NCUC Statement on “Domain Name Tasting” ICANN Policy Issue

By |December 7th, 2007|

"The Final Outcomes Report of the ad hoc group on domain name tasting suggests a growing trend of registrants exploiting ICANN’s Add Grace Period (the “AGP”) to receive a full refund on the cost of registration by canceling their domain name registrations within five days. The AGP may have been adopted upon the assumption that all commercial uses of a domain name would require registration for a period longer than five days. Certain registrants, however, have discovered that they can profit from repeated use of extremely short-term registrations through the use of pay-per-click advertising or otherwise. A coordinated response by ICANN may be appropriate to close this loophole. This response, however, should not be disproportionate to the problem nor stem from any misconception of the issue...."

EPIC & NGO Letter to ICANN Board on Need for Whois Reform

By |October 30th, 2007|

"The purpose of this letter is to express our support for changes to WHOIS services that would protect the privacy of individuals, specifically the removal of registrants' contact information from the publicly accessible WHOIS database. It is also to propose a sensible resolution to the long-running discussion over WHOIS that would establish a bit of "policy stability" and allow the various constituencies to move on to other work. Both the WHOIS Task Force and the WHOIS Working Group agree that new mechanisms must be adopted to address an individual's right to privacy and the protection of his/her data. Current ICANN WHOIS policy conflicts with national privacy laws, including the EU Data Protection Directive, which requires the establishment of a legal framework to ensure that when personal information is collected, it is used only for its intended purpose. As personal information in the directory is used for other purposes and ICANN's policy keeps the information public and anonymously accessible, the database could be found illegal according to many national privacy and data protection laws including the European Data Protection Directive, European data protection laws and legislation in Canada and Australia...."

ICANN Board Discusses Policy to Censor New Domain Names: Public Encouraged to Attend LA Meeting and Voice Concerns

By |October 28th, 2007|

ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, holds its 30th International Public Meeting in Los Angeles from 29 October through 2 November. ICANN is the private corporation set up by the US Commerce Department to manage the assignment of Internet domain names and numbers in 1997. An important item on the meeting’s agenda is a proposed policy to allow for the registration of new Generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs, such as “.com” or “.net”). On 6 September 2007 ICANN's Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) Policy Council voted to approve this policy and sent it to the Board of Directors, who may vote on it during this meeting. The Keep The Core Neutral Coalition (KTCN) opposes several recommendations in the GNSO’s final report that threaten freedom of expression, and urges the Board to either reject the policy, reject specific recommendations, or to refrain from voting on the policy until its harmful ramifications are addressed.

IP Justice Comments on GNSO’s New GTLD Committee Recommendations: Proposal Would Create a Private Tyranny of Illegal Censorship and Illegitimate Authority at ICANN

By |August 30th, 2007|

"IP Justice supports the introduction of new generic top-level Internet domain names as quickly and as broadly as possible. However, we are deeply concerned about recommendations put forth by the GNSO New GTLD Committee (and ICANN) for evaluating applications will stifle free expression on the Internet. The recommendations would create a policy of censorship on the Internet where controversial and offensive ideas can be banned at the top-level, despite numerous longstanding national and international freedom of expression guarantees. The illegitimate system of governance proposed by the recommendations violates the sovereignty of nations and the civil rights of Internet users. ICANN usurps the rights of states to decide what ideas may be expressed within their borders and who is entitled to express them. ICANN and its proposed expert panels have no legal authority to decide what ideas people may express. Nor does ICANN or its experts have any legitimacy or authority to adjudicate competing legal rights. The proposal makes a mockery of democracy, since these structures exist entirely outside of legitimate lawmaking institutions ..."

Netizens Encouraged to Weigh-In on Free Expression Concerns at ICANN

By |August 13th, 2007|

"ICANN announced Friday that a 21-day comment period has opened for the public to submit comments regarding ICANN's proposed policy for approving new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) on the Internet. The Keep The Core Neutral coalition (KTCN) has created a new Action Alert to guide supporters in submitting comments to ICANN. KTCN is concerned with policy recommendations for ICANN to reject domain names that others find to be offensive or immoral. KTCN calls on ICANN to refrain from making general policy decisions and to stick to its technical mission. KTCN launched in June 2007 and now has over 200 organizational and individual members from around the world. All coalition members have signed a petition urging ICANN to refrain from using non-technical criteria for approving applications for new gTLDs and to create a policy driven by the protection freedom of expression and innovation on the Internet..."

