Europe?s Internet industry has agreed to ensure that the registering of Internet address names will be open to a competitive market, after a meeting in Brussels.
Over 120 heavyweight representatives from Internet service providers, telecoms companies and government officials from around Europe attended the one day meeting. They agreed to form an industry panel to address the US Government?s proposed plan to set up a non-profit making company to manage the Internet address scheme, and a set of proposed conclusions to the scheme was the drawn up.
Bruised by an earlier US Commerce Department proposal that was considered too US-centric, the European Commission has been pushing Europe?s industry to unite. The Commission was said to be happy with the outcome of this meeting.
At the top of the new panel?s agenda will be the decision as to whether more generic top-level domains need to be added to the existing three - .com, .net and .org - at the end of email addresses. The majority agreed it would relieve the growing pressure on the Internet for new address names, but that it had to be done carefully or it could create consumer confusion and make it difficult to track trademark violations.
The European meeting also concluded that companies should compete to become Internet name registrars and attendees felt that all registrars should have access to a database held by Network Solutions, a US company which holds an exclusive government contract to register names under the three current suffixes.
The European Internet representatives decided that companies should have access to material that enables trademark owners to identify trademark infringement and refer trademark disputes to court.
The meeting was the prelude to a global conference in Geneva later this month where many of the same questions will be discussed. The industry is facing a tight deadline - September 30 - which is the date the US Commerce Department suggested the corporation to manage Internet addressing should be in place. The European Commission hopes it will be able to announce the industry panel before the end of this week.
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