COMPROMISE PROPOSAL FOR THE NON-COMMERCIAL DOMAIN NAME HOLDERS CONSTITUENCY
SUBMITTED BY THE ASSOCIATION FOR COMPUTING MACHINERY COMMITTEE ON INTERNET GOVERNANCE
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, 1999.
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.
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.
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 holders.
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.
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.
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.
IN THE FIRST ELECTION AND THE FIRST ELECTION ONLY, because 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, and
- 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.
Respectfully Submitted to ICANN and the Internet Community,
ASSOCIATION FOR COMPUTING MACHINERY, INTERNET GOVERNANCE COMMITTEE
Dr. Milton Mueller, Syracuse University School of Information Studies, Director
Lawrence Lessig, Harvard University
Randy Bush, Network Startup Resource Center, Verio
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