Date: Mon, 19 Jan 2004 13:38:22 -0800
From: Gordon Mohr <gojomo@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Subject: ICANN/WHOIS Comments
At the Internet Archive, we'd very much like to have uniform access
to WHOIS data, either as snapshots at regular intervals or an event-
stream including expiration and change-of-ownership times.
As it stands, sometimes the lack of this info causes us problems
in deciding whether a particular part of our archived material should
be made publically available. We respect the original material's
provider's wishes whenever possible, but when the domain may have
transferred over the years, it can be hard to identify who is the
So, we get people who want old material to be made available, but the
current site's 'robots.txt' (which we typically respect retroactively)
prohibits access. Or, we get people who want things removed from the
public archive, though they no longer control the domain in question.
An accurate record of ownership through the years would help us
to respect people's wishes -- as well as assist other research
which people perform through the IA on the evolution of the web
We'd be happy to get the info at a lag -- 6 months, a year, whatever --
that preserves much of its commercial value for others. We could also
keep the info private, using it only for internal and academic
Ideally, we'd like to see ICANN require all registrars, as a condition
of their franchise, to save this data and make it available, at cost, to
archival institutions like ourselves once a certain amount of time has
passed (or certain acceptable-usage conditions are met).
Looking several years ahead, I could imagine the "digital deposit"
laws that have begun in some European countries being tuned up, to include
such a requirement of clear domain title records -- once the national
libraries recognize that they face the same provenance and
chain-of-domain-ownership issues that the IA faces today.