An Open Letter To The ICANN Board Regarding IGO Protections

Earlier this week, I sounded the alarm about a dangerous proposal from an ICANN working group which would have severe negative consequences for domain name owners, allowing IGOs (intergovernmental organizations like the United Nations) to engage in consequence-free reverse domain name hijacking.

I noticed that the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) of ICANN wrote a letter to the Board that was published earlier this week which is highly misleading as to the nature of IGOs’ rights, and wrote a letter to the ICANN Board in response. I’ve published it below to show how ICANN policymaking has been held hostage via misinformation from the GAC and IGOs.

[Edited on October 15, 2021: I made 3 changes: (a) changed the date to October 15, (b) added a section on page 2 about Louis Touton’s similar analysis from 2001, which came to light after some Twitter discussions in the past day; (c) amended to note that they’ve not agreed to extend the deadline; it’s now a PDF]

Letter to ICANN

Duplicitous ICANN Working Group Jeopardizes Domain Owners’ Rights

A duplicitous ICANN Working Group has issued a report that is open for public comments that would have severe negative consequences for domain name owners.  In particular, it would tilt the playing field in a domain name dispute (i.e. a UDRP or the URS) involving IGOs (intergovernmental organizations like the United Nations) in such a manner that it would be nearly impossible for domain owners to have their dispute decided on the merits by the courts. This would encourage consequence-free reverse domain name hijacking. Rather than accept the findings and recommendations of the prior working group, which reached a consensus, this new working group instead had tunnel vision and focused instead on ramming through an alternative recommendation (involving arbitration) for which there was an express consensus against in the prior working group!

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