Earlier this morning, Rick Schwartz posted an “Emergency Industry Alert in the form of a tweet to generate awareness for a proposal from an ICANN Working Group that could be problematic for domain investors. In his tweet, Rick issued a call to action to the Internet Commerce Association (ICA):
**EMERGENCY INDUSTRY ALERT!**#ICANN Proposal #15, would result in the suspension of an entire portfolio of #Domains if deemed a “repeat offender” with *2* #domain dispute losses! (not just the domains that were in dispute!)@ICADomains Please step in!https://t.co/7HeMjeRIsF pic.twitter.com/2LozRbDluN
— Rick Schwartz 👑 DomainKing® (@DomainKing) November 18, 2019
After reading Rick’s tweet, I reached out to ICA General Counsel Zak Muscovitch, ICA board member Nat Cohen, and ICA Executive Director Kamila Sekiewicz to see if the ICA wanted to address Rick’s concern and share how the organization is going to take action. Zak responded to my email with a statement to share with readers:
We couldn’t agree more with Rick’s call to action to participate in important policy issues which directly affect domain name owners. He said “All hands on deck” and that “We have to be united with one voice!”.
These policy deliberations concerning URS and UDRP take place in the ICANN “Rights Protection Mechanisms” Working Group. The ICA is engaged in the Working Group on behalf of domain name registrants, but more help is needed. The majority of the active Working Group Members represent trademark owners and we need more registrant voices.
How do I join a Working Group (WG)?
Send an email to the GNSO Secretariat at firstname.lastname@example.org – specify if you want to join as a Member or as an Observer. As a Member, you will have full posting rights on the WG mailing list and will be able to participate on WG calls and at meetings. As an Observer, you will have read-only rights to the WG mailing list and will not be able to join or participate in WG calls or meetings. Members will have to fill in a Statement of Interest prior to joining the WG.
If you need assistance, contact ICA Executive Director, Kamila Sekiewicz or ICA General Counsel, Zak Muscovitch.
The referenced “Proposal 15” is one of about 33 various individual proposals on a wide variety of topics made by individual WG members. These do not have support of the Working Group as a whole and are in addition to 26 official proposals that are still the subject of deliberation by the community.
Any individual member of the WG has been free to make up their own proposal. The discussion underway now is whether any of these individual proposals have enough support of WG to publish for comment by the public in an interim report. Then the public comments and the whole Working Group must reach some degree of consensus for this and other proposals to be official recommendations of the WG. So far it does not appear that this particular individual proposal and many other individual proposals, including from domain name registrants, enjoy the support of the entire Working Group. We are therefore a very long way from this particular individual proposal and others, ever becoming ICANN policy.
Nevertheless, the involvement of domain name registrants is a key component to ensuring that ICANN policy isn’t harmful to legitimate domain name investors and registrants. ICANN policy making involves give and take, and compromise, in order to ensure that all stakeholder interests, including both intellectual property interests and registrant interests, are adequately and reasonably protected. The ICA works very hard at bridge building, consensus building, and compromise, including with Intellectual Property Interests, all the while responsibly and conscientiously representing domain name registrant rights. We look forward to continuing to work proactively and cooperatively with all ICANN stakeholders in ensuring that the URS and UDRP treats both trademark owners and registrants fairly.
For more information about joining the ICA, please go here: https://www.internetcommerce.org/join/. The ICA relies upon member support to enable it to continue representing domain name registrants. Please consider joining the ICA.