Displaying posts tagged under "icann"
Ombudsman recommends new panelist hear .sport community objection.
I haven’t written about many new TLD objection appeals (reconsideration requests) because there are so many and few have a chance of succeeding.
But a recent one from Famous Four Media (pdf) for .sport is unique: ICANN’s Ombudsman has supported the company’s call for a rehearing with a different panelist.
The reconsideration request is based on Famous Four’s recent disclosure of a link between community objection panelist Guido Santiago Tawil and Famous Four’s rival applicant for .sport.
Famous Four believes this link shows possible bias in Tawil’s decision on a community objection against its .sport application.
Famous Four is asking ICANN to overturn the objection against its .sport application. Alternatively, it would like the case reheard with a three person panel. (One of the biggest errors in the objection process, in my opinion, was having just one panelist decide community objections.)
The ombudsman issued support for rehearing the case with a different panelist, which is the more likely outcome if ICANN’s Board Governance Committee approves the reconsideration request. He wrote:
I am concerned that in this case, there has been no direct comment from Dr. Tawil. I am also concerned that the ICC have taken a stance that it is too late for Famous Four Media
to challenge the decision on the basis of material recently disclosed. My concern is, that this may create a reasonable appearance of bias. My view is that the commercial relationship ought to have been disclosed, to give the applicant Famous Four Media an opportunity to make a considered choice as to the suitability of this appointment. Transparency is the best way to ensure that parties are able to make the best choices.
It is therefore my recommendation to the board, that there should be a rehearing of the objection with a different expert appointed.
This case opens up a bit of a can of worms. .Sport was the first of many community objections to go against applicants for sports related domains, including .rugby, .sports and .ski. The other cases had very similar arguments and were all decided after the .sport decision was published. Were the panelists in those cases influenced by the .sport decision, which is now being called into question?
Board Governance Committee to consider if application should move forward.
A lot of new top level domain name applicants have filed “Reconsideration Requests” after finding themselves on the losing end of objections.
They all have the same story: we were wronged, and we were wronged in a way unique to everyone else who has failed with their reconsideration request.
It was the same story I heard from .Med applicant Medistry (backed by Cleveland Clinic) when it filed their request for reconsideration.
But Medistry was right. It may have been wronged.
That’s the conclusion (pdf) of ICANN’s Board Governance Committee on Medistry’s request for reconsideration on a community objection against it.
The Independent Objector (IO) filed a community objection against Medistry’s .med application and won. Medistry then asked the board to overturn that decision.
The difference between Medistry’s reconsideration request and others is that Medistry argued that the IO wasn’t allowed to file a community objection in the first place.
Section 3.2.5 of the new TLD Applicant Guidebook states that in “light of the public interest goal noted above, the IO shall not object to an application unless at least one comment in opposition to the application is made in the public sphere.”
The IO interpreted a comment filed by National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) against Medistry’s application as an objection. It turns out it wasn’t objecting to the application. It was just cautioning that certain protective measure should be in place.
NABP has clarified that it wasn’t objecting. This makes sense: if .med is to go forward, you’d think that NABP would be in favor of an application backed by one of the United States’ most respected healthcare institutions (The Cleveland Clinic).
Medistry’s application doesn’t automatically move forward as a result of this decision. The Board “will ensure that a further evaluation be conducted as to whether the IO’s Community Objection (and by extension the resulting Expert Determination) was consistent with Section 3.2.5 of the Guidebook.”
If Medistry’s .med application moves forward, it will still be in a contention set with HEXAP SAS. The Independent Objector didn’t file a community objection against HEXAP’s application, presumably due in part to HEXAP filing as a community application.
Other applicants filing reconsideration requests shouldn’t get too hopeful that the door is open for them. Although this cased hinged somewhat on a Community Objection panelist’s opinion, it was more a question on if a case was eligible to be filed in the first place.
55 .brand application owners request exemptions.
Today ICANN posted 55 requests made by new TLD applicants for an exemption from the Registry Code of Conduct.
The Registry Code of Conduct for new TLDs includes provisions related to showing preference to different registrars, registering domains in the registry’s own right, frontrunning, and control between an owned registry and registrar.
The 55 requests were made by companies wishing to operate their domains as a brand. Operating a closed .brand would violate some provisions in the code of conduct.
In order to qualify for an exemption no one other than the applicant or an affiliate of the applicant can register a second level registration under the TLD. As of right now an exemption won’t be granted for a “generic” term, either.
The term “Affiliate” can extend broadly. .REALTOR applied for an exemption although any licensed REALTOR will be able to use the domain names.
Google’s Charleston Road Registry filed the most requests so far with 15. It wants exemptions for .gmail, .google and .hangout, among others.
Government ready to relinquish control over IANA contract.
In 2009 the U.S Government agreed to the “Affirmation of Commitments” with ICANN to set if free from U.S. control.
