27 nonprofit organisations have come together to put pressure on ISOC and stop the sale of PIR, the operator of the .org domain. They’re also asking ISOC to find an alternative nonprofit to take over the role:
Decisions affecting .ORG must be made with the consultation of the NGO community, overseen by a trusted community leader. If the Internet Society (ISOC) can no longer be that leader, it should work with the NGO community and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to find an appropriate replacement.
In a letter sent yesterday the nonprofits outline three key points that they feel the sale of PIR to a private equity firm puts at risk:
- Pricing. The new .org contract that was signed recently gives PIR the ability to raise the price of .org domains.
- Rights protection mechanisms.
- Domain suspensions
Here’s the letter (PDF) which is signed by:
- American Alliance of Museums
- American Society of Association Executives
- Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc.
- Creative Commons
- Crisis Text Line
- Demand Progress Education Fund
- Electronic Frontier Foundation
- European Climate Foundation
- Free Software Foundation
- Girl Scouts of the USA
- Independent Sector
- Internet Archive
- Meals on Wheels America
- National Council of Nonprofits
- National Human Services Assembly
- Palante Technology Cooperative
- Public Knowledge
- R Street Institute
- Volunteers of America
- Wikimedia Foundation
- YMCA of the USA
- YWCA USA
They’ve also launched a site asking other people and organisations to sign on to the letter and email the CEOs of ISOC, PIR and ICANN as well as the Chairman of the ICANN Board. According to the site the campaign has already generated nearly 5 thousand emails to date.
One of the arguments that they’re emphasising is the statements made at the time of the transfer of .org to PIR and ISOC back in 2002. Essentially it can argued that one of the reasons why ISOC (and PIR) was given the .org contract back in 2002 was due to the commitment to the nonprofit sector and its general ethos.
I know from multiple conversations I’ve had since the announcement of the sale that it’s a topic that is definitely attracting a lot of attention, though opinions are divided.