limitations on using shared
registries for some or all gTLDs? Can exclusive and non-exclusive gTLDs
16. Should there be threshold requirements for domain name
registrars, and what responsibilities should such registrars have? Who
will determine these and how?
17. Are there technical limitations on the possible number of
domain name registrars?
18. Are there technical, business and/or policy issues about the
name space raised by increasing the number of domain name registrars?
19. Should there be a limit on the number of different gTLDs a
given registrar can administer? Does this depend on whether the
registrar has exclusive or non-exclusive rights to the gTLD?
20. Are there any other issues that should be addressed in this
E. Trademark Issues
21. What trademark rights (e.g., registered trademarks, common law
trademarks, geographic indications, etc.), if any, should be protected
on the Internet vis-a-vis domain names?
22. Should some process of preliminary review of an application for
registration of a domain name be required, before allocation, to
determine if it conflicts with a trademark, a trade name, a geographic
indication, etc.? If so, what standards should be used? Who should
conduct the preliminary review? If a conflict is found, what should be
done, e.g., domain name applicant and/or trademark owner notified of
the conflict? Automatic referral to dispute settlement?
23. Aside from a preliminary review process, how should trademark
rights be protected on the Internet vis-a-vis domain names? What
entity(ies), if any, should resolve disputes? Are national courts the
only appropriate forum for such disputes? Specifically, is there a role
for national/international governmental/nongovernmental organizations?
24. How can conflicts over trademarks best be prevented? What
information resources (e.g. databases of registered domain names,
registered trademarks, trade names) could help reduce potential
conflicts? If there should be a database(s), who should create the
database(s)? How should such a database(s) be used?
25. Should domain name applicants be required to demonstrate that
they have a basis for requesting a particular domain name? If so, what
information should be supplied? Who should evaluate the information? On
the basis of what criteria?
26. How would the number of different gTLDs and the number of
registrars affect the number and cost of resolving trademark disputes?
27. Where there are valid, but conflicting trademark rights for a
single domain name, are there any technological solutions?
28. Are there any other issues that should be addressed in this
William M. Daley,
[FR Doc. 97-17215 Filed 7-1-97; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-60-U