New Domainz contract includes gagging clause

Registrars using the new Domainz Registry System would be forbidden to publicly criticise Domainz under a draft contract being circulated.

Registrars using the new Domainz Registry System would be forbidden to publicly criticise Domainz under a draft contract being circulated.

Registrars - typically ISPs - would not be able to register .nz domain names on behalf of their customers without signing the contract, and the provision is already being viewed by critics as an attempt to stifle criticism.

Clause 7.3 of the lengthy contract requires that "The Registrar will at all times accurately represent (including to Name Holders, Prospective Name Holders, potential Name Holders, the new media, Government, or the general public) Domainz's legal status and its Internet authority, the Registration Terms and Conditions, and the Registrars relationship with Domainz whether under this contract or otherwise. The Registrar will not make any statement to the news media or publish or place any advertisement with the intention or likely effect of bringing Domainz, its Board, its employees or contractors into disrepute or of interfering with Domainz's actual or future operations."

Ironically, public criticism of Domainz appears to have been at least in part responsible for the commissioning by the council of the Internet Society of New Zealand (Domainz' shareholder) of a review of the new Domainz system led by Victoria University's John Hine.

On Friday, the Isocnz council also debated the defamation suit brought by Domainz CEO Patrick O'Brien - and failed to deliver a ringing endorsement of the suit. Although most of the debate was in committee, a motion calling for "an attempt at alternative dispute resolution" of the action was passed in open council.

The other notable aspect of Friday's Isocnz council meeting was that it was recorded by Isocnz member David Zanetti. The sound recordings have been encoded into RealPlayer format and made available only at:

http://www.registry.org.nz/isocnz/council-meetings/2000-03/

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