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'NET PIONEER NEEDS HELP IN FIGHT FOR RIGHTS TO .NYC
The Villager | New York | May 17, 2012
I first heard of Paul Garrin after the 1988 Tompkins Square police riot. We both captured, on video, the night of police wilding. Paul’s tape was around 20 minutes and mine was 3 hours 3 minutes. I got Paul’s money shot — the one where the cops pulled him by the collar as he was getting off the roof of a van and slammed him into the wall. It was a hard smash. No question.
Our videos gave us both our 15 minutes of airtime. We officially met as we were going around doing all the media interviews and so on. As time passed I stayed on and continued to document the Lower East Side anti-gentrification struggle and Paul worked on his art career.
Paul turned his videos into art projects that traveled Europe and were shown in places like the Linz Art Museum in Austria. And then Paul showed with the highly acclaimed video artist Nam June Paik at the prestigious Holly Solomon Gallery in Soho.
Eventually Paul moved from his art career to pioneering ideas in the new frontier of the commercial computer world. Paul has a tendency to rise to the top of each area he decides to focus on. He continues to make his own mark in the competitive computer market. The problem is the corporate world is filled with thieves and scumbags who would rather steal than support a new idea.
What is happening to Paul is something that has happened to many L.E.S. creative independent individuals with original ideas. I had it happen to me with my Clayton caps. Elsa and I were the first to put embroidery going around the cap — first to put on a label and a signature on the outside of the cap. We turned the cap into a brand and a fashion item. We were eventually robbed by the whole world of baseball caps. Beyond me does anyone care? No!
As the community became gentrified and all this new money came in, so did the gentry activists. The gentry activists were good at getting the support from the old school and were able to win the causes they were fighting for. The money they poured into their activism was amazing to observe, as all the local politicians, on every level, showed up at the moneyed-gentry events. I mean, I saw politicians at these L.E.S. events who I had never seen in public. But I thought the Left politicians were supposed to fight for everyone in the community? Yes? No?
Well, Paul right now needs political support from our leaders.
Paul has worked many years developing his ideas centered around his company, name.space. His battle has taken him to Congress. And as an entrepreneur with a small team, he is under serious attack by the likes of companies fronting the New York City Council card as their trump card — even though what they are presenting is bogus and a copy of Paul’s original work. The Villager has previously written about Paul’s struggle.
Below is a letter Paul sent to City Councilmember Rosie Mendez on April 9, 2012. Individual copies of the letter were also sent to Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, Borough President Scott Stringer and other elected officials.
This is a matter of great urgency. The City of New York has engaged in a contract with a Virginia-based company, Neustar, to apply to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to operate the .NYC Internet Top-Level Domain (TLD).
There are a number of reasons why outsourcing the .NYC domain in this way is not in the best interests of the City, nor of our community.
1. A New York City-based company already has rights to the .NYC domain. The .NYC domain was originated in 1996 and is owned and operated by my company, name.space, inc., which is based entirely in New York City. name.space created this domain, not ICANN. Neither Neustar nor ICANN has rights to this domain. This puts the City in direct conflict with our existing business operations.
2. The City benefits more from name.space’s operation of the domain. The financial benefits reported by the contractor in the media ($3 million per year) are far below the potential revenues that .NYC can yield if operated within our City and run truly in the interest of our City with a more creative, civic-oriented business model like the one name.space seeks to implement.
3. Exploitation of name.space’s creation by ICANN and Neustar hurts name.space and the City. The potential revenues from .NYC are but a fraction of the total revenues that name.space would earn operating its established portfolio of hundreds of TLDs (potentially reaching $1 billion per year or more), which again would inure to the City’s benefit.
4. The City is inadvertently participating in this wrongful conduct. By participating in a contract with Neustar, the City is in effect endorsing the corrupt practices within the ICANN process which favors incumbent industry players and inside members of the ICANN organization, and discriminates against small businesses, startups, and community organizations by its high application fees and complicated application process.
