[At-Large] gTLD Review Group decisions regarding the comments by IT for Change, India

Salanieta T. Tamanikaiwaimaro salanieta.tamanikaiwaimaro at gmail.com
Thu Sep 27 18:46:17 UTC 2012

On Fri, Sep 28, 2012 at 5:22 AM, Evan Leibovitch <evan at telly.org> wrote:

> On 27 September 2012 11:57, parminder <parminder at itforchange.net> wrote:
> > You say that it is within the scope of the WG to give advice on the
> > private gTLD issue. You have pointed to me to the page where the listed
> > issues for the WG can be seen. Here I see that on the issue of private
> > gTLDs the token holder (not exactly sure what it means though) is Evan
> > Leibovitch.
> >
> Actually, I'm not sure what the term "token holder" means either. I know I
> have had an interest in the issue, done significant research, and
> participated in many relevant ICANN working groups to date. But, then, so
> have many others here.
> > However, in an email on 25th Sept, on the newspaper article that I did
> > on private gtlds, Evan had the following to say....
> >
> >     " This would have been an extremely useful intervention ... three
> > years ago.   In its current form it's merely an act of hindsight, and as
> > such its value is severely diminished."
> >
> > In response to my input to the Dev's WG, which he was kind enough to post
> > on the ICANN website, Evan posted a response which claims that
> >
> >     "While I share the concerns and have expressed many myself, the
> > ability to affect gTLD expansion policy in this direction is also long
> > passed."
> >
> Indeed, and I stand by that.
> > If the token holder of the issue of private tlds so firmly believes that
> > this issue is not something that anything can be done about at present, I
> > wonder what is the discussion about.
> The ALAC has the bylaw-mandated remit to advise ICANN on any component of
> its operation, at any time. And its gTLD working group has the ability to
> advance any issue to the wider ALAC for consideration as formal Advice to
> the ICANN Board.
> In the current application process the ALAC has been given a further
> capabilty to launch specific objections against specific applications for
> one of two very specific reasons:
>    1. The string being applied for is overly offensive of obscene
>    2. An applicant for a community TLD is not properly representing the
>    claimed community
> Your objections do not fall under one of the above categories, so they are
> beyond ALAC's capacity to object using its explicitly granted authority in
> this regard. As such, it becomes just another general policy issue, and I
> am suggesting that this particular issue is long past its due date.
> Your core issue -- the private ownership of public words -- was long ago
> settled by consensus, a consensus in which At-Large participated (and with
> which some of us -- myself included -- had severe reservations). The
> embodiment of that consensus is the gTLD Applicant Guidebook, the subject
> of years of debate and side-debates that is now used as a contractual
> document. ALAC has the formal freedom to demand the issue be re-opened --
> against the desires of every other stakeholder and our own participation in
> the consensus -- but I believe that to so do would be utterly pointless and
> ill-advised.
> So let's be clear. There was no ALAC "discussion" on the issue before your
> (and some domain-industry) comments were brought to our attention. The core
> issue you advanced -- whether or not it had merit -- is now moot.

On the other hand, Parminder has a point. The minute that there is
precedent set and established for reviewing and revising the Applicant
Guidebook after the fact, you have a defined trajectory of possibilities. I
personally do not have a view on this and am hearing you both.

> Companies
> have filed legitimate good-faith applications, and given ICANN monetary
> deposits, under published guidelines that allow private ownership of TLD
> strings. So even should I agree with you on your core issue, advancing it
> at this time (which we are *technically* entitled to do) would either get
> us ignored or get ICANN sued.
> Had you raised them when the applicant guidebook was under intense debate,
> you may have indeed sparked very useful debate, and perhaps affected
> opinions and the ALAC's attitudes at a time when we could have had
> influence on the final expansion policy. But your voice and this PoV was
> non-existent then. In fact, the real time to make such a case was even
> longer ago, when precedents were set by the private allocation of TLDs for
> common words such as .name and .museum.
> Lest there be any doubt, I have long held the position -- that most in
> At-Large can verify -- that the gTLD expansion process as a whole is (with
> a very few exceptions) an utter waste of resources and, on the balance,
> harmful to the public interest. As such I have great understanding and and
> empathy for your position. But I (and other expansion cynics) could have
> used your support long ago, when the debate might have produced actual
> policy results.
> Right now, though, aggressively stating this case simply comes across as
> bitter hindsight. And even that hindsight may be misplaced, IMO  -- but
> that's a different topic for, perhaps, a different discussion. Suffice to
> say for now that it's interesting that the only comments I have seen
> opposing private ownership of public strings -- besides yours -- come from
> the domain speculation industry.
> Just my opinions.
> - Evan
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Salanieta Tamanikaiwaimaro aka Sala
P.O. Box 17862

Twitter: @SalanietaT
Fiji Cell: +679 998 2851

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