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Subject: [IP] more on New Domain is Proposed

  • From: Dave Farber <>
  • To:
  • Date: Fri, 12 Mar 2004 07:25:41 -0500

Date: Thu, 11 Mar 2004 23:48:16 -0500
From: Bob Frankston <>
Subject: RE: [IP] more on New Domain is Proposed

Since I've said so much on this topic I was going to resist joining this
thread but since my name was used ...

I've moved beyond .DNS and, in fact, the IP address and am working on a
proposal that simply defines end points as the edges and uses the Internet
as just another transport. Crypto is important so we don't have to trust the
transport and third parties and I want to work out the mechanisms before
posting a working paper. PKI by itself isn't enough.

As a programmer it's important to know when to patch and when to just do a
new implementation.

Rather than repeating all the reasons why the DNS is fundamentally flawed
I'm more curious about the efforts to make it work rather than having a
stable handle and then using normal trademark and other mechanisms to map it
into the handle. As I keep pointing it, it's like requiring that we dial
1-800-John-Smith or, worse 1-800-Jane-Smith-nee-Doe. Encoding meaning into
the DNS path ... it's too obviously wrong to bother commenting on it.

This is where I disagree with Brad -- the DNS is fundamentally incompatible
with trademark because it lacks the social mechanisms to determine how
humans get confused. The goal of dotDNS was to provide a stable space of
abstract handles and move the meaning to the social space. This has evolved
into focusing on end point identifiers independent of Ye Olde Internet.

I guess it's no surprise that "we" are asking "them" (such as "the Internet
people") to solve all of these social problems with their magic technology.
The idea that we can innovate at the edges is the real message of the
Internet but it's going to take a generation to come to terms with that. I
try to write about it ( but I know
that the idea simply "doesn't compute" too those who know too much.

That's why I'm drawn to the P2P world that thinks it's the first to discover
end to end. I used to think they were naïve but now recognize the wisdom in
starting fresh because the Internet is no longer the end to end medium so
reinventing at the edges makes sense. If "kids" get the idea of peer
connectivity then the Internet has served its purpose and we can and should
move on. Kazaa vs the FCC -- no contest. The FCC (AKA the Federal Speech
Commission) is moot.

As an aside I'll note that once we no longer depend upon the Internet as a
layer the routing problem becomes simpler - the IP address is liberated to
become a circuit identifier rather than a pseudo-stable name.

Once we get over the idea that the Internet is a layer we can move on and
use it as just another transport rather than fixing it.

We need to accept that the Internet is what it is.

The edge is what can be.

-----Original Message-----
From: [] On Behalf Of
Dave Farber
Sent: Thursday, March 11, 2004 16:54
Subject: [IP] more on New Domain is Proposed

Date: Thu, 11 Mar 2004 13:50:02 -0800
From: Brad Templeton <>
Subject: Re: [IP] more on New Domain is Proposed
To: Dave Farber <dave@FARBER.NET>

  > Frankston's idea of a .dns. Our main point is not whether any of the new
  > propsoals are good or bad ideas, just that innovation should be possible
  > for gTLDs as in any other market.

Centuries ago, as trademark law began its evolution, we learned one pretty
strong rule about building rules for a name system for commerce, and
even for non-commerce.

Nobody should be given ownership of generic terms.  Nobody should have
ownership rights in a generic word like "apple" -- not Apple Computer,
not Apple Records, not the Washington State Apple Growers, not a
man named John Apple.

Rather, generics must be shared.  Ownership rights can accrue to them
only in specific contexts that are not generic.   Because the word
"Apple" has no generic meaning when it comes to computers, we allow a
company to get rights in that name when applied to computers.  A
different company has those rights when it applies to records.
More than this, different parties could own the same term with the
same context in two different cities.  There is probably a "China
Delight" restaurant in your town.

We hammered out the rules to manage such naming systems literally over
centuries, with many laws and zillions of court cases.

Then, when DNS came along we (and I include myself since I endorsed
it at the time) threw it all away.   We said, when it came to naming
on the internet, we would create generic top level domains, and
let people own generic names within them.

Thus, "com" for commerce has within it ""  Centuries
of law establshed nobody could own the generic word "drugstore" but
when it comes to names used on the internet, we reversed that.  No
wonder that company paid near a million for that domain as I recall,
and at the record, the inflated number of 7.5 million was paid for

The old TLDs have that mistake built into them.  On the internet, we
are the only EFF organization because we were first.  Nobody else
can be that.

The new TLDs continue that trend.  Be it .museum, which allows one
body to control the generic word museum, or a new proposal for .mobile.

Because of this, people fight over the names, pay huge sums, sue and
insist only one name is right for them.

I maintain that the only way to get a competitive innovative space is
to slowly get rid of the generics and allow a competitive space of
branded TLDs for resale.   .yahoo, .dunn, .yellowpages, .google, .wipo,
and a hundred other branded resellers competing on on even footing
to create value in their brand and win customers with innovative
designs, better service, lower prices and all the usual things.  I
presume .wipo would offer trademark holders powerful protections
within their domain.  Let them.  Perhaps .braddomains would, when
you bought a domain, give you every possible typo and homonym for
your domain so people who hear it on the radio won't get it wrong
typing it in.  Perhaps .centraal (former, non-generic name of the
now defunct "RealNames" company) would follow their keyword rules.
I know .frankston would offer permanent numeric IDs to all.  Let
them all innovate, let them all compete.

We're nowhere near this system, but I didn't just make up the idea
of not owning generics.  I think centuries of experience shows it
is the best way to go.   If you are interested, the concept is
written out in much more detail at:

But even if you don't like this idea you may wish to also read
the essay at:

Which tries to discuss the goals we have for systems, which led
me to believe this is the solution.

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