[registrars] Theory v. Reality
Listed below is a public comment that I just submitted to the public forum
in connection with the WLS. Although I have recused myself from the public
debate over the adoption/rejection of the WLS service, I believe that the
Alternate Recommendations proposed by the Task Force have serious legal
implications for registration authorities that I do not believe have been
properly addressed. Specifically, the Alternate Recommendations place upon
registrars and registries a new duty (a.k.a. legal obligation) on all
registrars to notify their registrants if a WLS subscription is taken out on
a domain name. This obligation would impact ALL registrars even those that
decide not to offer the service.
From: Michael D. Palage [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Friday, July 19, 2002 1:21 PM
Subject: Theory v. Reality
First I would like to thank the members of the Transfers Task Force on the
WLS Proposal that have worked to produce this document under tight time
constraints. However, I must express my disappointment that the "Transfers
Task" force has yet to take any noticeable action on the task for which it
has named - inter-registrar transfers. The fact that the Task Force has
taken it upon itself to comment on the ICANN Redemption Grace Period in
connection with the WLS, while the "transfer" issue languishes is
unacceptable. Although I am aware that the ICANN Board has given
instructions to the Task Force to take action within tight time tables, I
believe that the Task Force should have delegated its original work to other
members or created a separate Task Force.
My frustration is not aimed at the individuals members of the Task Force
which have tirelessly volunteered to tackle a variety of complex and
un-related problems, but at the current ICANN process that has allowed this
injustice to happen. This is one of the reasons that I have personally
advocated the changes proposed in the ICANN Blueprint document to prevent
this from happening in the future.
As an advisory board member to SnapNames I have recused myself from any
public debate on the WLS. However, I feel it necessary to point out a
serious problem in your "alternate recommendations." Specifically your
requirement that the registry (through the registrar) notify registrants
that a WLS subscription has been taken out against that registrant's domain
name. Although this appears to be a well intentioned act, there are serious
short coming that I do not believe the Task Force fully appreciates.
In my capacity as a consultant to Afilias, I can tell you first hand that
this is not a viable solution in the real world. Afilias, in connection with
identifying and correcting inappropriately registered Sunrise domain names,
attempted to work with registrars in contacting their customers. Despite the
best efforts by Afilias and the registrars, there were serious short comings
in registrants actually getting the notice. Because registries are
contractual prohibited from contacting registrants directly, I believe that
this portion of the recommendation is serious flawed.
Moreover, as a consultant to various registrars, I have serious problems
with this Task Force imposing a new duty or obligation on registrars.
Because this notification service is likely to be less than a 100% reliable,
registration authorities (registrars and registries) would potentially be
exposed to legal liability. The Redemption Grace Period mechanism if
implemented will provide businesses and intellectual property owners more
than adequate safeguards. Speaking as an IP attorney and small business
owner, I want mechanisms that I can rely on and trust, not an additional
safeguard that may or may not work.
Michael D. Palage