DNSO Names Council - Scribe's Notes
March 11, 2001
Melbourne, Australia
ICANN Public Meetings

I.   Welcome – Sheppard
   A.   Meeting primarily for observation. Will take public comments at the end of the session.
   B.   Thanks to Verisign for webcast funding.
   C.   Present:
       1.   De Blanc (ccTLD)
       2.   Porteneuve (ccTLD)
       3.   Robles (ccTLD)
       4.   Carey (IP) (Proxy for Aus der Muhlen, Chicoine)
       5.   Park (NCDNHC) (Proxy for Mueller)
       6.   Martinez (NCDNHC)
       7.   Kane (Registrars)
       8.   Stubbs (Registrars)
       9.   Roberts (Registrars)
       10.   Hotta (ISPCP)
       11.   Harris (ISPCP)
       12.   Forsyth (Business)
       13.   Swinehart (Business)
       14.   Sheppard (Business)
       15.   Cochetti (gTLD)
       16.   Schneider (ISPCP)
II.   Business Plan
   A.   Process overview
   B.   Public comments received
   C.   Proposal for today is to formally adopt the plan
   D.   http://www.dnso.org/dnso/notes/2001-02.NCbusinessplan.html
   E.   Eight key elements of the plan, below:
   F.   UDRP.
       1.   Some concerns. To be investigated by interim committee.
       2.   Kane: Timetable for WIPO2?
           • Carey: Report finished by end of 2001.
       3.   Park: What’s the difference between an interim committee and a task force?
           • Sheppard: Interim committee is just a small group of people to determine what is needed to address a particular issue. “Other group” is precisely intended not to say working group; the whole point of this discussion is to figure out how to get work done, which may or may not be a working group as we’ve known them. So “other group” means some kind of outreach group.
           • Park: Already have WHOIS task force.
           • Sheppard: There may be different ways to achieve some goal. Just have to figure out what’s optimal now.
       4.   Kane: How many members on interim committee?
           • Sheppard: 3 or 4?
           • Kane: Maybe need a representative from each constituency, so a few more than that?
           • Sheppard: A drafting group, rather than a group making policy. Since there will be a few of them, maybe better to keep them small.
       5.   Cochetti: Will serve on WHOIS group. As sole gTLD representative to NC, may delegate service to others as needed, as is permitted.
       6.   Park: Should have more diversity in chairs, of small groups as well as of overall NC sessions.
       7.   Carey to lead UDRP, also Ken and YJ.
   G.   TLDs
       1.   To review and evaluate new TLD registries. Propose changes to ICANN Board. To review and evaluate selection criteria for additional new applicants for new TLDs.
       2.   Park: Of interest to registrars. Need a more specific timetable than “2002”?
           • Sheppard: Not sure when new TLDs will be rolled out and operating. Only after that happens will we be in a position to do a review. Hence the long timetable.
       3.   Roberts: Comfortable with this. Once new gTLDs are operating, they’ll send representatives to the NC. Maybe better to leave decisions here until the new gTLDs are rolled out.
           • Stubbs: Should wait. Table this item until Stockholm.
       4.   Forsythe: Should come up with terms of reference sooner rather than later. Community wants to know process for evaluating new TLDs.
       5.   Cochetti: Support Roberts. Could attempt to evaluate new gTLDs now, but would do well to begin this task with benefit of representatives of new gTLDs.
       6.   Roberts: Question of how to schedule the tasks. Need to consult with ICANN staff.
       7.   Park: A controversial issue. Risk of conflicts of interest: Perhaps representatives of new TLDs couldn’t fairly evaluate their own TLDs.
           • De Blanc: Would like to think that each NC representative can consider interests of entire community. No need to worry about conflicts of interest.
           • Cochetti: Task of committee is to establish criteria for evaluation. No worry of conflict of interest in this regard.
       8.   Sheppard: “When first representative from a new gTLD is appointed to NC, but no later than Stockholm.
   H.   Whois - Kane
       1.   ICANN staff convened a committee which gave a report in LA. Update presented recently. http://www.icann.org/committees/whois/committee-recommendations-06mar01.htm
       2.   NC committee so far: Park, Robles, Aus der Muhlen, Schneider, Swinehart, Kane.
       3.   Touton: Response received to two of initial eleven questions. Recommend a standard format of Whois replies, and that IETF should help develop the specification. Expect a final report within a month.
