PAB news from european 7july meeting

Sascha Ignjatovic (
Wed, 8 Jul 1998 02:08:42 +0200 (MET DST),4,23932,00.html?

Europe seeks global
domain policy
By Reuters
July 7, 1998, 4:00 p.m. PT

Belgium--Representatives of Europe's
Internet industry decided today to join
forces to ensure their voice is heard in
the effort to reform the global computer
network's name and address system.

Participants at a meeting hosted by the
European Commission pledged to fight
for a system that represented Internet
interests worldwide and introduced
competition to the market for
registering Internet names.

They agreed to set up an industry
panel to channel input into global talks
aimed at implementing a U.S. plan for
turning over management of the
address scheme to the private sector.

"I'm grateful to find Europe has a voice
now," Michael Schneider, chairman of
Germany's Electronic Commerce
Forum, told the group. "I think we are
now part of the process."

More than 120 representatives of
Internet service
companies such as
Deutsche Telecom and Telecom Italia,
computer companies such as Siemens
and IBM, government officials, and
others attended the day-long meeting.

They agreed to draft conclusions
setting out principles for managing the
system of names and numbers that
allows users to call up World Wide
Web pages or send electronic mail.

The meeting was called in response to
a proposal issued by the Commerce
Department last month asking the
private sector to set up a new
international nonprofit corporation to
guide the address system into the

Stung by an earlier Commerce
Department proposal that it considered
too "U.S.-centric," the European
Commission has been pushing
Europe's industry to unite.

One of the new body's most pressing
decisions will be whether to add new
"generic top-level domains"--suffixes
such as ".com," ".net," and ".org" at the
end of Internet addresses.

The European representatives
generally agreed that
new domains should be
introduced quickly to
relieve the growing
pressure for new Internet

However, a couple of participants
disagreed on the grounds that it could
lead to consumer confusion and make
it more difficult to monitor trademark

The draft conclusions said companies
should compete to register Internet
names and all registrars should have
access to the database held by
Network Solutions, a U.S. company
that now exclusively registers ".com,"
".net," and ".org" addresses.

They also said registrars and registries
should keep data allowing trademark
owners to identify infringements and
that trademark owners should be able
to refer disputes to the courts.

The discussions were a prelude to a
global conference later this month in
Geneva, where Internet interests will
thrash out many of the same
questions. They are facing a deadline
of September 30, the day the
Commerce Department proposed that
the new corporation be in place, at
least in interim form.

European Commission official
Christopher Wilkinson told the group
he would try to set up the European
industry panel by the end of the week
based on nominations from interested

Story Copyright 1998 Reuters Limited. All
rights reserved.