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Executive Summary -- Break up ICANN

Executive Summary -- Break up ICANN

People have many goals for the DNS system, and they can't all be reconciled.

The error we made was making top level domains that were meaningful, and thus granting monopolies on ordinary generic words and phrases.

Trademark law learned centuries ago not to do that. It should be our guide. TLDs should be terms that would be valid trademarks for directory services. Names like .DUNN, .YAHOO, .YELLOWPAGES or .WIPO and not names like .MUSEUM (granting a monopoly on museum names).

As such, we should create a plethora of non-generic top level domains. Let any serious entity have one as long as it's for resale, they meet certain requirements of performance and escrow, and they pay their share of the cost of the root server system.

In effect, we would break up ICANN and instead have a moderately large number of competing naming companies, each with a TLD chosen so they all are on a level playing field.

Within these trademarkable TLDs, allow any sort of system and rules that's compatible with the law. Allow all the different philosophies and goals of naming to have a place to try out their ideas. Then let the market do what it does best.

Slowly wean the world from the legacy TLDs like .com by eventually charging them enough to make the other domains be cheap or free, until people prefer the new names over the .com names. Let the trademark forces have domains like .WIPO as their own playgrounds which follow their rules.

(I've even proposed that the rates for the generics grow at a slow but eventual rate that gives people decades to move away from their .com names but also makes it clear that they can't be kept forever.)

Either win ICANN to this philosophy of diversity, or replace it with a new body that uses digital signature to be sovereign, subject to the laws of no single country.

Fight the new generic TLDs like .aero, .museum, .com, .name, .pro, .info etc. which give their owners -- and the owners of domains within them -- monopolies over internet naming with these generic words. More generic TLD monopolies just create more problems to fix once we do it right.