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NSI Claims whois Database is Proprietary 106

phred writes "In yet another sign of advanced corporate megalomania, Chris Clough, a spokesman for Network Solutions, Inc., is quoted in an ABC News online story as claiming that the whois database is a proprietary product of NSI and is being provided to the net as a "community service." (This item first noted Tomalak's Realm)." And I for one am oh-so-pleased that NSI is using their property to Spam us with commercials about NSI so that they can protect their butts when they lose their monopoly.
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NSI Claims whois Database is Proprietary

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  • by twl ( 5820 )
    this is interesting, given that the content of the database consists largely of other people's intellectual property, much of which existed before netsol's contract.

    why doesn't the us government stomp on them?
  • ...monopolies. Janet Reno and Joel Klein should be suing themselves for protecting this ridiculous monopoly.

    "The only lasting monopolies have been government enforced."
    -- Alan Greenspan (Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board)

  • by ooPo ( 29908 )
    You have to wonder why they're taking the time to alienate the kind of people who *will* take the time to find someone other than NSI for registration just because of this runaround.

    So when do we start up some sort of free DNS service and bypass all the corporate greed? :)
  • How can this be? The courts seem to treat domain names like real estate, giving an actual dollar amount on the value of them. Therefore, like real estate, the knowledge of who owns what deserves to be publicly available!

    This is pure bullshit.
  • I've had my whois record used to spam me at least 10 times. From MCI, Compaq, and other various asshole individuals.

    As long as each individual is facing the TV tube alone, formal freedom poses no threat to privilege.
  • Hamilton 97 disables whois by default. You can use the ham-find command to seach Hamilton's own database of domain listings.

    Team Hamilton has been pushing other OSes to do this for years, and no one listened. Now look what's happened. Not like we didn't warn you.

  • How much you want to bet these bastards had this planned since day one?

    "Well boys, we've got this government sponsored monopoly but you know this gravy train isn't going to last forever...any ideas?."
    "I've got one...Once it looks like time is almost out for us, we spring a proprietary whois whammy at the last minute!"
    (in unison)"BWAHAHAHAHAHA"
  • by Rocky Mudbutt ( 22622 ) on Monday March 29, 1999 @08:30AM (#1958407) Homepage
    Is it time to start an FSF/Opensource NIC? The technology is not difficult, it is the support of the vast hordes of non-technical (clue-impaired) users requesting their "" which are providing NSI with their windfall, headaches, and raison d'etre. Supporting the technically competent, with their corresponding lower support costs; might make a viable non-profit company.

    Of course, there is always the renegade DNS route. To make it take off and stick, one would need superior technology, a strategy that would embrace and superceed the BIND cartels jugular embrace of the Internet name space, and a desire for an alternative which can provide both alternate and backward compatible name space.

    I would think the non-North American entities who are at the mercy of NSI for Global Top Level Domain Names could agree on an LDAP name system that makes NSI obsolete, and removes the North American legal system and copyright law from what is clearly a Universal Name Registrar.

    This is not a new debate. The control of the Internet has long been a US Government/Academia/Military/Commercial playground. What is needed in the 21st century will be an abstraction away from the cultural straightjacket that has been so widely forcefed to the world as "technology". I would hope to hear that the other 90% of the world's population have a say in how names are fairly allocated, and we would all benefit from a broader perspective.
  • by Jeckle ( 30833 )
    Because the government created the monopoly when it handed the whois db over to nsi a few years back. Since then, nsi has been pretty much raking in the dough and doing very little in the area of upgrading the whois servers (slow as anything quite often) and speeding up the registration process. Why is it that sometimes domains can be completed and in the db for restart within an hour and other times it can take up to a week? Don't even talk about the frustrations that can arrise if you have to fax in any modification template.

    I think the government is too caught up wasting money and armaments in some little country in the east to worry about. Not to mention despite all their chest-beating about how angry they are with NSI, the government still won't do anything about them.
  • I get spammed at least a few dozen times a day from my record at internic....

    The scary thing is.. I got a SPAM yesterday about selling me the Internic Database for $1300 ... I laughed pretty hard at that one..

  • Actually, we don't sell it. That spam (snail mail and otherwise) is a result of the whois and zone files being publicly available. There are companies out there who are attempting to sell CDs with all of the whois data on it.

    (no comment on the proprietary whois stuff)
  • Part of the problem is that the region between domain name registration and intellectual property is so blurred that no-one knows exactly where it breaks. Case in point: last week's ./ story about the Virgina court decision on domain names [].

    So, if you read the story, the guy interviewed summed it up pretty well: it all resolves over whether or not these domain names are the property of the registrant, or just leased for two years. Ugh. Makes my brain hurt.

