On February 8, the DNA publicly announced the first output of its Healthy Domains Initiative: A set of 37 total “healthy practices” recommendations in four key areas:

  • Online abuse (20 recommendations)
  • “Rogue” pharma (4 recommendations)
  • Abuse of child imagery (6 recommendations)
  • Alternative dispute resolution for copyright infringement (7 recommendations)

These recommendations are voluntary in nature and, as adopted by DNA member companies, are intended to continually maintain and enhance the health of the domain name system as namespace usage continues to grow and expand.

While each set of recommendations is important, a great deal of attention was focused on the copyright alternative dispute resolution (ADR) proposal—some have characterized it as a needless concession to ill-intentioned corporate interests, represents “shadow regulation” or is a slippery slope toward greater third party control of content on the Internet.

While the ADR of course is none of these, the DNA’s concern is that worries over these seven recommendations have overshadowed the value of the remaining 30. While addressing this and other illegalities is a priority for HDI, we heard and listened to various feedback, and have elected to take additional time to consider the details of the ADR recommendations.

It should be pointed out that providers of online services, including domain name registration services, appropriately establish latitude in their acceptable use policies (AUPs) or terms of service to directly address illegal behavior—including copyright infringement. If DNA members are interested in the regulation of anything, it would be in “regulating” clearly illegal behavior, not in deciding what the public can see on the Internet.

Thus, the DNA will take keen interest in any registrar’s or registry’s design and implementation of a copyright ADR, and will monitor its implementation and efficacy before refining its recommendations further.

In the meantime, the DNA looks forward to progress on the other 30 recommended practices it has endorsed, and will continue to have active discussions regarding these and other potential healthy practices.