[discuss] Possible approaches to solving "problem no. 1"

Keith Davidson keith at internetnz.net.nz
Sun Feb 16 21:48:24 UTC 2014

On 17/02/2014 9:23 a.m., Patrik Fältström wrote:
> On 2014-02-16 21:19, Steve Crocker wrote:
>> In contrast, there are no formal contracts between ccTLD operators and
>> ICANN nor between root server operators and ICANN.  Those are covered
>> under less formal arrangements that predate ICANN.
> ...but in some of those cases arrangements exists between those players
> and other parties than ICANN, for example local governments or
> arrangements to multistakeholder groups (like the membership
> organisations/arrangements around some ccTLDs).

Steve may not be quite 100% accurate with his commen "there are no 
formal contracts between ccTLD operators and ICANN", as there are 
possibly a handful that have a formal contract with ICANN. And there are 
so few opportunities where Steve is wrong, so it requires some teasing out.

There are several ways ccTLDs can formalise their relationship with 
ICANN. But there is no obligation on a ccTLD to have any formal 
relationship. Formal relationships include:

1. Contract - very few ccTLDs have a contract with ICANN, and these were 
usually put in place under pressure from ICANN during redelegations, 
otherwise widely avoided - approaches a gTLD contract in terms of ICANNs 
role and subservience of the ccTLD operator. The ccTLD operator is 
required to pay contract fees to ICANN.

2. Accountability Framework (AF) some ccTLDs voluntarily entered into an 
AF between the ccTLD operator, the Government and ICANN, in which each 
party recognises the others roles and responsibilities and requires some 
compulsory reporting from the ccTLD to Government. Usually involves a 
firm commitment to pay fees to ICANN.

3. Exchange of Letters (EOL) - a large number of ccTLDs have chosen this 
fairly soft option to exchange letters with ICANN, which merely 
recognises the rights and responsibilities of both parties, and goes no 
further than agreeing some obligation of the ccTLD to comply with the 
broad public policy requirements of RFC1591. Generally encourages the 
ccTLD to pay a voluntary scaled contribution to ICANN

4. Some ccTLDs elect to not enter into any relationship with ICANN. 
There are possibly a few too who refuse to recognise ICANN at all. Som 
ccTLDs also join the ccNSO in ICANN, but this does not impose any 
obligation or recognition requirement on that ccTLD. More than 147 
ccTLDs are members of the ccNSO, and less than 100 ccTLDs are not members.

Also, teasing out Patriks comment above, the ccTLD community have had 
some very strong "first principles" including:

a. that subsidiarity applies (local laws, guidelines and requirements 
set by the local internet community take precedence over global policies)

b. that there are seldom "one size fits all" solutions suited to ccTLD 

c. policies applicable to ccTLDs will be developed in a bottom-up, open 
and transparent, consensus based decision making way, i.e. all the key 
elements of multi-stakeholderism.

As a result there is a rich tapestry of models of construct of ccTLD 
operations, from individual people (as a legacy of the early Postel 
delegations) to open membership societies through to corporate for 
profit organisations and sometimes Government organisations.

There is no correct model or solution that can be applied globally and 
the diversity of the ccTLD world is to be applauded. It seems a shame to 
me that gTLD operators have agreed to succumb to ICANN imposed policies 
in order to get delegations of new gTLDs, and the restrictive policies 
and procedures is leading to more like a "one size fits all" solution in 
the gTLD space.



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