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    ICANN Staff and Structure The magic in the new BC charter
    posted by tbyfield on Wednesday January 16 2002, @07:19AM

    andyd writes "For the last few months, ICANN's Business Constituency has been engaged in the process of revising its Charter document. If you want to know why the Constituency leadership felt it necessary to revise the Charter, a quick scan of some of the "disappeared" clauses (as well as the appearance of a few new ones) makes it quite clear that this is the latest in a sorry series of corrupt developments that have become all too common within the broken ICANN process. We haven't gone into them all, but the ones below should confirm for the reader once and for all that the current leadership of the Business Constituency no longer care about calling themselves a part of an open and transparent consensus-building process. If this kind of redraft is allowed to happen, it is no wonder that ICANN's legitimacy is no longer taken for granted."



    The general tone of the revised Charter concentrates far more power with the officers of the Constituency, conveniently erases all reference to the clauses that raised questions over the legitimacy of the current elected Officers, removes a clause requiring the BC to outreach to small businesses, and includes an astonishing new clause allowing the termination of a member who "is or threatens to be a vexatious litigant". The last of these is bizarre, and not a little Orwellian.

    We would welcome a response from a Business Constituency representative on the specific matters below.

    1. DISAPPEARED:

    "...Associations or organizations whose specific goals are to represent of the interests of registries, registrars or ISPs or those whose specific interests are to defend the Intellectual Property rights of their associates cannot have full member status but may become observers."

    This clause was in the charter for a reason - to avoid the possibility that IP interests could gain undue influence on the Business Constituency. Strangely enough, the Chair of the Business Constituency Philip Shepherd actually works for an organisation called AIM who "promote the interests of the brands industry at European level on issues which affect the ability of its members to design, to market, to distribute and to sell their brands". Sounds suspiciously close to defending the IP rights of your associates.

    Question to the BC officers: What is the rationale behind removing this clause?

    2. DISAPPEARED:

    "Names Council representatives of the Business Constituency should, in close co-operation with the Secretariat...lead the consensus-building process in the Business Constituency"

    It seems that the Business Constituency has given up even the pretence that it forms consensus policies. In the place of the above, the following has appeared - the officers’ role is now to "lead policy development in the Business Constituency".

    Question to the BC officers: What is the rationale behind changing this clause?

    3. DISAPPEARED:

    "If, at any stage of the election process described above, an individual working for or representing an identifiable business sector is elected, all other representatives or individuals working for or representing that same business sector will be eliminated from the election process."

    This is another convenient "disappearance", since both Marilyn Cade and Grant Forsyth are from the Telecoms sector. This was pointed out in August to the Business Constituency by the chair of the General Assembly Danny Younger in a long and detailed post to the GA mailing list. The Business Constituency response appears to be to make the clause disappear.

    Question to the BC officers: What is the rationale behind removing this clause?

    4. DISAPPEARED:

    "The secretariat shall use their best efforts to give small and medium-sized enterprises an adequate voice in all Business Constituency work processes. These efforts may include, but not be limited to, the organization of democratic elections for representatives of organizations of small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) to sit on an SME Consultative Committee whose advice shall be solicited on substantive policy work items."

    This is the saddest disappearance. With the dropping of this clause, the Business Constituency is making a clear statement that it does not believe that outreach to the small business user is an important part of it's role. Oh dear.

    Question to the BC officers: What is the rationale behind removing this clause?

    5. APPEARED!

    "a member, who over a sustained period of time acts in conflict to this Charter, or who engages in acts which appear to be inappropriate for the stability, functionality or bona fide reputation of the Constituency, or who is or threatens to be a vexatious litigant, may have its membership terminated at the discretion of the Officers and the Credentials Committee."

    Oh Philip. Oh Marilyn. Oh Grant. Please please let us know what might constitute a "vexatious litigant" and why you felt it was more important to include this than to include the clause advocating outreach to small businesses?

    Question to the BC officers: What is the rationale behind including this clause?

    Sadly, it is now getting to the point where people don't care any longer about matters such as these, largely because they know that ICANN is, or at least is becoming, irrelevant. This is the ultimate tragedy of ICANN.


    P.S. As a final note: many of you will know that the Business Constituency rejected an application from New.net for membership a few months ago. One of our investors, idealab!, did however gain membership to the constituency. Two things that seem deliberately aimed at excluding our representation within the process are as follows -

    a. While the charter eliminates the IP interest membership exclusion, the exclusion for "registrars," has been left in which you can be sure will continue to be used to exclude New.net.
    b. A new clause has been added to the new charter specifically stating that the representative of a BC member must not be "an affiliate or connected undertaking". Funnily enough, one of our investors, idealab!, recently became a member of the constituency. Oh well, bang goes that strategy for gaining representation ;)

    Andy Duff
    New.net

     
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