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[Comment-Dnso] ACM-ICG Compromise Proposal


The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) is the world's
oldest and largest educational and scientific computing
society.   ACM is an international organization with over 80,000
computing professional members in more than 100 countries.
Founded in 1947, ACM serves as a forum for, and uses the
Internet to promote, the exchange of information, ideas and
discoveries to advance arts, sciences and applications of
information technology.

ACM’s Committee on Internet Governance (ACM-IGC) has carefully
reviewed the two proposals for Non-Commercial Domain Name
Holders Constituency (“Non-Commercial Constituency”) of the
Domain Name Supporting Organization (“DNSO”) set out on the
ICANN website and finds itself unable to support either
proposal.  Because there is merit in both proposals, ACM-IGC
submits this Compromise Proposal to clarify the goals and
purposes of the Non-Commercial Constituency and to bring
together the groups organized by ISOC and the ICIIU, with
ACM-IGC and others, to form the Non-Commercial Constituency as a
united group at ICANN’s upcoming meeting in Berlin, May 25-27,

 I.  Goals of the Non-Commercial Constituency

ACM-IGC submits that the goals of the Non-Commercial
Constituency should be made explicit and clear to all who review
its organizing documents.  In light of  ICANN’s creation of no
less than six other constituencies to represent commercial
entities and commercial activities within the DNSO [two
specifically commercial constituencies: Commercial and business
entities (“Business Constituency”) and Trademark, intellectual
property, anti-counterfeiting interests (“Trademark
Constituency”), and four technical constituencies comprised
largely or entirely of commercial entities: ccTLD registries,
gTLD registries, ISPs and connectivity providers, and
Registrars], ACM-IGC believes the Non-Commercial Constituency
has a special place in the DNSO.  It must provide the voice and
representation for organizations that serve non-commercial
interests and provide services such as community organizing,
promotion of the arts, children’s welfare, pure scientific
research, and human rights.  These organizations are otherwise
entirely unrepresented in the DNSO.

ACM-IGC recognizes that the Non-Commercial Constituency
envisioned here may not yet have a significant number of members
willing to participate in this process.  Many of the
organizations eligible to join are unaware of ICANN and its
processes.  ACM-IGC believes that these organizations, with
their unique and distinct uses of the Internet and the domain
name system, will soon be very interested in participating in
Internet Governance issues, including the DNSO and ICANN.
Accordingly, it is appropriate that the Non-Commercial
Constituency be kept open for them.

II.  What the Non-Commercial Constituency Must Not Be Allowed to

ICANN cannot allow the Non-Commercial Constituency to serve as a
catch-all for all organizations that do not fit into another
category.  There is ample room within the DNSO for
representation of general business and business legal interests.

It is inappropriate to include within the Non-Commercial
Constituency organizations that primarily or largely serve the
interests of another constituency, even if the organizations are
not-for-profit in structure and are themselves engaged in
non-commercial speech on the Internet.  For example, a
non-commercial organization devoted primarily to lobbying the
U.S. Congress for commercial entities must be excluded from
membership in the Non-Commercial Constituency.  Similarly, a
non-commercial organization that exists to create and promote
Internet policies for registrars and registries must also be
excluded.  The interests of both such groups lie with other DNSO
constituencies, namely the Business Constituency and the various
registrar and registry constituencies.

ACM-IGC notes that these recommendations will leave some
organizations without representation in the DNSO because of the
narrow membership rules being set by other constituencies.  Some
organizations may promote intellectual property interests but
fail to meet the minimum membership of the Trademark
Constituency; others may promote commercial interests yet not be
incorporated or meet the other membership criteria of the
Business Constituency.   In such circumstances, these
organizations must seek to change the membership criteria of the
most directly applicable constituency or appeal to ICANN.

