2017-08-20

News Review: Last Round of ICANN New gTLD .AFRICA Litigation?

News Review | ©2016 DomainMondo.com
Domain Mondo's weekly internet domain news review (NR 2017-08-20) with analysis and opinion: Features •  1) Last Round of ICANN New gTLD .AFRICA Litigation? 2) Other ICANN news: a. FY18 budget, b. ALAC, c. UDRP, d. Quote of the Week, e. SO/AC accountability, f. Theatre of the Absurd, 3) Names, Domains & Trademarks: It only gets worse for ICANN & new gTLDs, 4) ICYMI: Free Speech & Internet Freedom, 5) Investing: Gold, Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency, 6) Most Read.

1) Is This The Last Round of ICANN New gTLD .AFRICA Litigation?
UPDATE Sept 10, 2017: New gTLD .AFRICA Litigation--Plaintiff DCA (DotConnectAfrica Trust) Survives ICANN's Motion for Summary Judgment--"ICANN's motion for summary judgment is denied as to the second, third, fourth, fifth, and tenth causes of action. The motion is granted as to the remaining causes of action."[p.10] [Dated Aug 9, 2017](emphasis added)."
Graphic of New gTLD .AFRICA
Excerpt from ICANN's Reply In Support of ICANN's Motion for Summary Judgment p.2 (filed Aug 4, 2017)
Excerpt from Declaration of Sophia Bekele Eshete (highlighting added)
Bottom Line: Either the Covenant Not To Sue in the New gTLD Applicant Guidebook is enforceable or not. Previously, the California Superior Court on February 3, 2017 (pdf), denied Plaintiff DotConnectAfrica Trust's (DCA) Motion for Preliminary Injunction citing the U.S. District Court Order in Ruby Glen, LLC v ICANN (pdf), holding that the "covenant not to sue" in the Guidebook is enforceable, thereby allowing ICANN to delegate .AFRICA in favor of registry operator ZA Central Registry.

Recent filings in the DCA vs ICANN et al California Superior Court action:

ICANN's Reply in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment [PDF, 9.08 MB] Aug 4, 2017
Plaintiff's Opposition to ICANN's Motion for Summary Judgment [PDF, 689 KB] July 26, 2017
ICANN's Motion for Summary Judgment [PDF, 3.33 MB] May 26, 2017

2) Other ICANN news
 ICANN FY18 Operating Plan and Budget
a. ICANN FY18 Operating Plan and Budget adopted by the Board, June, 2017 (pdf) excerpt below is ICANN FY18 (ending June 30, 2018) funding:
Apparently ICANN expects to lose one-fourth of all registrars in FY18 (ending June 2018)
b. ICANN At-Large Community / At-Large Advisory Committee (ALAC): "This fully updated Final Report contains a list of recommendations which Reviewers believe reflect the needs of At-Large Community and for which there is sufficient community consensus. There were some cases where agreement with the current At-Large leadership was not reached, but which Reviewers strongly believe need to be implemented in the interests of the At-Large Community and the ICANN organisation as a whole."--Review of the ICANN At-Large Community Final Report (pdf), 2 May 2017, p.6. Is "current leadership" the core problem inside ALAC?

c.  Where to Search UDRP Decisions | circleid.com"Unfortunately, there is no longer an official, central repository of all UDRP decisions that is freely available online." [Editor's note: ICANN created the UDRP (note the broken links on that ICANN webpage), but no longer keeps a central repository of UDRP decisions for quality control oversight and review for consistency, education of trademark and domain name registrants, etc. ICANN would rather pay bloated salaries and benefits to the inept cronies* of ICANN ex-CEO Fadi Chehade and his "sidekick" ICANN Global Domains President Akram Atallah, rather than spend money doing its job competently for the global internet community. What would it take for ICANN to do its job properly in this regard? Just one lawyer who could work remotely from his/her home, provided ICANN required all UDRP providers to file their decisions electronically via a searchable, sortable, ICANN database interface.]
*IoNmag.asia"only one member of the C-suite hired since [ICANN CEO] Chehade came on board has not been a friend or former co-worker [of Chehade and Atallah] ... Every new vice president based in the Los Angeles headquarters has been a friend or former co-worker. Frustrated with the community intransigence, Chehade hired from within the community to deal with the community, while his group in Los Angeles became increasingly separated from the broader organization and began to think of themselves as almost a separate company." (emphasis added)

d. Quote of the week:
"I'm sure quite a lot of "professional" analysis and discourse has led to serious errors of policy at ICANN. I'm sure a lot of professionals made predictions about new gTLDs and appropriate strategies, for themselves and their clients, all now proven wrong. Many folks lost money, time, and careers due to those mistakes, betting the wrong way. They're looking for a new direction, superior analysis, and better solutions than those of the past ... I think the evidence-based policy making (as opposed to the flawed policymaking at ICANN that got us here, which was based on incorrect conjectures and weak analysis) will ultimately lead us in the right direction."--George Kirikos [gnso-rpm-wg] (emphasis added)
e. CCWG Accountability WS2 SO/AC Accountability Subgroup Meeting #29, 17 August 2017,
excerpt re: comment submitted by editor of DomainMondo.com:

f. Theatre of the Absurd ICANN-style: Enhancing ICANN Accountability WS2 Jurisdiction  SubGroup Meeting #42, 16 August 2017:
"This is Greg [Greg Shatan, WS2 Jurisdiction SubGroup Rapporteur]. If I could just respond first, we have not yet reached the discussion of the path forward proposal. We will get to it after this discussion. I'd like on see if anybody else agrees with Thiago's [Thiago Braz Jardim Oliveira, Brazilian diplomat, member of GAC] world view of the group. I find it a conspiracy theory and I don't indulge in conspiracy theories and but everyone is entitled to their opinion and worldview, just not entitled to their own facts"(emphasis added). Listen to the Adobe Connect Video Replay or mp3 audio for more.

3) Names, Domains & Trademarks
It only gets worse for ICANN & its new gTLDs (new generic top-level domains): Namecheap will discontinue several Uniregistry [Frank Schilling] and XYZ [Daniel Negari] domain extensions [new gTLDs] | OnlineDomain.com, [Editor's note: discontinued new gTLDs also include .RICH and .LUXURY, complete list here].
Discontinued Domains & