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ICANN Ends Bar on Registry/Registrar Integration

ICANN Does Good | Posted by michael on Wednesday November 10 2010, @05:01AM

ICANN has just resolved:

Resolved, (2010.11.05.02), the Board directs the CEO to include the following principles relating to registry-registrar cross-ownership in the forthcoming version of the Applicant Guidebook.

1. ICANN will not restrict cross-ownership between registries and registrars. Registry operators are defined as the registry operator and all other relevant parties relating to the registry services.

ICANN's announcement:

"In the absence of existing policy or new bottom-up policy recommendations, the Board saw no rationale for placing restrictions on cross-ownership;" said Peter Dengate Thrush, Chairman of the Board. "Any possible abuses can be better addressed by properly targeted mechanisms. Co-ownership rules are not an optimal technique in this area."

Some folks are very happy.

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ICANN Sets Official Path for Start of New gTLD Applications

gTLDs hoping to enter the legacy root | Posted by michael on Monday November 01 2010, @09:56AM

It's official:

RESOLVED (2010.10.28.17), the Board directs staff to adopt as a working plan the Launch Scenario with launch date of Q2 2011, as contained in the graphic attached here [PDF, 112 KB].

Launch (defined as "first applications accepted" not as "gTLDs actually launch") 30 May 2011, pending delays,

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How is ICANN spending your money?

ICANN Staff and Structure | Posted by michael on Tuesday July 13 2010, @06:16PM

GeorgeK writes "ICANN has released their IRS Form 990 statements for the year ending June 30, 2008. They're summarized in 2-parts here (redacted) and here (unredacted).

ICANN says they use for-profit companies as comparables when determining employee compensation. However, even in the middle of a great recession, salaries have been going up, up, and up! How many for-profit companies have the job security of ICANN staff, and have been seeing raises during a recession? In my opinion, ICANN needs to be using non-profit organizations as comparables, organizations like the NTIA, DOC, DOJ, universities, hospitals and similar groups. Anything above those non-profit salaries is a waste of your money."

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Systematic Errors in NAF Complaints and Decisions

Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) | Posted by michael on Monday April 26 2010, @07:18AM
GeorgeK writes "In a recent article at DomainNameWire.com, CitizenHawk was called out by a National Arbitration Forum (NAF) panelist for the submission of automated complaints which contained complete nonsense. Through the discussion in the comments to that article, the community discovered that the problem is far deeper.

It turns out that UDRP panelists at NAF have been churning out boilerplate cut/paste decisions of their own, with utter nonsense of their own, and that this has been going on for years.

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30 Oct 09 - Afilias deactivating .info domains

Lawsuits and Judicial Decisions | Posted by michael on Friday November 20 2009, @11:25AM
maria790 writes "30 Oct 09 Afilias deactivating .info domains Ė Class action lawsuit call against Afilias Ltd. - Horsham, PA

After the "Sunrise Period" of .info domains, trademark owners had the opportunity to file a challenge against the allocation of their trademark to other people. In 2001/early 2002, the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center examined these challenges, and in some cases decided to transfer these domains to the challenger.

Since then, the challengers legitimately owned these domain names.

8 years(!) later, Afilias is claiming that WIPO did not properly examine whether the challengers met all requirements for a Sunrise allocation and deactivated these domains. Now, Afilias is reallocating them in a very intransparent process: everyone can apply for these domains, providing he pays a non-refundable fee of $250 and hands in a business plan. This reallocation process will reward Afilias millions of dollars - at the expense of us, the legitimate domain name owners!

The prevailers of the WIPO dispute resolution process - who have legitimately owned these domains since 8 years, who have been paying fees for these domain names since 8 years, who have developed our domains since 8 years, who have gone through a WIPO Challenge procedure - will not accept this reallocation!

We are currently collecting addresses of all affected domain name owners to file a class action against Afilias.

Should you also be affected by Afilias illicit domain name reallocation, please send your contact information to afilias.class.action.lawsuit@gmail.com"

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.INFO to Allocate Names to Those Who Enhance its Brand

Registrars | Posted by michael on Friday November 06 2009, @12:19PM

It seems that first-come-first-serve is a dimmer and dimmer memory for domain name registration.

