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Username: antonyvc
Date/Time: Sat, July 8, 2000 at 8:54 AM GMT
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Subject: ICANN/ccTLD Status Quo Agreement - one big problem


        On behalf of the International Association of Top Level Domains (IATLD), I will comment on the ICANN/ccTLD Status Quo Agreement. 

Generally, the IATLD supports the effort and the essential drift and substance of this paper.  We also appreciate the effort that the ICANN staff has continued to devote to the ccTLD delegation/redelegation issue, and their facilitating role in this difficult area.  Nonetheless, we find there to be major flaw in this Agreement, which will be the subject of this brief comment:

Agreement 3 says: "Relations with Government. In accord with paragraph 2 above, [name of ccTLD organization] agrees that, in the event ICANN adopts policies dealing with the relationship between ccTLD managers and relevant governments or public authorities, [name of ccTLD organization] will promptly comply with such policies. [name of ccTLD organization] agrees that failure to comply with such policies would constitute a breach of this Agreement that could result in a change in delegation for the [insert country code] ccTLD."

The IATLD is concerned that "government involvement", which we support, may be transformed into "arbitrary government control", which we do not support.  ICANN itself is an example of the principle of non-governmental self-regulation, as required by the White Paper.  There are methods (again ICANN is a good example) to work with governments that do not imply an authoritarian rule, but rather a working partnership.  The ccTLD Constituency of the DNSO has labored intensively during the last few months to produce the kind of self-regulated environment, with much deference to the wishes of governments and other important elements of a local internet community, that will prove to be workable and sustainable, and which will continue to foster the innovative work of ccTLDs without losing sight of their important responsibilities to the local and global Internet communities.

However, in light of the fact that radical proposals have been put forward at ICANN meeting, which would delegate large portions of ICANN/IANA's current responsibilities to national or territorial governments; and given that these governments propose to vest themselves with unilateral and unchecked executive powers, without appeal, even to ICANN; and given that such proposals have elicited favorable though not wholly educated words of praise from the ICANN Board, the IATLD cannot support this portion of the Agreement.  

We believe that the ICANN Board should table discussions of formulating policies with regard to ccTLDs and governmental authority - which in any case should pass through the DNSO for full discussion there - until the current proposals being considered by the ccTLD constituency, with input from the IP constituency and other
parties, has run its course, a matter of months at the outside.  Furthermore, the ccTLD constituency has and will continue to work with the Governmental Advisory Committee of ICANN to find compromise where compromise is possible, and to identify areas of agreement and disagreement. 

Until such efforts have been given a chance, we view any agreement which seeks to bind the signing parties to as-yet unformulated and unseen policies as premature and harmful.


Antony Van Couvering
President, IATLD

P.S. You may view the current drafts of the ccTLD Constituency's Best Practices document, and the Redelegation document, at



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