[At-Large] R: IGO names: is this worth war?

Evan Leibovitch evan at telly.org
Thu Nov 3 09:50:22 UTC 2016

So... to industry, the domains of the Red Cross and its affiliates are
merely a special form of trademark, just like Coca-Cola.

>From a public interest PoV, I posit that they are vastly different.
Coca-Cola does not have a business model of soliciting charitable
donations, in every country, for distribution in other countries. It is not
depended upon for relief activity or critical medical-related public
information. It is not recognized by the Geneva Conventions as a foundation
of global humanitarian activity. Similar things can be said about a number
of other international agencies (ie, UNICEF, WFP etc), though maybe not
quite at that level.

If ICANN's "community" wishes to maintain oblivion to the distinction
between the ICRC and Coca-Cola, that is its right. But that should not stop
those representing the public interest at ICANN -- governments and At-Large
-- from asserting the distinction, and using whatever bylaw-allowed tools
are at their disposal to encourage ICANN to balance industry needs with
those of the non-domain-buying public. If the processes created by ICANN's
compact of domain buyers and domain sellers -- the GNSO -- cannot
accommodate that distinction, then the problem is in the process and not in
the fact that a distinction exists.

If the response is that there are indeed specific IGOs -- that face the
public directly and who trade in international public trust -- that deserve
protection but that not all IGOs do, that is a reasonable response and IMO
a foundation for compromise. I would be happy to participate in a group
that created objective distinction criteria and/or identified the IGOs
worthy of global protection. I don't think that more than a dozen or so
IGOs meet this public trust criteria, but those that do are indeed worthy
of special treatment.

But a blanket blow-off of the request to protect at least some IGOs is a
recipe for a needless showdown. The result of such open hostility will
simply validate, and indeed expand, negative public perception of ICANN and
plant the seeds for more Ted Cruz-like attack (which will play right into
the hands of the multllaterals).

- Evan

PS: I am surprised why nobody here has mentioned the "int" TLD, and
suggested as a partial solution the use and widespread promotion of it as a
natural and trusted home for IGOs. ICANN's support of such a promotional
campaign would actually increase its own public trust for it would be seen
to recognize and address a real problem of abuse.
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