[governance] New Announcement on the PIR proposed Sale

Bruna Martins dos Santos (via governance Mailing List) governance at lists.riseup.net
Fri Feb 21 10:48:01 EST 2020

Dear all,

Internet Society shared this morning, on their newsletter, the following
announcement regarding the PIR Sale, also posted on

Announcement: Ethos Capital Announces Accountability Initiatives to Secure
a Strong Future for .ORG
*Ethos Voluntarily Initiates Legally-Binding Public Interest Commitments
that Enforce Price Limits on .ORG and Codify Strong Safeguards Against
Censorship of Free Expression and Use of Personal Data*

*Establishes a $10 Million Community Enablement Fund to Support the .ORG

*Releases .ORG Stewardship Council Charter*

*February 21, 2020 – Boston, MA –* Ethos Capital (“Ethos”) today announced
several key initiatives that strengthen and reinforce the company’s
commitments to the .ORG community as part of its acquisition of Public
Interest Registry (“PIR”). These initiatives are legally-binding measures
that enforce price limits, safeguard against censorship and protect
personal data through an amendment to PIR’s Registry Agreement with the
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (“ICANN”) that allows
PIR to operate the .ORG top-level domain. This amendment is codified in
what is known as a Public Interest Commitment (“PIC”). These
legally-binding commitments cannot be unilaterally modified by PIR and will
apply to .ORG regardless of who operates .ORG.

In connection with these initiatives, PIR has granted ICANN an additional
extension to March 20, 2020 to review PIR's submissions. PIR will continue
to work collaboratively with ICANN to address any potential outstanding
questions by this date.


In response to the .ORG community’s requests for increased clarity around
Ethos’ commitments, Ethos has voluntarily proposed to add an amendment to
PIR’s .ORG Registry Agreement with ICANN in the form of a PIC. Upon
completion of the acquisition, the PIC will become a legally binding
amendment to the current Registry Agreement. It will be enforceable both by
ICANN through its compliance department and by members of the community
through ICANN’s Public Interest Commitments Dispute Resolution Procedure

“We have been listening closely to stakeholder feedback – both positive and
negative – and have been working diligently to address these specific
issues head on,” said Erik Brooks, Founder & CEO of Ethos Capital. “A
primary request we heard from the .ORG community was for strong
enforceability measures to ensure that Ethos would be held accountable to
its promises. We are taking these actions to show that we stand firmly
behind the commitments we’ve made – and most importantly – behind the
registrants and users who have made .ORG the incredible domain it is today.”

This Amendment to include the PIC will include the following
legally-binding contractual provisions:


   *Affordability of .ORG Domain Names: *Fees charged to registrars for
   initial or renewal registration of a .ORG domain name will not increase by
   more than 10% per year on average for eight years from the start of the
   current Registry Agreement, under a precise formula that does not permit
   front-loading of those price increases. Through this commitment, .ORG will
   become one of the only TLDs to have a price restriction and it will remain
   one of the most affordable domains in the world.

   *ORG Stewardship Council*: The .ORG Stewardship Council (the “Council”)
   will have authority to provide independent advice on and a binding right to
   veto modifications proposed by PIR to PIR’s policies regarding (1)
   censorship and freedom of expression and (2) use of .ORG registrant and
   user data. The Council will have specific authority to veto any proposals
   or modifications that would limit the Council’s oversight in these areas.
   No employee, director or member of PIR shall serve on the Council.

   *Community Enablement Fund*: PIR will establish a Community Enablement
   Fund to provide support for initiatives benefitting .ORG registrants and
   approved by the Council. The commission, charter, and funding of the
   Community Enablement Fund will be established by PIR’s Board with input
   from the Council. The Council will be responsible for providing
   recommendations and advice regarding the Community Enablement Fund.
   Appropriations from the Community Enablement Fund will be subject to
   approval of the PIR Board. It is anticipated that PIR will contribute $10
   million to the Community Enablement Fund over the remaining life of the
   current Registry Agreement.

   *Annual Public Report*: PIR will produce and publish annually a report
   that assesses PIR’s compliance with the PIC commitments and the ways in
   which PIR pursued activities for the benefit of the registrants of .ORG
   domain names during the preceding year.


In addition to clarifying the role of the .ORG Stewardship Council in the
PIC, Ethos has publicly released the .ORG Stewardship Council Charter (the
“Charter”) outlining the principles and protocols that will govern the
administration and operation of the Council.

Key components of the Charter are as follows:


   The Council will have the power to veto changes to .ORG policies in two
   essential areas, consistent with the values of the .ORG community and with
   PIR’s Anti-Abuse Policy: (1) appropriate limitations and safeguards against
   censorship of free expression in the .ORG domain name space; and (2)
   appropriate limitations and safeguards regarding use or disclosure of
   registration data or other personal data of .ORG domain name registrants
   and users. The Council will also have authority to veto any changes to the
   .ORG Stewardship Council Charter that would diminish the Council’s rights
   with respect to policies in these two areas.

