05 February 2017

News Review: .AFRICA Update, ICANN Annual Report, ICANN.org 404

News Review | ©2016 DomainMondo.com
Domain Mondo's weekly review of internet domain news:

Features •  1. .AFRICA Update; 2. ICANN Annual Report 1 July 2015– 30 June 2016, follow the money; 3. ICANN.org 404; and 4. .SPORT, .MUSIC, .GAY--more ICANN incompetence:

1.  New gTLD .AFRICA litigation update: DotConnectAfrica Trust vs ICANN and ZA Central Registry, pending in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles, Central District:

UPDATE Feb 9, 2017ICANN [Finally] Free to Proceed with the Delegation of .AFRICA Following Court Decision | ICANN.org"LOS ANGELES – 9 February 2017 – The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) announced that a California Superior Court has denied DotConnectAfrica’s (DCA’s) second Motion for Preliminary Injunction to stop the delegation of the .AFRICA generic top-level domain (gTLD) to ZA Central Registry (ZACR). DCA’s first Motion for Preliminary Injunction was denied by the Superior Court in December 2016. Among other things, the Judge found that it appears the "Covenant Not to Sue" found in the New gTLDApplicant Guidebook is enforceable, citing to the recent Federal District Court Order in the Ruby Glen, LLC v ICANN matter, wherein the Court held that the “covenant not to sue” in the Guidebook is enforceable. Accordingly, the Superior Court Judge ruled that “DCA's claims against ICANN for fraud and unfair business practices are likely to be barred. As a result, DCA cannot establish that it is likely to succeed on the merits.” View the Court Order here [embedded below]. In accordance with the terms of its Registry Agreement with ZACR for .AFRICA, ICANN will now follow its normal processes towards delegation." (emphasis added)

--End of update--original text below:

On Feb 3, 2016 ICANN updated its litigation page to indicate that on 4 January 2017, Court Order: Plaintiff's Ex Parte Application for Temporary Restraining Order is denied; Plaintiff's papers are deemed to be a new preliminary injunction motion; Parties are to submit supplemental briefs; and Preliminary Injunction hearing set for 31 January 2017 (which the Court later moved to 3 February 2017).  No further update as to the Feb 3rd hearing (as of Feb 5, 2017, 00:00 UTC).

2.  Want to know where the money is going at ICANN from all those domain name fees paid by registrants despite the fact that most domain name registrants have no representation within ICANN's so-called multistakeholder community?  Follow the money:

ICANN Annual Report: 1 July 2015– 30 June 2016 (pdf) excerpt below:

Advice equally applicable to the stakeholders of ICANN and its Global Domains Division (GDD): When shareholders aren’t watching, managers misbehave | ChicagoBooth.edu"Perhaps the best advice to a distracted shareholder is to assume that management is misbehaving when no one is looking."

3.  ICANN.org 404 | The page you were looking for doesn't exist (404)

Above is the result if you go to https://www.icann.org/resources/board-material/minutes-brc-2017-02-01-en cited by ICANN as the proper link for Board Risk Committee (BRC) Meeting – Minutes 4 November 2016 --[published] Wednesday, February 01 2017 11:45 PM--BRC Attendees:  Rafael Lito Ibarra, Ram Mohan (Co-Chair), George Sadowsky, Mike Silber (Co-Chair), Jonne Soininen, Kuo-Wei Wu, and Suzanne Woolf Other Board Member Attendees: Asha Hemrajani Board Member Elect Observing: Maartern Botterman, Akinori Maemura, ICANN Organization Attendees:  S...  --Oh well, so much for ICANN transparency and accountability! 

4.  .SPORT, .MUSIC, .GAY--more ICANN incompetence:

