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There cannot be any automatic "complete defense" against objection

  • To: gtld-guide@xxxxxxxxx
  • Subject: There cannot be any automatic "complete defense" against objection
  • From: "Werner Staub (CORE)" <werner.staub@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 11 Dec 2008 11:03:07 +0100

At the end of 3.5.4, on page 3-15, the Draft Applicant Guidebook

 "Defenses – Satisfaction of the standing requirements for
  filing a Community Objection (refer to paragraph
  by the applicant is a complete defense to an objection
  filed on community grounds."

Keeping this clause would imply that a community-based TLD could
be squatted by a single member of the community. For instance,
that one pharmaceutical company could apply for .pharma and enjoy
"complete defense" against objections from any competitor,
industry association or consumer group. Or that one bank could
apply for .bank and that no other bank, nor associations of banks
nor even a banking regulator could successfully object. Or that
one tennis club could apply for .tennis and prevail against
objection from any federation.

This is of course precisely what we must avoid. Overall, we are
dealing with a bug rooted in the use of the word "community
institution" in two different senses.

In the sense of Implementation Guideline P, the word "Institution"
refers to a preliminary qualification, namely to file an
objection. Once the objection is filed, the objector must still
prove substantial opposition from a significant portion of the
community. Therefore, relatively low barriers may suffice for
standing to file an objection. It may be enough to be just a
member of that community. Of course the requirements can be set

In the "Defenses" clause (page 3-15) and in the proposed
comparative evaluation criteria (page 4-7), there is an attempt to
use the word "community institution" in an entirely different
sense. Here, the quality of "community institution" is supposed to
convey a final and determinant privilege to run the TLD: the
institution is supposed to have standing to act on behalf of its
entire community. For such a presumption, the barrier must be much
higher than just being a member of the community. Only an
application by (or support from) a collective representative
institution, such as a generally recognized federation, community
forum or industry association, is credible enough to presume
consensus in the community.

Support by a collectively representative community institution is
useful for differentiating community applicants from non-community
applicants. But it would be dangerous to award automatic "complete
defense" against objections, on any ground. Some communities have
more than one generally accepted representative institution, and
these do not always agree.

Werner Staub
CORE Internet Council of Registrars   http://corenic.org
WTC II, 29 route de Pre-Bois, CH-1215 Geneva, Switzerland
Tel +4122 929-5744 Fax +4122 929-5745 secretariat@xxxxxxxxxxx

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