Monday, February 21, 2005

IP Lobby & the ICANN Ombudsman

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Posting to the WHOIS Task Force 1/2 discussion list, Steve Metalitz, Executive Vice-President of the Intellectual Property Constituency, writes:
Regarding the second recommendation (procedure for situations of alleged conflict between ICANN agreements and local law re Whois), we have been discussing two options: moving ahead under the PDP (seeking constituency statements on the recommendation), or continuing to wait until it becomes possible to schedule a meeting with the ICANN staff that have apparently expressed objections to the recommendation. A third option has been brought to my attention, and I believe it is worth serious consideration: asking the ICANN Ombudsman to intervene. Our problem clearly seems to fall within the ombudsman's purview. See Ombudsman Framework ("The Ombudsman's function is to act as an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) office for the ICANN community who may wish to lodge a complaint about a staff or board decision, action or inaction. The purpose of the office is to ensure that the members of the ICANN community have been treated fairly. The Ombudsman will act as an impartial officer and will attempt to resolve complaints about unfair treatment by ICANN using ADR techniques."). The ombudsman's webpage states: "The ICANN Ombudsman will receive and have jurisdiction over complaints concerning: Decisions, actions, or inactions by one or more members of ICANN staff". I believe that is the situation we face here. While the ombudsman process can be invoked by anyone, and it would not require a decision of the Task Force for one or more individuals to move forward on this route, I believe it is worth discussing this option on our call tomorrow.
The above-cited problem stems from the fact that ICANN staff has been too busy handing litigation matters -- they just posted a dozen or more new litigation documents -- that they don't have any remaining time to work on the oh-so-pressing-issues being considered by this GNSO task force. I seriously doubt that an Ombudsman will be of any assistance... he will likely only suggest to ICANN management that they recruit more attorneys.

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