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ICANN names $25m gTLD objector

Kevin Murphy, May 15, 2012, 08:56:20 (UTC), Domain Policy

French international law expert Alain Pellet has been appointed Independent Objector for the first round of ICANN’s new generic top-level domain program.

Pellet has worked as a law professor at University Paris Ouest, Nanterre-La Défense since 1990, according to his 26-page resume (pdf).

He’s also represented governments at the International Court of Justice and chaired the International Law Commission of the United Nations.

With an expected 2,000-plus new gTLD applications, Pellet will command a budget of around $25 million, funded by application fees, over the three years the first round is expected to take.

Even with so many applications, I’m struggling to imagine scenarios in which so much money would be required.

The IO’s job is to object to new gTLD applications “in the best interests of global internet users”.

Pellet’s team will be limited to the Community Objection and Limited Public Interest Objection mechanisms outlined in the program’s Applicant Guidebook.

The IO is there to object when opposition to a gTLD has been raised but no formal objection has been filed by, for example, an affected community.

That the IO exists is an excellent reason to file comments on applications you’re opposed to – if no complaints are received via the public comment process, Pellet will be unable to object.

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Comments (4)

  1. Mark A says:

    “Even with so many applications, I’m struggling to imagine scenarios in which so much money would be required.”

    I predict they still find a way to go over budget.

  2. Bret Fausett says:

    Given the high costs and stakes for applicants, I expect the vast majority of them, perhaps all of them, avoided applications that would have met with objections.

    So I worry that with an official appointment and a large budget, the Independent Objector will feel compelled to do something, even if applicants have carefully avoided areas of possible objection.

    The best possible outcome for ICANN would be if the Guidebook rules around public policy objections and the threat of the Independent Objector caused applicants to choose their strings carefully and avoid all areas of possible objection. That’s certainly what I expect has happened. What will the Independent Objector do in that very likely scenario?

  3. Acro says:

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

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