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About the Sole Member model

  • To: comments-ccwg-accountability-03aug15@xxxxxxxxx
  • Subject: About the Sole Member model
  • From: Brian E Carpenter <brian.e.carpenter@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 10 Sep 2015 13:55:39 +1200

I have been trying to understand how the Sole Member model would
improve the community's control over the policy and strategy pursued
by ICANN's Board and staff.

As far as I can see, the Sole Member has only two significant powers:

1. A veto over by-law changes.

2. The ability to fire ("recall") Board members.

Given that, what is the Sole Member? Paragraph 306 tells us:
"..the Sole Member ... would be a legal person created through the ICANN Bylaws 
as an
unincorporated association. The Community Mechanism as Sole Member Model would 
on direct participation by SOs and ACs in this sole member for exercise of 
powers but would not require any of them to have legal personhood. The Sole 
would have no officers or directors and no assets."

This does raise a real concern. Given that the names community has had since 
1998 to
form itself into a consensus-based group of people and organisations able to 
stable conclusions, and has failed to do so, what reason is there to suppose it 
do so now? What therefore prevents the sole member being captured by the ICANN 
and staff, since it actually has no real existence beyond a legal fiction?

(This question does not arise for the numbers and protocol parameters 
which are long-established open consensus communities.)

Frankly I don't trust the names community, on its record, to work smoothly to 
the suggested Sole Member in a way that will benefit the Internet as a whole 
than the vested interests that have already brought the gTLDs to their current 

I would need a lot more concrete evidence that the names community can actually 
like a *community* insteady of a greedy rabble before giving this proposal the 
light. Rather than writing long reports and paying lots of money to lawyers,
form the community already!

I like the IAB's suggestion that the communities that currently appoint ICANN 
members should all have a straightforward recall mechanism (and probably some of
them should use it). That alone would be a big step forward and could be done 
in a
month, quite separately from any discussion of the transition. Not only would it
enhance community control of the Board, it would also provide indirect community
control of the by-laws at no extra cost.

   Brian Carpenter

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