Read the comments of the Association of National
Advertisers (ANA) in the IANA Further Notice of Inquiry. There you will find the answer to the
mystery of Section C.18.104.22.168.2. What's that, you ask? Section C.22.214.171.124.2 is
a bizarre, out of the blue change to the IANA Statement of Work proposed by the U.S. Commerce Department's NTIA. It contains a call for IANA to decide whether new gTLDs that have already been approved by ICANN
have “consensus support” and are “in the public interest.” The proposed change is ridiculous because the IANA is supposed to be a largely mechanical process of entering unique strings into the DNS root. It is not supposed to make policy and in fact, another proposed NTIA change tries to prevent IANA staff from even participating in policy making processes. IGP has been in the forefront of explaining what a disaster C.126.96.36.199.2 would be. Every organization that has bothered to notice it has also opposed it in the public comments.
So now we know where it came from: the trademark lobby, of course. The ANA comments reveal the trademark lobby in its full
splendor. To normal people, it is impossible to grasp the degree of petulance and
self-centeredness required to write such a thing. In essence, ANA says that the
whole Internet governance regime built around ICANN should be destroyed because
this group didn't get exactly what it wanted – no new top level domain names, ever.
The brand managers and trademark holders are fully
(over)represented in the ICANN process. They have participated in it for years and
have failed to get any consensus for their position time
and time again. They have been given more chances to influence policy and have extracted more concessions than any other interest group, and still they
have engaged in multiple rounds of forum-shopping and endless last-minute obstructionism and arm-twisting, using means fair and foul to prevent anything from happening.
And now, after delaying the process for years and getting almost every form of protection
they asked for (short of the elimination of any new TLDs for the rest of
history), they are not happy. They have defined this decision as a “lack
of accountability” rather than simply as a policy outcome that doesn't conform to their demands.
No other interests, no other views exist, in their mind. So they have proposed to escalate the
decision to yet another level of review – and to wreck the entire institutional
infrastructure in the process. They want NTIA to ignore 6 years of
policy development and have the IANA re-make ICANN policies on the fly, by making a “public
interest determination” on each new gTLD that has already been approved. And oh, they
also want ICANN to lose the IANA contract.
But the most shocking thing about this
revelation is not that the TM lobby feels that way, but that the U.S.
Department of Commerce complied with its wishes. Doesn't the NTIA have the backbone to just tell them No when they ask for unreasonable things? It is shocking
that a government agency was so willing to ignore all other stakeholders and completely sacrifice impartial
administration of the Internet to appease such a small and intransigent group. Will they do anything the
TM lobby asks? If NTIA doesn't bow to public comment and knock C.188.8.131.52.2 out of its new Statement of Work, it will completely destroy its own credibility and that of the U.S. government as an impartial administrator of the global Internet.