By its own definition, ICANN is a non-profit, public benefit corporation with participants from around the world dedicated to maintaining a secure, stable and interoperable Internet.One of its tasks is the creation and management of Internet domains. It does not perform this last task directly, but assigns it to various state and private entities for profit or not for profit.
One of those domains is precisely, .org whiche is the one that identifies the web pages of non-governmental organizations. The In charge of managing these domains is a non-profit entity called Public Interest Registry (IRP).
PIR is based in the North American state of Pensivania is in charge of 7 top-level domains including .org. ong and ngo. Last year PIR aIt announced that its parent entity, the Internet Society (ISOC), transferred all its assets to a commercial entity called Ethos Capital. The agreement between Public Internet Registry and ICAAN entitles the latter to approve the change of hands.
In January 2020, the California State Attorney General's Office (CA-AGO) requested information from ICANN on the proposed transfer of the PIR from ISOC to Ethos Capital in order to 'analyze the impact on the nonprofit community, including ICANN. ICANN is a California non-profit public benefit corporation, and CA-AGO is the government agency responsible for these types of organizations.
In the middle of last month, The Office of the Prosecutor urged ICANN to reject the transfer of the .org registry and the transfer of control over PIR. Among the factors cited by the CA-AGO are:
- Size of .org domain records.
- The nature of this particular domain.
- The lack of information about ETHOS Capital, its ability to repay the loan required for the acquisition and its future plans.
- What is in the best interest of the inhabitants of the State of California that the .org domain registration remains in the hands of a non-profit organization and that as far as possible it remains the Pubic Interest Registry.
In fact, threatened to take action to secure the last point.
ICANN and org. The reasons for the decision
At the same time, ICANN received requests from at least 871 organizations and 26,975 individuals from a campaign organized by the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Yesterday, April 30, ICANN Board of Directors directed the President of the entity to deny consent to the PIR Change of Control Request according to Section 7.5 of the Registry Agreements. Anyway, PIR may file a new request in the event that Pennsylvania courts accept changes to your organizational status.
The board based the decision on that the PIR proposal involves:
… A request for approval of a fundamental change of control over one of the oldest and largest registries, which also includes a change in corporate form from a viable non-profit entity to a for-profit entity with a debt of $ 360 million and unspecified community participation mechanisms.
ICANN is being asked to agree to contract with a totally different form of entity; Instead of contracting with the nonprofit on a mission that has responsibly operated the .ORG registry for nearly 20 years, with the protections for its own community incorporated into its mission and status as a non-profit entity. If ICANN gave its consentI believe, you would have to rely on the proposed new for-profit entity, which no longer has the built-in protections that come from the condition of non-profit entity, which has fiduciary obligations with its new investors and is obliged to service and pay a debt of 360 million dollars, would serve the same benefits to the .ORG community.
According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the fight must go on:
This is not the final step necessary to protect the .Org domain. ICANN must now open a public bidding process to find a new home for the .Org domain. ICANN has established processes and criteria that describe how to conduct a reassignment process. We look forward to seeing a competitive process and we look forward to supporting the global non-profit community to participate in that process.
The .Org domain, the third largest top-level domain, needs a secure and trustworthy administrator who can demonstrate that they have the interests of the public and non-profit sector at their core.