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Transnational private governance of the internet in the European Union : the case of the dot EU top level domain

Christou, George and Simpson, Seamus (2005) Transnational private governance of the internet in the European Union : the case of the dot EU top level domain. [Conference or Workshop Item] (Unpublished)

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Abstract

The EU has played a significant role in policy developments on economic aspects of Internet governance. In the late 1990s, it created the dot eu Internet Top Level Domain (TLD) which provides a means for Internet users to register their names under a European label, thereby giving them a European address and identity on the Internet. This paper explores the emergent governance system for dot eu, considering three of its dimensions: the core norms and associated practices underpinning it; its structural makeup; and its operational “mechanics”. Dot eu provides an interesting case of new European transnational private governance. The system draws upon and will comply with several core practices of Internet governance developed globally, most outstandingly, private interest self-regulation and alternative dispute settlement. Nonetheless, the governance of dot eu has been “customised” by the EU. When fully operational, it will involve a part-public, though predominantly private, trans-European regulatory network across which the governance of dot eu will occur through a process of ‘dispersed agencification’. Here, Eurid - the private, transnational, not-for-profit, company responsible for the dot eu registry - will become the central node in a regulatory network also comprising the European Commission (responsible for public policy rules governing dot eu), private alternative dispute resolution companies, temporarily deployed private validation agents, private registrar companies and, finally, registrants under dot eu.

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