Director Database Marketing (Herndon VA US) (

Date: Wed, 2 Sep 1998 18:57:57 -0700 (PDT)
From: Patrick Greenwell <>
To: Tim Salo <>
Subject: Re: Director Database Marketing (Herndon VA US) (

> > Did the idiots at SAIC forget that they don't *own* the domain information
> > again?
> And, what makes you think that NSI doesn't have intellectual property
> rights to the whois database. Again, please frame your answer in the
> context of the applicable Federal law and regulations, probably the
> FARs and the contract or cooperative agreement between NSI and the NSF.
> And, even if NSI doesn't "own" rights (either copyright or trade secret) to
> the whois database, what makes you think that NSI must provide the
> database to anyone else? And, if NSI is obligated to provide the database
> to another party, (e.g., the U.S. Government), what makes you think that
> that party is permitted or obligated to provide it to another party?
> I don't know that the answers are to these questions, but I haven't met
> anyone who I thought had a clue either.

Take a look at for some answers (or more
questions depending on your POV.)

Note that Karl's document:

o Is focused on whether the whois database is within the purview of
  the Privacy Act of 1974, but doesn't directly address the ownership
  of the whois database;

o Doesn't discuss the relevance of the FARs, which explicitly talk
  about the ownership rights of government contractors; and

o Says that the NSF asserts that NSI owns the whois database.


I am no lawyer, but have been following these events with a great deal of
interest. My understanding is that if you answer the question of if the
Privacy Act of 1974 is relative, then you have answered the question of
who owns the database. The Privacy Act would not apply to a privately
owned database, but would apply to a government owned one. So, given the
response to Karls inquiry, it would appear that NSF at least believes it
to be the property of NSI.

Patrick Greenwell (800) 299-1288 v
         Systems Administrator (925) 377-1212 v
                           NameSecure (925) 377-1414 f
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