Network Solutions Suit Clarified
The information below also appeared as an update to an earlier article about the class-action lawsuit against Network Solutions filed by Kabateck Brown Kellner.[Brian] Kabateck said it was unclear how many plaintiffs would ultimately particapate in the lawsuit and therefore damages sought at this point are unknown. He estimates, though, that the number of plaintiffs is potentially in the thousands, and that the suit will seek a refund of about $25 per plaintiff, or the amount they allegedly were overcharged.
"In our mind, this is a very subtle form of price-fixing," he said. "People don’t know how long the domain is going to be held up for, and people are going to be scared into paying a higher price now. They should have notified the customer. People should know they have other options."
As to why ICANN was brought into the suit and how much he felt ICANN was liable for, Kabateck said the suit was not seeking monetary damages from ICANN. "It’s not so much that they have monetary liability. We simply want a declaration that they can’t set the rules for how long you can or can’t lock up domain names."
When asked who should set the rules for that, Kabateck said that should be the government’s responsibility.
Though ICANN is a quasi-independent nonprofit organization, it was established by the US Dept. of Commerce to act on behalf of the government. Though the United Nations has pressured its cause that ICANN be placed under UN control, the contract between ICANN and the US was extended until 2011. Nevertheless, some argue ICANN lacks the authority to decide domain policy.
Kabateck says ICANN lacks such authority and also denies that ICANN is a government body.