Summary and Analysis of Public Comments for: City TLD Constituency Petition and Charter
Summary and Analysis of Public Comments for: City TLD Constituency Petition and Charter Comment period ended: 10 July 2009 Summary published: 14 July 2009 Prepared by: Robert Hoggarth, Senior Policy Director I. BACKGROUND In June 2008, the ICANN Board of Directors endorsed a series of recommendations on how to improve the structures and operations of the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO). One of the significant drivers of those recommendations was the goal to maximize participation in the GNSO and its policy development processes. Among the various recommendations endorsed by the Board was that ICANN take steps to clarify and promote the option to self-form new constituencies as a means to increase participation in GNSO policy development activities. The current ICANN Bylaws provide that any group of individuals or entities may petition the Board for recognition as a new or separate constituency, in accordance with Section 5(4) of Article X. Such a petition must explain (1) why "the addition of such a Constituency will improve the ability of the GNSO to carry out its policy-development responsibilities" and (2) why "the proposed new Constituency would adequately represent, on a global basis, the stakeholders it seeks to represent." The ICANN Board has now received a total of four formal petitions from prospective constituencies, including the subject of this forum - the City Top-Level-Domain (City TLD) Constituency. At the direction of the Board, the ICANN Staff developed a two-step process for potential new constituencies to follow. The proponents of the City Top-Level Domain (hereinafter “City TLD Constituency” or “CTLDC”) completed the first step of the process on 15 February 2009 by filing a Notice of Intent to Form a New Constituency http://gnso.icann.org/en/improvements/ctldc-noif-15feb09.pdf. The second step of the process, submission of a New Constituency Petition and Charter (http://gnso.icann.org/en/improvements/ctldc-petition-charter-redacted-01jun09.pdf and Introduction Letter http://gnso.icann.org/en/improvements/ctldc-petition-letter-01jun09.pdf were completed on 1 June 2009. Community comment on new constituency petitions and charters is an important component of the Board's evaluation of these petitions and will be used to inform the Board's decisions to approve or, at its option, to recommend any alterations or amendments to the various submissions. II. GENERAL COMMENTS and CONTRIBUTORS As of 11 July 2009, three comments had been submitted to this comment forum. The commenters included one individual (Eric Brunner-Williams,), one registrar (Go Daddy, Inc.) and one GNSO Constituency (the gTLD Registries Constituency). III. SUMMARY & ANALYSIS The comments from Go Daddy, Inc. (Go Daddy) and the gTLD Registries Constituency (RyC) express concern about the City TLD Constituency proposal and recommend steps to address those concerns. Generally, the two commenters oppose immediate approval of the proposal. Fundamentally, they argue that the proposal is premature in that the entities that would comprise the new constituency do not yet have contracts with ICANN. They both question the possible participation of government entities in the contract Party house of the GNSO. Secondarily the RyC has concerns about the proposed CTLDC voting structure and Go Daddy believes that the non contract party house of the GNSO is “a better home for the constituency.” The comments of Mr. Brunner-Williams (EBW) challenge some those basic assumptions and argue for approval of the proposal. RyC Comments: The RyC expresses three major concerns about the City TLD Constituency Petition and Charter. First, the RyC says the proposal to become part of the Registries Stakeholder Group (RySG) is “misplaced.” The RyC says the RySG is part of the Contracted Party House of the new GNSO, and those entities that compose the CTLDC have no contracts with ICANN. Until their applications to manage registries are accepted and they execute contracts with ICANN, collectively they simply do not qualify as a constituency within the RySG. Secondly, the RyC asserts that the proposal to include government agencies in a constituency is inconsistent with the fundamental structure of ICANN in which governments participate in an advisory capacity through the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC). Furthermore, the RyC says, the inclusion of governmental agencies opens the possibility of two areas of voting influence and one area of significant advisement for a single government hierarchy. Finally, the RyC asserts that the CTLDC proposal suggests a method of voting representation that directly conflicts with the proposed charter version currently before the Board. The RyC claims that Constituencies are comprised of RySG members who share common interests. The RyC notes that under the RySG charter as reviewed by the SIC, “there is no direct voting representation for a constituency as an entity or organized body