New GTLDs: Upcoming GNSO Council Meeting

Alain Berranger alain.berranger at GMAIL.COM
Mon Dec 12 20:59:29 CET 2011


*"After all, since IP interests have begun colonizing NCSG in the guise of
non-profit 'operational' concerns (please, Alain, don't tell me you can't
see that)"*

Thank you for your excellent point by point analysis. Obviously, you now
know I read everything you post since you slipped my first name in one of
your numerous points (quoted above).

Yes, Nicolas, I understand NPOC's genesis, membership and current state of
development quite well. I see that NPOC is already a diverse group of NFPs
- from the very large OECD-based global brand name NFP to the obscure and
tiny NGO in a developing country. These are two worlds far apart and the
world will be a better place when all have a chance to experience the two -
not many of us have had that chance! be patient!

I think in the end that that size diversity - and all the other diversities
it implies - will be an asset for NPOC, NCSG and ICANN.

I would like to see a NFP world where the large and rich NGOs will work
hand in hand with the tiny and poor NGOs - as some do already by the way.

Meanwhile, I cannot stop nor wish to stop any member to speak of their
fears or hopes, to devise their communications strategy accordingly and
whatever else they wish - in the process "le droit à l'erreur et à
l'apprentissage appartient à tout le monde!" - "the right to make mistakes
and to learn from them belongs to all!"

But I can also attempt to share my views that NPOC, when it speaks for NPOC
members, speak for all members. I'm sure you can tell when that happens.

We, NPOC, are a new group, we are learning how best to work together,
outside and inside ICANN, and we are talking to and learning from each
other. We also benefit for being slapped in the face from time to time and
our team spirit is growing. That will build cultural and socio-economic
bridges between our members in-between and at both ends of the NGO/NFP
spectrum. Never has the "esprit de corps" been so high at NPOC... growing
pains notwithstanding you understand!

We also learn from the constructive criticism from our more experienced
NCSG and ICANN colleagues such as you, so keep it coming, humor (preferred)
or not, it is useful and productive.

Salutations amicales, Alain

On Thu, Dec 8, 2011 at 10:47 PM, Nicolas Adam <nickolas.adam at>wrote:

