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[ga] Questions about the ccSO Proposal

After reading the ccTLD communique and hearing more about the proposal over
the remote participation feed, I have a few thoughts and questions.

* The current DNSO is reasonably balanced between "suppliers" of DNS
services (gTLD registries, ccTLD registries, Registrars, and ISPs) and
"consumers" of DNS services (B&C, NCDNHC, IPC, and perhaps one day,
Individuals). It's not clear from the ccTLD proposal whether a proposed ccSO
would have any representation for the "consumer" side interests now
represented within the DNSO.

Registrants, of course, have the same interests in the policies of the
ccTLDs as they do with gTLDs. These interests include domain name rights,
intellectual property rights, access to market issues, and whois access and
data privacy concerns. A reasonable ccSO structure would ensure that ccSO
consensus policies were not simply the consensus of the TLD managers, but a
consensus of the larger community having reasonable interests in the ccTLDs,
including the "consumer" interests now present in the DNSO.

Depending on the issue, a "consensus policy" coming from a group of
like-minded ccTLD managers would not really be a consensus of the impacted
community, as ccTLD policies affect a wider group than the companies who
manage the ccTLD registries. Building a new structure for representation of
other stakeholders within the ccSO, however, might well prove redundant to
the existing facilities within the DNSO.

The ccTLD communique indicates that it has begun an outreach effort to some
of the existing DNSO constituencies, for which the ccTLDs should be
commended. Those discussions need to continue, and I'll be interested to
hear how the ccTLDs propose to address this representation/consensus issue.

* Under the current ICANN bylaws, each Supporting Organization effectively
has "veto power" over policy initiatives originating within other Supporting
Organizations. ("...the Board shall accept the recommendations of a
Supporting Organization if the Board finds that the recommended policy
...(4) is not reasonably opposed by any other Supporting Organization."
Article III, Section 2(e)).

So to create a ccSO would be to give the ccTLD registries veto power over
DNSO proposals that they "reasonably opposed."

A growing number of ccTLDs count themselves as competitors to gTLDs, and
this veto power potentially could be used for anti-competitive purposes.

* Another obvious question about any new SO is where do the new Board seats
come from? 

At present, there's a balance between the At Large representatives (even
though four remain non-elected), and the SO representatives. This is a
balance that's important to retain, at least through the end of the ALSC

If a ccSO proposal is accepted, one reasonable proposal might be to give
each of the four SOs *two* Boards seats, with one Board seat elected by the
councils of *all four* SOs.

* Finally, it's not clear what issues the ccTLDs have with their current
relationship with ICANN and the DNSO that are made better by the creation of
a separate constituency and guaranteed seats on the Board. The current
contract negotiations with ccTLDs, for example, will be handled by Staff as
"implementation issues" under existing policy. So guaranteed *Board seats*
don't solve any immediate ccTLD issues. While the budget has an obvious
impact on the ccTLDs, they appear to be adequately represented on ICANN's
budget committee.

If the proposed move is primarily due to the concern of "taxation without
representation," then the same case could be made for the gTLDs and the
Registrars, depending on future DNSO election outcomes. In fact, the
registrant community itself, which pays service fees to the registries and
registrars also could reasonably claim that it supports ICANN financially
too, albeit indirectly. How far will ICANN allow the creation of new SOs out
of existing SOs go?

Speaking as someone who participated in the DNSO's creation and who has
followed it closely since that time, I'm also not aware of any significant
ccTLD initiatives that were presented to the Names Council and the larger
DNSO community and which were voted down or otherwise rebuffed. While many
issues occupying the DNSO's agenda are focused on non-ccTLD issues, this
doesn't mean that ccTLD issues are or will be ignored.

If there have been problems having ccTLD issues addressed within the current
structure, I'd be interesting in hearing more details.

This is obviously an issue that warrants significant discussion, and I look
forward to seeing some of these questions addressed.

    -- Bret

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