Now the acid test of who gets bank.info, boat.info, body.info, bonds.info, books.info or legal.info will be whose registration will mosst enhance the TLD brand. Here's the latest from Affilias:

Pursuant to the "Phased Equitable Reallocation of Non-Compliant .INFO Sunrise Domain Names" registry services request filed by Afilias, and posted at http://www.icann.org/en/registries/rsep/afilias-request-2008008-28aug08.pdf, as approved by the ICANN Board of Directors, as set forth at http://www.icann.org/en/minutes/prelim-report-21may09.htm, Afilias has undertaken a reallocation of certain non-compliant .INFO Sunrise Domain Names (the "Program"). As part of the Program, Afilias is accepting proposals from parties that wish to register one or more of the domain names subject to the Program ("Proposals"). Proposals shall be evaluated on the manner in which the applicant proposes to enhance the .INFO brand through its use of the domain name(s). Afilias is committed to the long-term development of the .INFO TLD, and the RFP portion of the Sunrise redistribution program is designed to identify qualified applicants with the best potential and capabilities to maximize the development of a domain name of interest, and thereby enhance the .INFO brand.

Full list of the names below.

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Accountability?

The Big Picture | Posted by michael on Friday November 06 2009, @12:16PM
Becky writes "There has been a lot of focus on creation of the "review panels" required under the affirmation of commitments, but doesn't ICANN need to act on accountability before it can review its accomplishments in this area? If anyone doubts the need for ICANN to develop accessible, practical, affordable accountability tools, they should read the transcript from the recently completed hearing in the first test of ICANN's existing independent review process. ICANN has not posted the transcript, but it is available on the ICM website at http://www.icmregistry.com/

Last February, the President's Strategy Committee recommended creation of an experts committee to develop accountability mechanisms for the community's consideration. The PSC recommendation reflected months of work and significant community input. Rather then implement that recommendation, staff sought comment on bylaw changes to create a deficient tribunal to replace the deficient independent review process. The approach, described by staff as an implementation of the PSC recommendations, was developed in a completely non-transparent process and, according to the ICANN posting, without Board input. ("The Board has not yet considered these proposals nor do these proposals represent the views of the Board." http://www.icann.org/en/jpa/iic/iic-the-way-forwar d-31may09-en.pdf )

I hope members of the ICANN community can overcome comment fatigue and let the Board know by 27 November that it should reject the staff proposal and implement the PSC recommendation to create an experts committee."

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Is the rug to be pulled out from under registrants?

Registrars | Posted by michael on Thursday October 22 2009, @11:22AM

Anonymous writes "Please be notified of the window for public comment on a white collar hoax perpetrated by ICANN and big name registrars (Go Daddy), before this becomes reality!

Available for public comment right now through November 16th, Verisign seeks approval of an amendment for its process of Bulk Transfer After Partial Portfolio Acquisition (BTAPPA)in dot-COM and dot-NET: http://www.icann.com/en/announcements/announcement-16oct09-en.htm

Verisign requested approval of a Bulk Transfer After Partial Portfolio Acquisition (BTAPPA) process from ICANN in July, with the amendment for 15-day notice to registrants. The amendment is open for public comment through November 16th, in a low-key announcement in one domain name publication, [likely] so ICANN, Verisign, Go Daddy, and other big-name registrars can slide it by the public!

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Affirmation of Commitments

USA Goverment Relations | Posted by michael on Thursday October 01 2009, @09:11AM
Kieren McCarthy writes "ICANN CEO and President talks about the new Affirmation of Commitments that replaces the Joint Project Agreement ICANN had with the US government. See a video of the CEO explaining all at http://dotsub.com/view/5b50a699-117a-438b-9a49-2dd efaec4d76 More information on the official announcement page at http://www.icann.org/en/announcements/announcement -30sep09-en.htm"

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ICANN's New Commitment to Transparency Arrives Via Secret Process

USA Goverment Relations | Posted by michael on Wednesday September 30 2009, @07:59AM
ehasbrouck writes "ICANN has announced, with great fanfare, a new Affirmation of Commitments by the United States Department of Commerce and ICANN.

This "Affirmation" was signed by the CEO on behalf of ICANN and appears to make "commitments" about actions ICANN will take which would have a major impact on ICANN's policies and procedures. the "affirmation" was announced, apparently, just minutes or seconds after a Board telephone vote this morning. The outcome had obviously been expected (and the proposal could have been included with the agenda), and the announcement -- including comments from a select few who had apparently shown the proposal -- had obviously been prepared in advance,

But whatever deliberation occurred prior to the approval of this "affirmation of commitments" was entirely secret -- except for those favorite friends ICANN chose to invite into the smoke-filled room, or to whom the deliberations or decisions were leaked.