  • by tgd ( 2822 ) on Monday March 29, 1999 @08:47AM (#1958413)
    Here's a thought. Let NSI do whatever they damn well please. When ICANN takes over the root nameservers, simply give the other registration services that are freely providing their databases priority in the root servers. Ie, Microsoft registers with NSI, they better hope (and pressure) NSI to keep all the whois information completely and 100% free, or someone else will register with another registrar who is freely sharing information. (Linus website anyone?) ;)

    In all seriousness though, if they want to claim the information is propriatary, then ICANN can't exactly integrate the information into the root servers, can they?

  • At the same time, there are a few people from the NANOG mailing list, myself included, who are trying to work up a "secure whois" RFC, one which would allow people to search the whois database, but either (a) after authenticating, so that whois-db-harvesters can be stopped, or (b) providing limited information for a select quantity of requests per day if the request is unauthenticated.

    Any open solution should also be prepared to incorporate that as well, since that is the "shield" that NSI hides behind these days, is protecting themselves from the harvesters, domain-squatters, etc.

  • Errrr.... Linux website I meant... Guess I should've clicked Preview. ;)
  • "The only lasting monopolies have been government enforced."

    Microsoft is government enforced? News to me..

  • [] got the lawyer letter from M$ today.
  • because Microsoft is NOT a monopoly. :P

    Compare Linux to this NSI stuff...

    You can create a free operating system because there is no official government sponsored os.

    You cannot create a free NSI because there is an official government sponsored NSI.
  • The commercialization of the 'net/www has caused all this.

    The commercialization of the Net has done a lot of damage. I've wondered on a couple of occasions how viable it would be to create new, smaller, geek-only TCP/IP-based network, totally separate from the Internet. A sort of breakaway Internet. "Splinternet", if you like.

    [yes, I know, totally non-viable. It's not really a serious suggestion. Don't flame me over this :-) I just tend to think like this when I get fed up with "e-commerce" *spit*]

  • ...a statement made by Hydrophobe ages ago (slashdottily speaking, anyway): "We need corporations to protect us from governments. And vice versa." So what do you do when the corporation and the government are in cahoots?
  • Absolutely nothing prevents you from setting your root nameservers to AlterNIC. The juvenile antics of AlterNIC's owner turned me off to it, but NIS has no TECHNICAL power to enforce its domain name monopoly. Legal power is another thing of course. It's also just not workable to have overlapping namespaces.

    NSI is just desperate. The government won't slap them hard for this, they just aren't likely to cut NSI any more slack now.
  • Join the club.... One guy offered to register the ".org" and ".net" variations of my ".com" for a paltry $100.... on top of InterNIC's fee.

    You'd think these guys would realize that if the same person is the tech, billing, and admin contact for their name they probably know how to register a name themselves and don't need to pay one of these ripoff artists.
  • Why does commercialization completely have to mess this stuff up every time. This one is a no brainer. You do not have to charge people that much money to keep the system working. NO ONE should be in charge of domain names to make profits. Let the people using their head making cool web sites make money that is fine. If I don't like their web sites I won't go to them but with NSI I have to deal with them. I don't want to ever "have to" use any one business for anything.
  • by myconid ( 5642 )
    There will never, in my opinion, be a free domain name system. With a free domain name system you have no way to pay for the equipment, and the mass usage that would be attributed to such a system. But one advantage of charging money for domain names is Mr. Joe Blow Aol'er doesnt go out and register every domain on the plannet and map them to his geocities homepage.

    My opinions :-)
    Stan "Myconid" Brinkerhoff
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29, 1999 @09:38AM (#1958427)
    The only reason NSI has that much power is becase we all cooperate volunteerily by pointing our name server software exclusively at their root servers. Anyone out there can set up a root server (I and a friend did it once to see what would be involved. Took about 2 hours to figure everything out and create a .linux domain that 2 machines in the whole wild world could see.)

    The way current DNS software works, you DO have to be careful not to pollute anyone else's root servers, but anyone out there with a UNIX box and a dedicated connection could redefine the entire internet however they wanted to for anyone who cared to point their name servers to the new root servers.

    Note that this has been attempted in the past (Do your research on the alternic and others) but they did not really have a lot of support and if I recall correctly some of them tried a silly stunt or two that was bad judgement at its worst.

    Anyway, it can be done and there's an increasing need for it to be done. If anyone comes up with something, I'll be happy to point my DNS at them.
  • Ever heard about Internet2? See [] for details!

