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Re: [ga] [registrars] ICANN Letter Regarding VeriSign Settlement

  • To: "Danny Younger" <dannyyounger@xxxxxxxxx>, <ga@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: Re: [ga] [registrars] ICANN Letter Regarding VeriSign Settlement
  • From: "kidsearch" <kidsearch@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 27 Oct 2005 12:23:29 -0400
  • References: <20051027145351.91605.qmail@web53515.mail.yahoo.com>
  • Sender: owner-ga@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Even greedy .tv only raises prices by 5% each year. Verisign wins because of
their willingness to extend money spent on litigation.

Chris McElroy, President,
Kidsearch Network

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Danny Younger" <dannyyounger@xxxxxxxxx>
To: <ga@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Thursday, October 27, 2005 10:53 AM
Subject: [ga] [registrars] ICANN Letter Regarding VeriSign Settlement

> http://gnso.icann.org/mailing-lists/archives/registrars/msg03498.html
> Colleagues,
> Kurt Pritz has asked me to forward the letter below to
> the Registrar
> Constituency.
> Tim Cole
> Chief Registrar Liaison
> Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers
> ICANN Registrar Constituency:
> Thank you for this opportunity to make the Registrar
> community aware of the
> proposed settlement with VeriSign. ICANN is seeking to
> end all pending
> litigation over this long-standing dispute. The
> settlement agreement
> documents have been posted for public comment on
> ICANN's website
> (www.icann.org) and are subject to final approval of
> the ICANN Board. In
> addition to comments received, there are some specific
> issues we would like
> to discuss with you, now that we are in a position to
> do so. An important
> purpose of this posting is to solicit the views of the
> Registrars'
> constituency on all of the settlement documents.
> The parties entered into non-public negotiations in an
> effort to establish
> whether it was possible to reach an agreement. The
> negotiations led to a
> lengthy set of discussions regarding specific
> provisions of the agreement
> and the conflict points and also sought consultation
> with the US Department
> of Commerce, as required by the present .COM
> agreement.
> We understood in entering into these discussions that
> it would be nearly
> impossible for a public company such as VeriSign to
> participate in an open
> and public dialogue for the resolution of such a
> dispute, without a concrete
> proposal regarding how the settlement could be
> constructed. Therefore, ICANN
> negotiated the best possible deal that it believed
> that it could negotiate
> in the public's interest, and required a full 24-day
> public comment period
> before board approval would be sought.
> All ICANN constituencies and advisory committees are
> being asked directly
> for input. Following this public comment period,
> ICANN's Board will evaluate
> the public comments received and decide on next
> actions relating to this
> entire settlement proposal.
> This letter is intended to provide information
> regarding the proposed
> agreement and use of the comment period by providing:
> . some back ground on the conflict and detail
> regarding the proposed
> settlement,
> . benefits accruing from the agreements to the
> registrars,
> . identification of issues that remain to be discussed
> during this
> comment period,
> . a plan for how to carry the discussion forward.
> Background, the settlement and agreement
> >From ICANN's inception it has existed in conflict
> with the principal
> commercial entity in the DNS space, the .COM registry
> operator, and that
> conflict has continued in various forms up until this
> time. NSI was acquired
> by VeriSign in 2000, and since that time ICANN and
> VeriSign have been
> involved in a series of additional conflicts.
> This tension and conflict has heavily influenced the
> contractual
> relationships between NSI/VeriSign and ICANN from the
> beginning. The first
> agreement with the operator of the .COM Registry was
> in 1999, and was
> brokered by the United States Department of Commerce
> with a reluctant NSI.
> This agreement framework created the separation of
> registries and registrars
> and introduced the opportunity for new players in the
> registrar market.
> That agreement was replaced with a new agreement in
> 2001, which split the
> 1999 agreement (which covered .COM, .NET and .ORG)
> into three separate
> agreements, one for each registry. Unlike the others,
> .COM Registry
> Agreement included a presumptive right of renewal to
> VeriSign. The .ORG
> Registry was re-bid with a presumption that it would
> go to a third party and
> was subsequently awarded to PIR. The .NET Registry was
> re-bid during the
> last year, without a presumption of renewal or a
> presumption of a change of
> operator and was re-awarded to VeriSign. The growing
> diversity of business
> models among registrars was reflected in the variety
> of responses to this
> new contract.
> The original 2001 .COM Registry Agreement containing
> the presumptive right
> of renewal to VeriSign did not fully resolve the
> various fundamental
> differences of view between ICANN and VeriSign, and
> those differences have
> continued to generate disputes up to and including the
> issues involved in
> the current litigation.
> The proposed settlement will end ICANN's dispute with
> VeriSign. The
> litigation focused on the introduction by VeriSign of
> new "Registry
> Services" and whether the current .COM agreement
> (signed in 2001) provided
> for oversight by ICANN over the introduction of
> services (such as
> "SiteFinder"). It was quickly understood that the
> settlement discussions
> were inextricably bound up in the contract language
> and that any settlement
> required a re-writing of the registry agreement. It
> was necessary for the
> parties to renegotiate terms within a new .COM
> Registry Agreement relating
> to a new clear definition of registry services and the
> approach for approval
> of such services. Therefore, in concert with the
> settlement, ICANN and
> VeriSign have entered into a new proposed registry
> agreement.
> The settlement has been in negotiation for many
> months, with talks extending
> back to late 2004. The new agreement has been
> streamlined from the old (161
> pages versus 91). It provides that VeriSign will
> operate the registry into
> 2012.
> Benefits accruing from the agreement
> We see several benefits accruing from the proposed
> settlement. The
> settlement ends a costly, time-consuming litigation.
> The end of the
> litigation and the provision for binding arbitration
> in the future will also
> end the diversion of resources applied to this
> litigation over the past two
> years. Many things of importance to the ICANN mission
> and to registrars have
> been left undone and can now be accomplished.
> Additionally the agreement, we think, will facilitate
> the introduction of
> new registry services by VeriSign that are intended to
> increase the number
> of registrations. The confrontational nature of the
> VeriSign/ICANN
> relationship prior to the settlement certainly slowed
> the introduction of
> new services. Having greater certainty and speed will
> facilitate the
> introduction of new business opportunities for
> registries and registrars.
> The new registry services process should also work to
> provide certainty,
> additional markets and protect registrars against
> unanticipated product
> introductions that may have an adverse affect.
> VeriSign has agreed to a
> definition of registry services that ensure that new
> product introduction
> will be vetted for adverse stability, security and
> competition effects prior
> to deployment. Also, the agreement puts into place a
> standing technical
> panel in order to ensure timely, unbiased opinions
> regarding the potential
> effects of product introductions on security and
> stability of the DNS.
> Competition issues will be referred to appropriate
> governmental competition
> authority/authorities; the proposed agreement
> clarifies ICANN's role and
> recognizes that determination of whether a registry's
> action is competitive
> or anti-competitive is an appropriate function of
> existing national bodies
> The agreement also provides certainty as to the price
> of a domain name going
> forward. Under the terms of this agreement, VeriSign
> can raise the price of
> a name up to 7% each year. It is understood that any
> increase in price over
> $6 will affect some business models. The price has
> been constant for six
> years. While price increases are rarely welcome, this
> agreement provides a
> ceiling and notice of prices for the next seven years.
> During the
> negotiations, a significantly wider range of price
> increases was suggested
> and discussed. This negotiation was not a competitive
> re-bid process where
> there existed leverage for reducing the per name
> price.
> The price changes described in the agreement provide
> notice and an
> opportunity to react to increases: there must be at
> least six months notice
> before any price increase; there will continue to
> offered registrations for
> up to a ten year term, to allow those who want to
> guarantee their
> registration costs for ten years to do so; and there
> are restrictions on
> VeriSign creating tying arrangements.
> Because of the presumptive right of renewal to
> VeriSign for the .COM
> Registry, ICANN's negotiating power relative to
> pricing and other key terms
> is significantly different than in the setting of
> terms for the re-bid
> relating to the .NET Registry. Accordingly, as ICANN
> accredited registrars
> and customers of VeriSign we are requesting your
> review and comments
> relating to this settlement and the accompanying .COM
> Registry Agreement.
> Issues for discussion
> The comment period is intended to provide opportunity
> for discussion of
> areas of interest to parties not named in the
> agreement so that these issues
> can be taken into account. Some of these issues have
> been identified by
> registrars in discussions after the agreement was
> posted:
> . Increases in the price VeriSign charges registrars
> for domain names.
> . The combination of registrar and registry fees that
> will be invoiced
> and discussion of a reduced fee level for registrars
> that can be approved in
> a timely manner.
> . The manner in which fees are potentially passed from
> registry to
> registrar and then on to registrants. This may include
> a requirement for
> line-itemization of all fees on the registrant
> invoice.
> . Description of long-term ICANN revenue goals that
> are a prerequisite
> to achieving the goals set out in the USG MoU and
> gaining independent
> status.
> . The process by which registrars approve the variable
> registrar fees
> described in the adopted budget now and in years going
> forward.
> The discussion forward
> The proposed agreement is being posted for public
> comment for 24 days. This
> time period should be used to discuss and determine
> with clarity various
> positions on the issues above. This can be done with a
> series of generally
> attended conference calls, individual consultations
> and meetings with
> registrar representatives. Many registrars
> participated through the
> registrar representatives in negotiation of the .NET
> agreement.
> ICANN will arrange with registrars involved in the
> discussion or there
> representative a series of consultation through the
> comment period to ensure
> full discussion and consideration of the issues
> raised.
> We look forward to receiving the Registrar community's
> input. If you have a
> comment and participate, that contribution will be
> taken into account.
> Thank you for the time taken to read and consider this
> material.
> Sincerely,
> Kurt Pritz
> __________________________________
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