Why Accountability Matters at ICANN

Posted August 7th, 2014
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The ICANN circus rolled into London in June. Over 3,000 delegates signed up for a seven day festival of all things domain related held in the less than glamorous setting of the Hilton Metropol on the Edgware Road (known to Londoners as Little Beirut). First on the bill was the Commonwealth Internet Governance Forum which focussed on “investments, partnerships and security”. Next came a High Level Government Meeting attended by ministers from 77 countries and apparatchiks from 11 IGOs. The future of internet governance was the main topic of debate. By the time the ICANN meeting started, delegates from within the domain industry, including a strong representation of brand owners including at least a dozen MARQUES members, were exhausted by talk of the impact of Edward Snowden and the digital divide and turned to matters they were more accustomed to such as the launch of the new gTLDs.

The hottest topic to emerge was ICANN’s accountability. As a result of its efforts to develop a process for the transition of the IANA stewardship from the US National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to the global multi-stakeholder community, the spotlight has been thrown on ICANN itself. Can this not-for-profit corporation incorporated in California be entrusted to police itself if given responsibility for the IANA function of adding strings to the world root? The community lined up at the microphone in the Public Forum on the last day of the meeting to voice concerns. To the amazement of everyone, including 20 rather startled Board Members arranged in a horseshoe at the front of the packed assembly room, all seven constituencies that make up ICANN’s Generic Names Supporting Organisation (GNSO) which creates policy, spoke with one voice. In an unprecedented development they called unanimously for the creation of an “independent accountability mechanism that provides meaningful review and adequate redress for those harmed by ICANN action or inaction in contravention of an agreed upon compact with the community”. Although ICANN, currently, has a number of redress mechanisms these are widely seen as ineffective, non-transparent, time consuming and expensive.

Why is this important? ICANN operates through bottom-up consensus. The views of four main stakeholder groups – registry operators, registrars, non-commercial interests and commercial interests – are weighed against each other as policy is created. Generally everyone is pleased or disappointed in equal measure. However, in recent months the ICANN staff under the leadership of President and CEO Fadi Chehade has blurred the line between implementation and policy. Issues which don’t belong inside ICANN have been allowed to surface – for example whether the .wine and .vin new gTLD applications should proceed without additional safeguards for wine producers. When this topic emerged in London, we were treated to the Belgium government representative calling the Chair of the Government Advisory Committee (GAC) a liar, the Spanish government demanding “a change not only of the GAC but of ICANN itself” and European Commission declaring it will “not at all hesitate to take legal actions”.

Brand owners need ICANN to rise above governmental politics. ICANN must be transparent and accountable if it is to fulfil its stewardship role for the internet. We need a stable and secure internet addressing system, where rights protection and the rule of law prevail. The next 12 months are critical. When the ICANN community gathers again in Los Angeles in October 2014 there may be more to report on the replacement directory services for whois that are being mooted or the success of the URS rapid suspension scheme but for the time being, all eyes are on governance.

nickwood1

 Nick Wood

Nick is Managing Director of accredited registrar Com Laude. Nick.wood@comlaude.com

 

Posted in Accountability, Conferences, Events, gTLDS, ICANN by |

 
 

New gTLD Auctions Updates – First Auction Confirmed

Posted May 9th, 2014
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From ICANN

8 May 2014

ICANN has updated the Auction Schedule for New gTLD applicants with strings in contention sets. The schedule now lists the participants confirmed for the first Auction on 4 June 2014, and the rescheduling of some sets based on requested postponements.

When Applicants were issued Intent to Auction notifications, they were given an option to postpone the Auction under one of the following circumstances

All members of the contention set request the Auction be postponed

Or

Any applicant in a contention set requests deferment of the Auction until the Name Collision Occurrence Management Framework (the Framework) has been finalized.

Postponements granted as a result of unanimous agreement among all members of the contention set have resulted in deferral of two auctions. The updated schedule postponements requested based on the Framework have only been granted for those sets previously scheduled for the first Auction: those contention sets that requested a postponement for this reason from the first Auction have been moved to the second Auction. Should the Framework not be finalized by the confirmation deadline (21 days prior to an Auction) for the second auction, additional deferrals will be issued. In the updated schedule those contention sets marked with an asterisk (*) have been granted postponements.

The two applicants confirmed for the first Auction have received their confirmations from ICANN. Applicants will receive a notification from ICANN confirming their Auction date at least 21 days prior to the Auction. As Auctions are the method of last resort, Applicants may self-resolve a contention set up to 7 days prior to the Auction.

See the full skinny HERE.

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Marksmen Names Russ Pangborn CEO

Posted May 7th, 2014
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Former Head of Trademarks at Microsoft Joins a World Leader in Brand Protection Services

GLENDALE, Calif., May 6, 2014 /PRNewswire-iReach/ — Marksmen, Inc., a worldwide leader in brand protection services, today named Russell Pangborn chief executive officer effective immediately.  He succeeds Ken Taylor, founder of the company who becomes a consultant to the firm.

Pangborn joins Marksmen from Microsoft where he served as Assistant General Counsel in charge of trademarks.  At Marksmen, he will guide the next stage of the firm’s growth using his intimate knowledge of the services and technology solutions trademark owners need for the protection and enforcement of their valuable intellectual property. He will continue to be a strong industry advocate as he has done in the past as Officer and Board Member of the International Trademark Association (INTA), a member of the Implementation Recommendation Team (IRT) for ICANN’s new gTLD Program, an active member of the Intellectual Property Constituency in ICANN, and co-founder of the McCarthy Institute-Microsoft annual symposium on Trademark Law and Its Challenges.