  • by fishbowl ( 7759 )
    When you say:

    "With a free domain name system you have no way to pay for the equipment, and the mass
    usage that would be attributed to such a system.",

    are you thinking "distributed", "parallel", and "voluntary?"

    The system does not need to be centralized. Nothing about the internet or any other government needs to be centralized, despite the fact that certain aspects of both do tend to be.

  • by gordoni ( 7864 ) on Monday March 29, 1999 @09:54AM (#1958431) Homepage
    Under the terms of the original contract between the NSF and Network Solutions (Awardee's Proposal Q.1):
    "the information we collect and dispense will be freely available to all."
    That said, the complete legal situation is faily complicated. My understanding of it is as follows. The registration database is probably capable of being copyrighted, however such a copyright would be a thin copyright that would not prevent others constructing a new database from facts contained in the original database. If this is the case, Network Solutions probably owns this copyright, but has failed in its contractual duty to inform the NSF of its claim of copyright in it's annual report (I discovered this by filing a FOIA request). To keep ownership of the database copyright upon termination of the contract, Network Solutions would have to pay 1-3% of the databases fair market value to the government. For the duration of the contract, Network Solutions is required to make the database freely available. The NSF can also obtain a copy of the database including on termination of the contract, but has not made such a request.
  • C'mon, I know you read slashdot!

    I'm talking to YOU, the guy who worked for Internic back in the hippie days and now works for NetSol getting that phat biweekly paycheck!

    I don't fault you for selling out and cashing in, but I sure would enjoy hearing about your experiences!

    (Or has it *been* an experience?) I wonder. Maybe you just sold out, and all my fairytale romantic notions of the net need to fade away along with all the other delusions.

  • I don't know about the rest of you. But THIS little gem appeared in my mailbox a couple days ago. NSI is getting REALLY desperate.

    Dear Valued Customer:

    This is to inform you that changes are taking place at Network Solutions' Web site.

    When you visit us at or, you'll notice that we have a new look. But our look isn't all we've changed. We've brought all of our products, services, and partner informational links together in one, simple, easy to use Web site.

    Our home page has been redesigned to help you easily find the information, services, and tools you need to establish and maintain your Internet presence. We have simplified the user interface, instructions, and help for registering or reserving a new Web address (domain name). Our new "Make Changes" section enables you to quickly find the information needed to update your Web address information. And with the addition of new products and services, Network Solutions can help you easily add value to your Web experience. As always, if you have registered your domain name(s) through one of Network Solutions' Premier program members, you may also contact them for additional products and services.

    Along with our recent doubling of capacity, this seamless integration of our Web sites is yet another way we are continually working to serve you. Whether you type in or, you'll end up at the right place. Network Solutions - the dot com peopleTM - is your one-stop shop for your Internet presence.

    We encourage you to visit us at and learn about more ways to maximize your presence on the Internet!


    Charles A. Gomes
    Vice President, Customer Programs

    NOTE: This message is being sent only to the main/administrative contact for your Web address (domain name). It is for notification purposes only. If you have any questions or comments, please contact us via our Web site.

    Anyone else smell trapped animal?

    Chas - The one, the only.
    THANK GOD!!!

  • Probably we should all take a look at The Internet Namespace Cooperative [] and switch to using their services...

    NSI starts looking like Micro$oft, so probably we should use a DNS that looks and acts like some free OS... :-)

  • I wish people would read the articles before posting. This is about a website, and totally plays on the general public's misunderstanding about the obligation of the Internic to provide services under their contract with the government.

    Who among us actually goes to the Internic website to look up domain registration information?

    Yeah, I didn't think so.

    Internic is making it harder for people to use their website. They're probably trying to make money too. They certainly aren't doing anything else. Open a shell and type "whois" and in a few short milliseconds you'll have an answer.

    They are /not/ restricting access to the whois database, and they never will.

    (which is too bad, IMHO. I'm tired of getting spam because of having domains registered in my name.)

    - JB
  • by ooPo ( 29908 )
    Perhaps free was the wrong word. I meant more of an open DNS system where we wouldn't have one company dictating prices and policies. I have absolutely no problem paying an administrative cost for a domain, which really isn't the issue here. This whole thing just reminds me of the CDDB problem, only this time its a lot more important than entering a bunch of cd information into an free server. NSI has the power to define how and what the VAST majority of people on the internet see and do, and they're proving to be nothing more than a money-hungry corporation.

    That just plain sucks. :)
  • "'The registry information is our proprietary information,' says NSI spokesman Chris Clough."

    The courts ruled long ago that listings in telephone directories are not "owned" by the telcos, which explains the ready availablity of phone listings on the Web, on CD and through 10-10 phone numbers.

