Towards fair, open, technically sound global Internet policy.


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February 1998

We, as the founding participants of the ORSC are a group of people with varied backgrounds and interests which we have collectively found to have a single common focus on helping to resolve the difficult problems of developing an open cooperative governing process for the Internet, and specifically for an OPEN ROOT SERVICE CONFEDERATION. We find that we have a common belief in the power of self organization as it applies to Internet Governance, and we are openly working toward helping that self organizing process along.

We have individually contributed to the development of the recent US Government Green Paper, through individual public comments to the 1997 NTIA Notice of Inquiry, through additional individual public comments, and individual responses to specific questions when requested.

We find that the Green Paper embodies many of the principles of fairness of competition and governance that we advocate, and we are now working to support and further refine the governing concepts and the operational plans put forward in the Green Paper. In particular, we support the concepts of open expansion of the number of International Top Level Domains (iTLDs) in a slow start process that begins with one or a few additions at a time while the over all stability of the DNS System and the Internet are monitored to assure that no harm is done by addition of new TLD names to an Open DNS ROOT.

With experience, the rates of insertion of new TLD names can easily be increased (or decreased) as internet (in)stability, market demands, and provider supplys may dictate. We do not see any specific arbitrary small or large number of new iTLDs to be "The Right Number", because any arbitrary choice is certain to lead to decisions that are seen to be unfair to any aspiring party that may be denied entry to the DNS ROOT. The right number of iTLDs should be determined by market supply and demand equilibrium. Arbitrary setting of a fixed number of iTLD "slots" will also be likely to cause a great deal of jockeying and maneuvering among contenders for what will be an arbitrarily scarce resource. It will be much better to avoid any arbitrary limit and regulate the expansion by simply controlling the rate of expansion in response to DNS stability assessments, insertion candidates, and market demand.

In fairness to all candidates for added iTLD names, and queue of candidates for evaluation and proof of their qualification should be established using some objective criteria such as dates of first operation and constancy of operation since first operation. It should also be permitted for queue positions to be traded through fair negotiations among queue position holders, though it should not be permitted for present contenders to now split their organizations into parts in order to claim more early slots.

Our preferred form of organization is that of a cooperative confederation of customers and providers of Internet Services of all kinds, and we believe that the proper form of representation in the required governing councils is similar to that of customer or producer cooperatives, where-in the customers/producers (who pay for the facilities and services that they use) are empowered to select the members of the required governing boards.

We also believe that, as the selected representatives of the customers and providers, the governing bodies and operational units that report to them must be responsible for openly reporting on the affairs and activities that they govern, administer and operate. In particular, it must be required that they are subject to public questioning, and must respond in public to public questioning.

It is the power to question and be entitled to answers that we see as critical to assuring that the broad Global Internet community interests are kept as the central focus of Internet governance, administration, and operation.

Participation in our ORSC discussions are open, but subject to clear rules of civil discourse, with moderators who serve as guardians of civility without passing judgement on every posted message. Our list runs in fully open mode, but we collectively reserve the right, exercised by our moderator-guardians, to block postings by offending participants who are consistently not able to maintain reasonable levels of civility. We also require that specific acts of violation deserve public apology and public acceptance in order to restore trust and cooperation among our participants.

Our rules and mailing list subscription information are available at Our list of diverse founding participants and their short biographic statements are also posted on this web site, along with various draft documents that we are developing as our contribution to the process of Internet Self Organization that has now been given new life by the US Government's Draft Green Paper:

You are welcome to participate in our ORSC mailing lists if you will subscribe to our rules of civil discourse and you wish to contribute to our open cooperative effort to form an Open Root Service Confederation (ORSC).

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