[NA-Discuss] IMPORTANT: US Senate hearings on new gTLDs

Evan Leibovitch evan at telly.org
Thu Dec 8 19:58:00 UTC 2011

Hello all,

This morning, the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and
Transportation held a hearing on the ICANN new gTLD program.

The web page describing the hearing, which includes a video of the entire
90-minute session, is at http://1.usa.gov/vzddPH
I am told that it will soon be uploaded to the Committee's YouTube channel
at http://www.youtube.com/user/SenateCommercePress

Among the speakers are

   - Kurt Pritz, ICANN VP
   - Dan Jaffe of the Association of National Advertisers who is trying to
   block the new gTLD program
   - Fiona Alexander with the US NTIA
   - Angela Williams of the US YMCA (speaking after deliberation with
   ICANN's Non-Profit Organization Constituency)
   - Esther Dyson, former ICANN Board member (and ALAC member from the
   pre-RALO days when ALAC was all-appointed)

It's VERY interesting listening. Kurt's message -- that adequate
protections are in place in the program to deter large amounts of money
spent on defensive registrations -- was not well received. In contrast, the
committee heard about several instances -- in some cases by the Senators
themselves -- who were the victims of cybersquatting and domain
speculators. All other speakers were critical of the program and some were
even asking if the US government has the authority to block the roll-out
from happening in January as ICANN intends.

Interesting note amongst the comments... many orgs have found themselves
needing to but defencive registrations in .XXX and are livid at the thought
of having to do a bunch more for future TLDs. (For instance, Indiana
University has purchased "hoosiers.xxx").

Of note to us.... much was made by Kurt of the consensus between
stakeholders. Dan shot that down in relation to business users and Angela
said the NPOC wasn't allowed to become a real stakeholder in time to have
an impact on decisions already made. Esther made mention at the end that
the real constituency not yet heard from (at least by the Senators) was the
billions of Internet end users. Mention was made that the committee now
needs to hear from them.

Sounds like an opportunity to me.

Now... I don't know if one has to be a US citizen to testify; if not the
ICANN Chair or vice chairs (of which I am one) would all be good candidates
and in fact the international character of ALAC sends a useful message IMO.
But if the requirement is to be a US resident, I have complete and utter
faith that NARALO's own leadership includes people (Beau, Ganesh, Eduardo)
who could easily step into the role and do the community proud.

Further to this, I would like to raise the issue as an agenda item on
Monday's NARALO call and I would like us to consider letting the Committee
know that there is indeed a group within ICANN that exists to provide the
voice of Internet end-users,

Thank you.

- Evan

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