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Blacknight objects to ICANN 74 Covid waiver

Kevin Murphy, April 5, 2022, 21:05:01 (UTC), Domain Policy

Irish registrar Blacknight has objected to ICANN’s demand that attendees at its forthcoming 74th public meeting sign a legal waiver over the potential for Covid-19 infections.

CEO Michele Neylon has written (pdf) to his ICANN counterpart and chair Maarten Botterman to complain that the waiver is “excessive” and “unreasonable”.

Neylon said he’d consulted his lawyer and concluded: “I cannot sign this waiver and I obviously cannot ask any of my staff to do so either.”

“[The lawyers] agree that you would want to reduce your liability, but you cannot expect people to grant you a blanket exclusion of liability which includes actual fault,” he wrote.

As I reported earlier in the week, registering for ICANN 74 requires attendees to agree to a waiver which states:

I knowingly and freely assume all risks related to illness and infectious diseases, including but not limited to COVID-19, even if arising from the negligence or fault of ICANN.

The four-day June meeting is set to be the first to have an in-person component — in The Hague, the Netherlands — since the pandemic began two years ago. Zoom participation will also be a prominent feature.

Attendees are strictly expected to be double or triple-vaccinated, wear masks, and socially distance while at the venue. There will also be “health checks” whenever you enter the venue.

Blacknight has no complaint about these precautions, but wants ICANN to reconsider the legal waiver.

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Comments (1)

  1. John Berryhill says:

    This waiver is fantastic.

    I would highly encourage people to sign the waiver and attend.

    It covers any sort of liability that one “ICANN volunteer” (i.e. any participant and their principal) might have against other for events “before, during or after” the meeting, and renders them (and conversely, YOU) immune from suit by any other attendee.

    So, think about that.

    I would encourage anyone who thinks they might be sued by an ICANN participant, to get in on this deal and participate in this meeting.

    For example, if you are a registrar, then you would certainly benefit by having every member of the Business and Intellectual Property groups sign this waiver and immunize you from suit.

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