Representation in Cyberspace Study

Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School

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Membership Options for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers

Announcement and Call for Participation

The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School is studying possible individual and organizational membership structures for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers ("ICANN"), the new non-profit corporation formed to take responsibility for allocation of IP address space, assignment of protocol parameters, and management of the domain name and root server systems.

Article II of the ICANN bylaws -- Membership -- is blank. The bylaws call for the election of At Large Directors by one or more categories of members of the Corporation, but they leave open the qualifications for membership, the rights and obligations it entails, or the procedures for member nomination and election of At Large Directors.

The Berkman Center study will attempt to address these outstanding questions -- analyzing membership options based on the principles of stability, competition, private bottom-up coordination, and representation established by the White Paper, the U.S. Department of Commerce's June 1998, statement of policy on "Management of Internet Names and Addresses." Jonathan Zittrain, Executive Director of the Berkman Center, is liaison between the study and the ICANN Membership Advisory Committee.

The study will proceed on an aggressive timeframe to provide useful input to the ICANN Initial Board for its establishment of a membership structure. The Berkman Center will assemble working groups around the specific membership questions, drawing upon individuals and institutions with expertise in corporate structure, voting mechanisms, membership organizations, and other relevant topics. The Center also plans to convene a face-to-face meeting of experts in mid-January. The conference will focus on at least two distinct areas: (1) demonstrating technologies that could facilitate participation of a large-scale, widespread membership, (2) challenging a broad-based group of experts to think about the problems and potential of Internet membership. It is expected that the report will emphasize membership alternatives with technical implementations still to be worked out.

Individuals or institutions interested in contributing expertise, providing input, or receiving updates on the status of the study should contact the Berkman Center as soon as possible.

Contact the Representation in Cyberspace Study: or through the web.

Representation in Cyberspace Study
Wendy Seltzer
Berkman Center for Internet & Society
Harvard Law School
511 Pound Hall
1563 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138

Last modified 12/21/98 by Wendy Seltzer
Berkman Center for Internet & Society