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August 18, 1997updated 03 Sep 2016 7:18pm


By CBR Staff Writer

Despite the high-minded rhetoric and bitter recriminations flying around the internet community, and the amount of column inches attributed to it, it appears many parties have passed over the opportunity to express their feelings about the future of the domain name structure of the internet to the US government. The Department of Commerce put out a Notice of Inquiry (NoI) asking anybody for comments and suggestions on what should be done after the contract with Network Solutions Inc (NSI) to administer the three most common top level domain names (.com, .net and .org) comes to an end in March 1998. According to Lynne Beresford, an attorney advisor at the Department’s Patent and Trademark Office, the department only received around 400 submissions by early evening yesterday, the day of the inquiry’s deadline. And of those 400 around a third were a form affidavit from PG Media Inc, which is suing NSI for allegedly restricting access to the internet due to its monopoly position in registering names. They all said the same thing, asking in vague terms for a free market approach, no government involvement and so on. Many of the major players had not submitted anything by yesterday evening and many of the comments were just a paragraph or two from interested individuals. Beresford expressed herself shocked by the lack of useful comments. To put it in perspective, the original proposal for the addition of the seven new names and a new way to assign and govern the names put forward by the put forward by the group called the interim Policy Oversight Committee (iPOC) attracted between 4,000 and 6,000 comments. That proposal is the focus of most discussions at the moment. The procedure now is for an interagency internet task force, representing about 15 government agencies to look over the responses and to meet in early September to produce a report. Meanwhile, Beresford and her team are picking through the submissions for anything relevant to the next meeting of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), which is to be held in Geneva on September 1-2. Beresford chairs that meeting, which will deal with trademark issues and how they affect domain names – an issue that few in the internet have attempted to properly address, but one that it is likely to cause the most problems and produce the largest number of court battles. Despite this process there will doubtless be continuing complaints that the internet community has not been asked its opinion about the proposed changes. The iPOC proposal is at

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