Press Release | 07.06.2000

European Domain Registries turn down financial contributions demanded by ICANN

 At a meeting held in Trondheim (Norway), those European domain registries that are members of the CENTR organization (i.e. the majority of them) have rejected the idea pursued by ICANN (the body that administers the issuing of domains and Internet addresses internationally) for it to collect payments in a particular form. ICANN's claim was that all the national registries together should pay a total of 35% of its budget for the 1999/2000 financial year, amounting to payments of some 1.5 million US dollars, and they had received "invoices” in April for their shares. The sums were based on the number of domains registered in each of the countries. Germany, which is the largest domain zone, was expected to transfer something like half a million US dollars all by itself. CENTR voiced the criticism that there was no legal basis for ICANN's invoices. It stated that it basically welcomed ICANN's activities and accepted in principle the idea of contributing to financing them. However, it was wrong for ICANN simply to demand payments without concluding a proper framework agreement with the registries, especially concerning a period of time during which it had not supplied any services to the registries. Moreover, CENTR continued, it was not fair to compute the sum demanded on the basis of the number of domains, since the service that ICANN supplies for the individual registries is by no means dependent on the number of domains and is basically identical for all the registries.

Carsten Schiefner, a member of the Executive Board of DENIC, the organization that administers the German domains, put it like this: "there can certainly be no doubting our willingness to bear part of the costs of financing ICANN. However, we regard a payment for the current year as a form of start-up funding and not as a charge levied for an actual service rendered by ICANN. There can be no question of ICANN deciding arbitrarily what the individual registries are to pay. It is also necessary for us to sort out what services ICANN will take charge of in future and what sort of influence the registries will have in helping determine the shape of ICANN's decisions."

DENIC's Executive Board will be meeting sometime in the next few days to discuss how best to proceed as of now and, in particular, the amount of any payment to be made to ICANN.

For your convinience we provide here the original CENTR Press Release:

European Country Code Top level domain registries respond to ICANN invoices

At their General Assembly meeting in Trondheim, 1-2 June 2000, CENTR members discussed ICANN funding and the invoices issued to ccTLD registries for the ICANN financial year 99/00.

CENTR, the Council of National Top level domain Registries, is an association of Internet Country Code Top-Level Domain Registries (ccTLDs) such as .uk in the United Kingdom and .es in Spain. The current membership consists of 30 such ccTLDs registering over five million domain names between them.

During the Trondheim meeting, members endorsed the position of the CENTR Executive Committee set out in a letter to ICANN CEO, Mike Roberts on 10 May 2000. The letter pointed out that there are no contracts, funding "arrangements" or binding relationships presently in place between CENTR members and ICANN. There are no heads of agreement between CENTR / CENTR members and ICANN on funding or any other matter. The letter went on to set out five essential issues for CENTR members: the provision under contract of root services;

the sovereign right of the local Internet community in each CENTR country to manage its own ccTLD;

the desire to participate in any policy formulation or restructuring activities by ICANN, while retaining local policy implementation;

that no authority is conceded to ICANN by any CENTR member on the management of any ccTLD; and

the establishment of meaningful mechanisms for CENTR / CENTR members to participate in the planning of both the expenditure and the funding aspects of the ICANN budget.

In Trondheim CENTR members confirmed their willingness to continue discussions with ICANN on the above issues. Those able to do so agreed to donate funding to ICANN for the financial year ending 30 June 2000 on the basis that was established in the discussions with ICANN staff at the CENTR General Assembly meeting in Pisa in December 1999. The total contribution from CENTR members will be in the region of USD 600,000 based on a range of fee bands from which members selected the most appropriate to their circumstances and ability to pay.

Any request by ICANN for a funding contribution based on the number of domain names is fundamentally unacceptable to CENTR members.

For further information about CENTR see: