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Re: [ga] China confirms alternate root for TLDs

On Wed, 8 Mar 2006, Hugh Dierker wrote:

You did not address whether or not this can "hurt" the "net" as the rest of us use it.

I am having trouble finding the harm. I rely on experts like yourself to break it down and tell me why it is bad.

Despite the shrill noises emitted by Stuart Lynn's ICP3 there is no technical harm caused by competing roots.

There are old versions of bind that wrongly accept "additional" information that may get them confused if they come across a name server that honors a different group of root servers and provides a set of root NS records in a response. But hopefully that version of bind is on its deathbed, or dead, by now. Newer code is more immune.

As for user-level harm - Here in the USA a few decades ago the telephones only had 0...9 on the rotary dial. But with the advent of touchpads we got # and *, which enabled a whole slew of new services. Of course those who wouldn't give up their rotary dial phones had a hard time. The same is true with new TLDs found in competing roots - there will be some pain felt by those who chose to live in a few-TLD world, but that will be their choice.

There will also be some pain because some roots will have tlds .com, .net ... .ewe .foo .blap while others will have .com .net ... .ewe .quack .bark

In other words there will be different boutique TLDs available through different roots. Well, that's life as the boutiques try to earn their place in the sun and grow for acceptance by all root operators. It's called "marketing" and "building a brand".

The key element is not competing roots, or even imperfect intersecting of sets of TLDs offered by different roots, rather it is consistency: .com ought to have the same contents no matter who offers it, .ewe ought to have the same contents no matter who offers it.

And that is where trademark law becomes our friend - trademark law is designed for exactly this purpose, to let consumers have a means to distinguish and identify goods and services (TLDs). To do this we allow trademark (TLD owners) to duke it out to find out who has the right to label their goods and services with a particular mark. That process is well established in law; we don't need a body of internet governance to do it.


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