POLICY vs. IMPLEMENTAION (was [council] FW: Letter from the GAC regarding IOC/RC Protections)

Neuman, Jeff Jeff.Neuman at neustar.us
Thu Nov 29 14:55:52 UTC 2012


We have a very serious problem here that needs immediate attention.  I am not referring to the merits of whether any of these organizations deserve protection or not, or whether there should be additional safeguards for IP owners in the new gTLD process or whether certain Whois Review team recommendations could be put into place .  Forget all of that.  Forget the merits and substance of these important issues.

The real issue is that new reliance on the terms "policy" vs. "implementation."  This is the issue that should receive top priority.  To quote Alan Greenberg (or at least paraphrase), when one group wants something in place without using the policy process, they call it "implementation."  Those that oppose it, call it "policy."  While that statement was made several times by Alan partly in jest, that statement does have merit.

Lets look at the following 3 examples:

1.        IOC/RC - As the letter sent around by Jonathan shows, the GAC is thoroughly annoyed with the GNSO for starting a policy process on the protection of IOC and Red Cross marks.  They believe (although unstated), that they have exclusive jurisdiction over these types of public policy issues and do not want the GNSO to take "years" to work out whether these organizations (which they believe are protected by law) should receive protections in the new gTLD process.  Without commenting on the merits of this argument, look at what they have done.  They have called the protections as nothing more than "implementation" and therefore, the GNSO should explain itself as to why we believe we have a right to start a policy process on it.  After all, implementation can just be enacted by the Board.  There is no need for the GNSO to get involved, in their view...nor do they want it.

2.       Whois Review Team:  The ICANN Board sought guidance from the entire Internet community on whether the recommendations involved "implementation" or "policy".  Why? Because if it is implementation, there is no need to involve the GNSO community and it can just be enacted.  Those that supported the recommendations wholeheartedly called them "implementation."  Those that opposed the recommendations called it "policy."  I believe that many who called it policy actually truly believe there are policy issues involved, but some called it policy, to have it go through the long drawn out process we call a PDP (with the hopes that it dies a slow death).  Neither side of this debate is blameless.

3.       The now infamous New gTLD "straw-man":  For the record, I was a part of the group that discussed the straw man in Brussels and LA over the past few weeks.  I found those discussions very useful and appreciate the efforts being made by the new ICANN CEO, who I have a tremendous amount of respect for.  I believe he truly will make a huge positive impact on ICANN for many years to come.  But, now the debate has turned into what is policy and what is implementation.  The IPC/BC and their representatives have called all of their proposals "implementation".   The NCSG, Registries, Registrars and Applicants have called much of it policy.  ICANN staff has now weighed in on their thoughts and have classified certain items as implementation (thereby negating the need for GNSO policy development), and other items as policy, thereby requiring extensive involvement from the GNSO community - note I did NOT say necessarily PDP).

I believe we all need to take a step back from the issues immediately and decide once and for all an agreed upon bottom-up multi-stakeholder definition of what is "policy" and what is "implementation."  Or at the very least a framework for making that assessment when issues arise.  I would advocate for a cross community group made up of members from ICANN staff, the GNSO, the GAC and others to come together to figure this issue out, so that we get out of this rut we are now in.  At the same time, we need to fix the image of the GNSO policy processes so that they are no longer feared, but embraced.  They need to not be used as vehicles for delay, but rather utilized for the common good.

If we are able to do this, I believe many of the issues we are now having will become easier to resolve (and we can focus on the merits).  If not, I see these issues getting much worse over the coming months/years.  I believe the future of the GNSO, and even the multi-stakeholder model in general hinge on the definition of these 2 words.

I would be very happy to volunteer to serve on such a group.


Jeffrey J. Neuman
Neustar, Inc. / Vice President, Business Affairs

From: owner-council at gnso.icann.org [mailto:owner-council at gnso.icann.org] On Behalf Of Jonathan Robinson
Sent: Thursday, November 29, 2012 5:00 AM
To: council at gnso.icann.org
Subject: [council] FW: Letter from the GAC regarding IOC/RC Protections


FYI.  Please see the attached letter received from the GAC last night my time.


From: GAC Secretariat [mailto:gacsec at gac.icann.org]
Sent: 28 November 2012 21:38
To: jonathan.robinson at ipracon.com<mailto:jonathan.robinson at ipracon.com>
Cc: Steve Crocker; Fadi Chehade; Heather Dryden; Maria Häll; alice at apc.org<mailto:alice at apc.org>; Choon Sai LIM (IDA)
Subject: Letter from the GAC regarding IOC/RC Protections

Sent on behalf of Heather Dryden, GAC Chair

Dear Jonathan,

Attached please find a letter from the GAC regarding IOC and Red Cross/Red Crescent protections.

Best regards,

Jeannie Ellers

Jeannie Ellers
Manager, GAC Coordination
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers
1101 New York Avenue NW, Suite 930
Washington, DC 20005
Ph. +1 202 570 7135
M. +1 310 302 7552
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://mm.icann.org/pipermail/council/attachments/20121129/183a29d9/attachment.html>

More information about the council mailing list