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Network Solutions Lawsuit Dismissed

A New York federal judge late Wednesday threw out an antitrust lawsuit filed against domain name registrar Network Solutions Inc.

PGMedia Inc., sued Network Solutions in 1997 to obtain access to the root server NSI maintains so it could use its software to offer domain registrations. NSI declined, maintaining its contract with the National Science Foundation prohibited it from giving anyone else access to the system.

In his 33-page opinion, U.S. District Judge Robert Patterson Jr. said Network Solutions "is entitled to antitrust immunity for its actions" because it is acting at the behest of a federal agency.

The judge also denied PGMedia's claims that Network Solutions' government-granted monopoly violated its First Amendment right to free speech.

Paul Garrin, PGMedia's president, chief executive officer and founder, said he plans to appeal the ruling. He has been trying for years to force NSI to open up access to its root file, so that pgMedia can offer a service called "name.space" and offer a variety of top-level domains beyond .com, .org, and .net TLDs maintained by NSI.

Garrin said Thursday he's still reviewing the judge's decision, but he likely won't give up the fight.

"From what we can see, his decision is flawed in many ways and is definitely appealable. As far as I'm concerned, this isn't over."

Network Solutions has been under an exclusive federal contract to register .com., .net, .org and .edu domains since 1993. By April, NSI is expected to have competition as The Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers is in the process of opening the domain registration business to other private companies.



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