Taking in the Trash

The goverment white paper on domain names policy, www.ntia.doc.gov/ ntiahome/ domainname/ 6_5_98dns.htm, released on June 5 and debated by the panel, will face its own questions of legitimacy. The initiative calls for a nonprofit organization, consisting of "stakeholders" from all interested companies, to rule over the meting out of the top-level domains like ".com" and ".net," wresting control away from the corporation Network Solutions, which currently manages the system. While Lessig agrees with the new system in theory, he argued that the problem is that we don't know who the "stakeholders" are, and that in many debates (like that over encryption) we are all stakeholders.

And that's the issue that haunts us: as the Net comes closer to being regulated by specific bodies, who is choosing them? Just what constitutes citizenship, exactly, and when do we get to vote? The migration toward overarching ruling groups--like the domain name nonprofit--signals a trend away from consensus and public debate, warned Lessig. "We're not democrats anymore, but that should force us to figure out why."


Signal and Noise

  • Agencies: David Remnick nabbed $200,000 for Lenin's Tomb. Joe Klein got his own $200K for Primary Colors. For those bucking to get published, the Agent Research & Evaluation site (www.agentresearch.com), created by Bill Martin and his wife, author Beverly Byrne, is intended to "empower authors" with an extensive database of about 850 literary agents, their deals, and the 10,000 authors they rep. Though essentially a promotional site for a $30 yearly newsletter, AR&E still offers a telling list of the highest-powered agents behind the bestsellers and an "Agent Verification" function to let writers interrogate the database to ascertain whether their newest suitor is legit...

  • HackJob: First, John Markoff of the Times wrote a front-page story on hacker Kevin Mitnick. Next came the book deal
    for Takedown--a collaboration between Markoff and Mitnick's captor Tsutomu Shimomura. Now Miramax is rolling on the Takedown film, set to star Skeet Ulrich as Mitnick. But can Skeet type 90 words a minute and glower at the same time?...

  • Secret History: During the "quiet period" before an IPO, executives must keep all company business on the q.t. But now that ad network DoubleClick has become the Alley's first company to spike in the market (trading now at 35 points), president Kevin Ryan will go public with the perks and perils of opening the company up to investment at the MIT Enterprise Forum meeting on June 24, at the Chase Manhattan bank at 270 Park Avenue. Accountants, lawyers, and investment bankers will be on hand. Call 681-1112 for details.

    E-mail: abunn@villagevoice.com

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