ICANN lays down law

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) reasserted its authority over the management and creation of new domain names in its new policy paper on Friday.

The slow roll out of new domain names has led companies, such as CentralNic and New.net Inc., to start selling their own domain names.

But currently ICANN is the only body that is supposed to select domain names and oversee the running of the main computer systems which act as an address book for those domain names.

ICANN introduced a list of new domain names back in November, including suffixes such as .name and .aero, but as yet the first two addresses on the list - .biz and .info - still haven't gone live.

"It is important to introduce new names at a steady pace," said a spokesperson at ICANN. "The worry with addresses being issued from other bodies is that many disputes over rights to domain names may arise."

But ICANN's new policy document reiterating the importance of a 'centralised body' has been criticised by some organisations.

"If ICANN was to recognise and register all addresses, especially those which have been signed up to by a large amount of people, then this would cut down on problems over ownership rights," said spokesperson at New.net domain name registry service.

ICANN's president, Stuart Lynn, disagreed outright with such a policy. In a press statement, he said a system of name domain sharing would be one "which consumers, businesses, researchers and others would find harmful and confusing if put into large scale practice."

ICANN's policy document seems to be a warning to others that it is not prepared to budge on its decision to keep one centralised body. People will just have to wait until it releases new names.

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Wendy Brewer

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