Ethos Capital announces accountability initiatives for .org

Investment firm Ethos Capital has announced several accountability initiatives aimed to secure a strong future for .org, once it acquires Public Interest Registry (PIR), as planned. The firm has proposed a series of Public Interest Commitments to be added to the .org Registry Agreement (thus making them legally-binding and enforceable by ICANN). To start with, the fees charged to registrars for .org domain names will not increase by more than 10% per year on average for eight years. Then, the .org Stewardship Council will be empowered to provide advice on, and have a binding right to veto, modifications proposed to PIR’s policies regarding censorship and freedom and expression and the use of .org registrant data. Its activities will be governed by a charter that Ethos has now made public. The Council will not include any employee, director, or member of PIR. A Community Enablement Fund will be established to provide support for initiatives benefiting .org registrants. Ethos estimated that the fund would benefit from US$10 million over the remaining life of the current Registry Agreement. PIR will publish annual reports that assess the registry’s compliance with the commitments and the ways in which it pursues activities for the benefit of .org registrants. Finally, PIR has granted ICANN a deadline extension until 20 March to review the proposed .org sale.