Friday, December 13, 2019

Buyout offer of ".Org" could be a warning shot of other domain name wars to come

Electronic Frontier Foundation has a strong article by Mitch Stolz, about the private equity firm buyout of the “.org” TLD which is widely used by non-profits, link here

This is called the Public Interest Registry which would be sold to Ethos Capital.   There is a group trying to stop the purchase, SaveDotOrg.  

EFF maintains that the new owner would have the capacity to discriminate against non-profits it doesn’t like.
It’s true, there are disturbing reports about the overzealousness of non-profits in “begging” for money, some of which goes to third parties (even Facebook).  O get a lot of junk mail these days (end of year) but I am somewhat of a problem:  I do most of my donations automatically through my trust, which doesn’t participate in matching funds.  And I speak independently rather than joining in with other groups with radical agendas. I’m a bit of a thorn in their sides.

The article has some other history of disturbing developments in the domain name world.  MPAA is accused of getting some domains canceled as trademark of copyright infringement. Bing is accused of being in collusion with some pharmaceuticals. The EFF article links to another one written with Jeremy Macolm in Feb. 2017 where  DNA (Domain Name Association) would have to power to shut down domain names that it finds are somehow abusive, without due process.  Imagine how commercial or union protectionism could tempt this process.

I have to watch some other things.  The CASE Act still is not reported as passed by the Senate;  not sure if it would happen by the end of the year (sounds like it should).  Once it passes, it will be very important to find out what the Copyright Office has to say to Internet users as to what, in a practical world, they should be concerned about. We’ve seen this already with the FTC.  It could blow up as a controversy in 2020.
Also, it appears, from under the table, that YouTube has started reaching out to some high profile and especially tech-savvy YouTubers for ideas as to how to solve its business model problem relative to regulation and the FTC (COPPA). I discussed Ian Corzine’s apocalyptic video on Wordpress;  but maybe YouTube is not as prepared to become another Netflix as some lawyers fear.

Update: Dec. 27, 2019

Here's an interesting story about a Cold War land deal behind the .io TLD. often associated with cryptocurrency. 

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