The press ate it up, assuming that it meant the U.S. had given up control of the internet.
The key contract that the U.S. government controls for the internet’s naming system is actually the Internet Assigned Number Authority (IANA) contract, which includes managing the root zone. That contract is awarded by the U.S.’ National Telecommunications and Information Administration to ICANN.
Signing the Affirmation of Commitments gave the U.S. government a way to say it was relinquishing control of the internet without actually doing it. It bought it time.
Now it appears the government is serious. It announced today that it’s ready to wash its hands of this key contract for managing the root zone.
ICANN’s new CEO Fadi Chehade has been pushing for more separation from the U.S. government after the Edward Snowden revelations. He has gotten his wish, but a high stakes game of poker is about to ensue. Chehade will have to tread carefully and skillfully in the coming 18 months, the unofficial deadline for coming up with an alternative to the existing contract.
The U.S. government said it won’t accept a model in which another government-led group controls these important functions. This is key, and it has been my primary concern about the power vacuum that would take place if the U.S. government bowed out.
It seems that the U.S. will have a role in deciding how the IANA functions are carried out going forward even if it’s not handing out the contract itself. It will effectively control how the hand-off occurs, even if it’s behind the scenes. The idea is the ICANN will continue to handle the IANA functions, it just won’t be the result of a government contract.
I wonder if 18 months will be enough time to figure out what is a key ingredient to the internet as we know it.
.Health applications move forward after lengthy objection process.
The objection process against .health top level domain names is over.
Both DotHealth, LLC and Donuts have survived community objections filed against their applications. They previously survived limited public interest objections.
The community objections were filed by the ICANN At Large Advisory Committee (ALAC).
Panelist Jan Paulsson took a bit different approach to this determination than other panelists. He consider much of ICANN’s role in the internet and the principles upon which it created the new top level domain name program. Ultimately, he determined there is not clearly delineated “health” community.
Here’s Paulsson on the principles of the new TLD program:
…I see no reflection here of ALAC’s undisguised bias against “commercial applicants” who “cannot be trusted to self-police the .health domain space and are “more than likely” to place “commercial interests before public welfare interests”…. This type of policy was not the road taken [by ICANN], notwithstanding the lengthy and broad consultations described in The Guidebook…. It is not for me to express preferences in this regard, but to apply the relevant rules as I find them. The Objector’s animadversions against the Applicant miss the target; profit-seekers may apply; the public interest is evidently intended to be protected by protocols imposed by ICANN in a manner akin to that of regulators whose supervision constrains the conduct of for-profit providers of public services generally.
Many other panelists seem to be against for-profit-only new TLD applicants, despite the fact that the program was set up with these bids in mind (more on this later).
Paulsson also recalls recommendations made for the program in 2008, one of which states:
The evaluation and selection procedure for new gTLD registries should respect the principles of fairness, transparency and non-discrimination. All applicants for a new gTLD registry should therefore be
evaluated against transparent and predictable criteria, fully available to the applicants prior to the initiation of the process. Normally, therefore, no subsequent additional selection criteria should be used in the selection process.
Here again, he’s referring to their expressly being no requirements that applications be made for the greater good of humanity:
If there had also been an intent to adopt such a fundamental principle as the requirement that the right to apply – whether generally or with respect to certain strings – be exclusively reserved for non-profit entities, it surely would have been explicit.
Moreover, Paulsson makes some determinations at direct odds with the panelist in the .insurance decision I wrote about earlier today.
Paulsson notes that Governmental Advisory Committee advice is just advice that may be accepted. He notes that GAC advice on sensitive strings is “left to be addressed in the protocols imposed on those who administer those strings,” and not on objection panelists. The panelist in the .insurance case took GAC advice into strong consideration.
Also, Paulsson declared that “For a string to succumb to a community-based Objection, its very name must surely bring to mind the identity of the Objector (or those sought to be protected by the Objector) as its ‘target.’” The panelist in .insurance said the name certainly doesn’t have to conjure up the identity of the objector. And other panelists have ruled that community objections can be brought by groups that only make up a subset of the target, which seems to be at odds with this determination.
I think this paragraph by Paulsson is telling:
The Internet, as operated under ICANN’s system of policies, is conceived as an open vehicle for communication, intended to promote free expression, to enable innovation, to increase consumer choice, and to permit the dissemination of diverse data, analyses, and opinions rather than the orthodoxy proclaimed by public officials who assert the authority to decide what is “true” or “sound”.
One observation I’ve made while reviewing objection decisions is that the country of the panelist seems to greatly color their decision. Panelists in some European countries are opposed to for-profit exploitation of things related to healthcare. They are also biased in favor of government opinion. Panelists from other regions are not.
Paulsson is a professor at University of Miami.
It seems that objections would be better decided by three person panels with geographic diversity.