Internet Core Neutrality: Drawing a Line in the Sand at ICANN

By |July 24th, 2007|

By Dan Krimm. "Most people have never heard of ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, but the number who have may be about to grow significantly. ICANN is a nonprofit organization less than a decade old that makes policy about the Internet's Domain Name System (DNS). This organization determines policy for registries of top-level domains (TLDs) such as '.com' or '.net', for registrars of second-level domains (2LDs) such as 'mywebsite.com' or 'yourwebsite.net' and for the Root Server Operators whose computers tell the rest of the computers on the Internet what TLDs exist and where to find them. A matter of concern only to techno/Inter-geeks, right? Wrong. While ICANN's original mandate in 1998 was basically limited to making sure the DNS didn't break due to technical and operational flaws, mission-creep at ICANN has expanded its reach well beyond that narrow technical realm and into the world of general public policy. Current policy deliberations at ICANN are increasingly touching upon broad issues like personal privacy, crime-fighting, trademark enforcement, and morality and public order in general. ..."

KEEP THE CORE NEUTRAL: Global Petition Urges ICANN to Protect Free Expression and Innovation in Domain Name Policy

By |June 29th, 2007|

"The "Keep The Core Neutral" campaign officially launched this week with an educational workshop at the 29th meeting of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in San Juan, Puerto Rico. ICANN handles technical coordination of the Internet and sets policy surrounding the domain name system (DNS), the Internet’s basic addressing system that allows people to locate web sites and use email. The DNS is informally called the technical “core" of the Internet. The Keep The Core Neutral Coalition launched with over 100 members from around the world, including both individuals and organizations. Coalition members signed a petition urging ICANN to resist efforts to evaluate applications for new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) based on non-technical criteria such as ideas about morality and competing national political objectives. ..."

NCUC Statement on Draft GNSO New GTLD Policy Recommendations

By |June 13th, 2007|

"... Our overall concern remains that despite platitudes to certain, transparent and predictable criteria—the GNSO’s draft recommendations create arbitrary vetoes and excessive challenges to applications. There are some for incumbents; for trademark rights holders; for the easily offended, for repressive governments and worst of all, for “the public”. Among the more troubling proposals is the introduction of criteria in which strings must be ‘morally’ acceptable and not contrary to ‘public order’. A concept borrowed from trademark law without precedent in the regulation of non-commercial speech. NCUC opposes any string criteria related to ‘morality’ or ‘public order’ as beyond ICANN’s technical mandate...."

Legal Briefing Paper from Law Professor Christine Haight Farley on GNSO Recommendations for Domain Name Policy

By |June 6th, 2007|

Before I make observations specific to these recommendations, I would like to offer some general remarks about the overall incongruence between trademarks and domain names. It is important to note at the outset this general lack of equivalence between trademark law and domain name policy. For instance, trademark law the world over is fundamentally based on the concept of territoriality. Thus trademark law seeks to protect regionally and market-based marks without implication for the protection or availability of that mark in another region. In contrast, domain names have global reach, are accessible everywhere and have implications for speech around the world. ...

Legal Briefing Paper from Law Professor Jacqueline Lipton on GNSO Recommendations for Domain Name Policy

By |June 6th, 2007|

"... It is important to start re-focusing the regulation of the Internet domain name system generally on interests outside of pure trademark interests. The introduction of new gTLDs and the development of processes for introducing them may provide a good opportunity for achieving this goal. However, any attempt to regulate broad policy issues relating to social and cultural norms on speech, public order and morality in domain names will be very difficult for any national or international body or group. ICANN also faces the practical difficulty that its major area of expertise is technical and functional. It is therefore important for ICANN to clarify what groups, bodies or individuals it might utilize in carrying out future legal and social developments within development of its domain name processes. In particular, ICANN should consider more specifically who to consult in formalizing specific processes for: (a) the introduction of new gTLD strings; (b) establishing dispute resolution procedures for those strings; and, (c) deciding whether the introduction of particular new strings should be deferred or rejected...."