Comment on IOC/ICRC Proposal
- To: <ioc-rcrc-proposal@xxxxxxxxx>
- Subject: Comment on IOC/ICRC Proposal
- From: "Andrew A. Adams" <aaa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Sun, 4 Mar 2012 10:08:12 +0900
I strongly object to both the process that led to and the outcome of this
There was a very long period of discussion and the development of an aplicant
guidebook during which neither the IOC nor the ICRC, so far as I am aware,
engaged with ICANN processes. At the last minute before the new gTLD system
came into force these two organisations then put pressure on through the GAC
for special treatment. This has then been rushed through with too little
debate and too much pressure to cave in to pressure exerted through one of
the ICANN stakeholders. The resulting proposal is deeply flawed on both the
specifics and the general principle and opens up the name space to future
claims by a myriad of other organisations.
The two organisations are completely different in nature and scope and the
limited discussions that have taken place appear to have treated them the
same, with no consideration of their differences.
The case for the IOC is based upon an international treaty which only
protects their graphical trademark and not the words Olympic or Olympics.
Indeed, as we can see from the current second level names registered there
are huge numbers of commercial and non-commercial (e.g. geographic regions,
not least the region from where the name is drawn) who have currently
registered variants on the name and who hold trademarks on such names.
Privileging the IOC in any way in the gTLD name space is unjustified and
The case for the ICRC is slightly better, given that the existing
international treaties do protect their names from actual use. I believe that
these treaties provide sufficient protection against any misuse of their name
and thus no added protection is needed. Any group which uses a name in such a
way as to create confusion amongst net users would be subject to severe
penalties and an application to have such domains blocked would easily be
accepted under existing rules. THis proposal is again expansionary in that
the current proposal restricts registration of names in languages not covered
by the existing international treaty and also includes the concept that names
not explicitly mentioend but "similar" should be protected.
So, firstly, when the GNSO votes on this matter the two proposals should be
separated. Even if one accepts that case for the ICRC, the case for the IOC
is far, far weaker.
Second, the GNSO votes should include more nuanced considerations of
restricting the scope of any protection offered, in particular paying close
attention to non-expansionary processes.
Finally, if any protections are extended, these should be explicitly stated
as exceptions to the rules, apply only to the current round of gTLD expansion
and require any future protections to be argued for via ICANN's usual
bottom-up policy process and not forced on the community by one stakeholder
at the eleventh hour. Such limited and clearly exceptional protections must
be clearly constrained to prevent other organisations seeking to bypass the
bottom-up processes and force their own restrictions on others'
self-identification into the domain name system without proper balance being
considered in a measured and true consensus manner.
In accepting these proposals, I believe the GNSO would do much more
significant harm to ICANN than would follow to anyone by allowing the
existing treaties to provide the rules and the existing mechanisms to follow
Professor Andrew A Adams aaa@xxxxxxxxxxx
Professor at Graduate School of Business Administration, and
Deputy Director of the Centre for Business Information Ethics
Meiji University, Tokyo, Japan http://www.a-cubed.info/