’Net pioneer needs help in fight for rights to .nyc

[media-credit name="Photo by Clayton Patterson " align="alignleft" width="300"][/media-credit]
Paul Garrin in front of P.S. 20, at Essex and Stanton Sts.

BY CLAYTON PATTERSON |  I first heard of Paul Garrin after the 1988 Tompkins Square police riot. We both captured, on video, the night of police wilding. Paul’s tape was around 20 minutes and mine was 3 hours 3 minutes. I got Paul’s money shot — the one where the cops pulled him by the collar as he was getting off the roof of a van and slammed him into the wall. It was a hard smash. No question.

Our videos gave us both our 15 minutes of airtime. We officially met as we were going around doing all the media interviews and so on. As time passed I stayed on and continued to document the Lower East Side anti-gentrification struggle and Paul worked on his art career.

Paul turned his videos into art projects that traveled Europe and were shown in places like the Linz Art Museum in Austria. And then Paul showed with the highly acclaimed video artist Nam June Paik at the prestigious Holly Solomon Gallery in Soho.

Eventually Paul moved from his art career to pioneering ideas in the new frontier of the commercial computer world. Paul has a tendency to rise to the top of each area he decides to focus on. He continues to make his own mark in the competitive computer market. The problem is the corporate world is filled with thieves and scumbags who would rather steal than support a new idea.

What is happening to Paul is something that has happened to many L.E.S. creative independent individuals with original ideas. I had it happen to me with my Clayton caps. Elsa and I were the first to put embroidery going around the cap — first to put on a label and a signature on the outside of the cap. We turned the cap into a brand and a fashion item. We were eventually robbed by the whole world of baseball caps. Beyond me does anyone care? No!

As the community became gentrified and all this new money came in, so did the gentry activists. The gentry activists were good at getting the support from the old school and were able to win the causes they were fighting for. The money they poured into their activism was amazing to observe, as all the local politicians, on every level, showed up at the moneyed-gentry events. I mean, I saw politicians at these L.E.S. events who I had never seen in public. But I thought the Left politicians were supposed to fight for everyone in the community? Yes? No?

Well, Paul right now needs political support from our leaders.

Paul has worked many years developing his ideas centered around his company, name.space. His battle has taken him to Congress. And as an entrepreneur with a small team, he is under serious attack by the likes of companies fronting the New York City Council card as their trump card — even though what they are presenting is bogus and a copy of Paul’s original work. The Villager has previously written about Paul’s struggle.

Below is a letter Paul sent to City Councilmember Rosie Mendez on April 9, 2012. Individual copies of the letter were also sent to Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, Borough President Scott Stringer and other elected officials.

Dear Rosie,
This is a matter of great urgency. The City of New York has engaged in a contract with a Virginia-based company, Neustar, to apply to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to operate the .NYC Internet Top-Level Domain (TLD).

There are a number of reasons why outsourcing the .NYC domain in this way is not in the best interests of the City, nor of our community.

1. A New York City-based company already has rights to the .NYC domain. The .NYC domain was originated in 1996 and is owned and operated by my company, name.space, inc., which is based entirely in New York City. name.space created this domain, not ICANN. Neither Neustar nor ICANN has rights to this domain. This puts the City in direct conflict with our existing business operations.

2. The City benefits more from name.space’s operation of the domain. The financial benefits reported by the contractor in the media ($3 million per year) are far below the potential revenues that .NYC can yield if operated within our City and run truly in the interest of our City with a more creative, civic-oriented business model like the one name.space seeks to implement.

3. Exploitation of name.space’s creation by ICANN and Neustar hurts name.space and the City. The potential revenues from .NYC are but a fraction of the total revenues that name.space would earn operating its established portfolio of hundreds of TLDs (potentially reaching $1 billion per year or more), which again would inure to the City’s benefit.

4. The City is inadvertently participating in this wrongful conduct. By participating in a contract with Neustar, the City is in effect endorsing the corrupt practices within the ICANN process which favors incumbent industry players and inside members of the ICANN organization, and discriminates against small businesses, startups, and community organizations by its high application fees and complicated application process.

I ask you as a concerned citizen, member of your district, affected small business and committed member of our community, to urge the City Council to hold an emergency vote to withdraw the agreement that the City has made with the Virginia-based contractor. Instead, the City should recognize name.space’s existing rights and support our ability to conduct business in the City of New York, while pursuing our mission to serve our community to bridge the digital divide, provide affordable broadband, and to bring digital literacy and skills to our citizens who need it the most. name.space originated and created this domain. It is just plain wrong to support these other companies as they step in and take advantage of name.space’s innovation and hard work. Together, we can put the City where it belongs in the digital economy — at the core of innovation, creativity, employment, and community benefit.
Paul Garrin
Founder, name.space http://namespace.us

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7 Responses to ’Net pioneer needs help in fight for rights to .nyc

  1. In other news, Paul Garrin's got a beef with NASA for picking up all those moon rocks, in circumvention of the exclusive lunar mining rights he conferred on himself.

  2. It seems clear to anyone paying attention to this matter that it is in the interest of the City of New York to go with a Paul Garrin and Name Space, which is based in New York City and which will provide service to and generate income for fellow New Yorkers.

    Why should it be more acceptable for an outsider to lay claim to the TLDs that Paul established (and created) long before anything other than ".com" ".net" or ".org" was made available by the secretive un-elected and therefore unaccountable ICAAN? Who conferred the right to ICAAN to control the internet and decide who can have what number of TLDs?

  3. It's silly for the city to outsource its domain to an outside contractor when in fact the domain was originated by a New York City startup which has a grander vision for how domains can greatly impact the economy of New York CIty. Keep the .NYC local and give a budding startup a chance to succeed. Go Paul!

  4. Despite the major role that the internet now plays in most of our lives, few pay attention to its structure and governance. Paul Garrin early on realized the ways in which a combination of corporate and U.S. federal agencies have been able to control (and profit by) increasing global internet use. For years Garrin has exposed the many contradictions inherent in the current structure. New York City should collaborate with Garrin to make the best open and democratic use of any .nyc domain.

  5. @John if that was an attempt to be funny, this is not actually a funny situation. If not, I suggest, please, that you learn something about the history of ICANN, large registrars (Network Solutions, et.al.) and the "land grab" made by those entities. Then look at what Paul is trying to do for the City, the underserved, as well as, or course his own business – which is trying to keep the internet and it's properties more OPEN.

  6. Marcy J. Gordon

    John, Paul Garrin's use his TLDs (top level domains) in commerce pre-dates the existence of ICANN, so this is hardly a case of Paul attempting to claim ownership of things that aren't his. IBM has a huge portfolio of patents, but no one says they have too many patents so they should give up ownership of some of them — everyone recognizes these patents are IBM's intellectual property. Likewise, Paul Garrin's portfolio of TLDs are his intellectual property. He thought them up, he was the first one to make them available to the public — they're his.

    Furthermore, Paul is thinking about helping others — individuals, business of all sizes (small, mid-size and large) as well as the City itself. To characterize him as purely self-serving is ludicrous and ill-informed.

    Perhaps you would care to retract your original statement?

  7. Paul did not attend/speak at the Public Hearing on the contract – see http://isoc-ny.org/p2/?p=3117 . Under the Neustar deal the city is guaranteed a minimum of $3.6m over 5 years, plus Neustar cover application costs. Hard to see namespace matching that. Nevertheless there are many unresolved details, such as who will administer the many reserved names, that still leave room for maneuver.

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