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ICANN Tells Governments Where it Stands

Chairman of ICANN Board sends email to GAC explaining where differences remain.

Yesterday afternoon ICANN Chairman of the Board Peter Dengate Thrush sent an email to ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) summarizing where ICANN stands on GAC’s “scorecard” of issues.

Dengate Thrush suggests that the consultation process can be resolved at the San Francisco meeting later this month:

The Board looks forward to continuing to collaborate with the GAC in order to conclude the consultation process on the new gTLD program during the Silicon Valley/San Francisco Meeting.

But when you look at the scorecard you have to wonder if this is possible in such a short time frame. It would seem that the only way to do this would be to steamroll GAC.

ICANN has divided the issues into three levels: 1(a), 1(b), and 2. 1(a) means ICANN agrees with GAC, 1(b) means they’re in agreement but some revisions need to be made, and 2 means they’re in disagreement.

To understand how much we’re talking about, read Dengate Thrush’s summary of where it stands:

Our breakdown of the Scorecard shows a total of 80 subparts, including a total of 25 ‐ 1As; 28 ‐ 1Bs; 23 ‐ 2s; 4 ‐ TBDs. In terms of the 12 sections identified by the GAC, we have 2s in five of them ‐ sections 2, 4, 5, 6 and 8. We do not have any 2s in sections 1, 3, 7, 9, 10, 11 and 12, although in section 10 we have three TBDs. A table of this breakdown is also attached.

A lot of the 2’s involve intellectual property.

For example, GAC wants anyone who loses 5 uniform rapid suspension (URS) cases to no longer be able to respond to complaints. It also wants to strike the threshold for winning a URS case from “clear and convincing evidence” to a “preponderance of evidence”.

ICANN disagrees with both of these, citing the work of the group that came up with URS.

However, it appears that complainants in URS cases will get a first right of refusal when a domain they “win” through URS ultimately expires.

One of the challenges in resolving intellectual property issues is that the actual members of GAC know very little about the topic. They’re just passing along what IP lobbyists tell them. So when ICANN proposes a fix the GAC has to go back to the IP lobby to ask if it’s acceptable.

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  1. Meyer

    “GAC wants anyone who loses 5 uniform rapid suspension (URS) cases to no longer be able to respond to complaints”

    Imagine if that passed.
    I don’t want to start a conspiracy plot.
    But, if the IP lawyers looked thru all
    of Marchex, Schilling, Schwartz, NameMedia,
    berkins, and DemandMedia domains.

    They offered to represent TM holders just
    for the UDRP fees and pro bono the legal
    fees. Just bombard the domain owners with
    UDRP cases.

    The odds are against the domain holders.
    Once, they lost 5 they are free for the
    pickings.

    Scary thought !!!

  2. Antony Van Couvering

    The GAC is an advisory committee of ICANN. It’s true that it’s trying to arrogate to itself powers within ICANN that no-one ever imagined it would have, but in the end it’s supposed to give advice to the ICANN Board, which can accept or reject it.

    The GAC is seeking to steamroll the ICANN Board, not the other way around. Whether you’re for or against new TLDs, that’s not a good outcome.

    Antony

  3. gpmgroup

    @Antony,

    The GAC is seeking to steamroll the ICANN Board, not the other way around. Whether you’re for or against new TLDs, that’s not a good outcome.

    Oh the irony!

    The last minute VI/VS 180 degree switch by the Board was a shameful example of steamrollering.

    Some very serious mechanisms for checks and balances are much needed to prevent ICANN advantaging themselves along with their would be contracted bedfellows.

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