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ICANN and VeriSign Sign on the Dotted Line | The agreement considered a positive step for the Internet

25 May 2001

(May 25, 2001) Marina del Rey, CA – Today the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and VeriSign Inc., formally entered into new agreements under which the Internet’s .com, .net, and .org domains will be operated for the next several years. ICANN President/CEO, M. Stuart Lynn, applauded the completion of the new agreements, stating, “This is a positive step forward for the Internet community that remodels the landscape of the VeriSign agreements, bringing them into closer alignment with standard ICANN registry agreements. The final documents reflect extensive community input that was vital to the final outcome.”

The agreements followed widespread discussions within the Internet community that resulted in several features being added as negotiations progressed. The signed agreements addressed community concerns that had been raised by ICANN’s Names Council and its member constituencies. ICANN’s Board of Directors approved the revised agreements on April 2, 2001. “The ICANN process really worked”, Lynn noted.

Before the new agreements, VeriSign operated the Internet’s .com, .net, and .org registries under agreements with ICANN and the U.S. Department of Commerce that could have extended to November 2007. Under the new agreements, VeriSign has agreed that its right to operate the .org registry will expire in 2002. The .net registry agreement will expire in June 30, 2005, and prior to that time will be opened for recompetition, unless market measurements indicate that an earlier expiration date is necessary for competitive reasons. VeriSign will continue to operate the .com registry until at least the expiration date of the current agreement in 2007, but agreed to enhanced measures (including annual audits arranged by ICANN and made available to the US Government) to ensure that its registry-operation unit gives equal treatment to all domain name registrars, including VeriSign’s registrar business.

Under the 1999 agreements, the U.S. Commerce Department’s approval was required for the replacement agreements. On May 18, the Commerce Department approved the agreements, after VeriSign agreed to a shorter term for the agreement concerning .net.