I ask you as a concerned citizen, member of your district, affected small business and committed member of our community, to urge the City Council to hold an emergency vote to withdraw the agreement that the City has made with the Virginia-based contractor. Instead, the City should recognize name.space’s existing rights and support our ability to conduct business in the City of New York, while pursuing our mission to serve our community to bridge the digital divide, provide affordable broadband, and to bring digital literacy and skills to our citizens who need it the most. name.space originated and created this domain. It is just plain wrong to support these other companies as they step in and take advantage of name.space’s innovation and hard work. Together, we can put the City where it belongs in the digital economy — at the core of innovation, creativity, employment, and community benefit.
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Founded in 1996, Name.Space was created by Paul Garrin to address the growing demand for Internet Domain Names by creating Top Level Domains to supplement impending shortages under the limited set of .COM, .NET and .ORG. During this time in Internet history, many were spreading misinformation that large numbers of top-level domain names were either unfeasible or could cause harm and "break" the Internet, in order to maintain their market dominance and thwart competition from potential newcomers.
As an early proponent of a shared TLD registry system, Name.Space helped shape the adaptation of a wholesale-retail domain registration market. Name.Space was the first instance of a fully-automated self-service domain name registry. Before Name.Space, domain name registrations were sent to the monopoly registry via email for manual processing, which sometimes took weeks to issue and activate a domain name. Name.Space domains were registered and completely available within 2 minutes (November 1996).
Some of the early innovations to come out of project Name.Space include the first URL forwarding service for consumers (November 1996), "Smart Whois" (sWhois) the first domain and IP information meta search engine (sWhois queris and resolves "whois" listings for every known TLD), IP address block assignment, NIC handles, AS (autonomous system numbers) and second-level domain name lookup. Name.Space was the first to offer user-controlled DNS zone editor (predating services such as zoneedit.com and others) enabling consumers to manage and update their own domain name to IP address mapping and email (MX) routing.
The Name.Space v. Network Solutions, Inc. antitrust lawsuit (based on the successful MCI v. ATT that broke up the telephone company monopoly in the USA in 1983) gave momentum to the restructuring of the domain name registration market from a single monopoly-based system to a wholesale-retail one. The public benefit is lower domain registration costs. Before Name.Space v. Network Solutions a domain name registration cost $100; today a domain name can be registered for under $10.
Although Network Solutions violated the antitrust laws by refusing to add Name.Space TLDs to the root zone, the court granted Network Solutions immunity, casting Name.Space TLDs into limbo as they were unable to fully bring them to market. Professor Milton Mueller of Syracuse University wrote in his book, RULING THE ROOT (MIT Press), the following about Name.Space:
"Adding the Name.Space TLDs to the Network Solutions-operated root.zone would have transformed the commercial environment of the DNS. As the only established registry for hundreds of new top level domains, Name.Space would have quickly been elevated to the status of peer of Network Solutions"
(at the time of writing, 2002, NSI was valued at over half a billion dollars -- today, Verisign, who bought Network Solutions and operates the registry for .COM, .NET is worth over 5 billion dollars).
Name.Space pursued every option available to have its TLDs added to the DNS root zone, including participating in the U.S. Department of Commerce IFWP during the summer of 1998 and its year 2000 application to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). In the year 2000 TLD round, ICANN Chair Esther Dyson voted to accept Name.Space while other ICANN board members recused themselves from the vote as their own TLD applications were voted in by the other board members. ICANN absconded with Name.Space's $50,000 application fee leaving Name.Space's TLDs out of the root zone and its application containing 118 TLDs unresolved.
...the proposal of Name.Space appealed to me precisely because it was a mix of commerce and principle. If the company that wanted to offer .star and .jazz was prepared to subsidize .sucks, more power to it.
(--Esther Dyson, Former ICANN Chair; NYT Syndicate, SFgate.com)
Name.Space's year 2000 application to ICANN is still pending. In 2012, Name.Space is re-submitting its application to ICANN under the new rules released in June 2011, posted at icann.org. Name.Space has documented proof of continuous use in commerce of its TLDs since 1996 and continues to seek the inclusion of its TLDs into the root zone through the ICANN process.
Watch: Paul Garrin presents in front of the ICANN board, Nov 15, 2000 (Approx. 8 min)