(I'm cleaning off an old computer today and came across this. I wrote this over a year ago - didn't bother to finish it for some reason. There are a bunch more of these. I'll post the more finished ones over the next few days...)

To borrow a phrase from the software industry, ICANN's GNSO has a big ole' hairy bug in the design of its constituency structure. The problem lies with its recognition of the Intellectual Property Constituency as a legitimate constituency of the GNSO.

Here's why this is a problem. Here's a list of the current constituencies that make up ICANN's GNSO;

a. gTLD Registries (representing all gTLD registries under contract to ICANN);
b. Registrars (representing all registrars accredited by and under contract to ICANN); \
c. Internet Service and Connectivity Providers (representing all entities providing Internet service and connectivity to Internet users);
d. Commercial and Business Users (representing both large and small commercial entity users of the Internet);
e. Non-Commercial Users (representing the full range of non-commercial entity users of the Internet); and
f. Intellectual Property Interests (representing the full range of trademark and other intellectual property interests relating to the DNS).

- ICANN Bylaws, Article X, Section 5

The Registry and Registrar constituencies are a special class of business - these are the only "providers" of registration services in the GNSO tent. The rest of the constituencies, loosely, are the "user" constituencies. The Internet Service and Connectivity Providers constituency (ISPC) represents the interests of telco's, the Commercial and Business Users constituency (BC) represents the interests of commercial users of all stripes (small and large businesses) and the Non-commercial users constituency (NCUC) represents non-profits, NGOs and other similar non-commercial interests. The Intellectual Property Interests constituency sticks out like a sore-thumb in this structure; even its title, reflects the problem.

The IPIC is an issue driven constituency. Each of the other constituencies has organized around a very different dimension - what they use the DNS for. The IPIC on the other hand, takes a different tack and has been organized around the very narrow concern of "intellectual property interests relating to the DNS".

(Added to summarize the rest that didn't get written: So why is this a problem? The IPIC is issues based - their entire reason for being is to look out for intellectual property interests. Lots of different players have intellectual property issues - Tucows has patents, copyrights and trademarks for instance - but because we're not a part of the IPIC, our views on these subjects are marginalized. Having an intellectual property issues constituency makes about as much sense as having a religious issues constituencies.)

Now playing: "Devil Baby" from the album "The Ragpicker's Dream" by Mark Knopfler.