This morning, i2Coalition sent the following letter to the ICANN Board of Directors.
March 21, 2016
Dr. Stephen D. Crocker
Chairman, Board of Directors
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers
Dear Chairman Crocker,
We write to highlight our concerns with President Chehadé’s messaging around intellectual property issues contained in his farewell letter. As a coalition made up of corporations that rely on the continued security, stability, resiliency, and openness of the Internet, i2Coalition feels strongly that ICANN should not assume the role of mediator on behalf of IP interests and that such discussions are best left to industry-based solutions.
Under President Chehadé’s stewardship, ICANN’s efforts and achievements to pursue its mission for the benefit of the global community are laudable; particularly those efforts toward evolving ICANN into a true multistakeholder model of governance – one that is, to use the President Chehadé’s words, reflective of its global stakeholders.
The i2Coalition’s diverse membership represents both large and small Internet infrastructure providers such as web hosting companies, software services providers, data centers, registrars, and registries. We bring a unique representation to ICANN as we are made up of companies representing the entire ecosystem of Internet infrastructure companies. Ensuring accountability and transparency are paramount to i2Coalition. While we applaud the work done in developing mechanisms to provide the Internet infrastructure community with prescribed and enforceable powers, it is an important goal of the Internet’s infrastructure providers to make sure that ICANN remains focused on its core mission of coordinating the global Internet’s systems of unique identifiers and ensuring the stable and secure operation of the Internet’s unique identifier systems.
For this very reason we have always firmly supported the inclusion of language limiting ICANN’s activities to those that further its mission, and we have consistently endorsed the CCWG’s proposal to add language to ICANN’s bylaws making it clear that ICANN should not “regulat[e] services that use the Internet’s unique identifiers, or the content that they carry or provide.” Explicitly recognizing that ICANN’s authority does not extend to regulating content “maintain[s] the openness of the Internet” and ensures that it remains a global platform for the exchange of information.
President Chehadé’s statement that ICANN “must remain engaged, and . . . shape the discussion and debate” is concerning to our member companies, which worry that a more aggressive role by ICANN will lead towards moderating content online. ICANN cannot fabricate an instrumental role for itself within IP matters. The i2Coalition urges the Board to heed the President’s own words that “ICANN must resist the expansion of [its] remit beyond that envisioned in [its] creation.”
It is i2Coalition’s firm belief that participation in the institutions created by the Internet community to guide the development of the Internet is a civic duty. ICANN is one of the major entities involved in Internet coordination and governance focusing on “the development of shared principles, norms, rules, decision-making procedures, and programs that shape the evolution and use of the Internet.” We are wholly committed to the Uniform Domain-Name Dispute Resolution Policy process, Uniform Rapid Suspension System, Trademark Clearinghouse, and Trademark Claim mechanisms, which the Internet community has used to regulate itself under the guidance of ICANN. Statements that move the organization into a role it was not created for and that curtail the effectiveness of its existing processes are concerning and reflect a step back from the achievements of the organization under President Chehadé.
Thank you for your consideration, and for the diligent efforts of the entire ICANN Board of Directors toward the continued security, stability, resiliency, and openness of the Internet.
Executive Director, i2Coalition