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EC slams domain proposal, By Reuters (fwd)

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EC slams domain proposal
By Reuters
Special to CNET NEWS.COM
February 24, 1998, 5:10 p.m. PT

BRUSSELS, Belgium--The European Commission has criticized a U.S.
proposal for reforming the Internet's naming and address system,
saying it would give Americans too much control over the global
computer network.

"The current U.S. proposals would...seem to consolidate permanent
U.S. jurisdiction over the Internet as a whole, including dispute
resolution and trademarks used on the Internet," it said in a draft reply
to the initiative.

The European Union executive, in a text that it hopes will be adopted
by the 15 EU states, urges Washington to adopt a more international
approach and to enter into "full bilateral consultations" before

The U.S. government formally published a proposal last week for
phasing out its management of the address system for Internet
locations--such as email and Web sites--and turning it over to a
U.S.-based nonprofit corporation.

It would also end the monopoly of U.S. company Network Solutions
(NSI), which registers the most popular Internet addresses, including
those ending in ".com," ".org," and ".net." Known as generic top-level
domains (TLDs), they signify commercial users, not-for-profit
organizations, and network service providers.

The plan would create up to five new generic TLDs, each with a registry
to manage a database of addresses. Other companies would compete
to register the addresses.

The Commission's draft reply, to be discussed by EU
telecommunications ministers on Thursday, accuses Washington of
ignoring a plan for a new registry system drawn up by the International
Ad-Hoc Committee (IAHC), a group of Internet companies and

IAHC proposed last year setting up seven new generic domains--such
as ".store" for shops and ".arts" for culture--along with an international
council of registrars.

The commission also faults the U.S. "green paper" for seemingly
giving the United States jurisdiction over all conflicts over trademarks in
Internet addresses and failing to mention efforts to set up Internet
dispute-resolution procedures within the World Intellectual Property

The U.S. Commerce Department gave interested parties until March
23 to comment on the proposal. A U.S. official in Brussels said the
initiative was "not set in stone" and that comments by the EU and other
parties would be taken into account.

"There have been consultations going on and there will be further
consultations going on before we put the plan into action," the official
added, noting that the proposal built on previous work on the issue.

The EU telecommunications ministers are likely to direct their
ambassadors in Brussels Thursday to finalize an EU response,
diplomats said.

Story Copyright © 1998 Reuters Limited All rights reserved.


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