Was this a bottom-up process? No.

Was there any community consensus? No. There couldn't be, since the "community" had no idea what was being proposed or considered and there hadn't been any "consensus development" process.

Were the proposed commitments published for community review? No.

Was there any forum for community comment on the proposals? No.

Were they publicly debated by the Board? No.

Was there any notice that they were under consideration by the Board? No. (The closest the agenda for today's non-transparent closed telephone meeting of the Board comes is "JPA progress report". Report. Not new policy proposal. Not action.)

In fact, the completely secret, nontransparent and unaccountable way in which these "commitments" were adopted is clear and compelling evidence of ICANN's continuing *lack* of any actual commitment to these principles, or indeed to any transparency or accountability; its continuing commitment to lie -- as loudly and as prominently as it can -- about its lack of accountability and transparency; and the continuing need for *real* transparency and accountability.

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Time to stuff the comments box

The Big Picture | Posted by michael on Monday September 28 2009, @02:31PM
ehasbrouck writes "Faced with an actual bottom-up consensus on one of its "out of nowhere" policy proposals, what does ICANN do?

Extend the comment period, of course, to give itself time to round up some of its cronies and get them to submit comments endorsing whatever the staff or the people in the secret smoke-filled room have proposed.

Case in point: the latest proposal for changes to the Bylaws "to Improve Accountability", which prompted rare unanimity of rejection from a small but diverse and significant cadre of commenters from the ICANN stakeholder "community" ICANN so often prattles about as the source of its policies.

ICANN says the 60-day extension of the comment period announced today (but backdated to last Friday) is "to allow users of the translated versions to prepare and submit their views". But it's hard to take that seriously as the real reason for re-opening the comment period, since ICANN has never previously bothered with similar translations, or hesitated to make a decision because the proposal hadn't been translated into any language but English.

Look for endorsements of the proposal from ICANN's stooges, coming soon to a comment mailbox in Marina Del Rey.

Or, if you want real accountability, you now have until 27 November 2009 to send your own letter of objection to iic-proposed-bylaws@icann.org. If you need ideas for what to say about what's wrong with the ICANN proposals, see my comments here, or any of the other comments here -- all of them give good reasons for ICANN not to approve the current proposal."

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Article: CADNA challenges ICANN corruption

Budget and Expenditures | Posted by michael on Monday September 28 2009, @02:29PM
SIL writes "CADNA calls for full scale audit of ICANN

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Transparency my [anatomical reference]

ICANN Meetings | Posted by tbyfield on Friday September 18 2009, @08:14AM
SIL writes "Ah, ICANN up to old tricks.

http://atlarge-lists.icann.org/pipermail/alac_atla rge-lists.icann.org/2009/000797.html"

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Top 10 Myths About Civil Society Participation in ICANN

ICANN Staff and Structure | Posted by michael on Friday August 21 2009, @06:04PM

The ICANN Board, led it appears by (at best) very poor staff work (and at worst by disingenuous staff work) decided to shaft the non-commercial constituencies. This tramples the public voice in ICANN and cements its capture.

In response, the Noncommercial Users Constituency produced Top Ten Myths about Civil Society Participation in ICANN.

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Harold Feld Analogizes ICANN to a (Bad) Reality TV Show

ICANN Staff and Structure | Posted by michael on Friday July 24 2009, @04:10AM

Harold Feld has written a strong contender for 'Best Blog Post About ICANN'. Read Could NTIA Please Put ICANN Out of Its Misery Before It Embarasses Itself Further.

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ICANN Is Still Up To Its Old Tricks

ICANN Meetings | Posted by michael on Monday July 13 2009, @02:20PM

Lest you get complacent about ICANN, here's evidence that the basic DNA remains unchanged. Milton Mueller writes,

A little-noticed outcome of the Sydney ICANN meeting (overshadowed by the excitement surrounding the selection of its new CEO) was a shockingly flagrant display of how arbitrary and unfair ICANN can be.

...

But when faced with the prospect of equal representation of commercial and noncommercial user interests, the commercial user groups revolted. Having lost the fight against parity on principle grounds, they shifted tactics and "went negative," claiming that the Noncommercial Users Constituency was not "representative enough" and did not warrant additional representation. The staff and Board were inundated with non-stop criticism of this sort for months. Numerous threats about withdrawing from the GNSO were made.

...

