<-- The Filter --> June 2002

June 26, 2002
No. 5.2  .  The Filter  .  06.26.02

Your regular dose of public interest Internet news and commentary from
the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School


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> ICANN, Heal Thyself: Last week the increasingly beleaguered Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) posted its self-made remedy for the domain name body's ills: "ICANN: A Blueprint for Reform." The proposal was poorly received by ICANN critics and by members of Congress, four of whom penned a letter to the Department of Commerce stating that ICANN "lacks the legitimacy needed to guide an international consensus body." The four—congressmen "Billy" Tauzin (R-La.), John Dingell (D-Mich.), Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Edward Markey (D-Mass.)—recommended that the DoC "should only authorize a short-term renewal of the MoU [memorandum of understanding] unless and until ICANN can show that reforms, necessary to limit its authority and provide for accountability and transparency, have been implemented."

Translation: If critics in Congress aren't satisfied with ICANN's reformation, its license to operate—the DoC MoU, set to expire September 30, 2002—may be in jeopardy.

This week, ICANN goes under the knife in Bucharest, Romania, where the organization is holding public meetings and plans to vote, Thursday, on its "Blueprint" reform proposal. Is ICANN President M. Stuart Lynn concerned that the proposal will fail to satisfy critics? Not according to a recent article in the Washington Post, in which Lynn opines that the reform proposal is "very much in line with what the congressmen are seeking."

      http://makeashorterlink.com/?I1D055221 [ICANN]


      http://makeashorterlink.com/?E27D25121 [Washington Post]

      http://makeashorterlink.com/?C28D51121 [Washington Post]


How are the Bucharest meetings going so far? Follow the links below to tune in to the webcast, read running commentary on the proceedings on weblogs by Bret Fausett and Robert Shaw, and check out email discussion by James Love, Hans Klein and others:





> Getting Down to .BIZness: Amid continuing discussion and criticism of ICANN's proposed restructuring, Berkman Center researchers have begun to examine ICANN's efforts to carry out what is arguably its most critical mission: introducing new top-level domains (TLDs) to the domain name system and thereby helping to foster competition in the domain name registration business. This past November marked the long-awaited introduction of the new top-level domain .BIZ—namespace designated for "companies large and small, around the world."

So how goes the nascent .BIZ business? Berkman Center Faculty Co-Director Jonathan Zittrain and Berkman Affiliate Ben Edelman set out to find some answers, and have posted the results—"Survey of Usage of the .BIZ TLD"—online. Among the findings: three quarters of currently registered .BIZ domains provide no web content or provide only error messages or placeholders; a quarter of .BIZ registrations are registered to the same organization that registered the corresponding .COM; and many .BIZ names fail to comply with .BIZ registry anti-warehousing policies.

"For a number of people and companies, a lot rides on ICANN's decisions about new top-level domains," says Zittrain. "Our hope is to flesh out prima facie assumptions with data about what's really going on—given the fact that one benefit of domain names as digital creatures is that data about them can be gathered and analyzed with the same tools people employ to navigate the Net using the names themselves."

Check out the URLs below for the study itself and the ongoing discussion at ICANNWatch.org:



> What's In a .NAME?: .BIZ isn't the only new TLD in town—ICANN also introduced .NAME. Follow the links below for Edelman's study of .NAME registrations, plus press coverage by the Washington Post.


      http://makeashorterlink.com/?M13E12321 [Washington Post]

> ICANN—The Book: In related news, MIT Press has published Ruling the Root: Internet Governance and the Taming of Cyberspace, a new book by Milton Mueller, ICANNWatch.org editor and director of the graduate program in telecommunications and network management at Syracuse University's School of Information Studies. Follow the link below for a review by Salon's Andrew Leonard; the review contains a brief yet illuminating narrative description of ICANN's relatively short history and its current challenges.


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Below we feature two recent webcasts on digital copyright issues:

Digital Entertainment: Rights and Responsibilities, a Minnesota Public Radio program featuring Molly Shaffer Van Houweling, former Berkman Fellow and current Executive Director of Creative Commons, Dan Gillmor of the San Jose Mercury News, Recording Industry Association of America President Cary Sherman, and many others.

Digital Copy Protection: Mandate It? Ban It? Or Let the Market Decide?, a Cato Institute panel discussion featuring Rick Lane of News Corporation, Jonathan Potter of the Digital Media Association, Jonathan Zuck from the Association for Competitive Technology, and others.

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> Berkman Center Joins the "Blogosphere": The Berkman Center is excited to announce "Copyfight: The Politics of IP," a co-sponsored Berkman Center/Corante.com weblog column on intellectual property law, politics, and technology on the Net. Written by Donna Wentworth, editor of The Filter, the blog explores the nexus of legal rulings, Capitol Hill policy-making, technical standards development and technological innovation that creates—and recreates— the networked world as we know it.

Recent topics have included Microsoft's "Palladium" DRM scheme, Disney's trademark challenge against a library's "Book Mouse" mascot, and the American Bar Association IP section's continued pursuit of a formal resolution to support the Copyright Term Extension Act (CTEA).

What's next? Real-time blogging of the Berkman Center's Internet Law Program on July 1-5. Among the highlights of the program will be a debate between Lawrence Lessig and Jason Matusow of Microsoft Corporation on the merits of open source, shared source, and proprietary software.

Check out Copyfight here.

Details on ILAW, including the program agenda, are available here.

> Joseph Reagle Named to "2002 TR100": Former Berkman Fellow Joseph Reagle made MIT Technology Review's list of "100 innovators under 35 whose work and ideas will change the world." Follow the links below for details on his work.


      http://makeashorterlink.com/?V2BC12321 [Digital Mass]

> Parachute Radio on "The Internet Question": Berkman Affiliate Christopher Lydon and producer Mary McGrath created an NPR show on Ghana and the Internet, based on material gathered during the Berkman Center's trip to Accra in tandem with the ICANN meetings in March. Follow the links below to access the radio broadcast and to read "Ghana's Digital Dilemma," a feature article on Ghana and the Internet by G. Pascal Zachary in the MIT Technology Review.



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* The Carabella Game: The Quest for Tunes


New educational video game by the EFF, designed to help users understand their digital rights—and wrongs.

* Future Tense: "NPR Web Linking Policy Controversy"


Audio interview with Cory Doctorow on NPR's linking policy.

* NPR Linking and Privacy Policy


Link to National Public Radio's current linking policy—and no, we didn't ask permission first.

* Copyfight: The Politics of IP


'Nuff said.

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"This certification scheme will rip the guts out of the GPL."

—Thomas Greene in The Register, contemplating the possible impact of Microsoft's "Palladium" DRM scheme.


"I don't think we cut into their movie profits last year."

—Patric Parker, the attorney representing a library whose use of a "Book Mouse" mascot is being challenged by Disney.


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Comments? Questions? Opinions? Submissions? Send a letter to the editor at filter-editor@cyber.harvard.edu

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Last updated

January 15, 2008