New domain name authority gets green light

The Internet's new Domain Name Supporting Organisation (DNSO) will start work in May to take over the management of domain name issues, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has announced.

And organisations that want to act as registrars for the Internet's generic top-level domains (gTLDs) will be able to submit their proposals for accreditation from March 15, ICANN said.

ICANN has proposed that the DNSO will initially include seven constituency groups of organisations with Internet expertise, which will have an equal say in DNSO policies.

The initial constituency groups include: country code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs); generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs); registrars; commercial and business entities; Internet service and connectivity providers; trademark, intellectual property, and anti-counterfeiting interests; and non-commercial domain name holders, including non-profit organisations and individual domain name holders.

ICANN interim chairman Esther Dyson said that ICANN legal staff would amend the organisation's by-laws within three weeks to admit the formation of the DNSO. Once the by-laws have been adopted, it will be up to the Internet community to organise the various DNSO constituencies themselves, Dyson said.

The work of the DNSO's general assembly could then begin during the ICANN board meeting in Berlin, Germany, now scheduled for May 25, Dyson said. The assembly would then elect a Names Council, which would be the DNSO's managing body, as well as providing three members of the 19-strong ICANN board of directors, Dyson said.

The Address Supporting Organisation and the Protocol Supporting Organisation will supply three board members each, individual Internet members of the At Large organisation nine members, with ICANN's president as the final member, ICANN said.

The ICANN board said it had also adopted a policy and sample business contracts through which to accredit organisations which wanted to manage the distribution of gTLDs in the .com, .org, and .net domains. ICANN will begin accepting registrar applications from March 15, the board said, and five organisations will be selected.

The ICANN board proposals, based on a document called the CENTR proposals, received wide support from delegates to the various ICANN advisory committees for their recognition of the interests of individual Internet users as well as those of business.

The CENTR proposals were a last-minute compromise between two earlier competing submissions to the ICANN board - the BMW submission, seen as favouring corporate interests, and the Paris submission, which emphasised the role of individuals and non-profit organisations.

ICANN is an international non-profit, non-governmental organisation which has taken over many Internet technical management functions formerly carried out by the US Government.

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