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Afternic.com Drops Lawsuit, Agrees to ICANN's Terms

(July 7, 2000) The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) announced today that Afternic.com, Inc., has agreed to voluntarily dismiss its lawsuit against ICANN, and to accept ICANN's terms under which a separate company, eXtraActive, would be accredited.

Under the agreement, Afternic.com will:

  • Drop its lawsuit against ICANN;
  • Withdraw Afternic.com's application for registrar accreditation; and
  • Substitute the registrar accreditation application of eXtraActive, an affiliate of Afternic.com that will be required to operate as a separate enterprise from Afternic.com.

The terms of the agreement are identical to those offered by ICANN to Afternic.com on April 7, 2000, approximately two months before Afternic.com filed its federal lawsuit against ICANN.

"Today's agreement represents a total vindication of ICANN's position. We are pleased that Afternic.com has agreed to resolve its dispute on ICANN's original terms," said ICANN President and CEO Mike Roberts. "ICANN is committed to a fair, open, and consensus-based policy process; we do not look kindly on efforts to sidestep that process through litigation."

According to Louis Touton, ICANN's general counsel, "The agreement allows the accreditation of eXtraActive as a registrar, not Afternic, provided that the two entities are fully and actually separated in their operations. ICANN will be monitoring eXtraActive and Afternic.com very closely to ensure that the conditions of the agreement are met."

"Afternic.com's application for registrar accreditation presented a novel set of issues: Where an accredited registrar also acts as a domain name auctioneer, does the registrar have an obligation to protect against the use of its site for illegal cybersquatting? Should accredited registrars be able to use their privileged access to the authoritative registry database for the benefit of a domain name auction business, or should registrars be neutral intermediaries?" said Andrew McLaughlin, ICANN's chief policy officer: "By ending its lawsuit on ICANN's terms, Afternic.com has agreed to resolve these issues through the ICANN policy process, rather than in the US courts."

Background on Accreditation Process

Since April of 1999, ICANN has accredited over 100 registrars as a way of introducing competition to the domain-name registration business. Under an agreement ICANN has entered with Network Solutions (which operates the central database for domain names ending with .com, .net, and .org), registrars accredited by ICANN have the ability to put names directly into the database. In accord with this privileged position, accredited registrars agree to abide by policies developed through the ICANN process in consultation with the Internet community.

About ICANN

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is a technical coordination body for the Internet. Created in October 1998 by a broad coalition of the Internet's business, technical, academic, and user communities, ICANN is assuming responsibility for a set of technical functions previously performed under U.S. government contract by IANA and other groups.

Specifically, ICANN coordinates the assignment of the following identifiers that must be globally unique for the Internet to function:

  • Internet domain names
  • IP address numbers
  • protocol parameter and port numbers

In addition, ICANN coordinates the stable operation of the Internet's root server system.

As a non-profit, private-sector corporation, ICANN is dedicated to preserving the operational stability of the Internet; to promoting competition; to achieving broad representation of global Internet communities; and to developing policy through private-sector, bottom-up, consensus-based means. ICANN welcomes the participation of any interested Internet user, business, or organization. See http://www.icann.org. For more information on ICANN's At Large Membership, see http://members.icann.org.


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Domain Name System
Internationalized Domain Name ,IDN,"IDNs are domain names that include characters used in the local representation of languages that are not written with the twenty-six letters of the basic Latin alphabet ""a-z"". An IDN can contain Latin letters with diacritical marks, as required by many European languages, or may consist of characters from non-Latin scripts such as Arabic or Chinese. Many languages also use other types of digits than the European ""0-9"". The basic Latin alphabet together with the European-Arabic digits are, for the purpose of domain names, termed ""ASCII characters"" (ASCII = American Standard Code for Information Interchange). These are also included in the broader range of ""Unicode characters"" that provides the basis for IDNs. The ""hostname rule"" requires that all domain names of the type under consideration here are stored in the DNS using only the ASCII characters listed above, with the one further addition of the hyphen ""-"". The Unicode form of an IDN therefore requires special encoding before it is entered into the DNS. The following terminology is used when distinguishing between these forms: A domain name consists of a series of ""labels"" (separated by ""dots""). The ASCII form of an IDN label is termed an ""A-label"". All operations defined in the DNS protocol use A-labels exclusively. The Unicode form, which a user expects to be displayed, is termed a ""U-label"". The difference may be illustrated with the Hindi word for ""test"" — परीका — appearing here as a U-label would (in the Devanagari script). A special form of ""ASCII compatible encoding"" (abbreviated ACE) is applied to this to produce the corresponding A-label: xn--11b5bs1di. A domain name that only includes ASCII letters, digits, and hyphens is termed an ""LDH label"". Although the definitions of A-labels and LDH-labels overlap, a name consisting exclusively of LDH labels, such as""icann.org"" is not an IDN."