Clinton domain name plan removes government control (1998)
Boston (January 30, 1998) -- The U.S. government would transfer its authority over Internet domain names to a new, private non-profit corporation by the end of September and allow only five new generic top-level domain names, according to a plan released this morning by the U.S. Department of Commerce.
The long-awaited proposal, whose release has been delayed for weeks and which already has caused rancor, calls for the government to continue overseeing policies until Sept. 30, 2000, "to assure stability" as the new corporation becomes established.
The proposed corporation will include representatives of Internet protocol number registries, domain name registries, domain name registrars, the technical community and Internet users, according to the proposal.
Domain names are alphabetic representations, appended by generic top-level domains such as .com or .org, of underlying Internet addresses. The current domain-name system is operated by Network Solutions Inc. (NSI) through a contract with the U.S. government. The contract expires in March, though an option to extend it for six months will be exercised.
Various Internet stakeholders have been jockeying for control of domain names, a key underlying administrative task of the Internet.
At the center of the debate has been the Internet Council of Registrars (CORE), which has a generic top-level domains (g-TLD) plan. CORE consists of about 90 companies in 23 countries and has, without official sanction, implemented the plan to register companies for seven new generic top-level domains assigned by a shared registry. CORE is supported by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), the Internet Policy Oversight Committee (POC), and the Internet Society (ISOC).
The Association of Interactive Media yesterday issued a statement saying that CORE's claims of operating a new domain name registration system are "patently ridiculous" and that it has no authority over registration.
"CORE's continued claims to this role are the last dying gasps of an ill-considered and failed power grab," the association said.