March 24, 2003


Despite best efforts, nothing really new was said. At this point, I come away convinced that we might want to borrow from the Raelians and simply clone some past constructs that sort of worked. Incremental improvement instead of perfection. Hmmm...

BTW, yes, that was an Ira Levin joke. The allusion was too tempting. I'm sorry.

Posted by ross at 11:15 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Registrar Constituency Meeting - PM

Our afternoon session had a slightly different tenor. Food is a wonderful drug.

We kicked things off with a visit from Jennifer <bad hearing, bad hearing> from the USPTO who had wonderful things to tell us about how WIPO was going to save us from the world or from governments, or evil pirates or something.

Point is that WIPO thinks that they have something to save someone from - which can never mean anything good. In this case, it means that they want ICANN to bless UDRP II, which amongst other things, starts treating country names like trademarks.

[fast forward to BC meeting] "These recommendations make the existing UDRP vulnerable."

<aside>I couldn't agree more. As someone pointed out to me this week, I don't speak for Tucows on this blog. Keep that in mind when you read this next bit. I hate the idea of UDRP II a lot. On principle, I hate the UDRP I just a little bit more. The argument that I hear against UDRP II is that it provides a certain class of mark holders with extra-legal protections that are better found elsewhere. Exactly what I would say about the UDRP. I would go one step further and say that providing any entity or class of entities with special protections in the DNS (that aren't available to all classes that need varying types of protection) sets a bad precedent *and* if there are precedents out there that do this, maybe we should all take a deep breath and revisit the wisdom of those precedents.

<deep breath> You see what I mean here?</deep breath

The UDRP was the thin edge of the wedge and this is an example of why it is a bad wedge. I wouldn't advocate that we tear apart the UDRP - it does have some utility for a certain class of users - we just need something that's more equitable for all classes of users (and that doesn't mean what WIPO might think it means).

So yes, WIPO's UDRP II proposal makes UDRP I very vulnerable. The community needs to think carefully about exactly what is at stake so that we don't have to run through these gymnastics every time WIPO stretches its legs.></aside>

[Rewind to Registrar meeting] The general consensus of the constituency is that this proposal is "A Bad Idea" (TM) I would tend to agree. Regardless of what we (the "ICANN we") think of the UDRP, let's make sure that we keep the discussion focused on UDRP II. The WIPO proposal makes it very clear that there are worse alternatives to the UDRP - lets not help them make it happen.

Next, Bruce Tonkin provided the constituency with a brief overview of how policies get made in the new GNSO. Hopefully educational briefs like these reduce the perception that policy development in ICANN is a black-art reserved for only the most skilled wizards.

The rest of the afternoon was pretty unremarkable - discussions around credit card fraud, new gTLDs and IDNs. Lots of opinion, but no strong proposals. I suspect that those will come soon based on the number of action items I got sucked into.

There was nascent support for the idea of accrediting registries. Another Good Thing(TM). We'll see how the idea fares tonight.

Posted by ross at 03:50 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Is Netnames looking to get into the registry business?

Posted by ross at 02:37 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


As Brett mentioned earlier this week there is an informal gTLD discussion forum being planned for this evening. Show up at the Horseneck Tavern at 9pm for some informal to'ing and fro'ing about new gTLDs. Should be an interesting time - a bunch of people have published papers and will be there to discuss them. I'll be there with Alan. Hopefully we will see you as well.
Posted by ross at 02:11 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Chinese Walls & Concrete Metrics

Got this via email today from someone who doesn't spend a lot of time in the ICANN process, but spends a lot of times dealing with the problems created by the ICANN process...

"...I'll just presume that everything from NSI's retail ops to the Registry itself ultimately falls under the parent company...and that anything that shows a different domain is just window dressing for the public."

Historically, this wouldn't have been a bad guess. I hope its a bad guess today. Not sure anymore. The registry guys really have their act together and the registrar guys are getting a lot more involved - all good things - but is the glass-chinese wall actually an effective construct?

There's no empirical evidence that there is and there's nothing but anecdotes to support that it isn't. My hope would be that ICANN looks really closely at the model and what commends it before they perpetuate it.

Metrics Dr. Paul, metrics.

Posted by ross at 02:01 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Registrar Constituency Meeting - AM

Despite the lack of a pre-published agenda, the morning session went remarkably well. PCForum sounds better, but where Esther scores points on content, Cohen scores points for ambience. Rio is a really nice venue.

