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IP-Watch Interns Summer 2013

IP-Watch interns Brittany Ngo (Yale Graduate School of Public Health) and Caitlin McGivern (University of Law, London) talk about their Geneva experience in summer 2013. 2:42.

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Quantitative Analysis Of Contributions To NETMundial Meeting

A quantitative analysis of the 187 submissions to the April NETmundial conference on the future of internet governance shows broad support for improving security, ensuring respect for privacy, ensuring freedom of expression, and globalizing the IANA function, analyst Richard Hill writes.


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    Arabic TLD First To Go Live; Who Does What In Multi-Stakeholder Internet Self-Governance

    Published on 16 July 2013 @ 12:43 pm

    By for Intellectual Property Watch

    شبكة , the Arabic word for “web” or “network”, the Russian words for “online” and “network” and and the Chinese word for “game” is one of the first new top-level domains ready to go live after the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) signed four contracts during its opening session in Durban, South Africa (14-18 July). Despite what might be seen as emblematic of a “greater” ICANN, discussions in Durban this week continue on discrepancies between local law and ICANN contracts. They also continue on the very functioning of the private multi-stakeholder model for self-regulating the name space itself.

    In an effort to internationalise, ICANN announced yet another engagement center at Geneva, to support cooperation with international organisations like the UN International Telecommunication Union. ICANN just before the start of the meeting announced that 1,092 new TLDs have passed the initial evaluation process – a check on technical, financial and operational capability of the applicants for new domain name zones, from 天主教 (the Vatican’s application for Catholic in Chinese) to .office (from US software giant Microsoft).

    ICANN Contracts, Data Protection

    Applicants not in contention or objected to, according to various intervention processes, can proceed to contracting with ICANN, the organisation wrote on 3 July.

    The standard contacts for the new registry operators (who run the central database for the new name zones) and the registrars (who sell the domains to users) were completed just in time for Durban as a pre-requisite to get the process moving.

    Yet Registry Agreements (RA) and Registrar Accreditation Agreements (RAA), heavily debated for months or even years, both still contain issues that could cause problems for companies according to their respective local laws. Data protection was mentioned prominently at meetings of the ICANN Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) on Saturday.

    Hubert Schöttner, from the German Ministry of Economics, warned that registrars could be trapped between ICANN contractual obligations and local law. “As government we need to balance the interests of law enforcement and privacy and data protection,” he said.

    Local Law Exemptions

    ICANN has included an exemption clause for registrars from broad data retention obligations. But a recent letter from Europe’s Article 29 Group of Data Protection Officers, according to ICANN Vice President Cyrus Namazi might not suffice for ICANN to grant the exemption. “They are an authority, but not a legal authority at this moment,” Namazi explained.

    Registrars from countries with strict data protection laws can be exempted from contractual obligations where the present legal proof is from national authorities or national law firms. Most EU registrars will not sign before they have an exemption in place, Irish Registrar Michele Neylon, chair of the Registrar Stakeholder Group, told Intellectual Property Watch.

    A similar problem exists for the RA. Thomas de Haan of the Ministry of Economic Affairs in the Netherlands said .amsterdam would “not be able to sign the registry contract because it’s in violation of data protection legislation” and the problem arose for many of the new registries.

    Trademark Protection Trumps Names of Local Bodies

    Besides data protection, provisions to protect trademark owners also cause problems for the geographical TLDs, Dirk Krischenowski, CEO of dot.berlin and one of the initiators of a new ICANN constituency for geo-TLDs, explained Saturday.

    Under ICANN’s existing proposal, protection of names through procedures overseen by a newly established Trademark Clearing House must come first.

    “That would mean that metro.paris would go to a big company. And police.paris would go to the very well-known band the Police. Both names would be gone before local government phase would start.”

    The representative of dot.africa, pointing to ongoing work to compile lists of African public institutions interested in registering under the new .africa, said: “We cannot go ahead and invest all our time and resources on developing these lists only to find out in the next few months that the sunrise process, the trademark clearing house process trumps them.”

    Protection of IGO Names and Additional Safeguards

    Another ongoing discussion about preferential treatment in the name space is still underway with regard to the protection of the names and acronyms of international organisations.

    According to one proposal discussed between IGOs, governments and ICANN, IGOs could “being effectively granting permission or having the opportunity to not grant permission to another body of at least equivalent standing,” said Chris Disspain, member of the New GTLD Board Committee.

    IGOs could in effect be made judge and jury over the use of acronyms like “who” (World Health Organization). A representative of the World Intellectual Property Organization said in Durban that the IGOs agree that there is a need for an independent third party review of the requests. But IGOs want to be involved in determining “whether any registration of an IGO protected acronym poses any problems,” the WIPO representative said.

    In a session between the new TLD program committee and the Board, Disspain also challenged governments with regard to their “advice” to oblige registry operators to have additional safeguards, for example the inclusion of acceptable use policies, for a long list of new TLDs governments classified as “linked to regulated or professional sectors.”
    TLDs listed by governments as sensitive in their official communiqué from ICANN 46 in Beijing. include not only related to finance, health or public authority, but also the terms toys (juegos), book, digital or sucks.

    According to Disspain, for some of the terms it is “blindingly obvious“ that they should be “limited to a certain set of registrants,” and for some safeguards could be discussed. But there are a number of strings the committee had no idea about why they would be in the list. Some strings listed referred to industries that might be regulated in only a few jurisdictions and, Disspain said bluntly, some of the safeguards the governments pushed to have were just “unimplementable”.

