INTRODUCTION to the DOMAIN INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX
7/1/14 Icann isn’t a corporation competing with others for a share of its market. Instead, it’s a centralised, monopolistic, hardly accountable private organisation that exercises public authority and power. At the same time that it’s providing services to the domain name industry, it is also trying to regulate it. On top of that, it claims to be “dedicated to keeping the internet secure, stable and interoperable.” Think about that, and the realities of the surveilled internet, as you digest how Icann operates.
We know from history and economics that monopolies in private hands never act in the public interest. Icann, however, masterfully avoids this topic by appealing to amorphous, unenforceable notions of accountability to the “global community”; something they try to capture with the ugly term “multistakeholderism”.
The real problem with this poorly defined notion is that, in practice, it serves powerful incumbents and the centrally positioned US government, diffusing talk of any genuinely representative global alternative for policy-making and oversight. Participants in Icann, who still can’t quite believe their luck, will defend the model to the hilt, regardless of where it’s been and where it’s taking us. <more>
ICANN - Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers
4676 Admiralty Way, Suite 330
Marina del Rey, CA 90292
Someone is determining what is allowed, what is not allowed, and someone is profiting from these things. People rarely look behind the screen and think, 'How does all that happen?
2011 ICANN NEW TOP LEVEL DOMAIN NAMES COST $185,000. US FIND OUT MORE - How many top level domains do you know now?
ICANN approves expansion of top-level domains that will pollute the internet. During a special meeting in Singapore, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) voted to dramatically increase the number of domain endings from the current 22, which includes the well-established .com, .net, and .org. The move will allow domains to end in almost any word, allowing companies to turn their brands into Internet extensions. Applications for new generic top-level domains will be accepted from January 12, 2012, to April 12, 2012, and the estimated evaluation fee is $185,000. (Click here to see ICANN's fact sheet on the new GTLDs (PDF).) Hundreds of applications for these suffixes are expected, including .car, .love, .movie, .web, and .gay. #icann board passes .XXX top level domain
- The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has named DefConn Founder Jeff Moss as its new chief security officer by president and chief executive Rod Beckstrom.
- Steve Crocker, ICANN's vice chairman, lives in Bethesda and is the chief executive of Shinkuro, a technology company.
Government Domain Name Seizures Violate First Amendment
EFF Challenges Flawed Anti-Infringement Campaign in Amicus
San Francisco - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) urged a federal court to return two domain names seized in the U.S. government's fundamentally flawed anti-infringement campaign in an amicus brief filed Monday. "This misguided intellectual property enforcement effort is causing serious collateral damage to free speech rights," said EFF Intellectual Property Director Corynne McSherry. "These domain seizures should cease unless and until the government can fix the First Amendment flaws inherent in
EFF's brief was filed in support of a petition from Puerto 80, the Spanish company behind popular sports streaming sites Rojadirecta.com and Rojadirecta.org, which were both seized by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) earlier this year, even though a Spanish court found they did not violate copyright law. Puerto 80 tried to work with ICE and other U.S. government authorities to resolve the matter without court involvement, but its efforts were unsuccessful.
ICE began seizing domain names last year as part of "Operation in Our Sites," a government initiative to crack down on Internet piracy. ICE has seized 125 domains and redirects visitors of those sites to a banner notifying them that the domain name of that website has been seized by federal authorities.
"Neither the government nor rightsholders should fear a copyright enforcement process that complies with the rule of law," said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Matt Zimmerman. "Valid claims of copyright infringement can be pursued in a manner that allows the accused parties to defend themselves. The unilateral seizure of domain names without a court ruling -- which obstructs access to all of a website's content -- is improper and should be strongly opposed by free speech advocates everywhere."
The Center for Democracy and Technology and Public Knowledge joined EFF's amicus brief. Jeffrey Neu and Luc Ulmet of the law firm Kuzas Neu serve as local counsel.
