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CIS Response to ICANN's proposed renewal of .org Registry

Posted by Akriti Bopanna at Apr 28, 2019 02:16 AM |
We thank ICANN for the opportunity to comment on this issue of its proposed renewal of the .org Registry Agreement with the operator, Public Interest Registry (PIR). Supporting much of the community , we too find severe issues with the proposed agreement. These centre around the removal of price caps and imposing obligations being currently deliberated in an ongoing Policy Development Process (PDP).

Presumption of Renewal

CIS has, in the past, questioned the need for a presumption of renewal in registry contracts and it is important to emphasize this within the context of this comment as well. We had, also, asked ICANN for their rationale on having such a practice with reference to their contract with Verisign to which they responded saying:

“Absent countervailing reasons, there is little public benefit, and some significant potential for disruption, in regular changes of a registry operator. In addition, a significant chance of losing the right to operate the registry after a short period creates adverse incentives to favor short term gain over long term investment.”

This logic can presumably be applied to the .org registry, as well, yet a re-auction of ,even, legacy top-level domains can only serve to further a fair market, promote competition and ensure that existing registries do not become complacent.

These views were supported in the course of the PDP on Contractual Conditions - Existing Registries in 2006 wherein competition was seen useful for better pricing, operational performance and contributions to registry infrastructure. It was also noted that most service industries incorporate a presumption of competition as opposed to one of renewal.

Download the file to access our full response.