   The Council will provide the PIR Board with independent strategic advice
   and recommendations to help guide PIR in considering and balancing the best
   interests of all .ORG stakeholders, in order to help the PIR Board assess
   how it can promote values that serve the mission-driven goals of the .ORG

   The Council will provide recommendations and advice regarding the
   Community Enablement Fund established by PIR to provide support for
   initiatives benefitting .ORG registrants that are consistent with the
   mission and values of the .ORG community.

The full text of the PIC and the Charter, which includes additional
information about the Council’s duties and responsibilities and details its
policies and procedures, may be viewed at


The acquisition will ensure a bright future for PIR and .ORG registrants
and users. Ethos’ investment in PIR will deliver significant benefits to
the .ORG community, including investment in value-added products and
services that will strengthen and grow the .ORG brand. PIR will conduct
market studies and surveys to help identify the products and services that
can further build the online presence of mission-driven organizations
around the world.

“PIR’s mission has always been to serve the .ORG community, and this
agreement with ICANN ensures that we will continue to do just that,” said
Jon Nevett, CEO of Public Interest Registry. “The binding and enforceable
commitments announced by Ethos today ensure protections that support Ethos’
pledge to be a responsible partner to PIR. On behalf of the entire team at
PIR, we could not be more thrilled to be working with Erik, Nora and the
Ethos team. It’s clear that they believe in our mission and support the
values we’ve worked so hard to establish over the past 17 years. We hope to
complete this transaction in the near future so that we can move forward on
building an even stronger .ORG together.”


The transaction will allow the Internet Society to do more for the
Internet. The Internet Society will invest the proceeds from the
transaction and use the resulting investment income to power the
organization’s mission of an Internet that is open, globally-connected,
trustworthy and secure. The sustainable funding offered by the investments
will ensure the Internet Society community efforts to build, promote, and
defend the Internet can continue, and that these efforts reach far and
wide. By decoupling from its reliance on revenue from the domain name
industry, the Internet Society will also achieve a greater degree of
independence, allowing it to be a more vocal champion for an open and
inclusive Internet that is a force for good for everyone.

“With this announcement, Ethos shows that it has been listening to the
questions some have raised. Ethos has responded by embedding its
commitments on pricing, censorship and data use policies in a
legally-binding contract, and giving ICANN and the community the ability to
hold Ethos to its commitments. They listened, and responded,” said Andrew
Sullivan, President and CEO of the Internet Society. “With this in place,
and as the Internet Society and PIR advance their missions, the Internet
will become stronger, more secure, and more accessible.”


The principals from Ethos, PIR and the Internet Society will host a
community discussion on Thursday, February 27, 2020 from 3:00 – 4:00 PM EST
(8:00-9:00 PM UTC) to provide additional details on these important
commitments. More information about this event may be found at

Ethos, PIR, and the Internet Society look forward to hosting additional
community discussions in the coming weeks.

*About Ethos Capital*
Ethos Capital is a specialized investment firm that helps transform and
grow established companies in today’s rapidly evolving digital economy.
Ethos Capital’s Founder and CEO, Erik Brooks, has deep expertise and
relationships across the business, technical, and social communities that
protect and promote the Internet’s core founding values. As a
mission-driven firm, Ethos Capital is committed to setting the gold
standard of ethics and social responsibility for registry operations and
supporting a globally connected and resilient Internet. For more
information, please visit https://ethoscapital.com/

*About Public Interest Registry*
Public Interest Registry (PIR) is a nonprofit corporation that operates the
.ORG top-level domain—one of the world’s largest generic top-level domains
with more than 10 million domain names registered worldwide. As an advocate
for collaboration, safety, and security on the Internet, PIR’s mission is
to serve as an exemplary registry and to provide a trusted digital
identity. PIR strives to educate the global community to use the Internet
more safely and effectively while taking a leadership position among
Internet stakeholders on policy and other issues relating to the domain
naming system. PIR was founded by the Internet Society (
in 2002 and is based in Reston, Virginia, USA. Visit Public Interest
Registry at https://pir.org

*About .ORG*
.ORG is the original purpose-driven “generic” top-level domain (gTLD) with
more than 10 million domain names registered worldwide. .ORG is open to
everyone, providing a global platform for organizations, associations,
clubs, businesses and individuals to bring their ideas to life. For more
than 30 years, .ORG has built an enduring legacy of trust, preserving an
open and secure Internet where diverse communities can establish a trusted
online identity and freely share ideas. Visit www.TheNew.org
more information.

*About the Internet Society*
Founded by Internet pioneers, the Internet Society (ISOC) is a non-profit
organization dedicated to ensuring the open development, evolution and use
of the Internet. Working through a global community of chapters and
members, the Internet Society collaborates with a broad range of groups to
promote technologies that keep the Internet safe and secure, and to
advocate for policies and infrastructure that enable universal access. The
Internet Society also provides a corporate home for the administrative
entity that supports the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). For
additional information, visit https://www.internetsociety.org/


*Ethos Capital*
Monique Sidhom
Sard Verbinnen & Co
EthosCapital-SVC at sardverb.com

*Public Interest Registry*
Andy Shea
Jackson Street Partners
shea at jacksonstreetpartners.com

*Internet Society*
James Wood & Kristi Mason
jwood at isoc.org
Mason at isoc.org

*Bruna Martins dos Santos *

Skype ID: bruna.martinsantos
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