since the members are already granted their own direct voting rights at the RySG level” (emphasis added). The RyC concludes that if the Board feels the need to act on the City TLD Constituency Petition and Charter, then it should postpone approval until (1) the members of the CTLDC have contracts with ICANN; (2) “government agencies” are removed from the proposed Constituency; (3) ICANN adopts procedures as recommended by the President’s Strategy Committee (PSC) to prevent double voting; and (4) changes are made to the application regarding its proposed voting representation at the GNSO Council level. The RyC says these changes must acknowledge and be consistent with the membership requirements in the proposed and SIC-reviewed RySG charter (http://gnso.icann.org/en/improvements/rysg-proposed-petition-charter-22jun09.pdf ). Go Daddy Comments: Go Daddy notes that it is pleased to see that many City gTLD applicants are working cooperatively with municipal officials in the development and submission of their TLD applications. But, in general terms, Go Daddy questions the need for two GNSO constituencies that both represent gTLD registries. Go Daddy believes that an interest group comprised of City gTLD registries within the existing Registry Constituency may make more sense. Go Daddy also has some concerns with the CTLDC’s proposed membership requirements - especially the definitions of “Associated” Members and “Ex-officio” Members. Go Daddy notes that “Associated” Members are identified as Individuals and organizations with an interest in City TLD issues, and “Ex-officio” Members are identified as governments and authorities from cities and other political divisions. Similar to the RyC argument, Go Daddy says that the inclusion of these types of members in a GNSO Constituency is not consistent with the definition of the GNSO’s Contracted Party House, which stipulates that all members are under direct contract with ICANN. Go Daddy says “the prerequisite requirement of an ICANN contract for membership in this house extends to the Registry Stakeholder Group, all existing or proposed associated constituencies, and all interest groups within it.” Similar to the RyC Comments, Go Daddy recommends that the Board consider the City TLD Constituency Petition as one to form an “interest group” within the existing RyC, and ”that it be revised to narrow membership to those parties directly under contract with ICANN.” Alternatively, Go Daddy says the potential City TLD non-contracted interests (“Associated” and “Ex-officio” members) should consider forming corresponding organizations within the GNSO’s NonContracted Party House, or other areas of the ICANN community (such as ALAC or GAC). Eric Brunner-Williams (EBW) Comments: EBW challenges what he calls “the prevailing assumption” that entities seeking standing as a GNSO Constituency must “obtain membership in an existing Constituency.” He says, “I think this assumes that no entity with interests, or material conditions unlike any of the entities which applied for standing as a Constituency under [the ICANN Bylaws] will ever apply for such standing.” He is concerned that this “prevailing assumption” has been applied to the City TLD group in particular, with the claim that entities composed of parties to registry contracts with ICANN are generic registries.He says, “the difference that locality makes is sufficient to … rebut the ‘a registry is a registry’ assumption.” He says “the situation of City TLDs as a group within the GNSO has useful alternatives,” and, independent of the degree of partial success of the GNSO "reform,” constituency status has its uses. EBW asserts that the model for City TLDs is “sufficiently distinct from the model shared by all the existing members of the Registry Constituency” and that the request has standing within the reformed GNSO which is equal to, and separate from, the standing of the existing registry contracted parties. EBW says, “the relationship between a locality defined registry operator and its registrants, who share a common property of locality, is materially different from the relationship between a locality undefined registry operator and its registrants, who share no common property of locality.” He says, “it is conceivable that the Registry Constituency will not be an effective means for City TLDs to constructively engage, through the GNSO, with the ASO, or constructively engage, within the GNSO, on issues of Consensus Policy, on issues where locality is present.” IV. NEXT STEPS In addition to the comment in this forum, the Staff will collect relevant community comments made on this issue in other public forums including those held during the ICANN Sydney Meeting. The ICANN Board of Directors will subsequently review the Staff's analysis and comments on the submissions. The Board is likely to consider all the relevant community input and move forward with a decision on the proposed charter as soon as practicably possible.
Summary and Analysis of Public Comments for City TLD Constituency Petition and Charter.doc