    I would guess the courts would find the whois directory analagous, especially since it was compiled by a monopoly.

    So all we need is a plaintiff and some IP (that's Intellectual Property, not Internet Protocol) lawyers to straighten this out.
  • I get snail mail spam from a whois listing. I know it comes from there, because I get mail at my home address to the attention of my domain's technical contact.
  • Microsoft is government enforced? News to me..

    How else would you describe patents and copyrights?

  • I think you misunderstand the relationship between the various components here.

    First, there is NSI's database, which contains information, such as your mailing address and so on, in addition to domain names and information (DNS server IP's and whatnow).

    Second, there is the whois server. The web page which was recently changed only provided a nice, easy interface to the whois mechanism, AFIAK. Whois is an Internet standard, defined in RFC 954. It is a simple TCP/IP query/response protocol to find out information about Internet objects (networks, hosts, etc). NSI's whois server is generated by a selective dump of their registration database (leaving out credit card numbers, for instance).

    And third, there is the DNS hierarchy. This includes a set of root servers, named 'A' through 'L' (I believe those are all that exist right now) in order to keep the names as short as possible, so they can fit in a single UDP packet (ick). These are distributed throughout the planet, with only one being run by NSI. NSI's role is to provide the zone file to the other root name servers. They do this by dumping the appropriate data from their database, as well as combining reverse addresses and other data from non-NSI top-level-domains (.mil, .gov, .uk, .ch, .de, etc).

    With the ICANN switch, I'm pretty sure that NSI still generates the zone file for .com, but the other sources all send their zone files straight to ICANN. This should also allow the creation of additional top-level-domains, such as .www, .nom, and .xxx (my personal favorite).
  • "The only lasting monopolies have been government enforced."

    > Microsoft is government enforced? News to me..

    Microsoft currently has a lot of economic power. Billions in the bank, ready to market the snot out of their 'innovation' of the day, a strong grip around the necks of the PC market, and even some mostly failed forays out of the 'PC' and into content and set top boxes and the like.

    Microsoft does not have a 'lasting monopoly' on anything. Microsoft has not yet existed long enough to be capable of having a 'lasting monopoly.'

    I know this is comparing apples to oranges, but ISDN technology is older than Microsoft's ownership of DOS.

    Hell, Windows itself (if you disregard those rather non 'windowish' versions before 3.0) is just about ten years old...

    Markets take time to shake out.

  • When you get SPAMMED at your admin contact email address from someone mining through the whois database, NSI says that "the database is public information, tough luck ..." (I have an email from them to this effect) but when other companies want to give the consumer a choice and access this database, NSI says that the database is proprietary information. How nice it is to have double standards to grow your monopoly.

    NSI and AOL ... giving Virginia technology companies a bad name! UGH!
  • Like the GPL?

    No, I don't think that is the type of 'enforcement' the quote's author meant..

  • Noooo.... I understood it to be like that at first, but what ICANN is doing is providing a framework that allows companies who become registrars to register domains in any of the root levels. NSI *isn't* going to be the only company that can register .com domains. Any company essentially with write access into ICANNs databases can register them. That's why NSI is pushing the "dot com people" thing, because they want the public to associate them with ".com" since there will soon be no reason people need to use them to register domains.

    So my point is still valid. If NSI won't allow their records into the ICANN version of the whois database by saying they are their proprietary records, then ICANN wouldn't be able to validate requests for registrations or changes from other companies against what NSI says they register, and NSI might lose out.

    I might be wrong about how that end of things works, but the new registration system isn't a simple case of NSI providing the .com zone file to ICANN. Otherwise people could register on the same day on two different registries and who gets precidence?

    Without a full disclosure of information, there'd be no way to track back to a domain. You'd have to run the equivalent of a whois against each of the half-dozen or more registries, without knowing which registry actually holds the record for the domain you're interested in. (Which you know now, since all domains in a given TLD come from a single database, NSI or otherwise...)
  • [...]
    Internet2 [...]

    Um, I don't think Internet2 is quite what you think it is. See the FAQs [] for more information -- it seems to be centred more around `gigaPOPs' and faster backbones rather than a better distributed naming service/directory infrastructure.

    Now Usenet II [], on the other hand... time for October indeed.

  • Microsoft does not have a 'lasting monopoly' on anything. Microsoft has not yet existed long enough to be capable of having a 'lasting monopoly.'

    Well, Microsoft has been in existence for a little over 10 years or so (maybe 15 I don't know), right? .. And the last 4 or 5 years they have held a monopoly over the PC operating system market (I'll pretend PC/DOS from IBM was a competitor earlier than that). I'd say anything over 1 year in the computer industry is "lasting." In other industries that might not be true, but in the computer industry it seems everything happens several times faster and with several times the profit of "normal" industries.

