Internet Society
Attn: Andrew Sullivan, President and CEO
11710 Plaza America Drive, Suite 400
Reston, VA 20190

Dear Mr. Sullivan,

We urge you to stop the sale of the Public Interest Registry (PIR) to Ethos Capital.

Non-governmental organizations all over the world rely on the .ORG top-level domain. Decisions affecting .ORG must be made with the consultation of the NGO community, overseen by a trusted community leader. If the Internet Society (ISOC) can no longer be that leader, it should work with the NGO community and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to find an appropriate replacement.

The 2019 .ORG Registry Agreement represents a significant departure from .ORG’s 34-year history. It gives the registry the power to make several policy decisions that would be detrimental to the .ORG community:

  • The power to raise .ORG registration fees without the approval of ICANN or the .ORG community. A .ORG price hike would put many cash-strapped NGOs in the difficult position of either paying the increased fees or losing the legitimacy and brand recognition of a .ORG domain.
  • The power to develop and implement Rights Protection Mechanisms unilaterally, without consulting the .ORG community. If such mechanisms are not carefully crafted in collaboration with the NGO community, they risk censoring completely legal nonprofit activities.
  • The power to implement processes to suspend domain names based on accusations of “activity contrary to applicable law.” The .ORG registry should not implement such processes without understanding how state actors frequently target NGOs with allegations of illegal activity.

A registry could abuse these powers to do significant harm to the global NGO sector, intentionally or not. We cannot afford to put them into the hands of a private equity firm that has not earned the trust of the NGO community. .ORG must be managed by a leader that puts the needs of NGOs over profits.

When ISOC originally proposed transferring management of .ORG to PIR in 2002, ISOC’s then President and CEO Lynn St. Amour promised that .ORG would continue to be driven by the NGO community—in her words, PIR would “draw upon the resources of ISOC’s extended global network to drive policy and management.” As long-time members of that global network, we insist that you keep that promise. logo91.3Academy of Fashion Arts and SciencesAccess Now logoAdvocates for the Environment Law FirmAmerican Alliance of Museums logoAmerican Federation of TeachersThe American ProspectAmerica's Service Commissions logoThe Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA)American Federation of Musicians of the United States and CanadaAmerican Council on Exercise LogoAmerican Bible SocietyApache Software Foundation logoAPSAPSA logoAprilASAE logoAspiration logoAssociation of German FoundationsAssociation of Junior Leagues International logoBlueprint for Free SpeechChildren's Treehouse FoundationCITRIS and the Banatao InstituteCivi CRM LogoCode for America logoCommunity PartnersConsumer Action logoConsumer ReportsCreative Commons logoCrisis Text Line logoCWACYONDefending Rights and DissentDemand Progress Education Fund logoDerechos DigitalesDigital Rights WatchDNRC logoThe Drupal AssociationECNLEcumenical Council of Bishops and Apostolic LeadershipElectronic Frontier Foundation logoElectronic Privacy Information Center logoEnvironmental CenterEuropean Climate Foundation logoFarm Aid logoFeeding AmericaFFDNFight for the future logoFree Software Foundation logoFrontline DefendersFundacion KarismaGulf Centre for Human RightsGirl Scouts of the USA logoGFMDGNOME Foundation logoGreenpeace USA logoHealth SparkHS ISTThe Henry FordHRMIHuman Rights Data Analysis GroupHRWHURIDOCS logoIFEXIndependent Sector logoInteraction International LogoInterExchangeInternet Archive logoITUCITHAKAJobs With JusticeThe League of Women Voters of the United States logoMapLight logoMeals on Wheels America logoMedia AllianceNational Council of Nonprofits logoNational Human Services Assembly logoNational PTANonprofits Insurance AllianceNorth Dakota Association of Nonprofit Organizations LogoNTEN logoOrganization for Transformative WorksOpen Knowledge FoundationOpenMICopen source matters logoOpen Source Initiative logoOpen Technology InstituteOxfam LogoOzgurPacket Clearing HouseParadigm InitiativePLOSPublic Citizen logoPublic Knowledge logoROSRFRainforest Action NetworkRanking Digital RightsRedes AyudaThe Restart ProjectR Street Institute logoSF Public Health logoSchool on WheelsSierraSimple machines logoSociety for NonprofitsSoftware for GoodStiftungTechSoup logoTexasCriminalJusticeTogether SCTorTrans Lifeline logoUnionArtUnion of Concerned SicentistsUshahidi LogoVolunteerMatch logoVolunteers of America logoWVNPWinWithoutWarWikimedia Foundation logoWorld Vision InternationalWeb Foundation logoYMCA of the USA logoYWCA USA logo
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