Two decisions, almost unbelievable in the degree to which they discriminate against civil society and completely ignore public comments, emerged from the Sydney meeting. ...

We've seen this movie before.

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9th Cir Revives .com Anti-Trust Case

Lawsuits and Judicial Decisions | Posted by michael on Friday June 05 2009, @10:28AM

The 9th Circuit issued its ruling in Coalition for ICANN Transparency v. VeriSign. It begins,

This appeal is about whether the plaintiff, Coalition for ICANN Transparency, Inc., using antitrust statutes drafted in the late 19th century, has successfully stated claims in connection with the administration of the Internet domain name system, so essential to the operation of our sophisticated 21st century communications network. The district court ruled that the plaintiff failed. With the benefit of extensive briefing, collegial discussions and amicus participation on appeal from other players in the domain name system, we hold that the plaintiff has stated claims under both Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C.

Congratulations to Bret Fausett who wrote a brief that deserved to win.

I'm also pleased to note that the court relied in a small but key part on an article I co-wrote with Mark Lemley:

CFIT has essentially alleged that ICANN is a private standards-setting body akin to the NFPA. ICANN administers the DNS and is responsible for entering into agreements with registry operators like VeriSign. According to the complaint, ICANNís mission includes a commitment to promoting competition for the contracts. CFITís allegations further state that ICANN, like the NFPA, is a private body with no public accountability. These allegations are consistent with the view held by commentators on the subject, who have, indeed, identified Allied Tube as providing the strongest argument in favor of imposing antitrust liability on those who seek to coerce ICANN. See Michael Froomkin & Mark A. Lemley, ICANN and Antitrust, 1 U. Ill. L. Rev. 1, 72-73 (2003) (noting that "given ICANNís private status, VeriSign will face antitrust liability for persuading a private company in a position of power to grant it control over a market," and naming Allied Tube as the "closest analogue"). We hold, therefore, that pursuant to The Supreme Courtís holding in Allied Tube, CFIT has adequately alleged that VeriSignís improper coercion of ICANN and attempts to control ICANNís operations in its own favor violated Section 2.

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Urgent Action Needed to Increase Civil Society Participation

ICANN Staff and Structure | Posted by michael on Thursday March 19 2009, @11:45AM
Robin Gross writes "Call for Action: We need your comments to Support Civil Society Participation in ICANN!

ICANN is in the midst of a significant reform of its policy-making body, the Generic Name Supporting Organization (GNSO).

Following the recommendations provided by the London School of Economics, the ICANN Board is set to increase the participation of civil society, and approve a charter for a new, more influential Noncommercial Stakeholders Group. ICANNís Noncommercial Users Constituency (NCUC) has recently submitted a Charter Proposal for the new Noncommercial Stakeholders Group (NCSG). Links to the Charter Proposal, an Executive Summary and Organization Chart are at the end of this message.

How can you help support civil society participation in ICANN policy making?

ICANN is soliciting comments on the NCSG Charter Proposal. Comments are due by April 15, 2009 and can be submitted to: sg-petitions-charters@icann.org. Below are some reasons you can include in your comments.

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Deeply, deeply flawed economic report and analysis

New gTLDs | Posted by michael on Wednesday March 04 2009, @05:46PM
GeorgeK writes "The reports and analysis by Dr. Dennis Carlton are deeply, deeply flawed. I will prepare a long rebuttal to it in the coming weeks, but wanted to go on the record early as to its weaknesses. The analysis appears to be based on a very limited review of the market for domain names, and utilizes little actual data. It fails to even consider how nuanced the market for domain names has become, and how registry operators can exploit those nuances, including tiered-pricing.

In paragraph 11 Dr. Carlton writes
Switching costs faced by registrants may create incentives for registries and registrars to act opportunistically by raising prices. However, ex ante competition to attract new registrants, as well as harm to the reputation of the registry and/or registrar limits their ability to engage in such conduct.

This is naive, and simply does not capture the real nature of the market for domain names and the ability to find substitutions.

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Dynamic Network Services Vlogging at ICANN 34

ICANN Meetings | Posted by michael on Wednesday March 04 2009, @05:46PM
Joe Madden writes "Dynamic Network Services, based out of Manchester, NH, has been in Mexico City for ICANN 34 doing some video blogging to get the up to the minute scoop with everything ICANN. The vlogs include key interviews, like that with Chairman of the ICANN board Peter Dengate Thrush, to the buzz south of the border. Check out the current videos and stay tuned for more updates!"

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