- For the full amicus brief:
- For more on this case: https://www.eff.org/cases/puerto-80-v-us
2010 ICANN is not a legitimate authority, the anointed mommy of the net that has the life and death power over how the principal naming system of the internet can be used and by whom. ICANN already costs internet users around a billion $US a year in unearned, fiat registry fees that flow directly to Verisign and other "registries". And yet internet users still have no concrete power or role in ICANN except to watch and listen. ICANN was established to assure the technical stability of the upper tiers of the domain name system - to assure that domain name query packets are promptly, efficiently, and accurately turned into domain name response packets without bias against any query source or query subject. By that metric ICANN has bloated itself beyond recognition in areas beyond its remit and has withered into near vacuousness in those matters for which it was established.
Homeland Security's seizure of domain names via its Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) group. The whole thing seemed of extremely dubious legality. Copycense points us to a useful analysis of how the seizures actually worked. Amazingly, it appears that Homeland Security contracted out the seizures to a private company, immixGroup IT Solutions, which set up the "seizedservers.com" domain that the seized domains now point to. The other bit of useful info is that the seizures appear to have been done directly by VeriSign at the top level domain level. VeriSign, of course, controls the .com TLD, and so Homeland Security appears to have just asked VeriSign to move the domains (with a court order, of course), and it did so.
That's not an issue with domain seizures, the prosecutors here understand that a pre-trial seizure is effectively a conviction. Domain names holders should go to court and challenge the government on these activities, which appear to conflict with basic due process, and free speech issues.
pre-trial seizure is premised on the idea that during the investigation and trial, prosecutors need to secure the items so that the defendant doesn’t destroy or hide it.
John Gilmore on why ICANN can't.
The strings that were pulled before and during the Clinton administration's "Green Paper" and "White Paper" process, that ultimately resulted in the creation of NewCo, also known as ICANN, were pulled by SAIC. SAIC is a very interesting for-profit company with a multibillion-dollar annual revenue, most of which comes from classified contracts with the U.S. military. What's even more interesting about SAIC is that there is no external control on it: It is "employee-owned," i.e., there are no outside stockholders. If you leave the company, you have to sell your shares in it. SAIC's board of directors reads like a who's who of the military-industrial complex (former secretaries of defense, spy-agency heads, etc.). When you read about the government wasting billions on "homeland security," guess who gets it. SAIC's home page features their new brochure on "SAIC -- Securing the Homeland."
Who runs the Web figures into global foreign policy debates.
Members of Congress Have No Idea What ICANN DOES !
Nao Matsukata, a senior policy adviser to the Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse, a grass-roots organization in Washington can't seem to educate them.
Obama administration joins critics of U.S. nonprofit that oversees Internet By Ian Shapira Monday, February 28, 2011
Obama Scolds ICANN o be more accountable to foreign nations, even warning that it must meet certain U.S. recommendations by the summer. ICANN, is trying to pull off the biggest expansion of the Web in the Internet's history. This week and later in March, the nonprofit is meeting with foreign governments to debate the controversial launch of new Web suffixes, such as .gay, .god or .nazi. Also, this fall, the nonprofit is trying to keep its federal contract to oversee the Web's master database of addresses - a power that alarms some foreign governments.
Officials worry that some countries worry that the new wave of Web suffixes might be too controversial while others might require companies to spend vast sums of money to protect their online brands and trademarks. (Who gets .merck? The U.S. drug company? Or the German drug company with the same name?).
This tiny nonprofit can be especially provocative to a trade press that covers its every move, and a rival U.N. agency, the International Telecommunications Union. When the ITU, a 145-year-old U.N. agency of nearly 200 nations and territories, held its annual meeting in October in Mexico, a Syrian emissary representing Arab states popped off against ICANN as if it were an enemy nation.
Other nations have been mobilizing against ICANN. China has been leading a campaign among dozens of developing nations to lobby the U.N. for oversight over ICANN, according to former and current ICANN officials. And a coalition of former Soviet states, led by a Russian minister, has been pushing the U.N. to obtain veto power over ICANN.
Chris Disspain, a volunteer ICANN committee chairman and Australian domain name executive, said the prospect of governments running the Web would be calamitous. "China, Syria Iran, and Saudi Arabia and number of others have said in meetings they believe ICANN shouldn't be in existence, or be replaced by some U.N. body," he said. "Frankly, that would be a disaster." Some countries fear that the United States has, at the very least, the appearance of too much power by owning the contract to run the master database of Web addresses.
