"The ICANN Board finds that the public interest is better served in withholding consent as a result of various factors that create unacceptable uncertainty."
ICANN, the entity that oversees web addresses, said on Friday it voted against a $1.1 billion deal to sell control of .org domains to a private investment firm. The decision follows persistent protest and activism "from internet pioneers and officials including California's attorney general [Xavier Becerra]," reports Joe Menn at Reuters on Friday.
This means the dot-org domain WILL NOT be sold to the private equity firm Ethos Capital, a story we've been covering here on Boing Boing since the beginning.
Excerpt from Reuters:
The surprise plans by the Internet Society to sell the Public Interest Registry to a newly formed for-profit firm, Ethos Capital, announced in November, provoked alarm from many of the more than 10 million entities that use the .org suffix, associated with non-profit organizations.
ICANN, the Internet Corp for Assigned Names and Numbers, which gave the assignment of .org to the Internet Society and retains some rights, said on Thursday it was rejecting the deal.
In particular, it cited concerns that there would be a drive to reward Ethos stockholders while repaying $300 million in debt taken on during the transaction.
You can read the official announcement from ICANN here. It's a little hard to follow, unless you're used to reading legalese — so here are some tweets from observers and reporters who've been following the dot-org potential sale controversy for a long time.
After a thorough evaluation process, the #ICANN Board is withholding consent to the request for a change of control of the Public Interest Registry (PIR). Read Board Chair Maarten Botterman's blog for more information > https://t.co/qz8ub99lOt pic.twitter.com/oFrM0pulyM
— ICANN (@ICANN) May 1, 2020
BREAKING: ICANN has voted to REJECT the sale of the .ORG registry to private equity firm Ethos Capital. This is a major victory for the millions of nonprofits, civil society organizations, and individuals who make .ORG their home online. #SaveDotOrg https://t.co/K2qk85c3Ug pic.twitter.com/sFLcwZqU1B
— EFF (@EFF) May 1, 2020
Phew. That sale would have been a travesty of governance of public things. https://t.co/z4ETrJk0nx
— Tim Berners-Lee (@timberners_lee) May 1, 2020
Breaking news: The non-profit .ORG domain registry used by fandom entities like @leaky and @ao3org is safe from profiteering hands!https://t.co/UJOkSmrfCn
— Wizarding News™ 🔔 (@HPANA) May 1, 2020
The only reason ICANN did the right thing "for now" was a huge public backlash that didn't reach critical mainstream until it was nearly too late. But thankfully it did, & it prompted (among other reasons) intervention from powerful people who prevailed to stop this greedy deal. https://t.co/9c6nqSiax1
— Joe Ortiz (@LeoJTravis10) May 1, 2020
ICANN Board Resolution: https://t.co/T0QyssEyBC
"The above decision is without prejudice to PIR to submit a new notice of indirect change of control & entity conversion for consideration if PIR successfully achieves an entity conversion approval through the Pennsylvania Court" https://t.co/RaTcYZ8504
— Caroline Greer (@CarolineGreer) May 1, 2020
Fantastic news as the efforts to stop the sale of the dot-org domain have succeeded. Covered the issue with @elliotharmon of @EFF on a @lawbytespod episode late last year https://t.co/OK6B5HdlhI https://t.co/dX321m4TI4
— Michael Geist (@mgeist) May 1, 2020
GOOD NEWS: @ICANN have voted to reject the proposed sale of the .ORG domain to private equity firm Ethos Capital! This is a huge win for the countless civil society orgs, and individuals around the world that make .ORG their home online. #SaveDotOrg https://t.co/bJOXjrIQRQ pic.twitter.com/RYHXFNk3G3
— Access Now (@accessnow) May 1, 2020
Just because #ICANN grudgingly did the right thing doesn't mean that this is the end. The schemers are all still there, but next time they'll adapt their tactics. Heads must roll, to remove those who caused this fiasco. https://t.co/UoT6hpDcii
— George Kirikos (@GeorgeKirikos) May 1, 2020
Yay! Congrats to everyone who pitched in on what I thought was an impressively widespread and strong roar of disapproval.
[Any scrap of good news these days is like cool water in the desert.] https://t.co/crhPMHMuTA
— Tim Bray (@timbray) May 1, 2020
This is amazing news – and literally means *space* for nonprofits and civil society organisations on the internet. https://t.co/YuBxPbpkV2
— Katrin Fritsch (@KatrinFritsch) May 1, 2020
Indeed, now we must make sure the governance of .org domains is done with the interests and values of civil society and the public interest going forward ↘️ https://t.co/IvZJh9VdjU
— Marietje Schaake 😷🏡 (@MarietjeSchaake) May 1, 2020