IP Justice is a nonprofit public benefit organization based in San Francisco that promotes balanced intellectual property rights in Internet law and policy. Founded in 2002, IP Justice has an international board of directors and members in countries from all corners of the globe. IP Justice participates at ICANN via the Noncommercial Users Constituency (NCUC).
IP Justice is opposed to all the major proposals contained within the IRT Report as being beyond the bounds of trademark law and beyond the scope of ICANN’s technical mandate. We are concerned about the harmful impact on freedom of expression – particularly criticism and noncommercial speech by the proposed rules. IP Justice is further opposed to the biased composition of the IRT Team and the secretive manner in which it did its work. A true “bottom-up” policy development process would have included representatives of domain name registrants in the creation of the policy proposal.
Despite its hard work and long hours, which we all recognize and appreciate, the IRT Team failed its mandate to find a solution acceptable to all; and it failed in its own stated mission by attempting to create substantive rights for trademark claimants that do not exist in law.
Furthermore, the IRT Report proposes to shift the burden and the cost of protecting brands over to Internet users and away from the private companies who benefit from the privileges of trademark protection. The law does not do this.
ICANN should endeavor to provide a more balanced discussion as it takes the IRT Report on its summer world tour. In particular, ICANN must ensure other stakeholders’ views can be heard (and not only the IP Constituency) by providing travel support to noncommercial users and others who have significant concerns with the proposals but no resources to participate.
ICANN is an inappropriate forum for creating these new substantive trademark rights, despite its appeal to brand owners as a one-stop- shop for obtaining global policies for only the cost of a few thousand dollars in lobbyists. This should not be the message ICANN sends the world about how policy is made at ICANN.
ICANN must not allow the constant threats from intellectual property lobbyists prevent the organization from introducing new gTLDs and creating an Internet that benefits everyone. Remember these are the same lobbyists who promised the VCR would be the death to the movie industry in 1980, and who tried to sue MP3 players off the market 10 years ago. They have a solid track record of being wrong on these overblown claims (threats). Their story that “the sky is falling because of new gtlds” should be easy to see through at this point. Please do not allow their threats to hold up the process any further by continuing with the IRT Report in any form.
Robin Gross, Executive Director
1192 Haight Street, San Francisco, CA 94117 USA
p: +1-415-553-6261 f: +1-415-462-6451
w: http://www.ipjustice.org e: robin@xxxxxxxxx