Freedom of Speech in the Changining World of Internet Domain Name Registration and Dispute Resolution: How the Increasing Influence of National Governments in Domain Name Policy Threatens Free Speech on the Internet


The conflict between a private organization running the domain name system and the sovereign rights of states to regulate the internet brings to the forefront a key legal issue: the extent to which governments should control freedom of speech within the existing domain name system. The vacuous response to freedom of speech concerns in both the development of the domain name system and customary international law allowed for the increased influence of national governments. With national governments increasing their control over local domain names, significant gaps may develop in the protection of freedom of speech on the internet. Thus, nations, the private sector, and customary international law need to recognize that domain names implicate an individual’s free speech rights.


Communications Law | Dispute Resolution and Arbitration | International Law

Date of this Version

January 2007