[council] Proposed Motion requesting Issues Report on Vertical Integration & Registry/Registrar Cross-Ownership

Stéphane Van Gelder stephane.vangelder at indom.com
Sat Sep 5 10:30:35 UTC 2009

Hi Mary,

I don¹t know if you¹ve had a chance to listen to the Council meeting mp3 or
not. If you have, you will know that during our discussion on your proposed
motion, I asked for it to be deferred and indicated that I had some
questions about it.

As Mike suggested, in order to get the discussion moving on this, I would
like to start by making a couple of points on behalf of the RrC.

First, in the context of our discussions on prioritisation of work, I don¹t
think that a PDP on this now is good timing. The Council has a lot of other
important work already going on. Plus the issue of separation has seen and
is still seeing a lot of work done on it as part of the new gTLD program. I
think Council resources would be best spent elsewhere at this stage.

That having been said, is this a policy issue anyway?

In your accompanying text, you indicate that you support one of the two CRA
recommendations but not the other. That one is policy change while the other
isn¹t. As both recommendations are logical extensions of one another, it
seems hard to split them the way you have and decide that one is policy and
one isn¹t.

So let¹s address that second recommendation you say is a policy change. Who
owns a registrar, or a registry, is not policy. It¹s not even an ICANN
contractual issue. VERISIGN could be a shareholder of INDOM (need I say this
is entirely hypothetical? :) ) and there¹s no reason why ICANN would have
any problem with it. The issue is one of separation. If VERISIGN did own a
significant part of INDOM, then it would simply need to use another
registrar to register .COM or .NET domains. Allow me to point out that this
scenario is not fantasy. Before VERISIGN sold its corporate domain arm DBMS
to MELBOURNE IT, it did use other registrars in which it had no shareholding
interests to register .COM and .NET domains.

Further, there are several aspects of the new gTLD program that are evolving
through implementation. The separation issue is one, but there are others.
The IRT suggests that all registries use thick whois only. Should the GNSO
engage a PDP on that? The GAC wants geographic names reserved. Should we do
a PDP on that? And so on...

In short, we do not feel that a PDP is required or warranted on this, at
this time.

Thanks for reading and happy to answer any questions.


Le 28/08/09 01:07, « Mary Wong » <MWong at piercelaw.edu> a écrit :

> Hi everyone,
> On behalf of the NCUC, I am proposing the following motion:
> "Whereas, Recommendation 19 of the GNSO policy authorizing the new gTLD
> process states: "Registries must use only ICANN accredited registrars in
> registering domain names and may not discriminate among such accredited
> registrars;"
> Whereas, opening up the market to many new TLD operators calls into question
> some of the assumptions on which the separation of registry and registrar
> functions is based;
> Whereas, economic research commissioned by ICANN staff also suggests that
> changes might be justified;
> Whereas, the new gTLD policies passed by the Council do not provide any policy
> guidance regarding the proper approach to cross ownership and vertical
> integration, but instead suggest that the status quo be left in place;
> Resolved: the GNSO Council should initiate a policy development process on
> registry-registrar cross-ownership and the policies that should be applied to
> vertical integration or separation of gTLD registrars and registries and
> requests that an Issues Report be done on this question. This policy process
> should not delay or affect the progress of the new gTLD application process
> but should run in parallel."
> Thank you. Background information relating to the NCUC position on this issue
> will follow shortly.
> Best regards,
> Mary
> Mary W S Wong
> Professor of Law
> Franklin Pierce Law Center
> Two White Street
> Concord, NH 03301
> Email: mwong at piercelaw.edu
> Phone: 1-603-513-5143
> Webpage: http://www.piercelaw.edu/marywong/index.php
> Selected writings available on the Social Science Research Network (SSRN) at:
> http://ssrn.com/author=437584

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