OpenNIC Charter

OpenNIC Charter



OpenNIC (Open Network Information Center) is a user-owned and user-controlled community service offering a democratic, non-national alternative to traditional top-level domain (TLD) registries. Users of OpenNIC DNS servers, in addition to resolving host names in the legacy US-controlled DNS (administered by ICANN), can also resolve host names in OpenNIC operated namespaces as well as in namespaces with which we have peering agreements. OpenNIC accepts for membership anyone who can use a computer and who chooses to use the services offered by OpenNIC.


  1. To offer free/open access to DNS services to everyone by establishing new domain hierarchies external to the existing ICANN-controlled domain infrastructure using current DNS protocols.
  2. To provide a foundation for further research and experimentation in areas related to DNS and the Internet.
  3. To promote the benefits of a DNS that provides for global access to services regardless of geographical, political, ideological, or economic constraints.
  4. To encourage the establishment of non-revenue-generating domain hierarchies in order to ensure continued freedom of access to the Internet.



OpenNIC is governed as a democracy. All decisions are made by a democratically-elected administrator and/or through a direct ballot of interested members. All decisions, regardless of how they are made, are appealable to a vote of the general membership.


General membership in OpenNIC is open to every user of the Internet. There are three categories of membership designed to prevent any person or group within the organization from achieving a position where they can force arbitrary or personally greedy decisions on the system, since any decision by any person or group can be appealed up to the general membership for a vote.

  • A general member is anyone who uses the services offered by OpenNIC. Members can vote on general policies, the creation of new TLDs and budgeting the organization’s resources (monetary, personal expertise, etc.). Any decision made by the other membership categories can appealed to a vote of the general membership.
  • An administrator is anyone who runs an OpenNIC-affiliated name server. Administrators are expected to have some expertise in DNS and have an interest in how the global system is structured and maintained. They vote on issues of technical organization and infrastructure with which general members cannot be expected to have expertise. Administrators exist as a subset of the general membership, and therefore may vote as members.
  • A maintainer is anyone who operates the OpenNIC core (root files, organizational infrastructure, auxiliary servers, etc.) as well as TLD administrators. Maintainers are expected to be the most involved and experienced category of members. They vote on issues controlling the operation of Tier 0 and Tier 1 servers. Maintainers exist as a subset of administrators, and therefore may vote as administrators and members.



Changes to peering arrangements, introduction of new TLDs, and policy/charter amendments will be presented for discussion, then voted upon by the appropriate membership category. The vote process starts with public presentation of the issue in the appropriate forum, followed by a discussion window of not less than 7 days. After 7 days, a member of the OpenNIC community may motion a vote. The voting window will exist for 7 days, after which votes will be tallied and the decision made by the appropriate membership level will be announced. A simple majority of votes cast in favor of the issue (50% + 1) will determine whether the vote passes. Voting is regulated by the below rules.

1. Voting has to be started with an Announce Email that has the Title “VOTE: Subject”
2. The Email must state what the vote is about
3. The Email must state what happens when voting yes, and no
4. The Email must state the start and end time in UTC!
5. Voting will begin no earlier than 7 days from the date and time the proposal has been posted.
6. The active voting period before the end time may not be less the 48 hours