IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Mr. SHIMKUS introduced the following bill; which was referred to the
Committee on _____
A BILL To facilitate the creation of a new global top-level Internet
domain that will be a haven for material that will promote
positive experiences of children and families using the Internet, to provide a safe online environment for children, and to help prevent children from being exposed to harmful material on the Internet, and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the '' Dot Kids Domain Name Act of 2001''.
SEC. 2. ESTABLISHMENT OF KIDS-FRIENDLY TOP-LEVEL DOMAIN NAME.
(a) NTIA ACTION.-- Within 30 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Commerce, acting through the National Telecommunications and In formation Administration, shall-- (1) pursuant to the authority under section II. B. of the Memorandum of Understanding Between the U. S. Department of Commerce and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, entered into on November 25, 1998, regarding oversight of the policy for determining the circumstances under which new top-level Internet domains are added to the root system, jointly with ICANN, develop a plan in accordance with section 3 of this Act for ICANN to establish the new domain in accordance with the requirements under sub-section (b) of this section;
(2) upon completion of the development of such plan, make the plan publicly available; and
(3) enter into any memorandums of understanding, agreements, and contracts with ICANN, and any amendments to existing such memorandums, agreements, and contracts, as may be necessary to provide for ICANN to carry out such plan. 2
(b) REQUIREMENTS FOR NEW DOMAIN.-- The new domain shall be subject to the following requirements:
(1) TOP-LEVEL, INTERNATIONAL DOMAIN.-- The new domain shall be established as a top-level, International domain having a domain name appropriate for its purpose.
(2) GREEN LIGHT APPROACH.-- The new domain shall be available for voluntary use as a location only of material that is considered suitable for minors and shall not be available for use as a location of any material that is harmful to minors.
(3) OPERATOR OF DOMAIN.-- The entity selected pursuant to section 3 to establish, operate, and maintain the new domain shall--
(A) establish, operate, and maintain the domain in accordance with the requirements under this subsection; and (B) provide for the creation of an independent board, with diverse membership, which shall be responsible for--
(i) establishing written criteria for accepting registrants for the new domain and for any limitations applicable to the new domain, which shall include a requirement that any registrant agree to use the new domain in accordance with paragraph (1); and 4
(ii) ensuring that subscription rates or fees for obtaining a new domain name are as minimal as possible.
(4) CONSULTATION.-- In carrying out the establishment, operation, and maintenance of the new domain, family organizations and international organizations concerned with the operations of the Internet shall be coordinated with and consulted.
(5) PERIODIC AUDITS.-- Periodic audits shall be conducted to ensure compliance with requirements, registration criteria, and limitations applicable to the new domain.
(6) REVIEW OF EXCLUSION.-- A registrant to the new domain shall have the opportunity for an impartial hearing regarding any material excluded from the domain. Such a hearing shall provide the basic elements of due process, including adequate notice, a right to representation, an opportunity to present evidence and witnesses, an opportunity to examine and refute evidence, an opportunity to cross-examine witnesses, and a right to a decision on the merits.
(7) OTHER.-- Any other requirements that may be established under the plan developed pursuant to subsection (a).
SEC. 3. SELECTION PROCESS FOR OPERATOR OF NEW DOMAIN.
(a) APPLICATION PROCESS.-- A plan in accordance with this section shall establish a process for soliciting applications for establishment of the new domain, which process shall--
(1) commence and complete not later than 60 days after the expiration of the 30-day period referred to in section 2( a);
(2) provide adequate notice to prospective applicants (including any applicant that previously filed an application with ICANN for similar purposes that was rejected) of--
(A) the opportunity to submit such an application; and
(B) the criteria for selection under sub- section (b)( 1);
(3) involve a fee for filing an application that does not exceed the minimum amount reasonably estimated as necessary to recover any expenses of ICANN relating to the process for establishing the new domain; and
(4) provide for reimbursement to applicants of any amounts collected in filing fees that exceed the actual amount of expenses of ICANN relating to the process for establishing the new domain.
(b) SELECTION PROCESS.-- A plan in accordance with this section shall establish a process for selection, from applications submitted pursuant to the process under subsection (a), of an application for the establishment of the new domain in accordance with the requirements under section 2( b). Such selection process shall comply with the following requirements:
(1) CRITERIA.-- The selection shall be made pursuant to written, objective criteria designed to ensure--
(A) that the new domain is established, operated, and maintained in accordance with the requirements under section 2( b); and
(B) that the entity selected to establish, operate, and maintain the domain is the applicant most capable and qualified to do so.
(2) INITIAL REVIEW.-- Not more than 60 days after the conclusion of the application period pursuant to subsection (a)( 1), ICANN shall--
(A) review and apply the selection criteria established under paragraph (1) to each application submitted; and
(B) based upon such criteria, select an application and award to the applicant a contract for establishment, operation, and maintenance of the new domain, unless ICANN determines that no applicant could minimally provide for establishment, operation, and maintenance of the new domain in accordance with the requirements under section 2( b).
