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Surprise! ICANN throws out complaints about .org price caps

Kevin Murphy, November 4, 2019, 21:55:20 (UTC), Domain Policy

ICANN has rejected two appeals against its decision to lift price caps and introduce new anti-cybersquatting measures in the .org space.

In other news, gambling is going on in Rick’s Cafe.

NameCheap and the Electronic Frontier Foundation both filed Requests for Reconsideration with ICANN back in July and August concerning the .org contract renewal.

NameCheap argued that ICANN should have listened to the deluge of public comments complaining about the removal of price caps in Public Interest Registry’s .org contract, while EFF complained about the inclusion of the Uniform Rapid Suspension rights protection mechanism.

Reconsideration requests are usually handled by the Board Accountability Mechanisms Committee but this time around three of its four members (Sarah Deutsch, Nigel Roberts, and Becky Burr) decided to recuse themselves due to the possibility of perception of conflicts of interest.

That meant the committee couldn’t reach a quorum and the RfRs went to ICANN’s outside lawyers for review instead, before heading to the full ICANN board.

This hasn’t happened before, to my recollection.

Also unprecedented, the board’s full discussion of both requests was webcast live (and archived here), which negates the need for NameCheap or the EFF to demand recordings, which is their right under the bylaws.

But the upshot is basically the same as if the BAMC had considered the requests in private — both were denied in a unanimous (with the three recusals) vote.

Briefing the board yesterday, ICANN associate general counsel Elizabeth Le said:

There was no evidence to support that ICANN Org ignored public consultation. Indeed both renewals went out for public comments and there were over 3,700 comments received, all of which ICANN reviewed and evaluated and it was discussed in not only the report of public comments, but it was discussed through extensive briefings with the ICANN board…

Ultimately, the fact that the removal of the price caps was part of the Registry Agreements does not render the public comment process a sham or that ICANN failed to act in the public benefit or that ICANN Org ignored material information.

General counsel John Jeffrey and director Avri Doria both noted that the board may not have looked at each individual comment, but rather grouped together based on similarity. Doria said:

Whether one listens to the content once or listens to it 3,000 times, they have understood the same content. And so I really just wanted to emphasize the point that it’s not the number of comments, it’s the content of the comments.

This seems to prove the point I made back in April, when this controversy first emerged, that letter-writing campaigns don’t work on ICANN.

As if to add insult to injury, the board at the same meeting yesterday approved paying an annual bonus to the ICANN Ombudsman, who attracted criticism from NameCheap and the Internet Commerce Association after dismissing many of the public comments as “more akin to spam”.

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Comments (7)

  1. Jack says:

    There was no evidence to support that ICANN Org ignored public consultation.

    Lolololololololol LOL !!

    Ultimately, the fact that the removal of the price caps was part of the Registry Agreements does not render the public comment process a sham or that ICANN failed to act in the public benefit or that ICANN Org ignored material information.

    LAUGHABLE SHIT !

    All ICANN executives should be terminated, shut down the whole ICANN circus and start over with serious people this time.

  2. John says:

    Avri Doria is the Steering Committee Chair for the North America region for The Internet Society.

    The Internet Society receives all of its funding from PIR (the operator of .ORG) domain extension. Avri also was paid by PIR and helped them on several new TLD applications.

    Why did Avri Doria not recuse herself?

    • Kevin Murphy says:

      I don’t believe it’s correct that Doria is currently in that ISOC role. What’s your source on that?

    • Rubens Kuhl says:

      2012 applications were 7 years in the past. Cooling-off periods vary from 1 year to 5 years, with 1 year being the most usual in the US, home of both ICANN and Avri.

  3. kim says:

    What a crock. ICANN’T do shit for the world that is not in it’s own profitable favor or in that of the highest payers to the organization.

    This is a racket, and domain owners are getting royally screwed. Nobody has our back! It’s all about being at the top of the monopoly food chain.

  4. Mark Thorpe says:

    No surprise there! Domain Investors are getting weeded out! Verisign and ICANN do not like domainers.

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