Update 4 — .CO Arbitration, ICANN Chair, Auction Proceeds, GNSO
Neustar Threatens Colombia with Arbitration as .CO Contract Set to Expire
Investment Arbitration Reporter – a legal news service – revealed that on 16 September 2019 .CO registry operator Neustar submitted a notice of dispute to the government of Colombia. Neustar asserts that it has the right under a current agreement with Colombia to operate the .CO domain for second 10 year term.
Unless the matter is resolved, arbitration will be filed at the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). Steptoe and Johnson are acting on behalf of Neustar.
Battles for country code top-level domains (ccTLDs) have become more common. Neustar competitor Afilias, known for running .ORG registry operations, wrested control of .AU domain operations from Neustar in 2017.
Neustar responded by taking registry operations for India's .IN domain from Afilias in 2018. Neustar completed the transition in March 2019. Verisign, Neustar and Afilias all run operations for numerous ccTLDs.
More at IAReporter.com (paywall):
Botterman Begins Transition to ICANN Board Chair
The ICANN Board has appointed Maarten Botterman as Vice-Chair of the ICANN Board. Botterman is preparing to take over as Board Chair beginning in November 2019 at ICANN's 66th meeting in Montreal.
The advance Vice-Chair appointment is a new ICANN governance mechanism designed to smooth the transition between chairs.
Botterman is a Dutch national with degrees in Business Economics from the University of Rotterdam. His work experience includes time at the RAND Corporation and the Dutch Government advising on cyber-policy.
Botterman was first appointed to the ICANN Board of Directors by the Nominating Committee in November 2016. He was Chair of the .ORG Board of Directors from 2008 – 2016. Afilias Limited is the registry operator for .ORG.
Burr and Botterman Stress Need for Auction Proceeds Independence
In a 29 September 2019 letter to Erika Mann and Ching Chiao, Becky Burr and Maarten Botterman stress the need for independence in the evaluation and selection process for any future auction proceeds fund. The letter states:
“No member of the Evaluation Panel may have even the appearance of a conflict of interest with respect to any and all applications.”
The letter urged the community to focus on objectives as well as process. Process feedback re-iterated ICANN's fiduciary requirements to retain control over the funds, to disburse them in tranches and that they align with ICANN's mission while not duplicating existing operations. A second public comment round on the community's work is likely.
The ICANN community is working on a process for disbursing the US$233.5 million in funds generated by auctions from ICANN's last new gTLD application process.
Drazek Defers or Refers on all Competition, Trust and Choice Team Recommendations.
In a 27 September 2019 Letter to the ICANN Board on behalf of the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO), Keith Drazek, Pam Little and Rafik Dammak defer or refer all recommendations from ICANN's Competition, Consumer Trust, and Consumer Choice Review Team (CCT-RT).
The GNSO rejected a new policy development process to create a consistent privacy baseline access all generic top-level domain (gTLD) registries. They argue an existing policy process already addresses the matter.
The GNSO further rejected the need to further study the relationship between registry operators, registrars, and domain name system (DNS) security abuse. They argue that ICANN itself should address the matter.
The GNSO referred CCT-RT recommendations to explore integration of ICANN's existing rights protection mechanisms – the Uniform Rapid Suspension (URS) process and the (UDRP) Uniform Rapid Dispute Mechanism – to its existing Rights Protection Mechanism Working Group.
It did the same for the recommendation to evaluate the effectiveness of the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH).
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