The Controversial Sale of the .ORG Registry (American Univ. PIJIP)

The Controversial Sale of the .ORG Registry: The Conversation We Should Be Having

Tuesday, February 11, 2020, 12:00pm–2:00pm
Room NT01 Ceremonial Classroom
American University Washington College of Law
4300 Nebraska Ave NW
Washington DC 20016




  • American University Washington College of Law
  • Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property
  • Internet Governance Lab
  • WCL Intellectual Property Brief

On November 13, 2019, the Internet Society (ISOC) announced its sale of the Public Interest Registry (PIR) to a private equity firm Ethos Capital for $1.1 billion.  The .ORG registry, run by PIR, supports 10 million .ORG registrants, including many of the world’s largest and smallest human rights and nonprofit groups. Questions abound:  Can a nonprofit (ISOC) sell a nonprofit (PIR)?  Are top-level domains still global public resources?  What can ISOC and PIR do to protect the online communication of millions of .ORG registrants?  What mechanisms could exist to address concerns of the .ORG community? The answers could profoundly affect Internet speech for decades to come.


  • Andrew Sullivan
    President & CEO, Internet Society
  • Mitch Stoltz
    Senior Staff Attorney, Electronic Frontier Foundation
  • Benjamin Leff
    Professor of Law, Charitable and Non-Profit Organizations
    Washington College of Law
  • Marc Rotenberg
    President, Electronic Privacy Information Center,
    Former Chair, Public Internet Registry (.ORG)
  • Kathryn Kleiman– Facilitator
    IP & Tech Clinic, Washington College of Law
    Former Dir. of Policy, Public Interest Registry (.ORG)