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Internet Commerce Association Comments Regarding Individual Users in the GNSO

  • To: "gnso-users@xxxxxxxxx" <gnso-users@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: Internet Commerce Association Comments Regarding Individual Users in the GNSO
  • From: Phil Corwin <pcorwin@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 28 Nov 2008 17:50:08 -0500

Attorneys at Law
1301 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20004-1701
Philip S. Corwin, Partner

By E-Mail

November 28, 2008

Board of Directors
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)
4676 Admiralty Way, Suite 330
Marina del Rey, CA 90292-6601

Re: Comment on The Role of Individual Internet Users in the GNSO

Dear Members of the ICANN Board:

This comment letter is submitted by the Internet Commerce Association (ICA) in 
regard to ICANN’s October 28th notice establishing a thirty day period for 
public comments on “The Role of Individual Internet Users in the GNSO”.

ICA is a not-for-profit trade association representing the direct search 
industry. Its membership is composed of domain name registrants that invest in 
domain names (DNs) and develop the associated websites, as well as the 
companies that serve them. Professional domain name registrants are a major 
source of the fees that support registrars, registries, and ICANN itself. The 
ICA is an International Member of ICANN’s Commercial and Business Constituency 
(CBUC) and presently has more than 120 members located in the United States and 
thirteen other nations. ICA’s participation in CBUC provides representation to 
individual members of our Association involved in the advertising monetization 
and commercial development of domain names.

Ongoing GNSO Reform and the Role of Individual Users

The ICA joined CBUC as the process of implementing GNSO reform began. We have 
serious concerns regarding whether the bicameral approach adopted for the GNSO 
going forward – with one body representing contract parties, and the other 
non-contract parties – will institutionalize division and make it more 
difficult to reach consensus positions within the overall ICANN community. In 
addition, our participation in various meetings focused on the implementation 
of GNSO reform that took place during the  recent Cairo meeting added to our 
belief that this process is problematic at best and may not result in a fully 
functional, much less effective reorganization of ICANN’s primary policymaking 
body. Given this context, the addition of major new alterations in the role of 
individual users within the GNSO and the ICANN community at large can only add 
to uncertainty and make the transitional process more problematic. Thus, while 
we recognize that clarifying the proper strategic approach to representation of 
individual user interests within ICANN overall and the GNSO specifically is a 
critical component of GNSO reform, we believe that the general approach taken 
by ICANN should be one of cautious and incremental change to avoid the 
introduction of even greater uncertainty and instability.

Within the context of this cautious approach, our positions on the proposals 
currently being considered by the ICANN Board are as follows:

 *   We have no objection to the creation of a comprehensive Non-Commercial 
Stakeholders Group, as envisioned in the BGC WG Report, that would represent 
the interests in gTLD policy of a wide range of non-commercial entities and 
that would include, but extend beyond, the current parameters of the NCUC.
 *   We partially endorse the recommendation of the WG-GCR Report that the 
non-contract portion of the GNSO be open to membership of all interested 
parties that use or provide services on the Internet, with the effect of 
permitting greater participation by individual Internet users – but we believe 
this expansion should only include individual users with a commercial interest 
in ICANN activities.
 *   We believe that the ALAC remains the proper body for representation of 
non-commercial individual users and that these users should remain outside the 
GNSO framework.
 *   We strongly oppose the NonCom Independent evaluator’s recommendation that 
the ALAC directly appoint two voting members of the Board, and support the 
recommendation of the ALAC independent evaluator that the ALAC continue to 
appoint a non-voting Board liaison. This position is consistent with ALAC’s 
continued functioning as an advisory body rather than one with direct 
policymaking ability.

Overall, our position would allow for greater GNSO participation by both 
non-commercial organizations and individual commercial Internet users, without 
altering the fundamental divisions between the GNSO and the ALAC. We believe 
that going beyond these modest evolutionary changes would be extremely 
destabilizing at a time when GNSO reform is being implemented and its success 
and functionality cannot be taken for granted.


We hope that the Board will find our comments to be of value as it considers 
how best to address the role of individual users in ICANN’s evolving 
policymaking structure.

Philip S. Corwin
Counsel, Internet Commerce Association

Philip S. Corwin
Butera & Andrews
1301 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Suite 500
Washington, DC 20004

"Luck Is The Residue of Design" -- Branch Rickey

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