Cerf's Principle: A String Should Enter the Root if It Does No Harm
Date: Thursday March 27 2003, @09:47AM
Topic: gTLDs hoping to enter the legacy root

Lawrence Solum writes "The worst thing to do with a resource is waste it. That has been ICANN's basic policy toward the root--waste the resource by maintaining a virtually static root. In November 2000, ICANN held a beauty contest that expanded the root just a little bit. In Rio, ICANN set in motion yet another beauty contest that would expand the root an even smaller bit. But there was also a change in tone. Vint Cerf articulated an important principle regarding the root. He suggested that the fundamental principle that should govern expansion of the root is that new TLDs should be allowed in the root as long as they will do no harm. Let me repeat that. Cerf's Principle: A new TLD should be allowed in the root so long as it does no harm. But wait, there's more."

"When the meeting started, the notion of a market-driven allocation process looked like it was in big trouble. But by the end of the public forum, the factions within ICANN that are holding on to the idea of a static root were on the defensive. (Their slogan is: Don't push the problems of the second level to the top. I would put it: Don't allow the economic miracle of millions of SLDs pollute the last part of the DNS to be managed by top-down engineering, the pure and holy root.) Even those who advocate wasting the root were beginning to talk about the inevitabiity of market approaches. Even Stuart Lynn was talking about demand-driven approaches!

Of course this is ICANN, never underestimate the possibilities for strategic blocking in a consensus-driven, bottom-up, entrenched-stakeholder organization. But the consensus at the dinner after the public forum was that the tone of the debate had changed. Milton Mueller, who is usually a bit on the dour side, was ebullient. The defenders of a static root are only going through the motions. Beauty contests are under attack. Market-driven approaches are on the intellectual offensive. Will it make a difference? Well, the proof is in the pudding and at ICANN, puddings usually are in the oven for a very long time! For more on the ICANN meeting, see my Legal Theory Blog and gTLD-Auctions.net."

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First Law of the Internet
by KarlAuerbach on Thursday March 27 2003, @01:10PM (#11389)
User #3243 Info | http://www.cavebear.com/

Quite some time ago I formulated what I call "the First Law of the Internet". I believe it provides a better formulation than a simply saying "do no harm".

The reason that I believe that it is better is that the "do no harm" approach is that there is almost aways some grounds for someone somewhere to claim that he/she is harmed.

My formulation makes it clear that anyone who claims harm must be asserting a harm to the public and places the burden of proving his/her case onto the person asserting the harm.

Here it is:

The First Law of the Internet

Every person shall be free to use the Internet in any way that is privately beneficial without being publicly detrimental.

  • The burden of demonstrating public detriment shall be on those who wish to prevent the private use.

    • Such a demonstration shall require clear and convincing evidence of public detriment.

  • The public detriment must be of such degree and extent as to justify the suppression of the private activity.

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Dourness and Ebullience
by Mueller ({mueller} {at} {syr.edu}) on Saturday March 29 2003, @08:26AM (#11395)
User #2901 Info | http://istweb.syr.edu/~mueller/
On Wednesday evening I, the "usually dour" one, was smashed on caipirinhis and had been line dancing with a semi-nude Brazilian samba dancer in a feather boa and thong.

But yeah, we're turning the tide on new TLDs, and that's cause for ebullience.
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