Thanks to everyone for a wide range of advice about ICANN. I am trying to understand as many of the perspectives and issues as I can before going to my first meeting in December. I've created a wiki page listing some of the essays and links that people have suggested I read. If you have any other suggestions, please email, comment here or post on my wiki. I will try read everything I can and approach this with an open mind. I am also happy to receive private email with personal opinions.

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Just noticed one of the links off that wiki page -- i think John Barlow's -- talked about going back to the simple system of first to register, and ignoring trademarks.

I have to say that this is totally impractical and completely wrong. Sounds nice in theory, but real life and democracy are not elegant and simple. They're jumbled and hard to work out.

There are a lot of good reasons to consider trademarks carefully, and ICANN is doing the right thing by having the UDRP process. It helps people work out disputes cheaply, gets to a fairer result much of the time, and helps avoid expensive litigation...

"ICANN is doing the right thing by having the UDRP process"

I would agree that ICANN is doing the right thing by having *a* process, but that the process currently in place is seriously broken and slanted toward trademark holders, by virtue of letting the holder of the trademark choose the Dispute Resolution Service Provider (this encourages, if not mandates, the worst forms of forum shopping).

There has been enough work to show that the RSPs who choose most often for the trademark holder get the most business by a very wide margin (which is what you would expect to happen).

Pls explain what is 'serious broken'.

how is it slanted to the trademark holder? (btw, it is not trademark holder who choose the provider; it is the entity that initiate UDRP choose the provider, regardless they are trademark owners or otherwise. there is a differences)

Show a case where it is broken, ie, a case where it does not pass the 'okay, it make sense' test, and the error rate it happens.

Don't just jump to conclusion based on what you read on newspaper.

bottomline: for every winners, there are equal but opposite losers. there is no perfect human system. We all do the best we can.


I would be surprised if the process didn't allow the parties to choose their arbitrators as most arbitration agreements do. Usually this process allows the panel to end up with a reasonably fair group of arbitrators.

If the respondant has no say in the choice of the actual panel, the system is probably not very fair. But if he does, it's just as fair as any other arbitration. Organizations don't only use arbitrators that are biased toward a trademark holder... And at any rate, parties can always appeal to courts, at least in the U.S....

Arbitration is never going to be as fair as a court though, because it dispenses with so much of the procedure in order to make things cheaper. The benefit comes from transparent legitimacy. If the decision makes sense enough for the parties to accept it, everyone wins. Otherwise someone will take it to court.

"btw, it is not trademark holder who choose the provider; it is the entity that initiate UDRP choose the provider, regardless they are trademark owners or otherwise. there is a differences"

Ok, I'll grant your technical point, but since the grounds for initiating the UDRP process are basically a violation of a trademark, it's a distinction without a difference.

Trevor, yes, the initiator selects (and pays) the arbitrator and the respondent has no say.

Congratulations on your bravery. Condolences in advance on the coming mess you are stepping into. As one of the Candidates in 2000 for the At Large position for North America, I advocated a number of positions regarding the running of the ICANN portion of the Internet.

The UDRP was perhaps the biggest mistake that has ICANN made. Reviewing it's history, decisions, and it's capricous approval and dismissal of various arbitration companies points out the commercial bias over the public interest.

ICANN's responsibility of creating TLD's is also seriously flawed, as the recent TLD creation attests.

I hope that you may be an agent of change, rather getting mired in the current special interest atmosphere that pervades it's current direction.


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