December 18, 2003

Responding to Ross Rader's Note "Palfrey's Tragedy"

Ross Rader had an item in his blog titled 'Palfrey's Tragedy'

In that entry Ross suggests that ICANN is not a body in which the public need have a participatory role that exceeds the role of other pariticpants.

Ross is a thoughtful person who brings a positive and constructive attitude.  His opinions deserve serious consideration.  Often I find that his opinion reflects my own.   However, in this case I find myself in disagreement.

There is no doubt that there are a number of fruitcakes who participate in ICANN's online discussions.  But I have observed that even their views are frequently no more radical than the views of the intellectual property "stakehollders" that led to the UDRP and its highly biased kangaroo-court judicial system.

ICANN obtains an exemption from United States Federal taxes and is also a California public-benefit corporation.  Those privilged positions exist only because ICANN claims that it exists to benefit the public.  ICANN's exclusion of the public should come at a price - and that price should be the suspension of ICANN's status as a Federal 501(c)(3) and California public-benefit corporation.

Moreover, at the end of the day, when all the sums are tallied and the ledgers closed for the night, it is the public that pays the tab for ICANN's decisions.  For example, ICANN's price support system that locks in a floor of roughly $6(US) per domain name per year costs the public millions and millions of dollars per year.  Without that price support, including its arbitrary and unjustifiable 10 year limit on registrations, the price that the public pays for domain names could be much lower than it is today - my guess is that it could fall to as low as a 25 cents (US) per year for very long term registrations.  That's better than 95% less than the lowest prices available today.  However, with ICANN's ejection of the public there is no pressure from ICANN's hand picked "stakeholders" to consider changes to either ICANN's price support system or the length of registration periods.  In fact, virtually all of ICANN's hand-picked stakeholders stand to lose income should such changes be adopted.

Posted by karl at December 18, 2003 5:26 PM