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Melbourne - Rick Shera

ICANN Report by Rick Shera - 12 March 2001

Members may be interested in the thoughts of one who is attending an ICANN meeting for the first time.

As you may or may not know, ISOCNZ and Domainz have sent strong delegations to this meeting given its proximity and the focus that ICANN now appears to be giving to ccTLD matters. My focus in attending as the head of your legal and regulatory committee has been to meet with and debate LDRP (local dispute resolution procedure) with people from other jurisdictions. You will probably not be surprised to hear that many ccTLDs are either reviewing, consulting on, implementing or thinking about doing one of those things in relation to LDRP. Needless to say that experience will be put to good use when we launch our consultation on whether .nz should have a LDRP and, if so, what should it look like. That consultation will begin soon after we return from Melbourne on 13 March.

By having more bodies on the ground here though we have been able to gain exposure to all of the other interests/constituencies whose activities and goals may impact on .nz.

Therefore, whilst our focus to date has been on trying to weld consensus among the 54 or so ccTLDs represented at the ccTLD and Asia Pacific TLD "constituency" meetings held over the last 2 days, we have also dropped into the other constituency meetings and the GAC (government advisory committee) open session. For example, I attended the IPC (intellectual property constituency) meeting yesterday afternoon and others have been to the ISP, registrars, business etc constituencies' meetings.

Needless to say with so many diverse interests and backgrounds (particularly in the ccTLD constituency - both a strength and a weakness) there is also a lot of "wheeling and dealing" going on under the surface.

A few interesting issues of direct relevance to .nz which have come to my attention are:

1. The fact that what I had taken as gospel - the split of the NSI (now verisign) registry and registrar functions - now appears to be being renegotiated in private between ICANN and verisign and the proposal is that verisign will keep the .com business indefinitely, .net until year end 2006 and .org until year end 2002. This has apparently come as a surprise to many people including most of the DNSO names council which passed a resolution today that a representation be made to the ICANN board not to consider this without following proper ICANN process (incl consultation with the constituencies such as our ccTLD constituency) - I put this in a neutral fashion but members will appreciate that this issue has caused huge concern and anger across all constituencies (except the registry one).

2. Related to this is the fact that the new gTLD registries such as .biz will IMHO be so thick as to pretty much constitute mixed registry/registrar businesses (Melbourne IT together with neustar owns neulevel - the .biz "registry"). In all this it is important to note that both registries and registrars are now focussing their attention on the growth markets represented by ccTLD spaces.

3. The debate as to the role of Governments in contractual relations between ICANN and ccTLD managers such as ISOCNZ. This is revolving around whether there should be a "bilateral legacy" contract which merely records what ccTLDs would say is the current state of play in terms of their authority to manage the DNS in their respective spaces. The alternative which is favoured by the GAC is to have a "tripartite" arrangement which to a greater or lesser extent gives the Government associated with the cc code power over delegation/redelegation. There also seems to be an implicit requirement by ICANN to comply with the so-called GAC principles which, as I understand it, have not been formally approved by the ICANN board (and therefore may not properly form part of ICANN policy).

4. Over all this, there is significant but inconclusive debate in the ccTLD constituency about what we actually want/need from ICANN and therefore what we should pay to "belong". Some argue that they are only interested in root server services; others argue that by necessity ICANN must be responsible for some policy or at least for facilitating its development but that this should be restricted to its original charter of technical coordination. This in turn leads to inconclusive debate about ICANN's charging regime vis a viz ccTLDs and in turn to issues about funding approx 1/3 of ICANN but receiving no direct representation at board level.

I could go on since it has certainly been an interesting experience and a valuable one in terms of input into and learning about issues which will or might have a direct or indirect impact on .nz

Tomorrow (actually later today!) there will be the open forum meeting followed tomorrow by the ICANN board meeting.

If anyone has any questions I don't guarantee that I will be able to answer them but please do not hesitate to ask.

Rick Shera, Ll.B, MComLaw

This document was last modified on Tuesday, 20-Mar-2001 15:42:59 NZST
© 2001 The Internet Society of New Zealand

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