Remarks of Day One of the
Joint ITU/WIPO Symposium on Multilingual Domain Names
6 December 2001
prepared by Simone Meijer (NL Administration)
have now come to the end of our session for the first day of
the Joint ITU/WIPO Symposium on Multilingual Domain Names.
Let me take you on a “bird’s eye overview” tour of the
topics that we have touched on today.
started with an overview of the technical components of the
current domain name system. We learned that whereas
computers operate using numbers, human beings respond more
easily to names.
importance of the principles of interoperability, both
culturally and linguistically, has been emphasized by many
speakers today. Furthermore, the importance of having a
secure network and that it ensures that the person we seek
to communicate with via the Internet is in fact the person
addressed, has been highlighted more than once! In other
words, the risks of fraud and spoofing should be minimized.
multilingualism on the Internet poses new technical and
policy-related obstacles and questions. We have seen an
interesting language and script matrix. With 3’500
languages spoken worldwide, and numerous scripts used to
write those languages, this matrix might be extended
have shown that nowadays 55% of Internet content consists of
non-English material. This might encourage all of us to
study additional languages in order to gain access to the
wealth of cultural heritage available on the Internet.
has been pointed out by several speakers that uncoordinated,
or disparate and incompatible solutions are, I quote,
“bad, bad, bad from the point of view of engineers”. But
those same incompatibilities might not be so “bad, bad,
bad for lawyers….” Indeed, they might provide
substantial extra work! It is therefore essential that
engineers and lawyers join forces in their efforts to solve
problems related to the internationalization of the Internet
domain name system.
issues of importance that have been mentioned were: consumer
rights, intellectual property issues, anti-cybersquatting
measures and cultural and linguistic differences.
working in this fascinating and rapidly changing world of
telecommunications and the Internet, we should not forget
those to whom all our efforts are directed. In the end, it
is essential that the needs and the requirements of the
common user be met. All he or she requires is easy and
affordable access to the Web, whether this is effected using
keywords or via the domain name system.
conclude, one can say that for the successful further
development of the internationalization of the Internet,
mutual respect for all languages and their scripts is
essential, and the different efforts to attain the goal of
an internationalized Internet domain name system should be
purpose of this symposium is to provide a platform for
exchange of information in order to find solutions that
satisfy the needs of the global Internet community.
hope that today will have provided the necessary information
for a considerable step forward on the path towards bridging
the “digital divide”.
our colleagues from WIPO will further elaborate on the
intellectual property aspects related to multilingual
Internet domain names.
and gentlemen, I thank you for your participation in this
first day, led by ITU. Furthermore, I would again like to
express my gratitude to ITU for having given me this
opportunity to chair the symposium today. I thank them for
the confidence they have placed in me.
wish you all a very good evening and I hope to meet you
again at tomorrow’s session, to be led by WIPO.