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Obama Gives Up Major ‘Intellectual Property’ — the Internet!

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Internet profileby L. Gordon Crovitz, The Wall Street Journal

When the Obama administration announced its plan to give up US protection of the internet, it promised the United Nations would never take control. But because of the administration’s naiveté or arrogance, UN control is the likely result if the US gives up internet stewardship as planned at midnight on September 30th.

On Friday Americans for Limited Government received a response to its Freedom of Information Act request for “all records relating to legal and policy analysis . . . concerning antitrust issues for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers” if the US gives up oversight. The administration replied it had “conducted a thorough search for responsive records within its possession and control and found no records responsive to your request.”

It’s shocking the administration admits it has no plan for how Icann retains its antitrust exemption. The reason Icann can operate the entire World Wide Web root zone is that it has the status of a legal monopolist, stemming from its contract with the Commerce Department that makes Icann an “instrumentality” of government.

Antitrust rules don’t apply to governments or organizations operating under government control. In a 1999 case, the Second US Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the monopoly on internet domains because the Commerce Department had set “explicit terms” of the contract relating to the “government’s policies regarding the proper administration” of the domain system.

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© 2016 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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