Crocker, the ICANN board's vice chairman, said the chances of the U.S. tinkering with the master Web database are "nil." ICANN can only request changes to the master database; the U.S. government reviews those decisions; then, the Dulles-based company VeriSign actually executes the change.
ICANN has been recently clashing with the U.S. government's Commerce Department, which worries that other countries might soon lobby en masse for the United Nations to take over instead. Commerce officials prefer a fast-moving private sector organization to run the Web's addressing system; but the government doesn't believe ICANN is listening enough to the international community.
Some ICANN officials worry that, if tensions continue with the Commerce Department, the nonprofit might lose its contract to run the Web's master database. That contract, which the Commerce Department last gave to ICANN in a no-bid process, comes up for renewal this fall. Commerce officials have yet to decide whether they will ask for other organizations to compete for it.
In mid-February, at a technology conference in Colorado, Lawrence Strickling, an assistant secretary in the Commerce Department, put ICANN on notice, declaring it "must act" by June on a set of accountability guidelines made by him and international leaders who will continue to "monitor" it. Strickling warned about the "forces at play" lobbying for the United Nations to run the Web instead.
ICANN scored one minor victory in late February. Its advisory body of foreign nations rejected the Obama administrations's proposal that would have required ICANN to make it easier for nations to object to controversial new Web suffixes like .gay or .xxx.
The United States proposed that any country within ICANN's advisory council should be able to recommend killing any new domain name, and if no other country objected to that nation's veto recommendation, then ICANN's board would have to follow suit. ICANN, however, wants those challenges going before three experts guiding the International Chamber of Commerce.
But ICANN's advisory body of foreign nations recently decided that any country's objection will be considered merely non-binding advice to ICANN's board.
IGP has obtained a copy of the US Commerce Department's position paper for its February 28 negotiations with the ICANN Board over the new top level domain program.
The "USG Submission to the GAC Scorecard" shows that the U.S. Commerce Department's ICANN crew has gone off the rails. It supports direct governmental veto power over domains and demands that ICANN completely rewrite most of the consensus policies developed over 4 years.
The specific policies recommended by the U.S. will astonish anyone who believes that the U.S. supports Internet freedom and democratic governance. For beginners, the U.S. is demanding that ICANN give any government in the world the authority to veto a top level domain. The U.S. wants to make all top level domains go through an initial "review by governments, via the GAC." In this initial evaluation process, "Any GAC member may raise an objection to a proposed string for any reason. If it is the consensus position of the GAC not to oppose an objection raised by a GAC member or members, ICANN shall reject the application." (In a footnote, the US defines "consensus position" as "a position voiced by one or more GAC member(s) not objected to by other GAC member(s).")
This is truly astounding. The ICANN process has spent years trying to ensure that only applications that involve words contrary to general principles of international law will be vetoed. The Commerce Department, in contrast, is openly saying that governments should be able to veto a top level domain "for any reason." So much for the rule of law.
ICANN also just released an interview with Vint Cerf 2007
where he talks about future of the organization as his chairmanship and time as a director draws to a close. And he asks for people with a "passion for the Internet" to apply for NomCom positions.
"What this means is that the Board members are unwilling to expose their reasons and process to public view," explained David J. Farber, the Alfred Fitler Moore Professor of Telecommunication Systems at the University of Pennsylvania. "If it is the public's business, then let it be done in public."
Top 20 Spammers Most Spam Sites Tied to a Handful of Registrars including register.com, godaddy, and tucows.2007
ICANN board member berates 'woefully unprepared' DHS
Amid the outcry over allegations that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) wants the security keys to the DNSSEC encryption technology slowly very slowly being adopted by internet overlord ICANN, one ICANN board member, the refreshingly candid Susan Crawford, has recently taken her own swipe at security standards in place at the DHS. According to Crawford, the DHS is woefully unprepared for what lies ahead. She noted at a recent conference that ICANNs major security concern after the Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack  on six of the internets root servers in February has been a repeat of the incident powerful enough to cause a is a massive virtual blackout.
