ICANN senior vice president Kurt Pritz is set to face a grilling at a Congressional hearing into new top-level domains on Wednesday, judging from the just-published witness list.
Of the other five panelists before the House Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition and the Internet, all are quite critical of ICANN and/or its new gTLDs program:
Steve Metalitz, an IP lawyer and vice-chair of ICANN’s intellectual property constituency, which continues to push for even tougher rights protection mechanisms in the Applicant Guidebook.
Mei-lan Stark, senior VP of IP at Fox Group Legal, also closely involved with the International Trademark Association.
Steve DelBianco, executive director of NetChoice (of which VeriSign is a member), part of the ICANN business constituency. Last time he appeared before a Congressional committee, he called for more rights protections mechanisms and a slower new TLD rollout.
Michael Palage, lawyer/consultant and former ICANN board member. He has recently written articles calling for ICANN to pay more attention to its Governmental Advisory Committee (which, as we know, has a strong focus on IP protection nowadays).
Josh Bourne of the Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse, CADNA, one of the fiercest critics of the program. CADNA thinks new TLDs will cost businesses hundreds of millions of dollars in defensive registrations.
It’s a one-sided panel, with no strong proponents of new TLDs — such as likely applicants — among the witnesses.
Pritz is going to be in the firing line, and no mistake.