Chapter 6: Appropriating the Root: Property Rights Conflicts

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The Internet is no longer restricted to a small group of us who wrote some code. It's not ours anymore and we have to get over that.

-Paul Mockapetris, November 1995

From 1991 on, the Internet was opened to commerce. The growth and commercialization of the Internet, especially the World Wide Web (WWW), endowed the domain name space with a new kind of commercial value. The Web made second-level domain names global identifiers of organizations and locators of Web sites. The policy of charging for domain names proved that a top-level domain holder could generate a significant revenue stream from the sale of second-level registrations. The business value of second-level domains also heightened the significance of the administration of the root zone. Whoever controlled the definition of the root zone file could authorize new top-level domain registries that could sell domain names to the public.

As market forces began to swirl around the domain name space, the ambiguities surrounding its ownership and control became evident. A number of parties, most notably trademark owners, began to assert claims over domain name assignments. In addition to the intellectual property-based conflicts over second-level names, property rights conflicts emerged over the assignment of top-level names, and over the root itself. Ownership and control of the Internet Protocol (IP) address root also became an explicitly debated issue at this time. It was the domain name space, however, that catalyzed the most appropriation activity and the most difficult policy issues.

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Ruling the Root(c) Internet Governance and the Taming of Cyberspace
Ruling the Root: Internet Governance and the Taming of Cyberspace
ISBN: 0262134128
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2006
Pages: 110

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