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[Comment-Ip] Petition


(As of May 10, the following message is supported by the 23
signatories listed below. Additional supporters are signing on
daily. The final list will be presented in Berlin.)

On May 6, 1999, the following statement was posted on the ICANN
web site at http://www.icann.org/wipo/wipo.htm

"The ICANN Board of Directors will consider the WIPO Final
Report, including its annexes, at its May 27 meeting and will
take appropriate action, which may include from [sic] seeking
further comments on the recommendations, referring of some or
all of them to other ICANN entities, and/or adopting certain of
the recommendations."

The undersigned strongly object to the last phrase in this
sentence, referring to "adopting certain of the
recommendations." We wish to see any reference to "adoption"
removed from the Berlin meeting agenda.

Under the "bottom up" philosophy articulated in the White Paper
and in ICANN's own by-laws, important decisions regarding domain
name policy were supposed to be passed up to ICANN's board by
the Domain Name Supporting Organization (DNSO). The DNSO does
not exist yet. ICANN has encouraged numerous individuals and
organizations to make substantial investments in the creation of
the DNSO and its constituencies, with the promise that
good-faith participation in the process would give them a voice
in policy making. Those expectations would be unjustly
frustrated if ICANN adopted any recommendations of the WIPO
proposals in Berlin.

ICANN's current board was appointed on a temporary basis and was
not elected by a membership. Its sole mandate is to get the
organization started and to fill the gaps in its membership,
board and by-laws. It is not appropriate for a board with
interim status to make lasting policy on such a sensitive and
complex matter. It is, in fact, a cause for great concern for
ICANN even to publicly propose adopting such proposals at this

The WIPO recommendations comprise over 120 pages of dense legal
prose. The final report will have been out for public
consideration only three weeks when the Berlin meeting is
convened. Whether one supports or opposes the proposals, it is
undeniable that they will have a profound and permanent impact
on domain name registrations and on international intellectual
property rights. No legitimate purpose can be served by hasty
adoption or by short-circuiting the deliberative process that
ICANN was created to foster. Furthermore, we question the
ability of the current Board to properly assess the WIPO
recommendations and comments about them amidst the flood of
comments and documents pertaining to other important matters,
such as the DNSO, ASO, and PSO formation, the definition of the
constituencies, and the Membership Advisory Committee

We feel that the whole idea of ICANN would be undermined if the
interim board were to make fundamental and permanent changes in
domain name policy with inadequate information, without even the
possibility of consultation with a DNSO and the other supporting
organizations, and without members. The overall effect would be
highly destructive of the trust and cooperation that is required
to run the Internet properly.

We urge the Board to wait until the DNSO is formed and then send
the WIPO report to the DNSO for the DNSO's consideration.

Laina Raveendran Greene, GetIT Pte Ltd., WIPO Panel of Experts,
Ellen and Peter Rony, Authors, Domain Name Handbook, USA
Milton Mueller, Syracuse University School of Information
Studies, USA
Lawrence Lessig, Harvard University, USA
David J. Farber, University of Pennsylvania, USA
Kathy Kleiman, Esq., Counsel, Domain Name Rights Coalition, USA
Scott Bradner, Harvard University USA
Anthony M. Rutkowski, USA
James V. DeLong, USA
Dan Steinberg SYNTHESIS Law & Technology, CANADA
Harold Feld, USA
Tressa Kirby, VRx, CANADA
Richard Sexton, VRx, CANADA
Gene Marsh, AnyCAST, USA
David J. Steele, USA
Gordon Cook, The Cook Report on the Internet, USA
Karl Auerbach, USA
Image Online Design, Inc. USA
Jay Fenello, Iperdome, Inc. USA
Patrick Greenwell, Telocity, USA
Mikki Barry, Esq. USA
Eric Weisberg, Internet Texoma, USA