Feeds

EC opens investigation into dotcom contract

ICANN put under anti-trust eye

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

The European Commission has opened an investigation into the new dotcom contract following a formal complaint by a lobbying group calling itself the Coalition for ICANN Transparency (CFIT).

According to CFIT, the proposed contract drawn up between internet-overseeing organisation ICANN and registrar VeriSign breaches EU competition laws. It will have "significant anti-competitive effects in markets for domain name registration and for related Internet services which depend on these domain registrations," CFIT argues in the letter to the EC's Competition Directorate.

In particular, CFIT claims, it breaches Articles 81 and 82 of the EC Treaty which prohibit agreements that reduce consumer welfare by providing the ability to raise prices, reduce choice or undermine innovation.

The letter follows lawsuits lodged in California earlier this week that claim the contract also breaks US anti-trust laws.

Changes in the proposed contract will see VeriSign handed effective control of the dotcom registry in perpetuity. VeriSign will also be entitled to increase what it charges for domains by seven percent a year.

ICANN's response so far has been to dismiss the legal threats as an attempt to influence the public comment process that the contract is currently going through at its meeting here in Vancouver. ICANN general counsel John Jeffrey also told us that it did not consider the lawsuits as legitimate public comment.

That response was supported in part by Ross Rader of registrar Tucows, one of the most outspoken critics of the new contract. He told a meeting in Vancouver on Thursday that he was "not completely supportive" of the litigation.

However, there is no denying that the CFIT's professional lobbying effort is having an impact both on delegates and the wider internet community. What remains unanswered is who precisely is funding CFIT. For a body that even includes transparency in its name, CFIT remains suspiciously opaque.

Our rough estimation is that it has already spent $200,000 on the lobbying effort so far, and it shows no signs of stopping. And yet the only contributor to come forward, Pool.com, simply does not have the resources to fund the whole effort. Its CEO, Tony Farrow, also confirmed to us that the company had put nowhere near our estimated figure into the organisation. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
Amazon says Hachette should lower ebook prices, pay authors more
Oh yeah ... and a 30% cut for Amazon to seal the deal
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
Chips are down at Broadcom: Thousands of workers laid off
Cellphone baseband device biz shuttered
Feel free to BONK on the TUBE, says Transport for London
Plus: Almost NOBODY uses pay-by-bonk on buses - Visa
Nintend-OH NO! Sorry, Mario – your profits are in another castle
Red-hatted mascot, red-colored logo, red-stained finance books
Twitch rich as Google flicks $1bn hitch switch, claims snitch
Gameplay streaming biz and search king refuse to deny fresh gobble rumors
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.