INTERNET CORPORATION FOR ASSIGNED NAMES AND NUMBERS
SUMMARY OF MEETING OF MEMBERSHIP ADVISORY COMMITTEE
4 January 1999
Summary of January 4 Membership Committee Conference Call
Prepared by Molly Shaffer Van Houweling, Committee Staff
Committee Chair George Conrades opened the call by thanking the committee members for their work over the holidays. He then reviewed the agenda for the call:
Update on Berkman Center study (Zittrain)
Discussion of study question progress and next steps for follow-up brainstorming
Conrades highlighted the last agenda item, telling committee members to consider during the call which issues they might be interested in leading a substantive discussion about during the Jan. 19 conference call. He clarified that substantive discussions should take place before the 19th via email, including the new public discussion list.
On the issue of the charter for the public email list, no members objected to the charter prepared by Shaffer Van Houweling which consolidated multiple previous proposals and which featured automatic (software-based) enforcement of participation guidelines including a limitation on the number of posts per 24 hour period and a prohibition on cross-posting. Shaffer Van Houweling indicated that the automatic enforcement might not be feasible, but that she would work to get the list launch in the next couple of days.
Next the group discussed posting a public brainstorming bulletin board on the committee website. Cabell asked whether the committee members would be comfortable having their names associated with their comments and the consensus was that that would be fine. Zittrain suggesting investigating the possibility of inviting the public to submit comments associated with specific items on the bulletin board and Shaffer Van Houweling said she would investigate that possibility.
Next, Zittrain gave an update on the progress of the Berkman Center membership study. He said that the study coordinators would be posting email questions about various membership issues to the people who had volunteered to help, and to experts identified by the Berkman Center. The responses, and an abridged digest, would be posted on the study website (http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/rcs). Zittrain indicated that MAC members could be added to the list of participants in this process if they wished. (He will send instructions via email.)
The Berkman Center is also organizing a face-to-face workshop January 23 in Cambridge at which people with experience in membership-based organizations will give presentations, followed by an afternoon panel discussion. Several committee members indicated that they might attend the January 23 meeting. Aizu stressed the importance of having participants from outside the United States.
The Berkman Center is hoping to have a draft study ready by mid February, and a more final form (incorporating comments received) for the March ICANN meeting. Finally, Zittrain indicated that the Berkman Center was at the service of the committee in terms of providing other substantive help. In particular, several people at the Berkman Center are interested in working on surveys of Internet users regarding membership issues. Aizu indicated that he would like to coordinate with the Berkman Center to send out questionnaires to Asian organizations.
Conrades asked whether the study questions being generated by the Committee would be incorporated into the Berkman Center’s work and Zittrain indicated that they would be. The consensus of the committee members was that there should be as many links between the Berkman Center project and the committee’s work, to take maximum advantage of everyone’s effort.
Next the committee discussed the list of membership questions that they had generated over the past two weeks. Langenbach suggested that the question of "Who are the members" had not been properly articulated yet. This is a key question because a proposal for the Domain Name Supporting Organization also includes at-large members; so we need to think about the relationships between these groups. The question is not just who can be a member, but rather which groups we are addressing.
Conrades asked the committee members to consider what groups of questions they would like to be responsible for discussing on the next conference call. Members volunteered as follows:
Purpose: Kaplan (volunteered via email in advance of the meeting)
At-Large Directors and Electing At-Large Directors: Cabell
Changes to Articles: no volunteers
Finally, Conrades raised the issue of participation in or observation of committee communications by Esther Dyson (Interim Chairman of ICANN Board of Directors) and Michael Weinberg (partner with Jones Day, counsel to ICANN). There were no objections to Esther’s participation as an ex officio member of the committee, but Cabell and Steinberg argued that Weinberg's presence perpetuates the concern that Jones Day uses its special status to exert inappropriate or undue influence on committee discussions.. Several other members of the committee indicated that they had no objection to Weinberg’s observing and advising the committee and that the committee would need legal advice in any case. A consensus understanding was reached that Weinberg will generally operate in a read-only mode in committee conferences (telephone and email) giving advice when asked to do so by committee members, when the committee is working toward something that is not permitted by applicable law or if, or when he has a suggestion based on his specialized corporate governance experience. All committee members are free to share information about committee conferences with anyone outside the list, and all committee discussions (including input from Weinberg) will be summarized for the public website. Therefore, if anyone feels that Weinberg or anyone else is operating inappropriately, that person is free to raise the complaint in any forum and reveal the circumstances. Everyone is encouraged to participate fully in the public membership email list.
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