The Neverending Cctld Story
13 Pages Posted: 19 Mar 2003
Country-code top-level domains (ccTLDs) are the two-letter suffixes used by countries to denote their Internet addresses. Examples include .fr (for France), .tv (for Tuvalu) and .uk (for the United Kingdom). When ccTLDs were first developed, ccTLD policymaking was not high on the international lawmaking agenda. However, as the Internet explodes and as countries begin to realize the potential of this key information infrastructure, ccTLDs have received significant attention from the international community.
Added to the ccTLD policymaking debate is the creation and development of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a non-profit corporation formed to assume responsibility for the IP address space allocation, protocol parameter assignment, domain name system management, and root server system management functions previously performed under U.S. Government contract by IANA and other entities.
This book chapter recounts the power struggle over the control of the Domain Name System and authority to delegate and administer ccTLDs. It traces how ccTLD policymaking has been transformed from ad hoc, informal coordination to international, contract-based governance. It also discusses the various major players in the ccTLD debate: ICANN, the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), ccTLD managers, national governments, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
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