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JPA Agreement: Will it Change the Problems With the UDRP?

It was rather interesting to read this new agreement between the USDoC and ICANN talking about the mechanisms, methods and procedures necessary to effect the transition of Internet domain name and addressing system (DNS) to the private sector. What was more interesting though was to read in this very agreement the following: “...the Department continues to support the work of ICANN as the coordinator for the technical functions related to the management of the Internet DNS”. OK, let’s be honest! Technical? Over the past few years, ICANN has been more involved in policy-making decisions than actually being engaged in the technical coordination of the Internet - or so it seems at least.

One question though is why ICANN, being actively involved in all these policy decisions, does not touch the very important issue of the UDRP. The number of UDRP disputes may be escalating, but the problems still remain. The operation of the Policy has expanded trade mark right and we are facing the danger of the UDRP becoming the law adjudicating domain name disputes - if that has not taken place already. The Policy has an influential character in that many countries are depending on the UDRP to design dispute resolution mechanisms for their own ccTLDs; however, we still can not define the UDRP under an international context.

Why is ICANN not reviewing the Policy? If transparency and accountability are indeed very important in the corporation’s agenda then a review of the UDRP is more than essential. Why is ICANN not putting forward a proposal to cloth the UDRP with an internationally acknowledged system and invite countries around the world to participate?

It has been 7 years since the Policy appeared and nothing has been done towards amending it - taking on board all the mistakes, omissions and problems that have been identified during all these years of its operation.

By Konstantinos Komaitis, Senior Director, Policy Development and Implementation, Internet Society

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of ISOC or its position.

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Danny Lee Younger  –  Oct 16, 2006 7:29 PM

It’s not exactly true that nothing has been done towards amending the UDRP.  The DNSO (predecessor to the GNSO) had a Task Force working on the problem, and an ICANN Staff Manager Issues Report was generated—see http://www.icann.org/gnso/issue-reports/udrp-review-report-01aug03.htm

The GNSO decided to defer the issue to a later date (that was three years ago).

The UDRP is currently scheduled to be reviewed during this fiscal year as per the ICANN Draft Annual Operating Objectives document—see page 9 at http://www.icann.org/announcements/operating-plan-clean-04may06.pdf

Whether that will actually happen or not is anyone’s guess.

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