>  There is lots of problems with this testimony and I wonder how informed
> NCSG members could have lent their support to this terrified plea. It's ok
> to be affraid, it just sucks when the people that are unreasonably
> terrified lobby to impose their fears on other.
> I assume that the 3 days notice is responsible for the fact that no NPOC
> members dissociated themselves from this testimony "on behalf of the Not-for-Profit
> Operational Concerns Constituency known as NPOC".
> For starters, the assertion that the " collective missions [of NPOC
> members] will be compromised due to the enormous cost and financial burdens
> [sic] of the new Generic Top-Level Domain Name Program (gTLD) [??]" has
> nothing going for it, save perhaps its rhetorical qualities. Such gross
> exaggerations will get you your project loan rejected, where I come from.
> The conflation of the "gTLD program" with the lack of appropriate
> preemptive registration rights *built in* the new gTLD program is a
> conflation only matched in its self-servingness by the refusal to note that
> new gTLD are attributed on the merit, after a thorough business case is
> made by the applicant.
> Lets look at this testimony bit by bit.
>  The new gTLD program compromises use of the internet by increasing the
> risk of fraud, cybersquatting, and trademark infringement and by
> significantly escalating the cost to protect against such unlawful
> activities. The following are areas of particular concern:****
> ·         domain name registration ****
> ·         the introduction of new top level and second level domain names
> into the  DNS (Domain Name System) ****
> ·         fraud and abuse, and ****
> ·         using Internet platform to distribute and collect
> mission-related information for our members and the communities we serve.
> ****
> How? Did anyone at the hearing understand anything you were trying to say?
> Where are causes and where are effects? Those are grand statements that
> should be explicated. But we love our talking points, don't we.
>  It is the goal of our organizations to educate all those responsible for
> implementation of the new gTLD program about unintended consequences.  There
> is no doubt it will have a crippling effect upon my organization and any
> nonprofit organization here and around the globe in its current form.  ***
> *
> Again, please explain.
>  I'd like to begin with our budgetary concerns.****
> ** **
> Currently, the ICANN website quotes costs for one new gTLD to be
> approximately $185,000 to file an application, with an annual cost
> thereafter of at least $25,000 for a required ten-year term. This does not
> include the legal fees required to prepare the application and certain
> amounts required to be in escrow. Moreover, there are many additional
> potential costs. For example, if an application is filed and then placed
> into an extended evaluation by ICANN, the applicant may have to pay an
> additional $50,000. An applicant may be required to defend its application
> against objections, which range from $1,000 to $5,000 in filing fees per
> party per proceeding, and an additional $3,000 to $20,000 in costs per
> proceeding, which must be paid up front.  Accordingly, the ultimate cost in
> proceeding through the entire application process alone could reach several
> hundred thousands of dollars.
> Wait, are you actually saying that it is hard to apply for and get a gTLD?
> Isn't your point that just anybody can get one that "looks alike" your
> acronym and run a fake fundraiser for a few weeks?
>  If the Y or another NPOC member chooses not to participate in the new
> gTLD program, it runs the risk that another entity will apply for use of
> its name or one that is confusingly similar. In the event another entity
> applies for a top-level domain that contains the organization's name, the
> costs for filing an objection are expected to be approximately $30,000-
> $50,000. ****
> By "choosing not to particpate in the new gTLD program", you mean not
> apply for your own gTLD, right? Indeed, objecting to a bunch of kids trying
> to run their .YMKA could be very costly. If i was on your board, I would
> recommend a different course of action.
>  While processes such as these may be useful in the commercial space,
> not-for-profits simply do not have the resources to participate, and will
> certainly not be able to be compete, against for-profit organizations with
> large budgets and reserves for intellectual property protection.
> In the "commercial space", people don't take advices from IP lawers with
> an agenda. Do you mean that under (any domestic, pick one) current law, it
> could be profitable to form large "for-profit organizations with large
> budgets and reserves for intellectual property protection" with the
> business model of applying for and getting NPO's look-alike gTLDs acronyms
> for the purpose of running fake fundraising? Because me and a few buddies
> in NCUC were looking for a new gig since bitcoin went down.
> Non-profit organizations such as YMCA, Red Cross, Goodwill, March of
> Dimes, and countless others around the world not only prefer to, but must,
> use our monies to provide critical services to our communities. We simply
> cannot afford thousands of dollars to become a domain name registry solely
> to ensure brand protection.
> I just love it when people use the word "monies". In french its even
> sexier. But you're right, "nos argents" are generally better spent
> elsewhere than following advices of scared IP lawyers with an agenda. (Just
> so I make myself very clear, I have nothing against lawyers, what with my
> dad being a Judge and my girlfriend a Crown prosecutor-- one of the best. I
> also respect people with different risk profile than mine, its just that in
> the present case, no amount of risk-averseness could justify such
> unreasonable fears, and so one is left with the 'hostile agenda' option.)
>  ICANN's new gTLD program does not allow non-profit organizations to
> protect their brands and avoid the public confusion that results from their
> unauthorized use.
> Here we are. I know i've made fun of you. In the past, right now, amongst
> my friends in private, and in publicly archived policy-making forum. I'm
> sorry. I see now the need for me to tone down and compromise, if you will
> compromise with me. I have made no secret that I am *against* colonizing
> languages and addressing schemes with trademark and IP law. But I am ready
> to give you this one, for the sake of us reaching a consensus. I promise to
> not oppose reserve lists any more if you will stop trying to expand
> trademark and IP law in areas in which they are legitimately un-welcome
> (criticisms, dissent, satire, art mash-ups, and a few others). After all,
> since IP interests have begun colonizing NCSG in the guise of non-profit
> 'operational' concerns (please, Alain, don't tell me you can't see that),
> let's just make the best of it and decide right now that we will use our
> opposition to craft the most balanced approach possible. After all, both
> sides are ultimately in danger of winning too decisively, which inevitably
> precipitate the return of the pendulum, and creates the most instability.
