The At-Large Advisory Committee's position on new gTLDs has just been submitted to the GNSO's new gTLD "committee of the whole".
The Nominating Committee FAQ touches on travel funding for NomComm-appointed GNSO Council members only briefly, by quoting the bylaws' non-obligation to provide funding as a response. It appears that ICANN would prefer GNSO Council members to fund their own travel. That's unfortunate: For being effective on the council, it's crucial to be physically present at ICANN meetings. ICANN's apparent expectation that GNSO Council members fund their own travel will lead to a dilemma for the Nominating Committee: Either, they send people to the Council who can't (or don't want to) commit meeting expenses, and won't be effective. Or they send people who can easily cough up the necessary expenses (entry level at $6,000 - $9,000 a year, flying economy), but probably have a commercial interest in the GNSO Council's decisions. Both alternatives would be contrary to the very reason why there will be nominating committee appointees on the council. Either way, the reformed ICANN won't work unless ICANN comes up with appropriate funding for the bodies it creates and the volunteers it appoints.
Disclaimer: I haven't submitted any statement of interest, and I won't do so during the 12 minutes remaining until the deadline expires.
Philip Sheppard has posted a draft final report to the GNSO Council gTLDs committee (HTML version here). Writes the ALAC's Wendy Seltzer: I'm concerned that the detailed recommendations perpetuate the "beauty contest" mode of selecting new gTLDs rather than making name addition a routine process.
Comments can be submitted to ALAC's forum address.
Alexander Svensson sent a comment about the WIPO2 recommendations to ALAC: ICANN already had to deal with the request by its Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) to reserve country names under the .INFO top level domain. Interestingly, it seems that only a small group of governments has put the reserved domain names to use.
The results of a quick series of WHOIS queries are here. Out of 223 country names checked, 202 are simply reserved by ICANN.
Writes Louis Touton: Over the past several weeks, various technical flaws (omissions, inconsistencies, etc.) to the bylaws have been called to my attention. In response, I have prepared and posted a set of technical corrections that I propose be made to the bylaws. They are posted at <http://www.icann.org/legal/ proposed-bylaws-corrections-11may03.htm>. The intent is to have the Board consider corrections these at its 2 June 2003 meeting. Any comments on these proposed revisions, or other technical corrections that you are aware of, should be made by sending me an e-mail at <email@example.com>.
The ALAC's comments on WIPO2 have been formally submitted to ICANN's secretary yesterday.
ALAC to GNSO: We continue to believe that ICANN should simply oversee development of a genuine competitive market for domain name services. Basing market entry on a minimal and objective no-harm evaluation is key to achieving this goal. While we understand the Council's desire to give more than a one-word answer, parts of the current expanded answer lean toward regulating this nascent market more than seems desirable. The message contains comments on a number of the criteria proposed in Philip Sheppard's draft final report.
Writes Michael Palage on Nikomarketing.com (the guys offering 20 million WHOIS records for $ 199): If this registrant is found to be in violation of its registrant agreement I hope that TUCOWS would do the right thing and terminate this domain name service agreement.
On the one hand, I share Michael's sentiment that something should be done against these guys. On the other hand, what he suggests amounts to getting registrars into the business of enforcing just about anybody's real or perceived rights by shutting down registrations without even a court order, on the basis that registrants' agreements state that to the best of the [their] knowledge and belief, neither this registration of a domain name NOR THE MANNER IN WHICH IT IS DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY USED infringes upon the legal rights of a third party" (emphasis added).
ICANN has posted its proposed budget for the fiscal year 2003/04. A rather notable change against the preliminary budget is a $ 90,000 increase in Board & Public Meeting to fund travel to ICANN Board meetings for the three members of the GNSO Council and the five members of the ALAC selected by the Nominating Committee, as requested by the chair of the Nominating Committee. I think that this is a good decision.
The GNSO Council has, unanimously, adopted this resolution on today's call: Expansion of the gTLD namespace should be a bottom-up approach with names proposed by the interested parties to ICANN. Expansion should be demand-driven. Furthermore, there should be a set of objective criteria to be met in any future expansion. The development of this set of objective criteria should be the subject of a new Policy Development Process (PDP). These ideas are expanded in the a report together with the responses of the GNSO Constituencies and the ALAC which will be forwarded to the Board in June.
The "report" referred to will be a revised version of what has been circulated on the gtld-com list, and is supposed to be a summary of the discussions the Council had on that list. There will be no public comment process on this particular document, since it's expected to be used as input into a formal policy-development process.
Writes Ross Rader: Next week, there will be a community sponsored, open teleconference to discuss how we can work within the ICANN process to start implementing first steps towards a Whois that more appropriately suits the needs of all affected stakeholders. ... a group of registrars, business leaders, intellectual property interests, generic and country registry operators, consumer rights and other related parties are in the process of putting together an open forum that will occur next week. Our goal is to start an open and honest dialogue between impacted parties and identify points of agreement that we can start building on. I must stress that this will be an open forum with an agenda.
Roberto Gaetano makes some interesting predictions and observations in a recent posting to the GA list.
The agenda of today's conference: Reasons we are here / history; a view of the problem; uses and users; the registrar proposal; can we get there from here? Extensive notes inside; errors, typos and misunderstandings are mine. (Update: Fixed some typos. Also, a formal transcript will be made available by the call's organizers. -- 030530, 9pm CEST, tlr. Update 2: Thomas Barret from Encirca writes to make some corrections to a comment by him which I had wrongly attributed to Robert Connelly. -- 030602)
Some brief observations about yesterday's WHOIS conference call (for those who find my earlier notes too lengthy ;): The discussions on the call were clearly dominated by IP interests and registrars. Registries were on the call, but silent. Various parts of the USG were represented on the call and participated; other governments or governmental entities didn't even listen in (or didn't announce themselves during the role call).