       4.   Kane: Propose to return to this subject in a month, after receiving report from ICANN staff.
       5.   Schneider: Issue is important. Disappointed to have to wait another month. Must not wait any longer than that, and must proceed on our own if this report isn’t produced by then.
       6.   Kane: Pleased to hear that report will be published in a month, whether finished or not.
       7.   Park: Why not start our work before the staff’s committee finishes its report?
       8.   Kane: Intend to solicit comments of substance on ICANN staff’s Whois report. Can’t do so until the report is published.
       9.   Park: No representative from NCDNHC on the staff’s Whois committee. But these issues will affect non-commercial interests. How to include such concerns?
           • Touton: Whois committee answers only technical questions. Committee answers only technical questions.
           • Park: A technical NCDNHC representative?
           • Touton: Would delay the committee’s work.
           • Schneider: Should involve ICANN staff in NC committee’s work.
           • Sheppard: Agreed.
           • Forsythe: Understand that committee seeks members for skills, not for policy representativeness. So I feel comfortable with this.
   I.   ccTLDs – De Blanc
       1.   Monitor and advise the Board re dispute resolution and Whois policies. Consider harmonization. Perhaps constituencies interested in harmonization should send ccTLD Adcom letters or memos on the subject.
       2.   To ccTLDs, Whois concerns include determining who is a ccTLD administrator, who is authorized to fund ICANN, etc. Working on accuracy of IANA database.
       3.   Schneider: Other means (besides letters) of asking ccTLDs to consider harmonization?
           • Sheppard: Benefit of formalizing requests? Probably benefits also to speed of decision-making.
   J.   Multilingual Domain Names – Hotta
       1.   ICANN Board seeks to accommodate those who do not use ASCII, while using open, non-proprietary standards that are compatible with existing methods. Must assure that experimental status is clearly understood, that stability is not threatened.
           • Request ICANN to evaluate Verisign Multilingual Testbed prior to full launch of multilingual systems. Establish an interim committee to propose terms of reference.
       2.   Sheppard: Have received comments suggesting that technical challenges may be substantial.
       3.   Roberts: Relationship between a committee we might set up, and other existing efforts in this area?
       4.   Schneider: Testbed for international domain names is comparable in certain respects to introducing new TLDs.
       5.   Cochetti: Support this effort. But must stay focused on policy. Testbed is part of a larger process of evaluating possible multilingual implementations.
       6.   Park: I work for MINC as deputy CEO. Have systems for certain regions; are working on more languages. Particular focus on Chinese and Arabic. Technical and policy issues remain. Should partner with expert groups who have already thought through these issues.
       7.   Porteneuve: Are we coordinating with others working on these issues?
       8.   Martinez: Need to include an explanation of the underlying technology.
       9.   Kane: Possibility of a multilingual space directly in the root, rather than a multilingual subset of, say, .com?
           • Park: Yes.
       10.   De Blanc: Technical or policy conflicts between implementations (esp. between Verisign and .CN implementations)?
           • Cochetti: Happy to respond to that, but would have to do it offline. Don’t know / understand off-hand.
       11.   Swinehart: NC might benefit from a presentation re internationalized domain names.
           • Stubbs: Agree. Important to bring information out to a broader base.
       12.   Stubbs: Beneficial to do education as we’ve discussed. Ideally, use presentations in parallel with our teleconferences. Archive all for the public record.
       13.   Park: Volunteer to provide info to briefing.
       14.   Stubbs: Appreciate Park’s disclosure. But disclosure is sufficient; can still serve on the committee.
       15.   Members: Park, an IP representative, one more.
   K.   NC Review – Swinehart
       1.   Established WG re outreach for DNSO Review.
       2.   Request for input sent to all constituencies.
       3.   Draft sent to ICANN in February for public comments. http://www.icann.org/melbourne/dnso-review-report-17feb01.htm
       4.   Foci:
           • Staffing needs
           • Translation
           • Adequate participation
           • Consensus building
       5.   Park: How to deal with new constituencies?
           • Sheppard: Have to see what requests we receive.
       6.   Cochetti: Thanks to Swinehart for this enormous and thankless task.
       7.   Park: Have to fix dysfunctional system. DNSO Review timeframe was too short to solve this problem.
       8.   Schneider: Report a suggestion of accepting GA as the de facto representation of individuals within the DNSO, then assign three seats in the NC to the GA.
