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Country Code Top Level Domain

The ICANN Domain Name Supporting Organization consists of a Names Council, several Constituencies and a General Assembly. Each Constituency is self-organized. The initial Constituencies consist of (in alphabetical order): 1. ccTLD registries; 2. commercial and business entities; 3. gTLD registries; 4. ISP and connectivity providers; 5. non-commercial domain name holders; 6. registrars; and 7. trademark, other intellectual property and anti-counterfeiting interests. Any group of individuals or entities may petition the ICANN Board for recognition as a new or separate Constituency. (Constituency website URLs can be found at

Cooperative Agreement
A type of contractual agreement often used by the United States National Science Foundation (NSF) that facilitates cooperation between private organizations and the U.S. government for the purposes of encouraging development of new technology with the ultimate goal of turning that technology over to the private sector. Network Solutions entered into a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation in 1993 to provide Internet domain name registration services. That agreement was transferred from NSF to the U.S. Department of Commerce and is still in force today.

Country Code Top Level Domain
A top-level domain containing a 2-character abbreviation as defined by ISO 3166-1 (Codes for the Representation of Names of Countries and Their Subdivisions). As of November 1999 there were 243 country code top level domains (ccTLDs) registered. Some examples are .us for the United States, .ca for Canada, .jp for Japan, .de for Germany, etc. ccTLDs are often contrasted to generic top level domains (gTLDs). ccTLDs often have more restrictive registration requirements including regional requirements whereas gTLDs tend to be open to all registrants around the world.

Domain Name System

Domain Name Supporting Organization - A supporting organization of ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers). It advises the ICANN Board with respect to policy issues relating to the Domain Name System. The DNSO consists of: (i) a Names Council ("NC"), consisting of representatives of constituencies elected by those Constituencies and (ii) a General Assembly ("GA"), consisting of all interested individuals and entities.

United States Department of Commerce

Domain Name
An addressing construct used for identifying and locating computers on the Internet. Domain names provide a system of easy-to-remember Internet addresses, which can be translated by the Domain Name System (DNS) into the numeric addresses (Internet Protocol (IP) numbers) used by the network. A domain name is hierarchical and often conveys information about the type of entity using the domain name. A domain name is simply a label that represents a domain, which is a subset of the total domain name space. Domain names at the same level of the hierarchy must be unique. Thus, for example, there can be only one .COM at the top-level of the hierarchy, and only one at the next level of the hierarchy.

Domain Name System
A distributed database of information that is used to translate domain names (which are easy for humans to remember and use) into Internet Protocol (IP) numbers, which are what computers need to find each other on the Internet. People working on computers around the globe maintain their specific portion of this database, and the data held in each portion of the database is made available to all computers and users on the Internet. The DNS comprises computers, data files, software, and people working together.

Drafting Committees
Drafting committees are bodies of Domain Name Supporting Organization General Assembly members that are established by the DNSO Names Council to carry out its consensus building responsibility. Each recognized DNSO Constituency may participate in any drafting committee.

Frequently Asked Questions

General Assembly
The General Assembly (GA) is an open forum for participation in the work of the ICANN Domain Name Supporting Organization (DNSO). The participants in the GA should be individuals who have a knowledge of and an interest in issues pertaining to the areas for which the DNSO has primary responsibility, and who are willing to contribute time, effort and expertise to the work of the DNSO, including work item proposal and development, discussion of work items, draft document preparation, and participation in research and drafting committees and working groups.

Generic Top Level Domain
A top level domain name that is open to registrants around the world in contrast to country code top level domains that are often restricted to registrants located in a particular country or region. .com, .net and .org are all considered to be generic top level domains.

Green Paper
"A Proposal to Improve Technical Management of Internet Names and Addresses" prepared by the U.S. Department of Commerce (DoC) as a means of making recommendations to the Internet community and obtaining their comments. The Green Paper was released in January 1998 and was followed by a comment period during which DoC received comments from interested parties and organizations around the world. In response to the comments received, DoC published the policy statement referred to at the White Paper.

Generic Top Level Domain

Also called a name server. A computer that has both the software and the data (zone files) needed to resolve domain names to Internet Protocol (IP) numbers.


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