ACM-IGC underscores that the Non-Commercial Constituency is not
designed and must not become a catch-all or default
constituency.  Organizations promoting the interests of
business, trademark, registrars and registries are not properly
included within the Non-Commercial Constituency.  The
Non-Commercial Constituency provides a voice in the Names
Council for a unique group –  those who provide the Internet
with communication regarding non-commercial activities,
communities and needs – and with so much representation for
commercial entities this non-commercial voice must not be
diluted or weakened.

 III.  The Special Case of Individuals.

Because ICANN has not clarified where individual domain name
holders belong in the DNSO, and because individuals are clearly
not represented in any other constituency, it appears that
individuals are being sent to the Non-Commercial Constituency.
Although we accept this as a short-term expedient, in the long
run, ACM-IGC believes that the Non-Commercial Constituency is a
poor representative of individuals.

First, individuals are registering domain names in large
numbers.  Although individuals are often categorized as
“consumers” in the passive role of browsers (to sites such as
e-commerce sites), ACM-IGC finds that these stereotypes are
inaccurate.  Individuals in the millions are registering domain
name for use with personal speech, family web sites, community
organizations, and their own small businesses.  While Network
Solutions, Inc., does not keep figures on the breakdown of
domain names registered to individuals, the large and growing
number of domain names issued to individuals in the gTLDs
probably make this group the largest class of domain name

Second, the activities of individuals on the Internet make them
a unique category because their work covers the gamut from
non-commercial to commercial activity.  Further, unlike any
existing constituency in the DNSO, individuals’ use of domain
names often changes over time as a personal web site evolves
from showing the non-commercial interests of the domain name
holder to promoting the commercial businesses, writings or
services of the individual.  Individuals have a task unlike any
other constituency – to preserve the rights of individuals to
obtain domain names and to ensure that domain names can continue
to be used for the variety of commercial and non-commercial
purposes available today.

It is the strong opinion of ACM-IGC that individuals need their
own constituency within the DNSO to represent their unique
experiences and needs.  While the interests and voices of
individuals may occasionally overlap with the interests and
voices of large non-commercial organizations and educational
institutions, most often they will not.  Further, ACM-IGC
submits that the relationship between individuals and the
Non-Commercial Constituency is much farther apart than that of
the Business Constituency and the Trademark Constituency.
ACM-IGC proposes that ICANN immediately create for individuals
their own constituency with the full standing of the other
constituencies. In the meantime, in order to avoid
disenfranchising individuals, we propose to temporarily
incorporate them into the noncommercial constituency.

IV.  Membership Criteria

ACM-IGC recommends that Membership in the Non-Commercial
Constituency be limited to organizations who serve
non-commercial interests and provide services such as community
organizing, promotion of the arts, children’s welfare, pure
scientific research, and human rights.  Membership should also
include entities which support the organizations above with
services such as education, advocacy and funding.
As a temporary measure, ACM-IGC recommends that individuals who
are holding a domain name for their own personal speech, or the
speech of their families, be admitted to the Non-Commercial
Constituency for the purpose of organizing and advocating their
own constituency.

V.  Organizational Principles

ACM-IGC submits that large organizations and small organizations
should have full and fair representation into the
decision-making processes and elections of the Non-Commercial

ACM-IGC recognizes that balancing the voices of the many
potential members of this Constituency will be challenging.
Large organizations must have a full and fair voice because they
speak for very large groups.  Smaller organizations must have a
full and fair voice because they represent a wide array of
non-commercial activity on the Internet.
To accept the variety of organizations who should be members of
this Constituency, ACM-IGC recommends dividing the membership of
the Non-Commercial Constituency into two subgroups:

Large Organizations: Organizations meeting the membership
criteria and goals for promoting non-commercial activity on the
Internet as set out in Section IV above, incorporated as a
not-for-profit entity, and, for membership organizations, having
a current membership over 1000 people or, for nonmembership
organizations, having 200 or more employees (such as a
not-for-profit university).
Small Organizations: Organizations meeting the membership
criteria and goals for promoting non-commercial activity on the
Internet as set out in Section IV above, operating on a
not-for-profit basis for the benefit of more than one individual
or family, and whose membership is under 1000 or, for
nonmembership organizations, having less than 200 employees.