Breaking America's grip on the net
From: Russell Nelson @crynwr.com
Date: October 9, 2005
After troubled negotiations in Geneva, the US may be forced to relinquish control of the internet to a coalition of governments Kieren McCarthy I think that enough people have written in to IP to firmly correct Kieren. I want to say something different. You see, I finally (FINALLY) understand what Bob Frankston says about endpoints. If you've ever listened to Bob Frankston, @bobf.frankston.com, you quickly realize that he is so much smarter than everyone else that it's hard to make sense of what he says. Bob sounds confused or insane. But Bob goes beyond mere genius to true discernment.
How do you know who owns property?
Different countries have different solutions. In the US, states are split up into counties. Each county has an office which register deeds, run by the county clerk. In theory at least, there is a one-to-one and onto relationship between land and deeds. Property is described in relationship to well-known benchmarks (or so goes the theory). Many things can go wrong, which leads to conflicting property claims. There is a whole branch of law which deals with those times when ownership of property is not clear.
How do you know who owns the name of a product (a trademark)?
Again, different countries have different solutions. In the US, the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) says that the first party to use a trademark in commerce is the owner. This leads to interesting conflicts like So-and-so's Pretzels of Kunkletown, PA, and So-and-so's Pretzels of Lancaster, PA, when both So-and-so's sold pretzels without any conflict until one expanded into the other's territory. To avoid these kinds of conflicts, you can register your trademark nationally, which gives you the presumptive right of ownership (but first use trumps registration).
How do you know how to get to somebody's website?
Before you can go somewhere, you need an address. Back in the good old days before websites there was HOSTS.TXT, which was a single listing of every possible hostname on the Internet. That was the official listing of hostnames and the only way to make a correspondance between name and address. Towards the end they had to restrict entrance into that table simply because it had become so unwieldy.
This system was replaced by the domain name system. Paul Mockapetris' genius was to replace one authoritative listing with one authoritative list of lists. This is the list that ICANN controls, and which contains .COM, .NET, .ORG, the two-letter countries, etc. Everyone believes this list, just as everyone believes the country clerk when they say that somebody owns property, just as everyone believes the USPTO when they say that somebody owns a trademark.
It is this belief, this faith, that gives ICANN its authority. It is also why ICANN has no more control over the Internet than does the parade marshall leading a parade. If the marchers choose not to follow, then parade marshall has two choices: recognize that his authority has vanished, or get back in front of the parade and continue to pretend that he is leading them.
But what about Bob?
Bob Frankston's insight is to recognize that there are other sources of belief.
Let's say that you want to use a P2P network to find a file being shared. You log onto the network using a cache of IP addresses that have previously been on the network. You start running through the cache looking for addresses that are still connected to the network. Once you find a few, you are connected to the network again. You can issue a search for a name (much like a domain name), and you will be offered several names of files. If you find several hits with the same name, file size, and file hash, it's likely that those are all the correct file.
Let's say that you want to find my friend Rob Logan's website. You can go to rob.com or logan.com, or you can go to any search engine (I tested Google, Yahoo, A9, and MSN) and type "Rob Logan". You'll get one or the other of Rob's websites in domain name form. What if he wasn't lucky enough to have domain names that match his names? What if, instead, he didn't have any domain name at all? The search engines would show him as being at 18.104.22.168.
The Internet is already usable without domain names. The UN and EU think they're taking over control of the Internet? They're actually taking control over a wet noodle.
NOTE: I am eliding some details for the sake of explanation. For example don't bother writing to tell me that there are 45 classes of trademarks. I already know that, and the readers of this don't need to in order to understand my point. Also, Bob makes the point that well-known ports such as 80 for http and 25 for email are also not necessary, since a web server endpoint could be specified as 22.214.171.124:80 just as easily as 126.96.36.199. Or email could be addressed to email@example.com:25. Nobody would ever need to publish those numbers; people would say instead "search for Farber" or "search for Russ", or "search for McDonald's".
Paul Vixie, its in several committees of the California-based Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) with day- to-day control of the Web, on his CircleID blog.
ICANN's Contrarian Gets the Boot 10/27 By Anick Jesdanun
Karl Auerbach joined the Internet's key oversight body as a voice of the online public, pledging to transform an organization he considers beholden to vested commercial interests.Fellow board members on the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers responded to Auerbach's caustic challenges by eliminating his seat and those of the four other publicly elected directors. As he prepares to step down in December, an exhausted and frustrated Auerbach believes ICANN is as out of synch as ever with the needs of innovators and the general Internet public. ``I wasn't expecting to get a lot passed, but I wasn't expecting the kind of knee-jerk reaction of anything I put forward must be bad,''' Auerbach said in an interview in a bare conference room at his office, still visibly tired from an early morning ICANN conference call that day.