    I know this is comparing apples to oranges, but ISDN technology is older than Microsoft's ownership of DOS.

    Apples and oranges, right. I don't see how this relates at all.

    While personally I don't think it is necessary for the government to break up microsoft (they will lose in the end, simply because their products are inferior) I do think that something should be done about their coercive licensing (Computer manufacturers are economically punished by microsoft if they don't install Windows on every system they sell).

    IMO, as long as I have to pay the "Windows tax" at my local computer store whenever I buy a system, Microsoft has a monopoly. If informed customers are given a REAL CHOICE, they will choose the technically superior product (hint: not Windows).

  • Hello,

    Free DNS is very possible. At ML.ORG we came close but due to other issues (not particularly funding) it fell apart. I and a few other complete new comers were able to do it and handle it fine till we hit the 100,000 domain mark. After that it was quite simply inexperience that killed it.

    I am convinced from my work with Monolith though that someone with a little more business background and just plain experience can do a much better job than NSI and charge much less or nothing for the domain. Even without the monopoly.
  • So... If we file an FOIA request for the contents of the database, it would force NSF do make a request for a copy. If Network Pollutions complies, they agree it's not proprietary. If they don't comply, NSF will be forced to make the legal challenge in order to comply with the FOIA request.

    Well, maybe?
  • Ken Harrenstien RFC-812
    Vic White 1 March 1982
    Network Information Center
    SRI International


    The NICNAME/WHOIS Server is an NCP/TCP transaction based
    query/response server, running on the SRI-NIC machine, that
    provides netwide directory service to ARPANET users. It is
    one of a series of ARPANET/Internet name services maintained
    by the Network Information Center (NIC) at SRI International
    on behalf of the Defense Communications Agency (DCA). The running on local hosts, and it delivers the full name, U.S.
    mailing address, telephone number, and network mailbox for
    ARPANET users.

    server is accessible across the ARPANET from user programs

    ...It's 17 years old, open, and it's about as complicated as finger, which is to say it's simple. I don't think it could be proprietary. As to the contents of the database, they've been growing for the past 17 years, and whatever cheesy corporation who thinks they 'own' the internet now needs to go back to hanging out with the script kiddies and stop bugging the users.
  • why doesn't the us government stomp on them?

    What? ... and get their feet all covered in .com? They'll be walking around Washington getting .com over everything. Just think of the cleanup costs!

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Some years back, the Supreme Court ruled that lists themselves cannot be copyrighted, only the formatting could. This particular case involved the phone books, and led to phone directories on CD rom.

    WIPO wants to make lists copyrightable by treaty, which trumps laws and court rulings.

    WIPO has the effect of also copyrighting court proceedings, laws, membership lists of public orgs, all sorts of things.

    WIPO will also copyright the NSI list. If you don't like it, call Congress. (I think you'll find the mail spool linked to /dev/null).
  • by Anonymous Coward
    From the this just in department at techweb.

    An investment bank in New York claims NSI misled investors into believing that their contract would be extended or that it can not be entirely terminated.

    Check it out here []

  • by gordoni ( 7864 ) on Monday March 29, 1999 @11:26AM (#1958456) Homepage
    Nope, a FOIA request won't work, it's already been tried...

    In responding to a FOIA request submitted by Corsearch in 1996 requesting a copy of the domain name database (NSF FOIA No. 96-090 Request []), the NSF claimed (NSF FOIA No. 96-090 Response []):

    "NSF does not possess or control the domain name database ..."

    An administrative appeal of this decision was made (NSF FOIA No. 96-090 Appeal []). This appeal was rejected. The words "possess" and "control" are being used here in the context of the Freedom of Information Act to determine if the database is an "agency record", and not in respect of claims to ownership of intellectual property. These are the same terms used in the FLITE case (Baizer v. Department of the Air Force, 887 F. Supp. 225 (N.D. Cal. 1995) []. The FLITE decision has been criticized for its "broad assertion of an exemption from FOIA for 'library' materials, and its questionable use of legal precedent" ( Supreme Court Decisions in FLITE database [], Information Policy Notes, Taxpayers Assets Project). The Flite decision draws upon the Supreme Court decision in Department of Justice v. Tax Analysts, 492 US 136 (1989) [].

    So, the NSF has the right to obtain a copy of the database from Network Solutions, but because the NSF has not chosen to obtain the database, it is not possible to obtain the database from the NSF under the FOIA. And even if the NSF did have a copy of the database, it is not clear, in the light of the FLITE decision, whether the NSF would be required to make the database available under the FOIA.

