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Registrant Rights Charter and Proposals for Improvements to the RAA comments by Leap of Faith Financial Services Inc.

  • To: raa-improvements2010@xxxxxxxxx
  • Subject: Registrant Rights Charter and Proposals for Improvements to the RAA comments by Leap of Faith Financial Services Inc.
  • From: George Kirikos <gkirikos@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 8 Jul 2010 07:26:37 -0700 (PDT)

Registrant Rights Charter and Proposals for Improvements to the RAA comments

By: George Kirikos
Company: Leap of Faith Financial Services Inc.
Date: July 8, 2010

As a preface, I notice the lack of comments to date in this important comment 
period. As I've suggested numerous times before, ICANN needs to:

a) Space out the comment periods: there are too many comment periods at any one 
time that are pending, and they often end around the same time. This gives 
little time to read all the relevant background material to produce useful 
comments. ICANN needs to cut back on things, if there are too many issues being 
entertained at any one time.

b) Extend the comment periods: ICANN can learn from CIRA (the .ca registry), 
which had a *100 day* comment period for a recent important issue


c) Send notices to all gTLD registrants regarding comment periods: As per (b), 
CIRA sent out notices to ALL domain registrants in .ca regarding the comment 
period. ICANN should do the same on a quarterly basis (just like there are 
requirements for annual WHOIS accuracy reminders).

The above being said, we've perused the "Proposals for Improvements" document, 
and have a hard time taking it seriously. It's lengthy, but seems to be more of 
a "laundry list" of concerns that are not prioritized and seem to come out of 
left field in many cases. We are very disappointed by the lack of progress on a 
registrant rights charter. Indeed, the working group appears to have given up, 
thereby failing registrants entirely.

1) The current proposed Registrants rights "charter". Seems very silly and a 
waste of time, because 

as Annex D plainly states "The summaries provided here do not override or 
replace the actual terms as written in the RAA or the related policies and 
specifications." If this "charter" is to have any value, it should work the 
other way around, namely that registrant rights are enumerated in one place and 
any other document/policy cannot conflict with that charter, just like the US 
Bill of Rights, or 

the constitution of many countries. If there's any conflict, the rights in the 
charter reign supreme, unless the charter itself is amended by a supermajority.

A plain language "summary" document is *not* a charter at all, and is a 
perversion and misuse of the term. Call it what it really is, which is a 
"Dummy's Guide" or an "Idiot's Guide", not a charter. To see what a "charter" 

rights really is, look at the text of the US Bill of Rights or the Canadian 
Charter of Rights and Freedoms:


Those are the highest laws of the land. To give registrants rights, it would 
also allow registrants to *enforce* those rights in court against ICANN, when 
ICANN creates policies that conflict with those fundamental and inalienable 
rights. However, ICANN always makes sure that registrants have *no* rights to 
enforce anything against ICANN itself. This needs to change.

Having a *real* charter, of the nature I described, *would* actually be useful. 
But, it doesn't look like that's going to happen given this document. According 

the summary, the RAA Drafting Team was tasked with "drafting a charter 

of registrant rights" -- it has obviously misinterpreted the meaning of that 
task, and instead just came back with the job of what a lowly "secretary" might 
accomplish, instead of thinking deeply about what the fundamental rights and 
responsibilities of registrants should be. This shows lack of leadership and 

What's worse is that the working groups knew all this, and instead of deciding 
to show leadership, it copped out and *unanimously* went with the approach of a 
simple "Idiot's Guide" approach, instead of a charter. See for example page 10 
of the PDF:

"Some members envisioned the Charter to be a document declaring basic rights 
that should be afforded to registrants by registrars in connection with domain 
name registrations.Others viewed the Charter as an inventory of current 
obligations and responsibilities under the RAA related to registrants."

For the "inventory" approach to have been adopted *unanimously* demonstrates 

ICANN is not taken seriously by outsiders, and is nearly universally loathed. 
Show some vision and leadership! I say this especially to those in the 

who cowardly cast their vote for an "Idiot's Guide", rather than holding true 

their convictions as to what a real charter should be. You did not do well for 
registrants at all, and it would be better that you simply resign instead of 
pretending to represent the interests of registrants' rights. Or, better yet, 
fight for those rights! In the real world, blood has been spilled in wars (US 
War of Independence, etc.) to achieve and defend certain rights and freedoms. 

sacrifices have been made. Where are those leaders within the ICANN community 
who would fight for rights? They're obviously not in this working group, 

they lack the passion and the persistence to get the job done. It's better to 
fail honourably if one actually put forth the effort, and showed some 
persistence. Show some backbone...ICANN needs fewer jellyfish! But, their 
"surrender" on the issue of creation a true charter of rights for registrants 
brings them no honour. It's a great waste of an opportunity to bring real 

The "aspirational charter" discussed in the document is a silly joke. Read 

real charters, study some history, and then bring forth a document in 
consultation with registrants. The "At-Large" should be disbanded, given its 
failure to represent registrants. It appears to serve little purpose. ICANN 
should simply create a real registrants constituency, 1 vote per gTLD domain 
name (or another formula), and allow for real representation, with Board voting 
power (like Karl Auerbach knows all too well).

