Brazilian Internet Steering Committee sets out Plans for April 2014 “Global Multistakeholder Meeting on Internet Governance”
The Brazilian Internet Steering Committee (CGI.br) has issued an Announcement (http://www.nic.br/imprensa/releases/2013/rl-2013-62.htm) about planning for the Global Multistakeholder Meeting on Internet Governance that will take place in Sao Paulo on April 23-24, 2014. Extended discussion of the background developments leading up to the request made by ICANN CEO Fadi Chehade to Brazilian President Dilma Roussseff that Brazil host a meeting on Internet Governance, as well as the potential merits and risks of the meeting and the means by which various stakeholders could impact its planning, was a central aspect of last week’s ICANN meeting in Buenos Aires.
The following remarks were delivered to ICANN’s Board and senior staff by ICA Counsel Philip Corwin during the Public Forum (http://buenosaires48.icann.org/en/schedule/thu-public-forum) held on the afternoon of Thursday, November 21st at the 48th ICANN meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina:
ICANN CEO Fadi Chehade told members of its GNSO Council in Buenos Aires this morning that his recent initiatives resulting in the recent Montevideo Statement on Internet governance and the spring 2014 meeting on this subject to be held in Brazil were sanctioned by a September 15th ICANN Board resolution that has been withheld from the public, but will published shortly.
Did you have any idea that registering idea.gifts might be a prohibited activity because some people think it’s more likely to be acquired by those seeking to mimic the International Development Association than by a new business start-up serving those Internet users searching for birthday gift ideas? Do you believe someone is more likely to register eco.shop as a website for ecologically beneficial products or to cybersquat the Economic Cooperation Organization? Does imo.cars have more value as an “In My Opinion” blog website about automobile industry developments or as a spoof site targeting the International Maritime Organization? And if you saw an online ad for iso.love would you surmise that it’s a dating website for those “In Search Of” romance rather than for the very small group that is sweet on the International Sugar Organization? Finally, when you see “AU” do you think of Australia, the African Union, or American University?
The ICANN Public Comment process can be severely frustrating and unsatisfying, as proven once again by ICANN’s September 30th publication of final Rights Protection Mechanisms (RPMs) for new gTLD registries, just twelve days after the September 18th deadline for submitting written comments. The final RPMs include a completely unchanged Trademark Notice that fails to meet ICANN’s stated goal that “The Claims Notice is intended to provide clear notice to the prospective domain name registrant of the scope of the Trademark Holder’s rights.” (emphasis added) Even worse, ICANN’s rationale for refusing to adopt a single modification calls the entire usefulness of the public comment process into question.
ICANN’s Business Constituency (BC) has sent a letter to ICANN’s CEO and Board Chairman expressing multiple concerns about the “UDRP Providers and Uniformity of Process – Status Report” issued by ICANN on July 19th, the day after the mid-year meeting in Durban concluded. The Report was issued without advance notice or opportunity for comment, and takes a strong position against placing UDRP providers under contract – a stance at odds with the BC’s longstanding position that ICANN should implement “a standard mechanism for establishing uniform rules and procedures and flexible means of delineating and enforcing arbitration provider responsibilities”. ICA, which has long sought to place UDRP providers under standard and enforceable contracts, led the effort to have the BC address the many questions raised by the timing and substance of the Report.
I generally write these posts in the third person because I am speaking for the ICA’s membership. But today I’m going to depart from that style and speak personally.
Yesterday I received word that my application to become a member of the Internet Committee of the International Trademark Association had been approved, and that my two-year term will commence in January 2014. While I was happily surprised by the news I must admit that I didn’t expect it.
Using the impending launch of new gTLDs as a rationale, The Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse (CADNA) has teamed up with the Council of Better Business Bureaus (BBB) to launch a month-long “‘Know Your Net’ gTLD public awareness campaign”. Their goal is to enact amendments to the U.S. Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA) that would expand the law’s coverage beyond domain registrants by creating secondary liability for domain system intermediaries like registries and registrars, increase statutory damages penalties for all targets, and establish a ‘loser pays’ regime that favors deep-pocket corporate litigants. If such a proposal was enacted it would vastly increase the litigation leverage of trademark owners and tilt the playing field against defendants in a manner that would result in a high probability of domain shutdown without any final verdict from a court. In short, it’s a SOPA-like proposal grounded in trademark rather than copyright.
Trademark Notice for New gTLD Domain Registrants Must be Substantially Amended and Modified in Context of ICANN’s Trademark-Plus-Fifty Adoption
ICA has just submitted its comments (http://forum.icann.org/lists/comments-rpm-requirements-06aug13/msg00057.html) to ICANN regarding Rights Protection Mechanism (RPM) Requirements at new gTLDs. Our comments focus on serious shortcomings in the current text of the Trademark Notice (TN) that will be generated by some attempted domain registrations. Once a prospective registrant receives a TN it completes the domain registration at its own risk, with an awareness that it may well be challenged in a URS, UDRP, or court action.
During its August 22nd meeting the ICANN Board approved renewal of the registry agreements for the incumbent .Biz, .Info, and .Org gTLD registries. All three contracts were adopted in the identical form to the drafts published for public comment earlier this year.
In taking that action the Board did not adopt the suggestion of ICANN’s Intellectual Property Constituency (IPC) that all three agreements be amended to include “a commitment to adopt the URS if, after a review of its functioning in the new gTLDs, the URS appears to be reasonably effective in achieving its objectives.” That weak and vague standard would give no consideration to whether the substantive and procedural due process rights of domain registrants had received adequate protection in the administration of the as yet untested Uniform Rapid Suspension (URS) rights protection mechanism.