a)  New gTLD .SPORT--ICANN loses, yet again, another IRP (pdf)--ICANN also ordered to pay (i) fees and expenses of the Panel and (ii) fees and expenses of the ICDR acting as administrator of the proceedings in the sum of US$152,673.26.
"7.90. Accordingly, the IRP Panel is of the view that in order to have upheld the integrity of the system, in accordance with its Core Values, the ICANN Board was required properly to consider whether allegations of apparent bias in fact gave rise to a basis for reconsideration of an Expert Determination.  It failed to do so and, consequently, is in breach of its governing documents."--IRP Final Declaration, p.43 (pdf)(emphasis added) 
b)  Letter 30 Jan 2017 (pdf) from Arif H. Ali, Partner, Dechert LLP, to Göran Marby and Members of the ICANN BGC re: New gTLD Application for .MUSIC:
"We are writing on behalf of our client, DotMusic Limited (“DotMusic”), to remind ICANN about the Board Governance Committee’s (the “BGC”) delay in making a final recommendation to the ICANN Board (the “Board”) regarding DotMusic’s Reconsideration Request 16-5 (“Reconsideration Request”). Over 11 months have passed since DotMusic submitted the Reconsideration Request to the BGC, however, the BGC has not made a final recommendation to the Board with respect to DotMusic’s Reconsideration Request. This is inconsistent with the BGC’s obligation under ICANN’s Bylaws to review a reconsideration request on a timely basis ...." (emphasis added)
c) Letter 30 Jan 2017 (pdf) from Arif H. Ali, Partner, Dechert LLP, to Göran Marby and Members of the ICANN Board re: New gTLD Application for .GAY:
"... We are writing on behalf of our client, dotgay LLC (“dotgay”), to complain about ICANN Board’s (the “Board”) failure to issue its final decision on the Board Governance Committee’s (“BGC”) 26 June 2016 Recommendation on Reconsideration Request 16-3 (“Reconsideration Request”). Pursuant to Section 4.2(r) of ICANN’s Bylaws (October 1, 2016): The Board shall issue its decision on the recommendation of the Board Governance Committee within 45 days of receipt of the Board Governance Committee's recommendation or as soon thereafter as feasible ... Here, seven months have passed since the Board received the BGC’s final recommendation on Dotgay’s Reconsideration Request, yet the Board has failed to make a final decision on dotgay’s Reconsideration Request ..."

Other Internet Domain News

•  Does the U.S. have new clout over the global internet? | FCW.com--John Kneuer, former head of the NTIA at a Feb. 2 U.S. House hearing--"Kneuer told the [House Energy and Commerce] committee [video here] that it would be "absolutely" appropriate for President Donald Trump or other U.S. official to back Amazon's effort to obtain a dot-Amazon top level domain name. "With the conclusion of the transition of the IANA contracts … the U.S  government can take, counterintuitively perhaps, a more proactive role for domestic companies…" Kneuer said. "When the U.S. government had its exclusive contractual relationship with ICANN, there was some hesitancy to be perceived as abusing that authority or overplaying that role." Some Republican lawmakers were highly critical of the [IANA transition] transfer and sought to block it, calling it essentially a giveaway of U.S. power ..." (emphasis added)

•  Special-Use Names Problem Statement (Jan 31 update) | ietf.org: 4.3 Summary: "... The assignment of Internet Names is not under the sole control of any one organization. IETF has authority in some cases, but only with respect to "technical uses." ICANN at present is the designated administrator of the root zone, but generally not of zones other than the root zone. And neither of these authorities can in any practical sense exclude the practice of ad-hoc use of names. This can be done by any entity that has control over one or more name servers or resolvers, in the context of any hosts and services that that entity operates. It can also be done by authors of software who decide that a special-use name is the right way to indicate the use of an alternate resolution mechanism."  See also Domain Name System Operations (dnsop) WG Virtual Meeting: 2017-02-16.

•  Quick Takes:
•  Q4 2016 Financial Results & Webcasts this coming week:
  • Tucows (TO:TC) (NASDAQ:TCX) Feb 7
  • Twitter TWTR Feb 9 before market open
  • Verisign VRSN Feb 9 after market close
•  Domain registry and technology services provider Neustar NYSE: NSR--Neustar: Investor Relations - News Release Feb 2, 2017"On December 14, 2016, Neustar announced that it had entered into a definitive merger agreement to be acquired by a private investment group led by Golden Gate Capital. Under the terms of the merger agreement, Neustar’s stockholders will be entitled to receive $33.50 per share following the closing of the proposed merger. The merger, which is expected to close no later than the end of the third quarter of 2017, is subject to approval by Neustar’s stockholders, regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions. In light of the proposed merger, Neustar will not be providing guidance for 2017 and will not hold a conference call to discuss its results for full-year and fourth quarter 2016."--NeuStar (NYSE:NSR) Q4 2016 Results: EPS of $1.38 (missed estimates by $0.01); revenue $324.9M (+16.0% Y/Y) (miss by $1.08M).

•  4 most popular posts (# of pageviews Sun-Sat) this past week on DomainMondo.com:
  1. NewsReview: Ruby Glen Appeals .WEB ICANN Case to Ninth Circuit
  2. Apple $AAPL Q1 2017FY Earnings, LIVE Stream Jan 31st Replay
  3. Amazon $AMZN Q4 2016 Earnings LIVE Webcast Feb 2, 5:30pm ET
  4. Facebook $FB Q4 2016 Results, LIVE Webcast Feb 1, 5pm ET

-- John Poole, Editor, Domain Mondo 

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