[At-Large] [BMSPC-2020] Board seat 15 selection

Karl Auerbach karl at cavebear.com
Thu Nov 21 20:13:40 UTC 2019

On 11/21/19 10:25 AM, Christian wrote:

> Domain name registration via ICANN structures is not a public interest 
> activity but a business with some strong cartel like features.
That is true.

In my own life I wear several hats - I am (obviously) a very 
pro-democracy advocate.  But I am also an intellectual property lawyer.  
I also own and operate multiple businesses (via corporate forms), most 
of which have domain name and trademarks.  I also am a net techie (and 
have my name on full Internet Standard RFCs.)  I also have a financial 
interest in various domain name registries.

In terms of power (by which I mean power to influence ICANN decisions) 
the least powerful of my hats is that of the individual here in ICANN.

I spent last week among my intellectual property lawyer peers. Those 
folks represent a seriously strong power block.  When they (or, rather, 
we) are figuring out how to make ICANN dance to our tune we can afford 
to dedicate serious resources, such as full time staff, to make sure we 
have the best chance of winning.  The public, the ALAC, the individual 
has nearly zero chance of winning.  Just witness how easily the 
intellectual property interests got the highly biased UDRP into place 
and how far ICANN policy over the ensuing decades has been shaped to 
cater to the interests of my friends in the intellectual property community.

Same thing in my roles with my corporations and registry interests: 
Although not as well organized as the intellectual property industry, my 
business and registry friends are quite able and willing to expend 
resources (and hire dedicated staff) to ensure that their (our) 
interests are strongly expressed within ICANN.

It is hard for individuals, hobbled by ICANN's Byzantine procedures, 
bureaucracy, layers ALAC "organizations", and a mere single public board 
seat,  to carry the day against well organized and well funded 
industrial opposition.

And ICANN's fundamental structure not only allows, but encourages, this 
kind of industrial collaboration and combination of influence.

The notion of "stakeholder" says that our voice within ICANN is measured 
by our self-interest, largely our financial self-interest, in maters 
before ICANN.   Because individuals - you and me - have a dilute 
interest, and often not an interest easily measured in financial terms, 
our authority within ICANN as stakeholders is written in lower case.  On 
the other hand, because Intellectual Property, business, registrar, and 
registry interests are organized and combined and have a high dollar 
value their role as STAKEHOLDERS in ICANN is written in upper case, in 
bold font, italicized, and underlined.

It is no wonder, therefore, that the "non-profit/public benefit" 
corporation called ICANN has been captured by industrial interests, 
dances to their tunes, and allows sales of "Public Interest Registry" to 
a body of ICANN insiders with nary a shred of concern about the public 
or its interests.

One might apply Jessica Rabbit's famous line to ICANN: "I'm not bad, I'm 
just drawn that way."

ICANN will continue to favor organized business interests over the 
public benefit as long as ICANN retains its present form.

If we want to make ICANN less bad then we will have to draw it a 
different way.


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