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

(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.

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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"""" is not an IDN."