       9.   Roberts: Concerned that the GA may not then be the last constituency, but then need a process & procedure for self-organizing. Once we have such a system, we won’t have such difficulty in this situation in the future. Martinez: GA is not sufficiently representative for individuals’ interests. Stubbs: Agree with Martinez. If we’re to have an individuals’ constituency, it should be specifically identified as such. GA is something else since it’s all-encompassing. Members: Swinehart agrees to participate, but contingent on assistance from others. Park recommends Mueller. Roberts, Harris, Carey.
   L.   NC Secretariat - Roberts
       1.   Secretariat to be selected on merit via objective criteria, not based on geography. Search committee has been established.
           • Gomes, Porteneuve, myself on search committee.
           • Secretariat to be retained as a consultant, without regard for standard employment conditions.
       2.   Major obstacle is finance.
       3.   Also, challenge of determining structure of entity.
       4.   Must decide on evaluation criteria. Will make such decisions here in Melbourne. Hope to hire person before next meeting.
       5.   Stubbs: Need to hear from Cochetti also.
       6.   Roberts: Arrangement with AFNIC expires at the end of March. Need to move forward quickly.
I.   Funding – Cochetti
   A.   Harris: External organizations might provide some funding?
   B.   Martinez: How budget is managed?
       1.   Sheppard: Will discuss that shortly.
II.   Sheppard: Accept Business Plan as we’ve reviewed it?
   A.   Martinez abstains, all others in favor.
III.   Budget Committee – Cochetti
   A.   ICANN has posted an update re funding. Info to be available in DNSO NC listserv archives – http://www.dnso.org/clubpublic/council/Arc04/msg00936.html
   B.   NC agreed to create a voluntary contribution fund to supplement assessed dues. Outstanding administrative questions – whether funds to be held in the name of ICANN or a separate corporation.
   C.   Invoices to be sent out by ICANN for 2001.
   D.   Outstanding question of what to do if constituencies fail to pay the specified dues. Recommendation is available in hard copy at this time; electronic version to be available shortly.
   E.   Stubbs: Should move forward with the process of getting a secretariat. Don’t want to delay the process further. Need not delay hiring a secretariat while we decide where to keep the NC’s financial resources.
   F.   Cochetti: AFNIC offered initial donation of secretariat services. Later said “commercial basis” but no further negotiations. NC has agreed to pay AFNIC’s invoice, about $60,000, once certain conditions are met. But, at this time, we have no arrangements in place for listserv hosting, web sites, etc. Not clear that we can now get the transfer complete by March 31.
       1.   Propose use of a consultant to issue an RFP, review proposals, and make a recommendation.
       2.   No fundraising effort has been launched as yet because we don’t know who to give such funds to. So no matching funds yet available from Verisign.
   G.   Sheppard: Comments on the short term?
       1.   De Blanc: In 20 days, hosting expires. This is serious.
   H.   Cochetti: $60,000 payment for year 2000 is conditional on (among other things) 3 months of additional service at no charge. Could think of this as $60,000 for 15 months of service.
I.   Porteneuve: AFNIC can continue on a quarterly basis.
       1.   Cochetti: Had previously contemplated a $5,000/month rate, or $15,000/quarter.
       2.   Cochetti: ICANN may be able to help us recruit a consultant to evaluate proposals.
   J.   Martinez: Why external help? Maybe we can do this ourselves at lower cost.
       1.   Cochetti: Recommended hiring a consultant. Purchase is to be a public process – not a volunteer task; need a professional to do this properly.
       2.   Martinez: If in the name of transparency, such expenses are OK.
   K.   Stubbs: We must make a decision by the end of June. If we can’t make a basic decision by then, we ought to leave the funds with ICANN.
   L.   Stubbs: If Roger or Louis can find a consultant to do the job at the specified rate, they should do it promptly. 10 days should be more than enough time for other NC members to suggest alternative consultants; if no other NC member makes a suggestion, they should just move forward.
   M.   Cochetti: Motion: Council authorize budget committee to spend up to $15000 to cover the continuation of the website and related service for the period April 1 – June 30.
       1.   Kane abstaining, others all in favor.
   N.   Cochetti: Budget committee had expected that ICANN management would select a consultant to evaluate hosting choices.