    Who Has What Role in Multi-Stakeholder Governance?

    Given the additional burdens governments put on the self-regulators late in the process, the role of governments in the ICANN policy development process is once more a controversial topic in Durban.

    “We have to accept there are two parallel tracks,” Canadian GAC Chair Heather Drydon said during the debate on the protection of international organisations. While governments have pushed for IGO protection, the regular policy developing process (PDP) is developing in the Generic Name Supporting Organisation (GNSO), which brings together all other stakeholders. The GNSO is anxious to prevent the PDP from being circumvented, not by governments and not by the ICANN Board.

    “Early engagement would be the answer for governments,” said Wolfgang Kleinwächter, professor at the University of Aarhus and an ICANN expert.

    For years, GAC members said participation in the working groups that develop policies in the GNSO would not fit governments’ way of operating. “We dance a little bit around who is responsible to do what,” said Erika Mann, Facebook’s director of public policy in Brussels and a member of the ICANN Board, speaking in the discussions about the controversial additional safeguards.

    To be practical, a small ad hoc working group should be built to clarify the classifications so as to allow the new TLD process to further move ahead, proposed Mann.

    Policy Process Scrutinised

    The functioning of the PDP and the role of governments therein also is being scrutinised by the so-called Accountability and Transparency Review (ATR), a regular effort ICANN is obliged to conduct under its Affirmation of Commitments with the US government.

    Lawrence Strickling, head of the US National Telecommunication and Information Administration and member of the ATR Team, presented governments gathered in Durban with complaints from the community that the GAC itself might be too closed and lacked codes of conduct for itself.

    ICANN President and CEO Fadi Chehade, meanwhile, never tires of defending the ICANN model and the PDP. “The PDP is not broken, it works marvelously,” said Chehade, pointing to the cross-stakeholder, cross-border consensus-building principle.

    Nevertheless, Chehade announced several new panels that he expects will further clarify ICANN’s practices with regard to: the public responsibility framework (chaired by African internet pioneer Nii Quaynor); identifier technology issues (chaired by DNS lead developer Paul Mockatris); the multi-stakeholder model (chaired by US professor Beth Simone Noveck, former US chief technology officer for open government); and ICANN’s role in the family of international organisations from ITU to the Internet Society (led by internet “father” Vinton Cerf).

    Monika Ermert may be reached at info@ip-watch.ch.

     


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    We welcome your participation in article and blog comment threads, and other discussion forums, where we encourage you to analyse and react to the content available on the Intellectual Property Watch website. By participating in discussions or reader forums, or by submitting opinion pieces or comments to articles, blogs, reviews or multimedia features, you are consenting to these rules.

    We welcome your participation in article and blog comment threads, and other discussion forums, where we encourage you to analyse and react to the content available on the Intellectual Property Watch website.

    By participating in discussions or reader forums, or by submitting opinion pieces or comments to articles, blogs, reviews or multimedia features, you are consenting to these rules.

    1. You agree that you are fully responsible for the content that you post. You will not knowingly post content that violates the copyright, trademark, patent or other intellectual property right of any third party or which you know is under a confidentiality obligation preventing its publication and that you will request removal of the same should you discover that you have violated this provision. Likewise, you may not post content that is libelous, defamatory, obscene, abusive, that violates a third party's right to privacy, that otherwise violates any applicable local, state, national or international law, that amounts to spamming or that is otherwise inappropriate. You may not post content that degrades others on the basis of gender, race, class, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual preference, disability or other classification. Epithets and other language intended to intimidate or to incite violence are also prohibited. Furthermore, you may not impersonate others.

    2. You understand and agree that Intellectual Property Watch is not responsible for any content posted by you or third parties. You further understand that IP Watch does not monitor the content posted. Nevertheless, IP Watch may monitor the any user-generated content as it chooses and reserves the right to remove, edit or otherwise alter content that it deems inappropriate for any reason whatever without consent nor notice. We further reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to remove a user's privilege to post content on our site. IP Watch is not in any manner endorsing the content of the discussion forums and cannot and will not vouch for its reliability or otherwise accept liability for it.

    3. By submitting any contribution to IP Watch, you warrant that your contribution is your own original work and that you have the right to make it available to IP Watch for all purposes and you agree to indemnify IP Watch, its directors, employees and agents against all damages, legal fees and others expenses that may be incurred by IP Watch as a result of your breach of warranty or of these terms.

    4. You further agree not to publish any personal information about yourself or anyone else (for example telephone number or home address). If you add a comment to a blog, be aware that your email address will be apparent.

    5. IP Watch will not be liable for any loss including but not limited to the following (whether such losses are foreseen, known or otherwise): loss of data, loss of revenue or anticipated profit, loss of business, loss of opportunity, loss of goodwill or injury to reputation, losses suffered by third parties, any indirect, consequential or exemplary damages.

    6. You understand and agree that the discussion forums are to be used only for non-commercial purposes. You may not solicit funds, promote commercial entities or otherwise engage in commercial activity in our discussion forums.

    7. You acknowledge and agree that you use and/or rely on any information obtained through the discussion forums at your own risk.

    8. For any content that you post, you hereby grant to IP Watch the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual, exclusive and fully sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part, world-wide and to incorporate it in other works, in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

    9. These terms and your posts and contributions shall be governed and interpreted in accordance with the laws of Switzerland (without giving effect to conflict of laws principles thereof) and any dispute exclusively settled by the Courts of the Canton of Geneva.

     

     
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