The last full day of every ICANN meeting includes a Public Forum at which attendees and remote participants have an opportunity to address and question the ICANN Board on a wide variety of agenda items. The Prague Public Forum was held on the afternoon of Thursday, June 28th and the full transcript can be found at http://prague44.icann.org/meetings/prague2012/transcript-public-forum-28jun12-en.pdf.
ICA Counsel Philip Corwin addressed the Board twice in Prague – first on the subject of its approval of the .com registry contract renewal with VeriSign for a six-year term commencing on December 1, 2012; and later in regard the implementation of Uniform Rapid Suspension (URS), a required Rights protection mechanism (RPM) for new gTLDs.
In regard to the .com renewal, ICA had filed comments strongly opposing the suggestions of some trademark interests that VeriSign be required to apply the untested URS, which is way behind schedule in regard to implementation, at some point during the contract term -- and thereby foisted upon more than 100 million existing and valuable domains. ICA believes that any consideration of the application of URS to incumbent gTLDs should only occur after several years of use at new gTLDs and follow-up evaluation, and then only in the context of procedural UDRP reform that fully addresses registrant concerns with the operation of that anti-cybersquatting arbitration procedure --
Good afternoon. Philip Corwin speaking as counsel of the Internet Commerce Association, representing [domain] investors and developers at both the top and second level. I just wanted to thank the Board for rejecting the suggestions of some parties who commented on the dot com renewal that a mandate to implement Uniform Rapid Suspension at some point during the contract term be included in the contract. Some of those parties that suggested that were the very same parties that urged deferral of UDRP reform so that the experience with URS could be considered and the question addressed of whether it should be imposed on incumbent registries at some time in the future.
Turning to the pricing provisions, I would note that ICA was born out of the debate over those provisions six years ago. There's no need to revisit that debate. But we do hope the new gTLD process will introduce vigorous price competition into the gTLD marketplace, which will benefit all domain registrants. Thank you very much.
The second set of remarks concerned implementation of URS, and specifically the proposed budgeting of $175,000 in ICANN’s FY 13 budget for the funding of two “Summits” devoted to URS “reconfiguration”. ICA has opposed this funding because we have yet to see any data and analysis justifying the conclusion that the price target cannot be met for narrowly focused implementation of the existing URS model, which constitutes a hard-fought compromise achieved through the multi-stakeholder process and which was unanimously approved by the ICANN Board. A 90-minute URS discussion session held the day prior indicated that, with some minimal ICANN staff support, interested members of the ICANN community should be able to constitute an implementation advisory group – similar to the one that has filled in details for the Trademark Clearinghouse – that addresses this subject in a consensus manner that minimizes policy changes. However, to the extent that URS implementation strays into policy changes, ICA’s position is that all such policy alterations must be considered and approved by the GNSO Council in regular order --
Good afternoon. Philip Corwin speaking again as counsel of the Internet Commerce Association. I want to address Uniform Rapid Suspension. It's one of two required new rights protection mechanisms. It's extremely important it be done right so that we get maximum levels of registration at new TLDs and so there's not a delay in delegation to the root because URS isn't ready to go when applicants’ [strings] are ready to be delegated.
It's very unfortunate that there has not been a collaborative multistakeholder implementation process for URS over the past monthsas there has been for the trademark clearinghouse, which, as a consequence, is much further down the road toward being done.
We've been told that URS cannot achieve the desired price target. We've been provided no data or analysis of that data to justify that conclusion.
I filed a document disclosure request 30 days ago, but have received nothing yet. So we do need that data analysis. What we don't need is $175,000 being spent on two undefined ‘summits’. We need some staff support for an implementation process that's open in membership, transparent in operation. We had a meeting on this subject yesterday. It was apparent that people with very different perspectives on the issue share a common desire to create and implement a URS that achieves the goals of rapid suspension of incontrovertibly infringing domains at the lowest feasible cost while preserving essential registrant rights. Such a group would be best able to avoid reopening divisive policy issues, to the extent that anything has to be reopened in policy. That consensus process would guarantee that the GNSO -- which should play a role in reviewing any policy changes -- if there's a consensus, it will be easy for the GNSO to consider it and probably implement it.
To sum up, let's get started with an open and transparent URS implementation process so that we can report on its progress in Toronto. Thank you.
We’ll have more to say on both these subjects in subsequent postings.
[Note: The raw transcript from the ICANN website has been minimally edited above for purposes of grammar and clarity.]