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[council] IPC position statement on proposed ICANN-Verisign agreement

Attached in Word and pasted below please find a position statement of the
Intellectual Property Constituency regarding the proposed revisions to the
gTLD registry agreements.  

I note that Phil Sheppard's message asked for constituency comments to be
posted to the Names Council list.  Presumably only the IPC Names Council
representatives can do so.  However, in order to meet the deadline set by
the Names Council chair (12 noon local time), I ask that this message be
posted on behalf of the IPC Names Council reps.  I have been coordinating
the drafting and review of this statement within the IPC, and apologize for
any inconvenience this may cause.     Thank you.

Steve Metalitz
President, IPC

IPC Statement on Proposed ICANN-Verisign Agreements

IPC members have reviewed the proposal for new registry agreements regarding
.com, .net and .org, with particular focus on the potential impact on
prevention and resolution of intellectual property-related disputes.   The
main concern that has emerged from this review is the impact of the new
agreements on unrestricted public access to registrant contact data (Whois).

Section 9 of the existing ICANN-NSI Registry Agreement contains specific
undertakings on the provision of registry-level Whois.  Section 9(C) also
requires Verisign to cooperate in the development of a Whois service
covering all three gTLDs, including contributing data to a centralized
service if ICANN determines that is required.  By contrast, the proposed
revised .com registry agreement (Section 11) and the proposed revised .net
and .org agreements (Section 3.10) are much less specific, and omit any
explicit requirement to participate in a Whois service spanning
.com/net/org.  They do, however, obligate the registry operators to make
data available in bulk for a similar service covering "multiple TLDs."   The
Appendices (O and P) which spell out the registries' obligations in detail
have not been made public to date.  

While unrestricted public access to current and complete registrant contact
data is universally recognized as a key tool in preventing and resolving
intellectual property disputes as well as bolstering public confidence in
the online environment generally, the status of Whois accessibility in the
gTLDs currently is extremely disappointing.  As ICANN staff have observed,
most registrars are not in compliance with their Whois obligations under the
Registrar Accreditation Agreement, and there has been very little
discernible progress toward gTLD-wide Whois provision on a distributed
basis.  Accordingly, it would be timely for ICANN to give immediate
consideration to invoking the terms of section 9(C) and requiring the gTLD
registry to contribute data for a centralized cross-registry Whois service.

IPC recognizes that the proposed revised registry agreements, if adopted,
could provide authorization for similar steps to be taken.  However, because
the provisions of the proposed new agreements are general and refer to
Appendices that have not yet been made public, IPC recommends that the ICANN
Board obtain appropriate specific assurances from Verisign regarding
cross-registry Whois services before approving the revised agreements.  Such
assurances should include, but not necessarily be limited to, the following:

(1) Verisign's commitment, as of the effective date of the new agreements or
a specified date within six months thereafter, to cooperate and contribute
nameserver and registrant contact data on registrations throughout .com,
.net, and .org, for the purpose of maintaining either a distributed or a
centralized Whois service covering all three TLDs, as contemplated by
section 9(C) of the current registry agreement; 

(2) Earmarking of a specified portion of Verisign's promised $200 million
R&D/investment fund to the development and implementation, in an open and
transparent process, of the platform and search capabilities for a unified,
publicly accessible Whois service that spans .com, .net and .org, and, to
the extent possible, all other TLD registries. 
	The IPC also welcomes the opportunity of co-operating with ICANN on
a transparent review of the services provided by the Verisign registry to
owners of .com, .org and .net names with the aim of contributing to the
better running of the registry.
 <<Domain Names IPC position on ICANN-Verisign agreements sjm 032501.doc>> 

Domain Names IPC position on ICANN-Verisign agreements sjm 032501.doc

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