I spent the first 90 minutes or so going over the proposed changes to the Registrar Constituency Bylaws. These are sorely deficient in their current form and we really need to improve these underlying structures. All too often, our bad rules lead to bad process and bad feelings. The constituency really needs to get beyond this poisonous dynamic.

Louis Touton joined us for a few minutes to answer some niggly questions that the members have about various processes etc. Some interesting bits - most of it is pretty inside track stuff, but the highlights are;

  • the constituency can't interfere with a member appointing the representative of their choice
  • council reps must be able to think freely and vote freely in order to preserve the GNSO Council's capability to achieve consensus. If these reps feet are bound in concrete, then they won't be able to negotiate on key issues. Article 10 of the bylaws provides the backdrops to these rules.
  • There is no requirement for constituencies to implement geographic diversity requirements. My feeling is that we should include a statement of principles that we believe in. In a constituency like ours, it is difficult to implement conditions like this, but that doesn't mean that we can't support the principles and show that things like this actually matter to us as a group - even if we can't implement them for very practical reasons.
  • It is unclear whether or not constituency bylaws amendments always need to be approved by the board. This round is being forced by the work of the ERC, hence the requirement.

We also talked briefly about BulkWhois. Two camps on this issue - those registrars that are primarily registrars and those registrars that deal mostly with patent, trademark and copyright clients. I'll leave it to you to guess which one wants the BulkWhois provisions preserved.

Just before lunch, Paul Twomey, incoming CEO of ICANN joined us for a few minutes. He gave us a quick briefing of his CV, (and very skilfully distanced himself from his sentence tenure as the chair of the GAC) and outlined his priorities for the next few years. These included taking care of ICANN's September deliverables to the Department of Commerce, fixing the IANA function in a meaningful way (he has some great ideas here) and taking a few months to figure out what is really important to the community.

The most interesting thing that he said was that he is a strong believer in the value of process and management by metric and that he fully intends to apply this regimen to ICANN and IANA. This is good news in my books - it will lead to predictability, accountability and efficiencies that aren't currently found in the process.

I asked him how he felt about ICANN's credibility affecting the depth of the available talent pool within ICANN. In other words, if no one wants to participate in ICANN because there is a perception that ICANN has no credibility, then how is ICANN, the community, going to expand the depth and breadth of its communities. He replied that he intended on spending a significant portion of time in the relevant arena's describing what ICANN is and clearing up some of the misconceptions spread by the Persistant Critics (my words, not his).

Then, on to lunch. Three cappucino's and a Coke have done wonders for my budding head cold.

Stuffy and wired.

Posted by ross at 01:14 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The trip in...

Got into town on Saturday after what turned out to be an overly long trip. Our original iterinary was to fly from Toronto to Sao Paulo and then on to Rio after a 90 minute layover. Of course, as the fates would have it, we blew this schedule before we left the tarmac in Toronto. A one hour delay that didn't get made up put us behind the eightball when we got to Sao Paulo. To make it worse, Air Canada rebooked us on a flight that had been sold out for two days.

There wasn't enough charm in the world to talk ourselves on that plane - even though we tried eight ways from Sunday. But I'm getting ahead of myself. I had the interesting fortune to be on the same flight as Rael - leader of the freedom-Canadian (or is it okay to say "French" in mixed company again - I haven't been keeping up with state-of-the-art in political correctness) cloning cult that tried to pull the wool over the eyes of the world media earlier this year. He and his much younger female companion were fully outfitted in their futuristic jumpsuits very much looking the part of cult-leader and acolyte.

I wonder if their journey down here is pleasure or business. Pleasure I hope, or CNN is going to feel mighty foolish in their skepticism.

After spending a good two hours trying to charm our way onto a flight we manged to secure two seats on a flight leaving from a different Airport in Sao Paulo. "Congooneeas" the flight agent said. "Congoknees" I replied...

We went back and forth with the pronounciation five of six times whereupon she simply wrote the name of the airport and directions to the shuttle bus on a piece of paper. I need to learn some Portugese - or hear better.

The trip through Sao Paulo took roughly an hour - the squalor was inescapable. Slums and shantytowns seemed to be the rule, with the exception of the odd new housing development dotting the hills here and there.

Arriving at the airport, we waited a few minutes for our flight, walked directly out onto the tarmac. I asked the agent whether or not they had any preference regarding which plane we should board.

"First one on the right" he scowled. Not much humor at Congoneeds apparently.

Posted by ross at 11:52 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack