PAB charters with teeth

William Allen Simpson (
Thu, 5 Mar 98 00:20:42 GMT

I see that there has been a small number of comments on this topic while
I was out of town, but this is the most cogent and well-formed:

> Date: Sat, 28 Feb 1998 22:27:34 -0800
> From: Kent Crispin <>
> I would like to back this up a level for just a moment, if I could. I
> recently mentioned that I have both the and
> domains. Bill pointed out that I was out of compliance with the
> definition of the definition fot the .net TLD,
> However, it is abundantly clear that I am not alone in my
> transgression of rfc1591. As I recall, one of the IAHC drafts
> recommended that the definitions for .net and .org just be dropped,
> because they were widely ignored. The lesson to be learned from this
> is that charters without clear definition and *legal* teeth will be
> ignored.
I certainly agree.

The real problem with RFC-1591 was never that things did not have a
clear definition, but rather that NSI was registry and registrar, judge
and jury, and there was no way to take the responsibility away from them,
despite the terrible job they have been doing.

> Further, the IAHC reports define gTLDs as TLDs with essentially free
> registration -- the *definition* of a gTLD is that it doesn't impose
> any but the most general requirements for registration --people chose
> a particular gTLD because of what it means to them, not because of a
> structured meaning imposed by the charter.
I disagree. In such a case, there simply is no meaningful use for
having multiple _defined_ TLDs, and we could simply have a root where
everyone registers whatever is "meaningful" to them.

TLDs are not meaningless labels, like "a", "b" .. "z". That was
proposed (by Postel) and rejected years ago.

Having TLDs for different areas is pretty useful, in that it aids in
avoiding naming conflicts. As many different folks should be able to
register as possible (as opposed to a few folks registering the same
thing as many times as possible). That is what will allow the DNS to

> With this definition of a gTLD (the definition I believe the gTLD MoU
> was based on) there only needs to be one charter for all the gTLDs --
> a charter that defines this open registration policy.
IMHO, that road leads to an unfettered free-for-all, and the same
problems that we already have.

Indeed, as an ISP, we have already received Unsolicited Commercial
Electronic Mail (spam), from, urging us to register our
current domain names in all the new TLDs.

> It is my belief that a charter for a TLD is pointless
> unless it has some enforcement mechanism defined.

Again, I agree. We already have such an enforcement mechanism, but are
lacking in well-defined policy to enforce.

The mechanism as currently defined is very simple. The registrar assists
the registrant in selecting the best TLD for their usage. When a
registrant ignores the advice of the registrar (or the registrar does
not offer any value added services or gives poor advice), and registers
in an inappropriate TLD, or in multiple TLDs to shut out others, those
others challenge the registration through the appeals process.

Registrants that ignore charters will lose, and will waste time and money.

Registrars that frequently give bad advice will lose customers and go
out of business.

> The charter for a
> sTLD becomes a feature of the registration agreement that every
> domain holder in that TLD signs, and the defined enforcement
> mechanism is what allows the registrar/registry to enforce the
> policies defined in the charter.
With this, I certainly agree, except that the registrar and registry
should *NOT* be in the enforcement business. Only those affected
(having "standing" in legal terminology) make the enforcement effort.
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