       1.   Cochetti: Think no further NC action is needed. ICANN management will complete this process. We can help by providing them with suggestions.
       2.   De Blanc: Extent of the mandate to ICANN is to hire a consultant to write the RFP and will receive and evaluate responses to RFP.
       3.   Budget committee to conclude by June. If not, tell the NC.
IV.   GA Chair
   A.   Sheppard: See notes from this morning’s GA meeting.
V.   ICANN Consultation Periods
VI.   Verisign Agreement
   A.   Schneider: Had been traveling for two weeks. Surprised to find this issue on ICANN website – posted on March 1. Had no opportunity to review it seriously. Troubling that we have to discuss this in “any other business” rather than placing it in a higher position on the agenda. Others agree that it has been impossible to do an appropriate review. Also concern that document was only posted in English.
   B.   Sims - presentation delivered. http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/icann/melbourne/archive/presentations/simms-verisignagrmts.html
   C.   See also documents at http://www.icann.org/melbourne/proposed-verisign-agreements-topic.htm
   D.   Schneider: Concerned that Board and NC became involved in this process so late. That Verisign is no longer to divest the registry is a major shift in policy; it needs to be discussed seriously before being approved.
       1.   Sims: To my knowledge, ICANN Board has never adopted a policy requiring separation of registrar and registry.
       2.   Forsyth: ICANN has always been interested in competition. Separation is a part of such a goal.
       3.   Sims: Don’t accept that as a correct statement of competition policy or law. To my judgement, this agreement is consistent with ICANN’s interest in competition.
   E.   Roberts: Have heard what ICANN staff think about this agreement. Sense is that ICANN staff thinks this is the best result possible given the circumstances. ICANN staff has put in a significant amount of work, and we must take into account their view. Have also heard from Verisign. But have not heard from DNSO constituencies – and their comments are crucial in this bottom-up process. Perception is that this proposal involves a significant change of policy. White Paper and 1999 agreements contemplate separation of registry and registrar. So the change here seems like a significant change from ICANN’s prior competition model (which has proved successful). Accordingly, need to provide time to let constituencies consider the questions here.
   F.   Kane: If ICANN screws up, you suggest that governments would step in to “help.” Independent analysis of competition aspects? Wouldn’t such analysis be helpful?
   G.   Martinez: Is this proposal open for revisions in light of public comments, DNSO comments, etc.?
       1.   Sims: Practically, no. Verisign will have to decide whether to divest its registrar business or not, by May 10. We have negotiated an alternative. ICANN Board and others can comment on whether the alternative is better or worse. But we don’t have a way to get a third different alternative.
   H.   Park: Uncomfortable with procedure. This is not the first time agreements were posted at the last minute. Doesn’t seem like a bottom-up process.
   I.   Sheppard: Four concerns raised: Inability for consultation. Competition authorities. Speed of process. Lack of process given import of decisions.
       1.   Sims: Factual correction – White Paper does not say anything about separation of registry and registrar. No mention in White Paper of separating registry and registrar (see http://www.ntia.doc.gov/ntiahome/domainname/6_5_98dns.htm). Only mention was in fall 99 contracts.
       2.   Roberts: But lots of people believe that it’s a policy.
       3.   Sims: Not sympathetic to the notion that have to make decisions consistent with what people mistakenly believe.
       4.   Sims: Last-minute-postings are a valid point. But would be of greater concern if we were talking about policy decisions rather than a negotiated amendment to a contract. Does not change or create ICANN policy. No part of DNSO has a required role in development of contractual arrangements.
       5.   Verisign: We don’t tell ICANN what is or is not a policy question. But no one has suggested that these contracts create policies. If contracts are to be viewed as policy, they must be viewed as such across the board, which they have not been to date.
   J.   Gomes: NC members believe that separation of registrars and registries is the policy for all registries?
   K.   De Blanc: Constituency believes that this is a policy decision. Should have given time for the constituencies to buy into this.
   L.   Swinehart: Want to hear answers to other questions in I above.
   M.   Kane: New gTLDs are attempting to introduce competition. Should be treated in a somewhat different way so as to stimulate competition, not impede it.
       1.   Sims: ICANN Board has and continues to have competition and antitrust advise on these issues. Advise has and will be that this is consistent with competition policy.
   N.   Cochetti: It was clear in the contract that NSI could obtain an extension via a divestiture. See http://www.icann.org/nsi/nsi-registry-agreement-04nov99.htm , section 23.
