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COA comments re IIC draft plan

  • To: <iic-implementation-plan@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: COA comments re IIC draft plan
  • From: "Metalitz, Steven" <met@xxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 11 May 2009 15:12:56 -0700

The following comments on the Draft Implementation Plan for Improving
Institutional Confidence ("Draft Plan") are submitted on behalf of the
Coalition for Online Accountability (COA)  See
http://www.icann.org/en/public-comment/#iic-plan, which links to the
Draft Plan.  

These comments incorporate the comments COA submitted on July 31, 2008,
on the documents entitled "Improving Institutional Confidence in ICANN."
A copy of the July 31, 2008 comments are attached.  Since little has
changed over the past ten months on the issues addressed by the 2008
comments, most of our observations there remain relevant.  

As noted in the July 2008 comments, COA consists of nine leading
copyright industry companies, trade associations and member
organizations of copyright owners.  These are the American Society of
Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP); the Business Software
Alliance (BSA); Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI); the Entertainment Software
Association (ESA); the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA); the
Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA); the Software and
Information Industry Association (SIIA); Time Warner Inc.; and the Walt
Disney Company.  COA is a member of the Intellectual Property
Constituency of ICANN's Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO).
COA and its participants have engaged actively in many aspects of
ICANN's work since the inception of the organization.

These comments are keyed to the Recommendations listed in section 2 of
the Draft Plan.

1.13.1:  We assume that the recommendation to "require statements on
conflict of interest from all members of ... Supporting Organizations"
is intended to refer to the governing bodies of the Supporting
Organizations, at least insofar as the GNSO is concerned.  The concept
of a "member of" the GNSO is opaque in the ICANN structure.  The GNSO is
moving to a structure organized around Stakeholder Groups, which may or
may not consist of constituencies.  While constituencies have members,
some of which are individuals, many constituency members are large
organizations, or organizations consisting of organizations and
companies, such as COA, for example.  Similarly, while some Advisory
Committees consist of individual members (e.g., the Security and
Stability Advisory Committee),  others do not (e.g., the Governmental
Advisory Committee consists of representatives of governments and
intergovernmental organizations).  It may be meaningful to require
conflict of interest statements from SSAC members but not from GAC
members. This should be clarified.  

1.13.4:  For the reasons stated in the July 2008 comments, COA does not
believe that prohibiting the same individual or organization from voting
in more than one Supporting Organization or Advisory Committee will have
a significant impact in safeguarding ICANN against "capture."  The same
is true on the constituency level. ICANN continues to employ a notion of
"capture" that is too narrowly conceived.  

2.4.1:  COA supports the recommendation to bring greater rationality and
transparency  to how ICANN responds to public comments received.  ICANN
should also have a consistent policy regarding the receipt of
post-deadline comments (e.g., comment deadlines should be consistently
either hard or soft; or if this will vary, that should be stated at the
time public comments are solicited). 

3.6 (also 1.10.3):  COA supports keeping ICANN's headquarters in the
United States. 

3.9:  COA agrees that any decision on ICANN acquiring an "international
not-for-profit organization status" should be deferred until after
further fact gathering and after full public consultation on a specific
proposal to do so.  

        4.6.2:  The recommendation for a community consultation on
"sources of revenue" overlooks the point COA made in its July 2008
comments:  given ICANN's near-total dependence on payments made by
accredited registrars and gTLD registries (although the ultimate source
of these funds is gTLD domain name registrants), ICANN's higher priority
should be to "adopt stronger safeguards in ICANN's structure and
processes that would reduce the risk that 'he who pays the piper calls
the tune.'"  
5.3:  ICANN's role as a "discussion leader and [one who] raises
awareness of issues linked to stability and security of the Internet"
depends on having a plan that specifies ICANN's role and proposes
concrete actions in this area.  We note that ICANN's draft operating
plan for FY 2010 calls for an "ICANN Plan to Enhance Internet SSR
[Security, Stability and Resiliency]"  to be approved by the community
and by the Board by October 2009.  Since no such plan has even been
publicly released yet, it is impossible to evaluate what ICANN's
"discussion leader and awareness raiser" role should be.  
COA also offers the following comments on two other statements within
the Draft Plan, neither linked to any specific recommendation:
Page 13:  If the Draft Plan is "the PSC's proposed framework for the
continuation of ICANN's work following the conclusion of the Joint
Project Agreement," COA reiterates its July 2008 comment that the
premise that the JPA should conclude in September 2009 be re-evaluated,
for the reasons stated in our July 2008 comments.  
Page 16:  COA believes that the statement in paragraph 0.3 that "by and
large, the Internet community recognizes that the goals of the MoU's and
the JPA had been largely met" is inconsistent with what was really
stated during the mid-term review of the JPA.  For details, see COA's
July 2008 comments attached.  
Thank you for considering COA's views.  
Respectfully submitted, 
Steven J. Metalitz 
Counsel to COA
c/o Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP
1818 N Street, NW, 8th Floor
Washington, DC  20036 USA
E-mail: met@xxxxxxx
 <<COA comments on PSC 073108 (1917421).PDF>> 

Attachment: COA comments on PSC 073108 (1917421).PDF
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