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Statement on IFRC and IOC - Post Application Start Date changes to the AGB

  • To: ioc-rcrc-proposal@xxxxxxxxx
  • Subject: Statement on IFRC and IOC - Post Application Start Date changes to the AGB
  • From: Avri Doria <avri@xxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 19 Mar 2012 12:48:57 -0500

Re: http://www.icann.org/en/news/public-comment/ioc-rcrc-proposal-02mar12-en.htm

In this statement I want to address the topic of making large modifications to 
the Applicant Guide Book (AGB) to amend the special protections that ICANN 
Board granted to the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) and to 
the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Since the motion's recommendations 
apply to both organizations and since the GNSO seems to have decided that the 
motion cannot be split between the two organizations, I will not differentiate 
between the two organizations in my comments.  In any case such discrimination 
would require further analysis on the basis for the merits of the special 
treatment they are being granted, something I will not cover in this comment.

- I will avoid, in this note at least, any discussion of the quality of the 
protection offered to the IFRC/IOC and whether the GNSO should add further 
protection to the IFRC/IOC

- I will avoid, in this note at least, the question of whether the IFRC/IOC 
deserve such protection.

- I will avoid, in this note at least, the question of whether the IFRC/IOC are 
the only organizations that deserve this protection.

- I will avoid, in this note at least, the question of whether the IFRC/IOC as 
a class of organization are unique regarding reasons for such protection.

- I will avoid, in this note at least, the question of whether the ICANN Board 
did the right thing in creating, without a proper GNSO PDP, a new class of 
modified reserved names.

- I will avoid, in this note at least, the question of whether it is 
appropriate for the GNSO council  to vote on a recommendation of a Drafting 
Team draft without a complete AOC/ATRT/Board determined comment period and 
without a call to the constituencies for comments.  I.e.this note will not 
address the appropriateness of the GNSO council circumventing the PDP and the 
precedence this might set for future emergency policy issues.

- I will avoid, in this note, the analysis necessary to differentiate between a 
policy issue and a 'mere' implementation issue.

The current Application guide book contains a section on the extraordinary 
protections the ICANN Board already gave the IFRC/IOC. A question facing the 
GNSO Council is whether it is appropriate to change the AGB in such a massive 
way after the start date of the application period without resetting that start 

Prospective applicants have already made decisions on their applications based 
on the content of the AGB.  While it is true that there has been a constant 
stream of smaller changes, made in amendments to the AGB, there have not been 
any changes of this magnitude, i.e. modifications that change what can and 
can't be applied for.  While there are some robo-application writers who can 
crank out an application in a weekend, many applicants spend months worrying 
about the wording of their application - especially if they are working on a 
community or geographically based application.  If a large change were to made 
at any point after the start of the application window, it would disadvantage 
some applicants and perhaps advantage other applicants.  This would be 
fundamentally unfair and would thus be a liability for ICANN.

Several comments have noted that perhaps the protections offered to the 
IFRC/IOC should be undone.  I argue against this for the same reason I argue 
against adding all of the extra exemptions and privileges contained in the GNSO 
motion.  Removing this protection from the AGB at a date after the starting 
date of the application period would change the basis of the decision on which 
some possible applicants may have made their decisions.   Again, making such a 
change to the AGB at this point would put all of these possible applicants at a 
disadvantage. It would also harm the IFRC/IOC as it would remove a protection 
they had been able to count on.  While it may have been a multistakeholder 
transgression for the ICANN Board to have extended this extraordinary special 
modified reserved name process to the IFRC/IOC without a PDP to define the new 
class of reserved names, it was within their by-laws defined prerogative to do 
so and was thus a legitimate decision.   Had they not been extended such 
special protection, the IFRC/IOC would have had the ability to create a 
strategy and an application.  In this case the special protections have been 
extended, and we all need to live with that fact without modification, if we 
are unwilling to reset the date for the beginning of the application period - 
something I am not recommending.

Additionally, a fundamental principle of the GNSO recommendations for the new 
gTLD process was for a predictable process.  Any changes of this magnitude 
would be done at the expense of that predictability and should be avoided by 
the GNSO if it wishes to live up to its own principles on the new gTLD program.

For this reason I recommend that all GNSO council members vote against any 
massive change to the AGB that would disadvantage members of the ICANN 
community.  This motion should be defeated or at least amended to remove 
anything that would change the basis of applications for this round.

Avri Doria

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