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gTLD Registry Constituency Statement

30 October 2002

The gTLD Registry Constituency, comprised of the Registry Operators for .com, .net, .org,. info, .biz, .name., .pro, .museum, .coop and .aero at its meeting on October 28, 2002, have unanimously adopted the following statement:

I. Introduction

The gTLD Constituency is pleased to have this opportunity to comment on the final report of ICANN's Evolution & Reform Committee ("ERC") and its recommendations to the ICANN Board for modifications to ICANN's Bylaws. We would like to express our gratitude to the members of the ERC and the many people who have served on its advisory committees for their important volunteer efforts to improve ICANN.

This statement addresses three specific areas of the Proposed New Bylaws Recommended by the Committee on ICANN Evolution and Reform ("Proposed Bylaws") - - (i) Structure; (ii) Accountability; and (iii) Mission. The gTLD Constituency will also be submitting separately more detailed comments on the Proposed Bylaws and Policy Development Process.

II. Structure

The gTLD Constituency supports the ERC's recommendations with regard to the equalization of votes between contracted and noncontracted parties within the Generic Names Supporting Organization. We firmly believe that neither of those parties should be able to have control over the Policy Development Process. We believe that the ERC's recommendation, coupled with the addition of the nominating committee members on the new GNSO Council, will accomplish this objective. In addition, the equalization of votes encourages contracted and non-contracted parties to work cooperatively towards a solution that the entire community can support.

The gTLD constituency wants to clearly state that the equalization of voting is necessary to insure that our constituency will continue to participate in the ICANN process. Any process that duplicates what is going on in the current Domain Name Supporting Organization, where politics often overshadows cooperation, is not acceptable to our constituency.

III. Accountability

As has been discussed by many in the ICANN community, accountability is a paramount feature of a new and credible ICANN. One of the key measures of accountability is the availability of an independent review process to ensure that the decisions of the ICANN Board of Directors are consistent with the scope of its mission. Unfortunately, we believe that the Proposed Bylaws fall short in this regard.

For example, the entities charged with providing a neutral independent review are constituted and/or are controlled by the very body making the decisions that are being reviewed. More specifically, under the proposed bylaws for the Independent Review Process, ICANN:

  • appoints the arbitration provider;
  • approves the procedures;
  • decides whether a standing panel should even hear a case; and
  • approves the panel's conflict of interest policy.

Despite going through this process, the decision of the Independent Review Panel is not binding. Finally, the Independent Review Panel is not charged with ascertaining whether consensus has been adequately documented, a role that is mandated in the current registry contracts.

The gTLD constituency believes that it is imperative that there be an adequate mechanism for meaningful objection to ICANN Board decisions. One suggestion may be to initiate reasonable qualifications for panelists under the current IRP system, which we believe provides a more neutral and independent review process. The constituency is also happy to discuss other alternatives.

IV. Mission

Article I of the Proposed Bylaws states that it will be part of ICANN's mission to "[c]oordinate policy development reasonably and appropriately related to [its] technical functions." Consistent with the recent extension of the Memorandum of Understanding between the United States Department of Commerce and extensive feedback from the Internet community, the gTLD Constituency supports ICANN's efforts to limit its mission statement. However, the registries believe that in its effort to do so, the current wording could have the opposite and unintended effect of broadening the scope of ICANN's mission, resulting in a drain on ICANN's focus and resources.

We believe that a more narrow mission will improve ICANN's efficiency and promote stability and certainty within the domain name industry. Therefore, the gTLD Constituency recommends replacing the phrase "reasonably and appropriately related" with "reasonably necessary." This enables ICANN to exercise the appropriate flexibility to perform its technical mission consistent with its Core Values, while still providing an objective benchmark against which to measure ICANN's activities.

Thank you for the opportunity to present our comments and we look forward to continued participation in this process.

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