 VI.      The Special Question of Chapters and Special Interests
Groups of a Large Organization and Schools Within a University

ACM-IGC envisions that most large organizations will have
worldwide chapters, schools within a university, numerous
special interest groups and other subdivisions.  ACM-IGC
recommends that these subgroups of the larger organization be
represented by and participate in the Non-Commercial
Constituency under their parent in the Large Organization
subgroup.  Creating a single point of representation for a group
will avoid giving any one Large Organization a disproportionate
voice in this Constituency’s discussions and decisions.

VII.  Voting Principles and Proposals

A.  Voting Principles
While the Non-Commercial Constituency may develop many ways of
arriving at consensus and providing input in the domain name
policy discussions of the larger DNSO organization, it will need
clear voting principles and mechanisms to elect the three (3)
Names Council representatives allocated to each constituency by
the ICANN Bylaws.
In keeping with the Organizational Principles set out in Section
V, the Non-Commercial Constituency must find a way to provide
large and small organizations with a full and fair vote for
election of Names Council members and other decisions.

B. Voting Proposals

ACM-IGC welcomes the opportunity to work with ISOC, the ICIIU
and others to develop the mechanisms for full and fair voting.
For purposes of discussion, ACM-IGC submits the following ideas
to the non-commercial community.
ACM-IGC recommends that the Names Council representatives from
the Non-Commercial Constituency be elected by the large and
small organizations as follows:
-  one Names Council representative by the Large Organizations,
-  one Names Council representative by the Small Organizations,
-  a third Names Council representative elected from a slate of
nominees submitted half by the Large Organizations and half by
the Small Organizations and with voting on this joint slate
weighted by an algorithm that balances combined number and size
of the large organizations with combined number and size of the
small organizations.

individuals will be a part of the Non-Commercial Constituency,
ACM-IGC recommends that the Names Council Representatives be
elected in the following manner:
- one Names Council representative by the Large Organizations,
- one Names Council representative by the Small Organizations,
- one Names Council representative by the individuals.

We recommend this measure solely because individuals will not
otherwise have a vote for Names Council Representative.  Upon
organization of a constituency for individuals, the
Representative elected by individuals should immediately become
the Representative for the new individuals’ constituency and the
Non-Commercial Constituency should elect a new Representative.

VIII.  Credentials Committee and Questions about Membership

ACM-IGC recommends that a three-person Credentials Committee be
created to handle questions and concerns about membership.
Eligible representatives for such a committee must be people
familiar with the wide range of noncommercial activities on the
Internet.  For the first Credentials Committee (since questions
are likely to be raised regarding membership from the outset),
ACM-IGC recommends that one representative each from ISOC, ICIIU
and ACM-IGC serve.

ACM-IGC also recommends that every two years the Credentials
Committee be reelected in its entirety in a one organization,
one vote proceeding.

IX.  Going Forward

In this Compromise Proposal, ACM-IGC does not seek to set out a
full set of procedures for the Non-Commercial Constituency.
Rather, ACM-IGC has tried to set out a vision for the
Non-Commercial Constituency and a guideline for its membership
and voting processes.  ACM-IGC hopes that this middle ground
will bridge the basic differences between the two existing
proposals.  Further ACM-IGC would like to work with both ISOC
and ICIIU and others on the remaining details of voting and
substantive procedures so that together we can present one
Non-Commercial Constituency to be chartered by ICANN.   ACM-IGC
looks forward to working with all both groups and others by
email and in Berlin to move forward together.

Respectfully Submitted to ICANN and the Internet Community,

Committee members:
Dr. Milton Mueller, Syracuse University School of Information
Studies, Director
Lawrence Lessig, Harvard University
Randy Bush, Network Startup Resource Center, Verio