(3) SECOND APPLICATION PERIOD.-- If no applicant is selected pursuant to paragraph (2), not later than 30 days after the expiration of the 60-day period under paragraph (2), ICANN shall commence another application and selection process that complies with the requirements under subsection (a) and this subsection.
(4) REPORT.-- If the second application and selection process pursuant to paragraph (3) does not result in the award of a contract for establishment, operation, and maintenance of the new domain, not later than 30 days after the conclusion of such second 60-day period under paragraph (2), ICANN shall inform the Secretary of Commerce in writing of such failure to award a contract and submit to the Secretary a report describing the application and selection process and setting forth the reasons for such failure to award a contract.
(c) FULL OPERATION.-- A plan in accordance with this section shall provide for ICANN to take all actions necessary to facilitate the full operation of the new domain within 6 months after the award of the contract for establishment, operation, and maintenance of the domain.
(d) PRIORITY FOR ESTABLISHMENT OF DOMAIN.--
(1) ICAAN.-- A plan in accordance with this section shall provide that ICANN may not establish any top-level generic or country code Internet domain that has not already been approved by ICANN on or before the date of the enactment of this Act until after the new domain provided for under such plan has been established.
(2) DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE.-- The Secretary of Commerce may not approve, through the National Telecommunications Information Administration or otherwise, the establishment of any top-level generic or country code Internet domain that has not already been approved by ICANN on or before the date of the enactment of this Act until after the new domain has been established pursuant to a plan in accordance with this section.
(e) CONTINUATION OF DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE OVERSIGHT AND APPROVAL AUTHORITY.-- During any period that ICANN has any authority for the establishment of top-level generic or county code Internet domains and for selection of registry services for such domains, the Secretary of Commerce--
(1) shall carry out oversight and approval of such functions for the Federal Government;
(2) shall make every reasonable effort to retain the authority reserved to the Department of Commerce under the Memorandum of Understanding referred to in section 2( a)( 1) of this Act and any amendments to such Memorandum; and
(3) shall diligently exercise such authority.
(f) ANNUAL OVERSIGHT.-- A plan in accordance with this section shall provide that ICANN shall, on an annual basis, review the actions of the entity selected to establish, operate, and maintain the new domain to ensure that such entity is complying with the requirements of section 2( b).
SEC. 4. LIABILITY PROTECTIONS. (a) TREATMENT OF PUBLISHER OR SPEAKER.-- No person or entity that operates or maintains the new domain shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another registrant for the domain.
(b) CIVIL LIABILITY.-- No person or entity that operates or maintains the new domain shall be held liable because of--
(1) any action voluntarily taken in good faith to restrict access through the new domain to, or availability through the new domain of, material that such person or entity considers to be harmful to minors, obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected, except that any action taken to exclude specific material from the new domain shall be subject to the provisions of section 2( b)( 6); or 15
(2) any action taken to enable or make available to registrants to the new domain or others the technical means to restrict access by minors to material described in paragraph (1).
SEC. 5. EDUCATION AND OVERSIGHT.
(a) EDUCATION.-- The Secretary of Commerce, acting through the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, shall carry out a program to publicize the availability of the new domain and to educate the parents of minors regarding the process for utilizing the domain in combination and coordination with hardware and software technologies that provide for filtering or blocking of unsuitable content. The program under this subsection shall be commenced not later than 30 days after the date that the new domain first becomes operational and accessible by the public. 6
(b) OVERSIGHT.-- The Secretary of Commerce, acting through the National Telecommunications and Informa tion Administration, and the entity selected to operate and maintain the new domain shall-- 10
(1) consult with the Attorney General regarding appropriate procedures and actions to prevent minors and families who use the new domain from being targeted by adults and other children for predatory behavior, exploitation, or illegal actions; and 15
(2) establish such procedures and take such actions as may be necessary to prevent such targeting. The consultations, procedures, and actions required under this subsection shall be commenced not later than 30 days after the date that the new domain first becomes operational and accessible by the public.
SEC. 6. DEFINITIONS. For purposes of this Act:
(1) ICANN.-- The term '' ICANN'' means the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.
(2) MATERIAL THAT IS HARMFUL TO MINORS.-- The term '' material that is harmful to minors'' means any communication, picture, image, graphic image file, article, recording, writing, or other matter of any kind that is obscene or that-- (A) the average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find, taking the material as a whole and with respect to minors, is designed to appeal to, or is designed to pander to, the prurient interest;
(B) depicts, describes, or represents, in a manner patently offensive with respect to minors, an actual or simulated sexual act or sexual contact, an actual or simulated normal or perverted sexual act, or a lewd exhibition of the genitals or post-pubescent female breast; and (C) taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for minors.
(3) MINOR.-- The term '' minor'' means any person under 17 years of age.
(4) NEW DOMAIN.-- The term '' new domain'' means the Internet domain
established pursuant to this Act.