> Since i'm on a roll here though, we can work out the details later ;)
>  Recently one of our organizations, a large and historic organization,
> became aware that an unauthorized entity was using its name to fundraise,
> online and in the community. This led to confusion by potential funders
> about which organization was seeking donations. This is a common example of
> how our organizations are impacted by brand infringement.
> As you make us painfully aware, there is no stopping all wrongdoing. The
> analogy is, sadly though, not on point. It does not take aplying for and
> passing the vetting process and investing lots of monies to run a phishing
> scam. Or was ICANN's new gTLD program at fault here?
>  Under the new gTLD program, such instances could multiply because
> infringers may be able to purchase the historic non-profit's name as a
> domain name. If the non-profit does not have the funds to oppose that
> action, immense public confusion and misrepresentation can result.
> Clearly, you haven't read the applicants guidebook.
>  YMCA of the USA currently employs 1.5 full-time employees at a cost of
> $225,000 annually, in addition to external legal expertise at a cost of
> over $100,000 this year alone, in an effort to monitor and protect the use
> of its brand.  Many other not-for-profits cannot afford this expense to
> protect their name and goodwill. The increase of new gTLDs will further
> exacerbate this problem.
> Have you heard of SEO. It will do wonder for a fraction of this cost.
>  The primary enforcement mechanism of the new gTLD Program is the
> Trademark Clearinghouse, where trademark owners can list their existing
> trademarks to take advantage of sunrise registration periods and warn
> potential registrants of their rights.  The gTLD program is due to be
> rolled out in less than 40 days. At this point, the cost of listing marks
> in the Clearinghouse has not been set, creating more uncertainty about the
> actual costs for participating in the new gTLD Program.
> I see you've heard of this. There is a (justifiable) premium to be paid by
> extremely risk-averse people, unfortunately.
>  As I have already mentioned, non-profit organizations are not in a
> financial position to register their marks in hundreds of additional gTLDs,
> particularly at premium prices.  Trademark owners will not be allowed to
> preemptively register marks that are nearly identical to their marks; such
> "look-alikes" are often used by fraudsters and cyber squatters to deceive
> and confuse Internet users who are trying to locate websites of
> not-for-profit organizations.  ****
> If not-for-profit organizations cannot afford to register the domain names
> in the first place, they can hardly be expected to have the funds budgeted
> and available to file these complaints. Nor should they, as these funds are
> better served fulfilling their humanitarian missions.
> I'd hate to repeat myself, but if there is monies to be made in this
> business model, i'd appreciate if you could PM me.
>  *Public Confusion and Cybersquatting Concerns ***
> Not-for profits and NGOs rely heavily on the internet to provide their
> respective missions. The public trusts the high-quality services they have
> come to associate with these organizations in a reliable manner.  Our
> ability to ensure that the public knows and trusts the public face of the
> internet for all of our organizations is paramount.
> Next thing you will know on the IP-powered Internet you are promoting is
> that the bulk of NPOs will end up on the wrong end of the IP stick, the
> highjacking and SLAPP end of the stick.
>  Bad actors in the domain name space such as cybersquatters, fraudsters,
> and others who register and use domain names in bad faith to profit off of
> the goodwill of well-known entities have existed for many years in the
> existing domain name space.
> Yet "Not-for profits and NGOs rely heavily on the internet to provide
> their respective missions. The public trusts the high-quality services they
> have come to associate with these organizations in a reliable manner."
> (...)
> This is getting redundant, in a non-technical sense, so let me just skip
> 15 or 20 lines.
>  *Recommendations*
> ** **
> Our fears are not alone.  There has been a ground-swell of internet
> stakeholders, including the largest for-profit companies that have
> repeatedly expressed concerns about the program beginning in January 2012
> when so many vital issues remain unresolved.
> Fears they are indeed. But the rest of the statement should be puzzling to
> smaller NPOC members or smaller prospective NPOC members.
>  Therefore, we join this ground-swell in our concerns about the new gTLD
> program. We ask that there continue to be input from stakeholders, and
> careful consideration of the impact of this program on the internet, and
> particularly on not-for-profits. Among the numerous requests the NPOC has
> made to ICANN, we bring the following to your attention:****
> ·         That verified not-for-profit organizations be permitted to
> exempt their trademarks from any other applicant in the new  gTLD program
> at no cost, or if that is not possible, then at a drastically reduced fee
> ****
> As i've said, since we are adversaries in principles (and I hope to be
> less time-strap soon so I can contribute to our discussion on fundamental
> principles), we should work together to create the only legitimate,
> balanced, framework for moving forward.
>  ·         That the mechanisms for trademark protection be significantly
> strengthened, with the ability to proactively protect trademark owners
> before any application is accepted****
> Let's discuss details. I will change my tone.
>  ·         That the costs to participate in the new gTLD program for
> verified not-for-profit organizations be eliminated ****
> I don't understand what you mean by 'participate in the new gTLD program'.
> But in any case, free is never really free, right? Time, yours and mine, is
> valuable. I'm doing this pro-bono. I hope you won't take offense if I ask
> if you are too?
> Nicolas
> On 12/8/2011 3:12 AM, Joy Liddicoat wrote:
>  Hi all - as you know the next GNSO Council meeting will be next week.
> The Chair has asked for an update on the Senate hearings on gTLDs that are
> currently taking place <link?> I've just noticed that some NCSG members
> were invited by the Committee to make submissions
> and will do so
> tomorrow:
> ****
> As GNSO councillors representing this SG, we would appreciate knowing
> (before the GNSO meeting) if any others are also making submissions and, if
> so, what those submissions are. If there are any particular issues you want
> to be raised or for any of us Councillors to be aware of, please let us
> know.****
> Kind regards****
> ** **
> ** **
> Joy Liddicoat****
> Project Coordinator****
> Internet Rights are Human Rights****
> Tel: +64 21 263 2753****
> Skype id: joy.liddicoat****
> Yahoo id: strategic at****
> ** **

Alain Berranger, B.Eng, MBA
Member, Board of Directors, CECI,<>
Executive-in-residence, Schulich School of Business,
NA representative, Chasquinet Foundation,
interim Vice Chair, NPOC, NCSG, ICANN,
O:+1 514 484 7824; M:+1 514 704 7824
Skype: alain.berranger
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