2) The topics for RAA "improvements": Here's where we get into a huge laundry 
list that covers the bulk of the document (the entire document is 153 pages --- 
I imagine very few people in the working group will probably even read the 
entire document; even fewer in the public will probably read it at all, as 

see in the low number of comments).

Not found in the "high priority" list of topics on page 18 is the designation 
a Legal 

Contact in the WHOIS. We've advocated this for years and years. Of course, 
working group members don't study the past and have their own agendas. God 
forbid they actually do some *research* and *reading*, instead of only bringing 
to the table their own wish lists. Fundamental research like that done by CIRA 
in (c) above, contacting all registrants, should have happened *before* this 
huge report, not *after* this report.

We disagree with many of the high priority topics, e.g. "malicious conduct" is 
better suited to the courts, rather than making the registrars become the court 
and police 

for all claimed "abuse" on the internet. The duty should be to have WHOIS 
accuracy, and then let private parties, police, etc. handle things in the real 
world. Otherwise, there is a huge slippery slope of turning ICANN into a 
"government of the Internet" which is far outside of what is supposed to be its 
narrow technical mission. Having Verified WHOIS, which we've long advocated, 
would have been a step in the right direction.

We also don't agree that the RAA should be negotiated behind closed doors at 
present, as it affects registrants (because we obviously do not have a real 
charter, as I described in #1 above). If we actually *did* have a charter of 
rights for registrants, we would not *care* as much whether the RAA was 
negotiated in private, because it could not *conflict* with our fundamental 
rights. The charter of rights would rank higher in law, and could be used to 
quash "bad" things in the RAA.

3) The "Matrix" -- this is the laundry list I mentioned in #2. One cannot 

us to comment on every single idea there, however I'd like to point out that 
some of the claimed "input" is simply preposterous. Here are just a few:

i) Let's start at the very first example, page 48, number 1.1 "Prohibition on 
Registrar Cybersquatting". On its own, it might not seem unreasonable. However, 
take a look at the 4th column, "Stakeholder Input". It says "Staff"! Since when 
are ICANN Staff suddenly "stakeholders" in the Policymaking process at 
ICANN???!!!?? Staff are supposed to be there to *serve* and facilitate the 
bottom-up process. They're not supposed to be dictating policy from a top-down 
perspective! This is just a further example of how ICANN is captured by 
interests that do not reflect the public. Is it any surprise that these same 
"staff" are paying themselves enormous salaries, wasting the money of the 



Oh, and with just "Staff" as "Stakeholder Input", surprise, surprise, the 
"Priority" (rightmost column) is "High". Oh, and ICANN staff are going to come 
up with their own "definition" of cybersquatting now! 

This is an example of mission creep. ICANN needs to be focused on the technical 
mission. I'm opposed to cybersquatting as much (if not more) than most people. 
The proper venue is the courts, not the back rooms of ICANN's offices in Marina 
del Rey.

ii) Note "Staff" again make many more "inputs", e.g. 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, etc. See i) 
again for why Staff are supposed to *serve* and listen, not be participants in 

iii) Issue number 1.2 -- interesting how staff wants to eliminate any "due 
process" for registrars, to give themselves final authority to terminate 
"immediately." I've written about "due process" many times. Even bad guys 
deserve it.

There's a famous award-winning film, "A Man for All Seasons" from the 1960s, 
based on the play, that had a memorable scene:

 ---- start quote -------- 
"William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!  

Sir Thomas More:  Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to 
get after the Devil?
William Roper: Yes, I'd cut down every law in England to do that!  

Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned 
'round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This 
country is planted  thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man's laws, not 
And if you cut them  down, and you're just the man to do it, do you really 
you could stand  upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the 
Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!" 
------ end of quote --------

Even the Devil (real abusers, spammers, etc.) deserves the benefit of law (and 
due process), in order to protect everyone else from the anarachy that would 
result without laws and due process.

iv) Issue Number 2.2 is a anti-capitalism proposal. It suggest a prohibition on 
so-called "speculation." This is marked as a "high priority". To some, "profit" 
is a dirty word. They should seriously consider moving to Cuba. I would have 
suggested China or Russia, but "profit" is a good word in China and Russia 

v) Issue 3.1 (and others): Staff is suggesting registrars police the internet. 
As we suggested above, this is a bad idea. It should be left to the police and 
the courts. Registrars should only act when ordered to do so by a relevant 
court, to ensure due process.

vi) Issue 3.4 -- while an "abuse contact" sounds like a good idea, we prefer 
approach we've long advocated of having the Verified WHOIS (names don't resolve 
until WHOIS is verified via a PIN code sent by postal mail to a registrant, for 
example). This would proactively *reduce* abuse. It would provide the physical 
location of the perpetrators. And, because physical locations are finite, it 
would eliminate the ability to create infinite "throwaway" identities, which is 
a major cause of abuse. Ask law enforcement which is a bigger priority, and I'm 
confident that Verified WHOIS would be much preferred.

vii) Lots of other issues: without enumerating them all, many others are best 
left to courts, and registrars should only be responsible for acting against a 
domain name when a relevant court orders them to do so. Ensuring accurate and 
verified WHOIS should be the registrar's responsibility. 

viii) In many cases, the police want too much information. Privacy laws exist 
various countries, as do laws that limit the scope of a police "search." A 
proper balance needs to be maintained. Search warrants should be required. 
jurisdiction needs to be properly handled and respected. Is a registrant based 
entirely in New York for example, subject to a "search" initiated by a police 
force in China or North Korea?

ix) Issue 6.9 is one we can agree with, and go far beyond, i.e. the Verified 
WHOIS we've long advocated.

x) Issue 8.2 is somewhat amusing, given the appeals mechanisms and ability to 
"correct" breaches that exist in the .com agreement. Why is VeriSign given the 
opportunity to correct breaches? Clearly, some balance needs to exist, and even 
due process for the "Devil" as mentioned above, especially given that ICANN is 
no Angel.

xi) 9.1 is interesting. What is meant by "business associations" -- everyone a 
company does business with? Too broad!

xii) 9.2 is funny. We support elimination of gaming opportunities directly, 
rather than play the game of shutting down the shell corporations. Eliminating 
gaming requires writing smart policies and closing loopholes. Do that, and you 
don't have to worry about the shell corporations.

In other words, don't attack the *symptoms* of a problem. Instead, go after to 
root *cause* of a problem.

xiii) 9.4 should apply to *registrants* as we've discussed above, i.e. have a 
Legal Contact directly in the WHOIS.

xiv) 10.3 should apply to ICANN itself, and to registry operators (i.e. if 
there's a security breach to ICANN, it needs to be disclosed, same for .com, 

xv) 12.1 is amusing -- why would ICANN *Staff* propose *reducing* the number of 
arbitrators from 3 to 1? With only 1 arbitrator, it can be a roll of the dice 
terms of quality. With 3, you tend to get more balanced and proper decisions. 
One only needs to look at the crazy decisions that come out of 1-panel UDRP 
cases, for example.

xvi) 12.2 is ICANN staff believing that no one deserves due process, wanting to 
give itself "sole discretion"

xvii) 13.2 is amusing, that such "operational" details (staff trying to pump 
TLDs, which the vast majority of the public opposes) into the RAA process.

xviii) Section 15 covers the UDRP, yet ICANN continues to bring the UDRP 
*providers* under written contract with ICANN, even though this issue has been 
brought to ICANN's attention numerous times, including in the recent Brussels 

xix) Section 16 Interesting to see the IPC Working Group talk about "sanctions" 
and "fines". How about the same when reverse domain name hijacking cases occur 
in UDRPs?

xx) Section 18 (Privity of Contract) -- this is a point we *agree* with. 
Registrants need to be able to hold ICANN accountable, but ICANN goes out of 
way to make this difficult or impossible. Note how TM holders were given the 
UDRP, even though TM holders are *not* a party to a contract between ICANN, a 
registrant or a registrar. How is this *any* different? It's not! Plain 

xxi) 60-day lock following registrant change. As we've noted to ICANN recently:


their current interpretation of the 60-day lock following registrant change 
*some* registrars are doing appears to be incorrect. This needs to be revisited.

In conclusion, this report leaves very much to be desired, beyond the above 
examples. Let us hope that future reports are of much higher quality, bringing 
real charter of rights for registrants.


George Kirikos
Leap of Faith Financial Services Inc.

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