   O.   Swinehart: If this amendment is not taken, NSI will stay with “Plan A”?
       1.   Cochetti: Correct.
   P.   Schneider: Motion:
       1.   “The new proposed Verisign-NSI/ICANN Agreement published last week represents a substantive policy change and involves a fundamental shift in the structure of competition. The proposed change comes as a surprise and is a source of significant concern to many stakeholders.
       2.   Such a change would require careful consideration by the DNSO constituencies and the Internet community. It cannot be considered except in accordance with due process allowing a reasonable time for the constituencies to consider and comment on the proposed changes.
       3.   The ICANN Board should not be precipitated into any decision until full consideration has been given to this issue in accordance with ICANN’s procedures.”
   Q.   Stubbs: ICANN is only one of three parties involved in these agreements. Any request for extension would require approval by all three parties.
       1.   Touton: If ICANN wanted an extension of the May 10 date, all three parties would have to agree.
   R.   Swinehart: Must be aware that any decision on our part is …
   S.   Gomes: Are choosing between the existing agreement and the new one. A vote in favor of this motion is saying that you’re convinced that the new agreement is worse than the existing one. As Cochetti said, Verisign will follow the old agreement if this proposal is declined. Negotiating contracts with too many parties (as is being suggested here) is unwieldy – would hamper ICANN’s ability to do business, and it just wouldn’t work.
   T.   Roberts: Question is the role of the DNSO constituencies in policy development. We understand this as a significant change – in implicit policy, if not explicitly. Seems like policy to many. If DNSO is happy not to be taken into account for such major changes, have to ask what role of DNSO is.
   U.   Forsyth: Question is about process, not about the substance of the agreement. We have a sincere wish to be involved in these processes.
V.   De Blanc: My voting on this motion doesn’t say anything about the merits. I’m just concerned about the process. W. Gomes: But, should the Board accept this motion and respond the way the motion is worded, the result is that the existing agreement with Verisign remains in place and will be implemented. You’re either going to get the new agreement or the old agreement, whether or not that’s your intent.
       1.   De Blanc: You’re not giving us the freedom to review the deal.
X.   Forsyth: Should not presume that something in particular will or will not happen. Should make this decision based on proper procedure. Y. Vote on motion: Gomes against; Stubbs, Swinehart, Carey abstaining (and Chicoine, Aus der Muhlen via Carey’s proxy). Motion carries and will be passed on to Board. Z. Touton: Question of clarification on the motion. Is it the Names Council’s contemplation that the full consideration of the last paragraph of the motion will be completed on or before April 1?
       1.   Schneider: No, it cannot and will not. That’s just two weeks from now.
       2.   Touton: That’s the sentiment of the NC?
       3.   Forsyth: Have scheduled our next meeting on April 10. Not sure what’s so important about April 1. Wonder whether April 10 might be sufficient?
       4.   Touton: So April 10 would be sufficient, but April 1 is not?
       5.   Kane: How much leeway for change?
           • Touton: Some possibilities. But need to understand timing. Am hearing that NC’s position is that if this proposal is only open until April 1, then the NC does not wish to participate. Sounded like NC was not prepared to provide any input by April 1.
           • Sheppard: Difficulty is attempting to fit into the timetable.
           • Touton: Constituencies may be able to provide some input before April 1, but that won’t be ripe until NC meets on April 10?
           • Sheppard: No. Dates are already a shorter process than what we’re complaining about.
           • Touton: So you cannot give input by April 1?
           • Roberts: Difficult to say we can examine a complex issue and have a result within so little time.
           • De Blanc: Feels unilateral. Is it important enough to ICANN and Verisign to get a community buy-in to this deal to look for a way to extent that date by 30 days? If two sides out of three are willing, DoC should be willing.
           • Touton: There is no such alternative. ICANN is only one of three parties. Other three parties have not agreed to an extension.
VII.   New Registry Contracts
IX.   At-Large
   A.   All to be delayed to next meeting.
X.   ICANN Consultation Periods
   A.   De Blanc: Must allow proper time for consultation. Some worry that this may be deliberate. Understand that urgencies of the moment may be difficult, given size of ICANN staff. Request increased sensitivity in the future.


For additional technical information, please contact:  

Ben Edelman and Rebecca Nesson
Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School 

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