ICANN Member Wins Records Access Mon Jul 29, 2002
Karl Auerbach, a frequent critic of his own organization, a board member for the Internet's key oversight body won the right Monday to inspect records without first agreeing to nondisclosure and other restrictions sought by its management. ICANN's bylaws gives directors "the right at any reasonable time to inspect and copy all books, records and documents of every kind." It also requires that ICANN establish reasonable procedures to protect confidentiality. ICANN tried to require Auerbach to first sign a nondisclosure agreement. Auerbach is one of five elected members on the 19-member ICANN board. His term expires in November, and ICANN already has said it will not hold another round of elections. Judge Janavs said ICANN must send Auerbach non-confidential electronic documents by Friday and allow him to inspect paper records at ICANN's Marina del Rey, Calif., office by next week. ICANN will get 10 days to respond to Karl.
- Karl Aruerbach - Salon
- Karl Auerbach brought legal action against ICANN today Mon, 18 Mar 2002
- Karl Auerbach Represents Canada and the United States on the ICANN Board of Directors
- Why Director Karl Auerbach Can't Govern ICANN. Mon, 03 Dec 2001
"I made my initial request to inspect the financial records - in particular the general ledger - more than a year ago. Despite repeated efforts and requests, I still have not been allowed to see those records." READ EFF PRESS RELEASE
- ICANN, the movie - real nasty, fun and serious all at once.
- Who Controls ICANN?
- 10. ICANN UDRP Raises Panelist Allocation Bias Concerns 8/2001
- ICANN approved proposed revisions to its agreement with VeriSign regarding the latter's operation of the .com, .net and .org domain name registries. Subject to approval by the U.S. Department of Commerce, the agreement would allow VeriSign to retain control of .org names until December 31, 2002, .org names until 1 January 2006, and .com names until 10 November 2007.
ARTICLE - Preliminary Draft 2 April 16 2001 (July 1, 2001 to June 30, 2002)
FIRST CIRCUIT RULES ACPA CAN BE USED TO OVERRULE ICANN UDRP 12/10/01
In an important new decision, the First Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that a U.S. court can apply the Anticybersquatting act to overturn an ICANN UDRP decision.
The decision stems from a dispute over the corinthians.com domain. After a WIPO panelist ordered the domain transferred to a Brazilian soccer team, the domain name owner sought to have a federal court declare that he was not a cybersquatter under ACPA and declare that the name should not be transferred. The district court refused, ruling that there was no live dispute and declining to rule on the case. The appellate court overturned, finding that there was in fact a dispute over the domain itself and that Section 1114(2)(D)(v) of the ACPA "provides a registrant who has lost a domain name under the UDRP with a cause of action for an injunction returning the domain name if the registrant can show that she is in compliance with the ACPA."
" This is indeed a significant ruling in that it confirms a core feature of the UDRP: decisions under the UDRP can be trumped by national courts of competent jurisdiction. This is explicitly stated in the UDRP -- paragraph 4(k) states that the UDRP does not prevent either party from "submitting the dispute to a court of competent jurisdiction for independent resolution" -- so it's nice to see a US federal appellate court reaching a consistent conclusion. What's notable about the First Circuit ruling is the court's firm declaration that the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA) provides a cause of action in federal court for those who lose a UDRP proceeding".
Andrew McLaughlin" firstname.lastname@example.org 12/10/01
chief policy officer & cfo internet corporation for assigned names and numbers
Read text of the FTAA 7/5/01
The intellectual property section of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) contains proposals that would obligate countries by law to rely on ICANN for domain name dispute resolution. The relevant text follows below, from the trademark section. This is all still subject to negotiation.
Article XX. [Domain names on the Internet
1. Parties shall participate in the Government Advisory Committee (GAC) of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to promote appropriate country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD) administration and
delegation practices and appropriate contractual relationships for the administration of the ccTLDs in the Hemisphere.
