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Statement on IFRC and IOC - Who deserves special protection?

  • To: ioc-rcrc-proposal@xxxxxxxxx
  • Subject: Statement on IFRC and IOC - Who deserves special protection?
  • From: Avri Doria <avri@xxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 21 Mar 2012 12:18:52 -0500

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

In this statement I want to address the issue of the base on which 
organizations may deserve special protection.  The ICANN Board granted special 
to the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) and to the 
International Olympic Committee (IOC). 

- I will avoid, in this note at least, any discussion of whether it is 
appropriate to change the AGB after the application start date. I have made an 
argument for that in another 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 have made an argument on that in another comment.

- 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 have already 
commented on this in an earlier comments.

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

The GAC recommended a set of criteria for special protection:

- protected by International law
- protected by national law

the GAC has also advised that only the IFRC & IOC meet this criteria.

This brings up two questions that need to be explored in a policy development 

- Policy question: Is this the right criteria?
- Implementation guideline: are these the only organizations the meet these 

On the first question, NPOC, one of the 2 full status constituencies in the 
NCSG, has made suggestions that these criteria were too narrow and that they 
excluded organizations that had a equal claim of protection based on the value 
they brought to the world in terms of saving lives or in terms ameliorating the 
conditions of billions of people's lives.  If, as stated by the distinguished 
members of the GNSO Council during its meeting in Costa Rica, people will die 
if the IFRC/IOC are not further protected, so too, will many people die if 
these other organizations are not also protected.  Can the GNSO council 
overlook these other potential deaths or the misery this would bring? If they 
beleive that the Objection Process does not provide adequate protection, can 
they afford to ignore the death and misery the omission of these other 
organizations will bring about?

On the second question, the implementation guideline, I have not seen any 
studies showing that these two organizations are the only organizations that 
meet this criteria.  If there are other such organizations as was indicated in 
a recent Circle-id article, then perhaps the unfairness of these rules is being 
compounded by the way the policy advised by the GAC is being implemented by the 
Board and Staff.

I personally beleive that the Objections Process is sufficient for protecting 
all of these organizations, and I beleive that this was the conclusion of the 
GNSO PDP on new gTLDs. Though as I have argued elsewhere, the fees a charitable 
organization would have to pay might be at the expense of their good works and 
perhaps should be waived for all such NGOs.  I have no secret of my belief that 
the fees being charge for objections and for responses are fundamentally unfair.

But I also grant that the GNSO might have overlooked something in coming to the 
conclusions it came to.  So if, as the GAC and members of the GNSO Council have 
argued, the protection through Objection Process is insufficient for the 
IFRC/IOC, then it is also insufficient for many organizations such as  Medicins 
sans Frontiers, Amnesty International, the Human Rights Campaign, or others 
(Full Disclosure: these three are organizations to whom I make contributions, 
whereas I do not contribute to IFRC/IOC - except perhaps by consuming sports 
entertainment licensed by the IOC and or by giving blood to the IFRC).  Before 
ICANN singles out two (2) organizations for protection beyond the special 
protection of modified reserved names already granted in the AGB, it should 
review the propriety of its policy definition and the scope of its 

As I have argued in another note, changing the protection already granted to 
IFRC/IOC in the Guidebook without restarting the application clock is 
fundamentally unfair. I am not suggesting a change unless the application 
period clock is restarted after such a change is made.  And I am not suggesting 
such a restart of the clock.  What I am suggesting is that the status quo of 
the current AGB be allowed to stand, unfair though it may be, and that an 
issues report be requested on the issue of protection for worthy charitable 
organizations at the top and second level.

I recommend that the motion be amended to request an issue report be created on 
the topic of IGO and NGO Charitable organizations that may be deserving of 
special protections in gTLD top and second level names.  

Avri Doria

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