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Re: [ga] new WG on chartered/sponsored TLDs

Kent and all DNSO'ers,

  It is my personal belief that this is unwarranted and divisive in it's
intent and likely outcome as there is already a Working Group
for this presently, WG-C.

Kent Crispin wrote:

> I am interested in forming a new dnso working group.  I have been in
> touch with Carolyn Chicoine and others on the NC on the topic, and it
> appears that 1) there will be a formal procedure for proposing a new WG
> sometime in the not too distant future (but probably after Cairo); and
> 2) on the other hand, if several NC members can be persuaded to support
> it, a WG could instituted through informal procedures.  Either way is
> fine by me, and I will pursue both avenues as appropriate.
> In the meantime, I wonder if there might be some interest in the GA in
> discussing the matter.  Just in case people are interested in such a
> discussion, here are some random points and issues that occur to me:
> A.  Chartered TLDs
> 0) There are those who disagree with the notion of chartered TLDs on
> basically spiritual grounds.  That is, they believe that *all* decisions
> concerning operation of the TLD, and criteria for use, should determined
> by the registry.  In this view, ICANN/DNSO should have no involvement
> in such decisions.
> I can appreciate that point of view as a philosophical point, but I am
> not interested in discussing it in this proposed WG.  The purpose of the
> WG I propose is not to decide whether ICANN should authorize chartered
> TLDs -- the purpose, instead, is a good-faith exploration of the issues
> that would be involved if they were authorized
> 1) Why not do this in WG-C? WG-C has as its charter discussion of new
> gTLDs, with emphasis on the "g", and I think *that* discussion should
> remain in WG-C.  There is some overlap, but there are many unique
> issues in the area of charters and sponsors, and WG-C already has a
> rather full plate. (Some might say "too full".  In fact, one of my concerns
> about DNSO processes in general is that they tend to be very large scale
> and unfocussed.  More narrowly focussed WGs tend to be more likely to
> accomplish things, in my limited experience.)
> 2) One of the frequently mentioned criticisms of "charters" is that they
> would be difficult to enforce.  Such critics point to .edu as an example
> of a failed charter.  Others think that enforcement is not anywhere near
> as difficult as that, and point to .edu as an example of a successful
> chartered TLD.  How rigorous does enforcement have to be?  If .1% of
> the SLDs in a cTLD would fail to meet the criteria in the charter, what
> are the potential harms?
> 3) Enforcement of a charter has costs -- what mechanisms can be used to
> enforce them?  How would the costs be allocated.
> 4) The base enforcement widget in a chartered TLD is a contract a
> customer signs with the registrar/registry, which includes their
> agreement to the terms of the charter.  What are the legal
> characteristics of a charter and such a contract that would make them
> enforcable in a cost-effective way?
> 5) Presuming that ICANN decides to implement chartered TLDs, an approval
> process for charters would be required.  Presumably the approval process
> would involve a set of well-defined criteria, as well as possibly some
> form of required public/dnso review.  What are the criteria for good
> charters? What would be the appropriate public/dnso review process? What
> would be the legal liability of a public review process?
> B. Sponsored TLDs
> The term "sponsored TLD" (or sTLD) may be unfamiliar, since it is
> relatively recent.  A "sponsored TLD" is a TLD that has a "sponsor" --
> an organization that is given control over policy for the TLD in
> question.  A sponsored TLD may or may not have an associated
> charter -- the two concepts are somewhat orthogonal.  The European
> Commission is trying to get .eu approved as a quasi-ccTLD; but if there
> was a mechanism in place for approving sponsored TLDs, the EC might try
> to get .eu approved with the EC as its sponsor.  Note that the
> "sponsor" and the "registry" are distinct -- the EC could contract with
> any competent registry to provide registry services.
> Another potential example of a sponsored TLD is Eric Brunner's .naa TLD
> -- there the sponsor is a "consortium" of tribal
> governments/organizations that would assume policy responsibility for
> the TLD.
> Yet another example would be a ".movie" TLD, where the sponsoring
> organization would be a hypothetical international consortium of movie
> production companies that would take policy responsibility for the tld.
> This TLD might also have a charter, that it would be restricted to
> commercial sites publicizing movies -- the purpose of the TLD most
> emphatically does not need to be non-commercial.
> And again, there have been discussions of a TLD reserved for technical
> support of IP Telephony.  The sponsors would be an international
> consortium of telephone companies.
> Two immediate questions come to mind:
> 1) what are the characteristics required for an organization to take
> policy control over a TLD? Stability, of course, would be very high on
> the list, because sponsorship would be something that would be very
> difficult to revoke.  I've used the code phrase "international
> consortium" fairly freely -- what standards of openness etc would such
> consortia require before they could be considered as a sponsor.  (Note
> that ICANN is effectively delegating some hypothetical policy
> authority, and thus it could be argued that the delegatees should share
> some of the characteristics of ICANN.)
> 2) what are boundaries of the policy authority of a sponsor?
> Any thoughts?
> --
> Kent Crispin                               "Do good, and you'll be
> kent@songbird.com                           lonesome." -- Mark Twain
> --
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Bob Davis
INEGRoup-West Director

NetZero - Defenders of the Free World
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