2. Parties shall have their domestic Network Information Centers (NICs) participate in the ICANN Uniform Dispute Resolution Procedure (UDRP) to address the problem of cyber-piracy of trademarks.]
Article XX. [Cancellation and transfer of domain name In the event that a well known distinctive sign has been inappropriately registered in the country of the Party, as part of a domain name or electronic mail address of an unauthorized third party, on request by the owner or legitimate rightholder of that sign, the competent authority
shall consider the matter and, where appropriate, shall order cancellation or amendment of the registration of such domain name or electronic mail address, in accordance with the respective national law, provided that
use thereof would be liable to have one of the following effects:
1. Risk confusion or association with the owner or legitimate rightholderof the sign, or with his or her establishments, activities, products or services;
2. Cause unfair economic or commercial injury to the owner or lawful rightholder of the sign, arising from a dilution of its distinctive force or commercial or publicity value;
3. Make unfair use of the prestige of the sign, or of the good name of its owner or lawful rightholder.
The action of cancellation or amendment shall prescribe, for a period of five (5) years from the date on which the disputed domain name or electronic mail address was registered, or from the date on which electronic media, whichever period expires later, except where the registration was made in bad faith, in which case the action shall not
be prescribed. This action shall not affect any other action that might be available with respect to injuries and damages under common law.]
Dept. of Commerce to award ICANN another ticket on the gravy train 5/15/01
The U.S. Department of Commerce on Monday signaled that it likely will approve a proposal to extend Internet registrar VeriSign's control over the valuable global ".com" registry. Under the terms of the proposed arrangement
VeriSign would retain control over the registry until at least 2007. At that time, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers would offer VeriSign a "presumption favoring renewal of" the company's .com contract. While critics of the proposal argue that it is unfair for VeriSign to act as a retail domain-name seller while retaining an outright monopoly over wholesale .com address sales, U.S. regulators apparently view the situation differently. They don't seem as concerned as they might be over the extension of VeriSign's monopolistic powers.
ICANN Results In! October 12, 2000
ICANN At-Large Board Member election results are in! Voters in the Internet's first global online election selected five new At- Large Board Members for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, one for each international region. The process resulted in the election of two members considered to be strong public interest advocates: Karl Auerbach for the North America region and Andy Mueller-Maguhn for the European region.
For more information on the new Directors, please see the following Web sites:
http://www.internetdemocracyproject.org/IDPanswerskatoh.htm http://www.internetdemocracyproject.org/IDPanswersauerbach.htm http://www.internetdemocracyproject.org/IDPanswerscampos.htm http://www.internetdemocracyproject.org/IDPanswersquaynor.htm http://www.internetdemocracyproject.org/IDPanswersmueller.htm
The Directors-elect will assume their seats on November 16 at ICANN's annual meeting in Marina del Rey, California, filling out the nineteen-member Board. Among the issues facing ICANN is the establishment of new top-level domain names (like .org, .com and .edu). Remember: ICANN will conduct future board member elections; for more information on ICANN and how you can get involved, please see http://www.ala.org/oitp/icann/.
ICANN Votes to Allow Voting
Go to http://members.icann.org/join_now.htm
Date: Sat, 11 Mar 2000 20:02:23 -0500
ICANN is proceeding with an at-large membership election. I participated in the CDT/Common Cause study that made recommendations about this election. It appears they have adopted many of the recommendations. But it remains unclear how they have addressed our concerns about the potentially very large number of people registering to vote (these included concerns about capture, as well as logistical concerns). I've heard from ICANN folks that they don't think very many people will bother to register.
Industry Standard March 10, 2000, 08:57 AM PST
ICANN Votes to Allow Voting By Keith Perine
CAIRO - The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers took an important step toward broad-based legitimacy today, as it approved the start of an at-large membership election. The election would involve almost a third of ICANN's first 18-member permanent board.
The ICANN board unanimously voted to allow qualified people who sign up for membership on ICANN's site to elect five at-large directors before ICANN's November annual meeting in Los Angeles. Members must be at least 16 years of age, and must furnish both e-mail and postal addresses. About 6,000 people have signed up for membership since ICANN opened the process on Feb. 23. Most of the applicants have been young North American men. [ . . . ]
At last November's annual meeting, the Markle Foundation granted ICANN $200,000 to help fund the at-large membership process. The foundation also commissioned a study of the process by the Center for Democracy and Technology, Common Cause and others.
