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CONTACT: Amy Smorodin
October 26, 2006
(202) 289-8928
ICANN should Promote Registry Competition
GMU Professor Bruce H. Kobayashi joins PFF as Adjunct Fellow

WASHINGTON D.C. - The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) should no longer treat registry operators as regulated monopolies, explains Bruce H. Kobayashi in "After the MOU Extension: More Competition, Less Regulation is the Solution to ICANN’s Problems," a new Progress on Point released today by The Progress & Freedom Foundation. Kobayashi explains that the amount of competition between registry operators negates the need for heavy regulation and that more competition could be introduced by presumed contract renewal and loosened restrictions on the creation of top level domain names. Separately, Kobayashi has recently been named Adjunct Fellow at The Progress & Freedom Foundation.

In his paper, Kobayashi discusses the how top-level-domain (TLD) registries are currently treated by ICANN as a regulated monopoly. Specifically, he identifies the lack of presumption of contract renewal and restrictive polices on the creation of new TLDs. The author concludes that such regulation of registry operators is no longer needed in light of significant increase in competition from new TLDs. Kobayashi explains, "The current environment, characterized by increased competition between TLD registries and future competition from newly created TLDs obviates the need for competitive bidding or direct price regulation to avoid the exercise of monopoly power."

To promote more market competition between registry operators, Kobayashi suggests a loosening in the oversight of ICANN concerning the introduction of new TLDs. "ICANN could facilitate the creation of more TLDs by allowing market forces to determine the rate at which new TLDs are created." The author also promotes the introduction of a sort of property rights in the registry system in the form of presumed contract renewal to further promote competition. "Giving competing registry operators quasi property rights to the TLD registry will improve the registry operator's incentives to invest in maintaining the quality of their TLD 'brand,' and will facilitate long-term contracting that can prevent registry operators from holding up existing customers."

A newly named PFF Adjunct Fellow, Kobayashi is a Professor of Law at George Mason University School of Law. His articles, published in a variety of books and journals, examine the law and economics of intellectual property, antitrust law and regulation, litigation and procedure, evidence, uniform laws, and federalism. He currently serves on the advisory board for the BNA Patent, Copyright & Trademark Journal, and is a member of the executive board of the AALS Section on Antitrust and Economic Regulation. He also has served as a contributing editor for the Supreme Court Economic Review, and served as the GMU Law School Associate Dean for Academic Affairs from 2004 to 2006. Professor Kobayashi has previously served as a Senior Economist in the Division of Economic Policy Analysis of the Federal Trade Commission and as an Economist for the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Kobayashi's paper, "After the MOU Extension: More Competition, Less Regulation is the Solution to ICANN’s Problems" is available on the PFF web site. For more information, contact Amy Smorodin at 202-289-8928 or

The Progress & Freedom Foundation is a market-oriented think tank that studies the digital revolution and its implications for public policy. It is a 501(c)(3) research & educational organization.



The Progress & Freedom Foundation