  • just wondering...
  • BIND doesn't use WHOIS at all.

    Whois is, put simply, a protocol for querying a server to get CONTACT information about a given query-string (domain, address space, whatever).

    Drop me an e-mail if you want to get involved. [mailto]
  • No, I mean that the government provides patents and copyrights, which effectively enforce a temporary monopoly for those holding the patents and copyrights.

    I can't speak for Alan Greenspan, or the context of the quote, of course...

  • by igjeff ( 15314 ) on Monday March 29, 1999 @12:18PM (#1958463)
    Actually, they *are*, at least in some ways, restricting access to the whois database through whois client connections.

    Try some sort of keyword search and see how many entries return...much fewer than there used to be.

    Try to show the domains that have you listed as a contact...oh, you can only get the first 50 that way?

    Try to find information about the availability of the domain in the DNS servers...oh, they took the On Hold status off of that return as well.

    Slowly, but surely, NSI *is* restricting access...both through their website, *and* through the whois client.

    The addition is the redirect from to, while not impairing functionality in an of itself, sets a *VERY* dangerous precedent and course for NSI. Essentially, by putting that redirect in, if its not challenged, then NSI can claim that you register information via NSI's website and via NSI, not necessarily through the InterNIC, which NSI just happens to be providing services to. If they are allowed to assert that concept, what happens when the government or ICANN decides to either put another company in charge of interNIC, or open it up so that multiple companies have equal access to it (through whatever mechanism)? NSI can then claim that these domain names are registered through them, are their Intellectual Property, and you can't make changes via another company, whether they are now part or all of the InterNIC or not!

  • Check out this report [] from a stock market analyst:

    We believe that NSOL's management has purposely disseminated misleading information, and failed to disclose material negative information, that has led investors to believe that the expiration of this contract will be postponed or that it can not be entirely and easily terminated. Investors have also been led to believe that even if the contract is terminated, NSOL's business value will continue to grow. These expectations are baseless and false.

    They also make another accusation [] about failing to disclose information.
    Michael Dillon - E-mail:

  • In lieu of biased comments about WIPO and what they do, I'll just point you to their web site: []

    Basically, their intent is to get a standardized, more or less, copyright law for all member nations. Since a lot of us users here at /. aren't too fond of the current IP laws, you'll see a lot of angry words against WIPO's work posted here. Others of us don't like the way that American law has been used as a standard for international IP issues, and welcome international cooperative involvement in that matter. Yet others just want a standardized copyright policy.

    Disclaimer: I'm no copyright expert, just someone interested in all sides of the issue.
  • I've gotten snal mail to my whois contact too. The funny thing is, the last one I got actually has the Network Sollutions logo really small at the bottom of it.

    They deserve to die! ;>
  • All these components can work together without NSI. CORE [] proved it.

    CORE (The Internet Council of Registrars - developed a system for the 7 new TLDs where multiple registries can issue domain names. They currently have about 90 registries on 5 different continents waiting for the 7 new TLDs to take effect.

    It's good reading, I'd suggest visiting them.

  • The whole purpose of I2 is just a testbed for improvements in the regular Internet. Here's the goal, stated on their very web site:
    "A key goal of this effort is to accelerate the diffusion of advanced Internet technology, in particular into the commercial sector."

    What I2 sounds like at this point is what the Internet was before it was opened to civilian use. Some of you liked that; as someone who under that system wouldn't even be allowed to see the computers, I'm not fond of a university-only system. Especially not one that only certain people at a university get to use, even though all students have to pay for the service's existence.

    I just hope that IPv6 trickles down quickly. We are needing that soon.
  • That's when someone like RMS (or the successor to ESR) needs to come in and break out a can of whoop ass.
  • CORE [] (The Internet Council of Registrars) developed a system for the 7 new TLDs where multiple registries can issue domain names. They currently have 90 registries on (5?) different continents waiting for the 7 new TLDs to take effect.

    It's good reading, I'd suggest visiting them.

  • be a free domain name system

    There will never be a free press either. Who would pay for the ink, the paper, the printing presses themselves?

    Wait a mean free like "free beer" don't you? Oops, my mistake!
  • The original quote by Mr. Greenspan referred to monopolies that lasted a LOT longer than five years...
  • is better than because runs Apache on Linux and runs IIS on NT...
  • How about .ind (individuals)?
  • They're not the people...

    [gtm@gtm gtm]$ whois
    Dely, Douglas (DD8922)
    810-979-2966 (FAX) 810-979-1434
    Dely, Francoise (FD1636)
    810-979-2966 (FAX) 810-979-1434
    Haener, Ron (RH12447)
    941-514-7222 (FAX) 941-514-7025
    Robert Gordon (DOT2-DOM) DOT.COM

    To single out one record, look it up with "!xxx", where xxx is the
    handle, shown in parenthesis following the name, which comes first.

    The InterNIC Registration Services database contains ONLY
    non-military and non-US Government Domains and contacts.
    Other associated whois servers:
    American Registry for Internet Numbers -
    European IP Address Allocations -
    Asia Pacific IP Address Allocations -
    US Military -
    US Government -
    [gtm@gtm gtm]$ whois dot2-dom

    Robert Gordon (DOT2-DOM)
    713 Vanguard
    Austin, TX 78734

    Domain Name: DOT.COM

    Administrative Contact:
    Wenzel, George (GW23) rt_tech@REALTIME.NET
    (512) 451-0046
    Technical Contact, Zone Contact:
    Gustwick, Bob (BG99) rt_tech@REALTIME.NET
    (512) 451-0046 (FAX) (512) 459-3858

    Record last updated on 29-Jun-94.
    Database last updated on 28-Mar-99 21:44:09 EST.

    Domain servers in listed order:


    The InterNIC Registration Services database contains ONLY
    non-military and non-US Government Domains and contacts.
    Other associated whois servers:
    American Registry for Internet Numbers -
    European IP Address Allocations -
    Asia Pacific IP Address Allocations -
    US Military -
    US Government -
  • Thank you gordoni for injecting some facts into this for the benefit of those who didn't read the original ABC News article and the comments by Clough and ICANN closely.

    The whois database pre-exists NSI's involvement by about two decades, back to the early days of ARPANET. I haven't examined all the legal documentation in detail, but it was my understanding that NSI was managing the whois database, and by extension the name registry itself, in trust for the US government that granted it the license.

    Instead, they are trying to do something akin to the compilation copyright approach used by West Publishing to appropriate federal and state court cases to its own benefit. Because West's notation and pagination system has been widely adopted by courts in making rules on how lawyers must submit legal citations in their written briefs, West gained a monopoly over the law publishing business and, in fact, spent considerable money in Congress to maintain that monopoly.

    This is a bit tangential and I won't get into all the gory details, but it seems like NSI has embarked on a similar campaign to appropriate the domain name system data to its own exclusive proprietary benefit. There can be no other way to read Clough's statement and the response from ICANN.

    This may only seem important to intellectual property lawyers and geeks, but since I am of the latter persuasion and once upon a not so very long ago time remember when Jon Postel's crew ran whois, it matters to me. A lot. Especially given NSI's rapidly accelerated bullying and conniving to take advantage of their monopoly position while they provide shitty service.


  • Excellent find, memra. Check this from the other report [] at that same site:

    "ICANN is the sole DNS authority with a registrar licensing program, and an approved DNS accreditation policy statement, application and greement. ICANN's policies and agreement include registrar eligibility requirements, contemplate U.S. and World Intellectual Property Organization intellectual property issues, and domain name dispute resolution. Importantly, ICANN requires registrars to disclaim all rights to ownership or exclusive use of certain DNS data elements and to escrow DNS data. This is particularly important to Internet users and domain name holders who have no such protection under the current system. If NSOL desires to continue to be the domain name registry or registrar it will be required to enter into an accreditation agreement with ICANN. Regardless, according to ICANN's registrar accreditation
    plan, the entire Internet Who-Is database will be safely escrowed and free from any claims by the registry or registrar within no more than 24
    months after the testbed is concluded. According to ICANN's established policies, ICANN has the right to terminate the accreditation agreement of any DNS participant who fails to abide by its policies."

  • They can't claim the whois database 'proprietary' *now*, *AFTER* 'everybody' has registered information with them. It certainly wasn't the deal when we (that is, the company where I work) registered our networks/domains with InterNIC. We certainly didn't mean that info to be *proprietary* for InterNIC or NIS or whoever!! Now this is the dirtiest trick I've heard in a while. Grumble.
  • by bthib ( 28711 )
    I'm not a lawyer, but if the whois database is "NSI's intelecutal property" then aren't they responsable for it's uses and abuses. More specificly spam originating from it. And IIRC Virgina has a decently tough anti-spam law in effect....
  • Doesnt surprise me. When you give a company that much power, they think they're allowed to do anything
  • NSI's may be the de-facto standard DNS network, but that doesn't make it a monopoly. That would require legal limitations on operating nameservers; I am not aware of any nation that currently has such restrictions.

