Friday, February 7, 2020
Stories are starting to hit the mainstream media about the controversy brewing over ownership of the .org domain that is home to the websites of many nonprofit organizations. An opinion piece in the N.Y. Times (The Shaky Future of .org Domains) came in the wake of an ABC News story (Coalition of NGOs battling private equity firm trying to buy ".org" domain). I do not claim to understand all of the nuances here, but the main concern appears to be that not only has a private equity firm agreed to buy the domain (from the Internet Society), but the Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has removed any price caps on what that firm can charge nonprofits to maintain their .org websites. See this National Council on Nonprofits article. The National Association of State Charity Officials (NASCO) has also expressed concern. The current state of play is that ICANN is still considering whether to approve the sale, but has agreed to make a decision by February 17th. (The agreement refers to the Public Interest Registry, which is apparently the technical name for the .org domain.) For a response from the firm proposing to purchase the domain, see here.
Less controversially, the Nonprofit Organizations Committee of the ABA's Business Law Section has made available for comment an exposure draft of the next, 4th edition of the Model Nonprofit Corporation Act. The timing for preparation of this new edition is curious, given there has not been a lot of state interest in adopting the 2008 3rd edition (last I checked only DC had done so). I have not had a chance to review the draft, so I do not know how significantly it departs from previous editions. Here is a list of the Task Force members who are working on the new edition: Chair Lawrence J. Beaser (BlankRome), Reporter William H. Clark, Jr. (Faegre Drinker), Associate Reporter Matthew H. Gaul (Carmody Torrance Sandak Hennessey), Willard L. Boyd III (Nyemaster Goode), William M. Klimon (Caplin & Drysdale), Kimberly Lowe (Avisen Legal), Lisa A. Runquist (Lisa A. Runquist, Attorney-at-Law), and Myron Steeves (Church Law Center).