[At-Large] "Business" users (was Re: FW: Our choice for the ICANN Board)

Karl Auerbach karl at cavebear.com
Sun Nov 28 08:51:06 UTC 2010

On 11/27/2010 10:19 PM, Evan Leibovitch wrote:

> I often wonder if registrants are sufficiently represented in ICANN as
> stakeholders

"Registrants" have contracts that define their rights and duties.

It is a shame, and indeed worse - it is scandalous - that ICANN does not 
grant to registrants what are called "third party beneficiary" rights 
that would allow registrants to require Registrars and Registries to 
live up to the obligations imposed upon them by their own contracts with 

But at least registrants have some grounds to stand upon; they have 
"standing" to be recognized and heard.

Internet users within ICANN have none.

ICANN's policies are often justified from the effect of a given practice 
not on name registrants but on internet users and other third parties. 
For example the huge brouhaha about Verisign's Sitefinder was largely 
argued on the basis of how it would impact internet users rather than 
name registrants.  Similarly, whois policy is argued by ICANN on reasons 
pertaining to trademark protection and law enforcement, neither of which 
are necessarily registrants.

In such an ICANN who is there to speak for these users and third 
parties?  For users the answer is no one.  (For law enforcement and 
trademark protection ICANN has created welcome mats.)

Looking at the at-large as a mouthpiece for name registrants is to 
essentially subtract from its power to be a voice for internet users.

Moreover, ICANN's role encompasses more than domain names; ICANN also 
covers IP addresses.  An IP addresses is a more basic requirement for 
internet use than is a domain name.  An ICANN at large that sees itself 
only in the reflected light of domain names is an ICANN at-large that is 
walking on one leg and fighting with one arm.

By-the-way, in my dictionary the word "stakeholder" is a pejorative - it 
is a polite bundling of Freddy the Pig's line in Animal Farm that some 
animals are more equal than others.

We have seen in ICANN how the "stakeholder" game gives some people 
multiple voices - as registries and registrars and technicians and 
intellectual property protectors and commercial groups - in addition to 
whatever voice they may have as natural people.  That contrary to the 
democratic idea that to one man/woman goes one vote and only one vote.


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