    Nothing is currently stopping anyone from organizing a completely namespace (DNS-based or otherwise). Losing compatibility with the NSI namespace is an obstacle, but not a serious one. Perhaps a cross-namespace gatewaying/interchange standard for the DNS protocol is in order? (e.g. "*" corresponds to "." in the foobar namespace; something along these lines, anyway.) I, for one, wouldn't have a problem with falling back to IP's & hostlists or incompatible competing root namespaces until a better solution is implemented.

  • by pazure ( 29489 )
    The reason the database servers are (were) so slow was because there were a few heavy abusers of the system that were hitting them real hard with tons of requests meant to pull down the entire directory. Instead of aiming your anger at NSI for something they had to be careful about limiting, you should be aiming it at these people. So when NSI finally decides to start taking control of WHOIS to stop these abusers, you all complain. Either way they are fucked.
  • Good post, but I think you are confused over the relationship of InterNIC to NSI. Lets see...InterNIC is just a name...a old reference to a gang of people working for a consortium, providing registration services to the government. That went away a long time ago. The InterNIC site stayed, the people and division went away. InterNIC=NSI, it?

    There was no hijacking here. It was one company trying to consolidate its brand into one focused message (and why not with competition coming up), and trying to put a stop to abusers who were bringing their systems to its knees. I'm really having a hard time understanding what these guys did that was so wrong..please someone fill me in.
  • What would you like to see? Every kid with a parents basement and a Linux box running a registry.... Lets get real here.
  • Then his point still stands. The geeks should continue using the old tired IPv4 Internet1 while mega corporations and bandwidth hungry AOL'ers will migrate to the new net on steroids....netroid. Sounds like a perfect compromise, and all the edu's will get their old stomping grounds back...
  • by pazure ( 29489 )

    WOW, a little overstated don't you think. They do something as simple as redesign their website and entire lists are devoted to pointing our their "gall" for doing so and poking fun at the new colors and icons and how they are now selling t-shirts etc...What makes you think that they could get away with ever flexing that muscle you ascribe them to have?

    I don't think they're quite the power-hungry, world dominating Microsloftians clone you think them to be.
  • Yeah, Who needs damned highways, clogged with all those bureaucratic, suit friendly people monopolizing the roads. Lets take to the trails! And screw the damn phone lines run by money hungry executives. Leaves and smoke signals, here I come. Electricity - more money grubbers. I got a couple of oxen I could hitch up to run in circles and grind up the infinitum...
  • NSI wanted to reduce the database mining, so they try to make it harder for people to use WHOIS by consolidating InterNIC and NetworkSolutions web sites, then claim that the database is "proprietary". People respond by saying "hey this is public information, everyone should have access."

    So everyone has access, and people complain because they get spammed. The double standard works both ways. Some complain no matter which way rules the day.
  • Forgive me, but I believe you don't quite understand the situation...

    InterNIC is an _activity_ of the US government; it provides services (registry and registrar, among others), to the US government.

    NSI has a contract to provide these services, which contract is set to expire.

    They have those names pursuant to a contract with the government, and title to whatever intellectual property those names comprise as a database does _not_ reside with NSI, it's owned by the US Government. is a front door to that government activity. It is most decidedly _not_ the property of NSI (the trademark on InterNIC rests with the feds), and when I go to that website, I expect to find "the InterNIC", _not_ Netsol.

    _Especially_ when they're marking up a service they themselves are providing, and attempting to hide the fact that you can get it at cost.

    Sorry; this is out and out fraud, and I've heard that there may be criminal charges.
  • I'm not going to waste time here arguing on need to do some research dude. You clearly are confused and are up to speed on the of about 2 years ago.
  • What you, and they fail to point out is that Assensio (the analyst), makes a living off of shorting stocks. He has pulled this maneuver many times before on other companies. He shorts a stock that he has targeted, puts out a negative press release, then reaps the profits when the stock falls. If you all applied the same scrutiny to shams like this as you do to your bias against NSI, you'd have found this out.
  • Why not just tell them to stick their TLD's up their a$$ and create a FREE (permanently) DNS system, with categorised TLDs eg: xxxxxx.isp xxxxxx.govt etc
    - NeuralAbyss

    Real programmers don't comment their code.

  • Hrm... not really confident about these guys...

    1) They don't put their email addresses online. Nor any relevant contact information. They could vanish tomorrow and we would have no recourse.

    2) 2 of their root name servers I cannot contact

    3) Running a root nameserver is an exhaustive endeavor.. they should be on multiple T3 links.

    4) Why in the heck are they running HTTP, SMTP, TELNET, POP and FTP on a root nameserver?!?!?!

    Apologies. A for idea.. D for effort and planning.


BLISS is ignorance.