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ICANN-Verisign deal must be investigated --House Commerce cmte


CONTACT: Ken Johnson or Pete Sheffield
Friday, March 30, 

                                             Tauzin Calls for Review of 
ICANN Contract Negotiations

WASHINGTON (March 30) Rep. Billy Tauzin, Chairman of the Committee on 
Energy and Commerce, today released a letter from a bipartisan group of 
Energy and Commerce Committee members to the Department of Commerce 
Secretary Donald Evans requesting a thorough review of the contract 
negotiations between VeriSign and the Internet Corporation for Assigned 
Names and Numbers ( ICANN ).
# # #

The Honorable Donald Evans
U.S. Department of Commerce
14th and Constitution Avenues, NW
Washington, DC 20230

Dear Mr. Secretary:

We are writing to you concerning the U.S. Commerce Department s role in 
reviewing the recently announced renegotiation of a 1999 contract between 
VeriSign and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers ( ICANN ).

As you know, the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet 
recently held an oversight hearing on ICANN s process for creating new 
top-level domains and its role in Internet governance. That hearing raised 
questions about ICANN s domain name selection process and whether it 
afforded adequate due process to applicants.  We remain committed to 
ensuring a competitive and transparent domain name system that promotes the 
interests of the U.S. economy and global Internet policy and we are eager 
to work with the Bush Administration toward these goals.

We understand that ICANN has chosen to renegotiate its arrangement with 
VeriSign.  Specifically, if approved by the Department of Commerce and the 
ICANN Board, the new agreement would eliminate the 1999 requirement that 
VeriSign divest either its retail (registrar) or wholesale (registry) 
business.  Further, the revised agreement would provide VeriSign with an 
additional six year term for the .com registry, with a presumption of 
renewal, would allow VeriSign to extend the .net registry term to 2006, and 
would require VeriSign to relinquish control of the .org registry in 2002.

Without taking a position on the propriety of the revised agreement, we 
want to ensure that any actions by ICANN support and encourage strong, 
vibrant competition.  Accordingly, we respectfully request that the 
Department fully analyze the competitive issues that arise as a result of 
this agreement.  Further, as Mr. Cerf, Chairman of ICANN, said during our 
February hearing, ICANN is a consensus development body which requires that 
major decisions affecting the future of the Internet be done in an open and 
transparent manner.  Therefore, we urge you to exercise your oversight 
authority to ensure that ICANN s final decision in this matter is made and 
implemented in a transparent fashion.

Thank you for your consideration of this matter.  Please keep us apprised 
of developments in this area.


W.J. Billy Tauzin                                                  John D. 
Ranking Member
Committee on Energy and Commerce                  Committee on Energy and 

Edward J. Markey
Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Telecommunications                Subcommittee on 
Telecommunications and
and the 
Internet                                                           the Internet

cc:  Vinton G. Cerf, Chairman, Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and 

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