Many of our clients and nonprofit community are keeping a watch on developments in the proposed sale of the dot org domain. Community IT Innovators has been a long supporter of NTEN – and NTEN is raising objections to the proposed sale.
To publicize the issue and keep up to date on news coverage, NTEN has gathered resources on their website.
What you need to know:
“Over the past two months, nonprofits have been stewing over forthcoming changes to .org, the domain term that internet users usually see affixed to the end of web addresses belonging to public interest organizations like UNICEF, the Humane Society, and the ACLU. The Public Interest Registry, the nonprofit that has operated the .org domain since 2003, announced in November that it was being acquired for $1.135 billion by a private equity firm called Ethos Capital. If the deal goes through, the for-profit company will be in charge of a domain that is generally assigned to nonprofit entities, which could have much wider ramifications for the state of the internet,” Slate announced in January.
NTEN, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and 24 other nonprofit co-signers released a public letter in November calling for greater transparency around the sale.
And this month the California Attorney General’s office has requested a delay in the sale until April, at least.
Alternatives proposed to the sale of dot org
Some nonprofits, including the Mozilla Foundation, Wikimedia, and the Internet Archive, have rallied behind a counterproposal that calls for a nonprofit cooperative to take over the registry.
The cooperative, called the Cooperative Corporation of dot-org Registrants, is made up of organizations that themselves use the dot-org domain, and has articles of incorporation that ban it from selling data, aiding in censorship, or raising prices beyond the current ratio to the cost of operations.
Nonprofits serve a different array of stakeholders. The sale of dot org doesn’t take that into account.
In the words of Amy Sample Ward at NTEN and the other stakeholders who have signed the public letter of protest, “…a registry could abuse these powers to do significant harm to the global NGO sector, intentionally or not. We cannot afford to put them into the hands of a private equity firm that has not earned the trust of the NGO community. .ORG must be managed by a leader that puts the needs of NGOs over profits.”
You can see and sign the letter on the NTEN website.
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