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ALA request further consideration of DRP

The American Library Association (ALA), as a new member of newly formed
Non-Commercial Domain Name Holders Constituency, would like to express its
concerns about the proposed adoption of the Uniform Dispute Resolution

We understand that serious issues of possible cybersquatting and trade
name abuse have been raised and are pleased that the World Intellectual
Property Organization undertook to study the issue.

Nonetheless, we feel that is premature and inappropriate to adopt these
policies without additional serious public comment and debate, including
deliberation of new developments such as the more balanced cybersquatting
law being considered by the U.S. Congress.

Like many non-profit organizations, we are new to the domain name
management issues. This is not surprising, for, as has been the case in
several areas of Internet governance, technical management policies have
only recently begun to have serious implications for other domains of
information policy such as intellectual property, privacy, and freedom of
speech. These are policy areas in which organizations like ALA have had an
active, long-term interest and stake. It is our view that the proposed
Dispute Resolution Policy raises significant issues in all these
areas--issues that need a significant public debate. Adopting this policy
at this time would, in effect, create private intellectual property law and
ignore, bypass or preempt conventional national and international
democratic processes.

Furthermore, it is clear that ICANN, as an organization, is still in a
preliminary stage. Not everybody accepts its authority. Its organizational
structure, decision processes, and even representation are all still in
flux and under debate. Given that preliminary status, it is even more
incumbent on the Board to be cautious and modest in its approach to
policy-making. At this time, we believe ICANN should focus principally on
creating itself as a solid permanent organization for overseeing the domain
name registration process and not rush to judgement on complex and
contentious policy questions that may be brought before it. In fact, the
latter activity could become the enemy of the most desirable former goal.

ALA represents several thousand libraries, most of which hold at least one
registered domain name. And, libraries are more than end users of the
Internet. They are access points for millions of users and they deliver
valuable content and service to the Internet. Thus, libraries have a very
large stake in seeing that the Internet is managed as an efficient and
effective infrastructure. But, we are also want to see that information
policies arising out of the domain name management are arrived at only
after full consideration of their impact on user rights.

Thus, we respectfully request that the ICANN Board not adopt this proposal
at the Santiago meeting, but that the proposal be remanded back for further
comment and consideration, specifically directing that public interest
concerns be addressed in that process. This will not only give
organizations like ALA the opportunity to express their concerns, but it
will also provide more time to see how other more traditional political
jurisdictions are addressing these questions.

ICANN has a difficult enough job ahead of it. A cautious, deliberate, and
open approach to information policy-making will make its job just a little
more manageable.

Respectfully submitted,

Frederick W. Weingarten
Director, Office for Information Technology Policy
American Library Association