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* ICANN Meeting -- Yokohama, Japan

ICANN is taking advantage of the superlative international 
attendance so typical of our INET conferences. It has 
planned its meeting to occur just prior to the INET week at 
the same venue. Among the more important topics to be 
addressed is the addition of new gTLDs. It is not clear if 
any will be added, but if so, the number is expected to be 
very small.

By David Maher, Vice President, Public Policy, 

In the continuing struggle to define the roles of the 
constituencies that make up the Domain Name Supporting 
Organization (DNSO) of ICANN, one of the knottiest problems 
is the establishment of criteria for membership in the Non-
Commercial Domain Name Holders constituency. This is a 
constituency of which ISOC is a founding member.

The other constituencies of the DNSO, such as the 
intellectual property, ccTLD, and registrar groups, found it 
relatively easy to define themselves. However, the 
noncommercial constituency has had a continuing problem 
relating to its membership, and part of the problem involves 
ISOC itself. A large part of ISOC's strength comes from the 
thriving group of local and regional chapters around the 
world that contribute in many ways to ISOC's activities. 
Early on, the question arose whether ISOC chapters could 
participate separately in the noncommercial constituency. 
The question is being raised again and will be debated at 
the ICANN meetings in Yokohama in July 2000. Currently, a 
compromise has been struck in which the chapters may join as 
nonvoting members. The question whether nonvoting members 
should (or must) contribute financially has also been 

A related issue is the question of whether governmental 
organizations may join the noncommercial constituency. In 
the earliest stages of formation of the group, it was 
suggested that local organizations such as library boards 
might be members. Although the question never arose 
explicitly, it was undoubtedly assumed by all participants 
in the debate that major governmental entities such as 
nations, provinces, or states would not be members. The line 
dividing these groups was never drawn, and it is being 
debated again.

Yet another issue is the question of whether political 
parties should be eligible to join the noncommercial 
constituency. One faction believes that the constituency 
should be the voice of those opposed to what is perceived as 
commercial domination of the DNSO. Others, citing the 
original charter of the constituency, believe that any not-
for-profit, noncommercial entity engaged in "political, 
educational, religious, charitable, scientific [or] 
artistic" activities should be allowed to join.

The debate will be an important part of the constituency's 
meetings in Yokohama and may well continue afterwards.

Howard Flack        http://www.unige.ch/crystal/ahdf/Howard.Flack.html
Laboratoire de Cristallographie               Phone: 41 (22) 702 62 49
24 quai Ernest-Ansermet             mailto:Howard.Flack@cryst.unige.ch
CH-1211 Geneva 4, Switzerland                   Fax: 41 (22) 702 61 08

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