ICANN came to Cairo with a plan to stagger the at-large elections, by inserting an at-large council to act as an electoral college for at-large board member elections. The CDT-Common Cause study urged ICANN to hold direct elections instead, and to do so only after clearly restating its narrow technical mission. [ . . . ]
Lorrie Faith Cranor
AT&T Labs-Research, Shannon Laboratory Florham Park, NJ
ICANN Announces CPR Institute as New Dispute Resolution Provider
(May 15, 2000 - Marina del Rey, California, USA) -- The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) announced today that the CPR Institute for Dispute Resolution has been designated an approved provider under their Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) for domain name disputes. CPR will begin accepting complaints on Monday, 22 May 2000. For the first two months of operation it will commence a maximum of twenty proceedings per month.
CPR, a widely respected alliance of 500 general counsel of global corporations and partners of major law firms, is the fourth dispute resolution provider to be designated by ICANN to handle domain disputes, joining the National Arbitration Forum, the
Disputes.org/eResolution Consortium, and the World Intellectual Property Organization. The members of the CPR Domain Name Disputes Panel are listed at the CPR website, see http://www.cpradr.org
The UDRP was adopted in August 1999 and placed into effect by all competitive registrars in .com, .org and .net during December 1999 - January 2000. It establishes a streamlined, economical process administered by neutral arbitration companies to provide a quick and cheap alternative to litigation. The procedure applies to cases that meet all three of the following criteria:
- The domain name must be identical or confusingly similar to a name in which the complaining party has trademark rights (either through a registered trademark or a common-law trademark).
- The domain name holder must have no legitimate right or interest in the name.
- The domain name must have been registered and used in bad faith.
In its first few months of operation, the UDRP has proven to be a very popular means of quickly resolving trademark/domain name disputes. To date, 691 proceedings have been commenced under the policy involving 1022 domain names. Of those proceedings, 348 have already been resolved. For additional information see UDRP
Afternic.com, which runs a Web site where people who already own domain names can resell them, filed suit against Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. The company says ICANN violated its own bylaws in refusing to approve Afternic's application to become an accredited primary registrar for Internet addresses.
GROUPS BEGIN PUBLIC AWARENESS CAMPAIGN FOR INTERNET BOARD
Edupage, 30 June 2000 (New York Times, 29 June 2000
A handful of public interest groups kicked off a "Become a Cyber Citizen" initiative this week. The campaign aims to educate and recruit potential voters for the fall election to nominate five Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) board members. The first election is open to anyone age 16 or older who has an Internet address and registers by July 31.
The Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT), Common Cause, and the American Library Association are the groups backing the initiative. All three groups have had a somewhat rocky relationship with ICANN. "Internet users need to exercise their right to vote to ensure that ICANN's decisions are in the best interests of the greater Internet," said CDT Executive Director Jerry Berman. ICANN President Mike Roberts said he is glad the three groups are helping the organization reach out to voters. On a related note, ICANN's July 13 meeting in Japan will likely address proposals to add new top-level domains.
The Internet Democracy Project
will promote public education about Internet governance and encourage public participation in Internet policymaking. IDP will publish a newsletter, establish a web site, and produce a sourcebook on Internet governance issues.
ICANN Election Resource -- The Project will serve as a non-partisan educational resource for voters in the upcoming election of At Large members of the Board of the ICANN. The Project will also foster dialogue among voters and ICANN's current and potential Board members about important public policy issues. The Project will ask the candidates to express their position on civil society issues and widely publish their answers. The Internet Democracy Project is non-partisan and will neither support nor oppose the election of any candidates.
US Government Accounting Office (GAO) posted their report of their investigaton of ICANN July 7, 2000
One of the essential issues the GAO raises is whether the U.S. government has the authority to transfer government property or functions to a private non profit corporation. This is an important question in view of the U.S. government plan to transfer key assets of the Internet infrastructure to a private corporation. The
GAO Report notes that the Department of Commerce "states that no government functions or property have been transferred" under its agreements with ICANN....