For the full skinny go HERE.

Posted in Cool Ideas, Enforcement, Events, gTLDS, ICANN, INTA, Intellectual Property by |

 
 

Over 175 New gTLDs Have Now Been Delegated

Posted April 8th, 2014
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From ICANN

The expansion of generic Top-Level Domains (e.g. .COM, .ORG, .NET) in the Domain Name System is underway. Over 1,300 new names or “strings” could become available in the next few years.

After completing the New gTLD Program, a new gTLD becomes part of the Internet when it is delegated. This means it is introduced into the Internet’s authoritative database, known as the Root Zone.

Delegation is occurring on a rolling basis, and as information becomes available, we are publishing HERE.

 

Posted in Domain Names, gTLDS, ICANN by |

 
 

Internet transition to IPv6 accelerating

Posted April 1st, 2014
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From Bizcommunity.com

SINGAPORE: The transition to the next-generation Internet protocol IPv6 is set to speed up this year as web addresses under the previous system IPv4 run out, a senior industry figure said at a meeting about the future of the web on Thursday.

Internet protocol is the method by which data is routed by computers on the web. It is necessary for devices to connect online. But the huge increase in Internet users and devices worldwide is putting a strain on the current system.

Paul Wilson, director general of the Asia Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC), the region’s Internet registry, said addresses on IPv4 worldwide are either exhausted or near exhaustion.

“The challenge is encouraging businesses and organizations to adopt IPv6, because their infrastructure is built around IPv4 and the two systems are not entirely compatible,” he told AFP on the sidelines of a meeting of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in Singapore.

IPv6, which came into effect in June 2012, allows for trillions of “IP” numbers or addresses, while IPv4 has room for only 4.3 billion, which is not enough as the Internet continues to grow exponentially.

For the full skinny go HERE.

 

Posted in ICANN, IPv6 by |

 
 

The .SUCKS New gTLD Stick-Up of Trademark Owners Already Begun

Posted March 13th, 2014
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From Today’s General Counsel

The worst fears of those who opposed the massive expansion of available generic top level domain (gTLD) names seem to be summed up in the controversy brewing around one domain name, which hasn’t even been awarded yet: .sucks. Though three companies are currently in competition for the .sucks domain – Donuts Inc., Momentous Corporation, and Top Level Spectrum Inc. – Vox Populi Registry, backed by Momentous, has already begun collecting fees from trademark owners who would rather not see their brand name come before the derogatory domain name. If they win the domain, Vox Populi has already stated they plan to charge companies $25,000 annually to keep the .sucks site off-line.

See the full story HERE.

Posted in gTLDS, ICANN, Intellectual Property by |

 
 

New gTLDs Pass 200,000 Registrations

Posted March 6th, 2014
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From DOMAIN INCITE

The number of domain names in new gTLDs passed 200,000 last night, according to zone files.

The exact number, according to the DI PRO database, is 201,184.

It’s based on incremental organic growth over the last week since the last batch of new gTLDs went into general availability, rather than any big launch events or surges.

Here are the top 10 zones, all of which belong to Donuts.

.guru 41,161
.photography 25,308
.today 12,157
.tips 11,444
.technology 9,066
.clothing 8,270
.bike 8,232
.directory 8,194
.land 7,569
.gallery 7,383

What the 200,000 count does not reflect is the first day of general availability for Google’s first-to-launch gTLD, .みんな (Japanese for “everyone”), which I’m expecting to start showing numbers tomorrow.

See the full story HERE.

Posted in gTLDS, ICANN, Intellectual Property by |

 
 

Mathematical Proof Reveals How To Make The Internet More Earthquake-Proof

Posted March 5th, 2014
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From MIT Technology Review

Decentralized networks are naturally robust against certain types of attack. Now one mathematician says advanced geometry shows how to make them even more robust.

One of the common myths about the internet is that it was originally designed during the Cold War to survive nuclear attack. Historians of the internet are quick to point out that this was not at all one of the design goals of the early network, although the decentralized nature of the system turns out to make it much more robust than any kind of centralized network.

See the rest of the story HERE.

Posted in Internet Security, Tech News by |

 
 

Cybersquatters Rush To Claim Brands In The New GTLD Territories

Posted March 4th, 2014
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From FORBES

On Jan. 29, Donuts Inc. launched the first seven of what will be some 1,000 new generic top-level domains or GTLDs, rivals to the familiar .com, .com and .edu endings that now populate most of the known Internet.

Six days later, at 2:04 a.m., Venura de Zoysa of Kingston in New South Wales, Australia, used GoDaddy.com to register the domain name Adidas .clothing. The following day Erwin Strobel of nearby Wagga Wagga registered Burberry.clothing. The next day in Texas, a fellow named Farris Nawas, claiming to live in Austin, registered Carters.clothing at 5:07 a.m. A few hours later Farris Nawas, now in Houston, registered Tommyhilfiger.clothing. And about the same time another person with the same name and address as a wallpaper hanger  in the Houston suburb of Pasadena registered Aeropostale.clothing.

What do these nobodies scattered around the globe have to do with the famous brand names they registered? Not much, probably.

See the full story HERE.

 

Posted in Cybersquatting, gTLDS, Intellectual Property by |

 
 

82 New gTLDs and Counting

Posted January 9th, 2014
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A complete list of the 82 New gTLDs now delegated as of Jan. 2, 2014 from our friends at Com Laude.   newgtlds.comlaude.com

Posted in gTLDS, ICANN, Know Your Domains, Registrars by |