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Ethos adds legally-binding provisions to try to save .Org deal

8-year price cap, censorship and data controls would be baked into registry agreement amendment.

Logo for .org domain, featuring a blue circle with white letters spelling ORG

Ethos Capital, the company that is trying to acquire the .Org registry, took a big step today to try to push it over the finish line. It agreed to add a Public Interest Commitment (PIC) (pdf) to the registry agreement with ICANN that would enforce some of the promises it has made publicly.

The move comes after ICANN sent a letter to Internet Society, which current controls .org, making it clear that ICANN believes it has the power to nix the deal on grounds beyond security and stability.

Among the commitments is to cap the .org price for the first eight years. The price increase will be capped at 10% per year on average, and now “on average” has some teeth. It can’t be front-loaded, although the trigger date will be backdated to June 2019.

The current wholesale price of a .org domain is $9.93. That means that, after eight years, the price could be around $21, more than double the current price.

After eight years, PIR could change the price as much as it wants. (That might be about the time Ethos decides to exit the business.)

Before the Ethos announcement, Public Interest Registry said it had no current plans to increase the price of .org domain names.

Additionally, the .Org Stewardship Council will have veto authority on changes to .org policies around censorship and freedom of expression, as well as the use of .org registrant and user data.

PIR will also establish a Community Enablement Fund to support initiatives benefitting .org registrants. It will contribute $10 million to this fund during the remaining lift of the current registry agreement. That’s about $1 million a year.

Post link: Ethos adds legally-binding provisions to try to save .Org deal

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