Motion to Strike Francis Gurry (WIPO)…..
Date: Saturday November 17 2001, @05:39PM
Topic: ICANN Meetings

It’s rare that an ICANN Board decision is greeted with cheers, but that’s just what happened late Thursday afternoon when the Board tossed a representative of the World Intellectual Property Organization off of a committee on Internationalized Domain Names (IDN).

The vote came after Board member Andy Mueller-Maguhn objected to WIPO’s presence on the committee. IDN is primarily a technical issue, he argued, and ICANN should either get WIPO off of the committee, or add a free speech advocate to balance the intellectual property angle. Predictably, Karl Auerbach spoke in favor of the idea. Just as predictably, Hans Kraaijenbrink and IDN Committee Chair M. Katoh argued in favor of including WIPO. Vint Cerf, eager to get on with business, urged Karl and Andy to put their objections into the form of a specific motion. Karl complied, moving to “strike ‘Francis Gurry (WIPO)’” from the list of committee members.

For most of the discussion it had appeared to be just another Karl ‘n Andy tilt at the Board windmill. The audience was surprised, however, when 6 Board members raised their hands in support of the amendment (Auerbach, Mueller-Maguhn, Pisanty, Chapin, Wilson and Murai). They practically gasped when those in opposition numbered only 5, with the remaining 6 (including Cerf) choosing to abstain. The amendment carried, and a significant number of people in the audience whooped and clapped.

The victory is more symbolic than substantive, but it is significant. The vote represents an unusual alliance between the ISOC/IETF types (Lyman Chapin, Alejandro Pisanty, Jun Murai, Vint Cerf) and the persistent ICANN critics. It sends a strong signal that a significant part of the ICANN Board would like to concentrate on its technical mission, and is willing to offer at least some resistance to the attempts to subordinate the domain name system to intellectual property protection. I consider Cerf himself a member of the group because he must have known full well that his abstention on such a close vote was tantamount to voting with Karl and Andy.

More heartening still was the glee with which the decision was greeted by many of those in attendance. A registrar advocate known in the past for his collaboration with the IP interests was gloating in the hallways: “they’re on their way down,” he crowed. Whether or not that’s true, it signals a fairly deep well of resentment against the dominance of the process by the IP interests so far.

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Re: Motion to Strike Fancis Gurry (WIPO)…..
by fnord ( on Saturday November 17 2001, @09:46PM (#3716)
User #2810 Info
This is one of the only other near even votes I can think of in the ICANN BoD's history, another being the split at Montevideo over the GAC's push to have .info geographic/geopolitical names reserved or challenged. I think it is possible the Board has finally got its back up over the attempts at control by narrow interests. Just when I was ready to give up on ICANN as being hopelessly co-opted, a significant number of them show some sense and some backbone. While I agree it was largely symbolic, it is perhaps not too much to hope it is a symbol of a less monolithic ICANN Board.

I also noticed that BoD member Jonathan Cohen was the only dissenting vote against the subsequent motion following on from the above amendment. In fact IP lawyer Cohen seemed to me to be more marginalized than Andy or Karl at this meeting, which is going some. Indeed, he seemed in a fit of pique throughout. Could it be the techies have had their fill of the IP tail wagging the dog and have said something out of the glare of the public? We can only hope. -g

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Re: Motion to Strike Fancis Gurry (WIPO)…..
by simon on Tuesday November 20 2001, @08:53AM (#3804)
User #2982 Info |
what's ironic?

visit Andys HP http://www.ccc.denic.PRO will be back online soon with FREE sub-domains. Dowload the FREE plug-in at
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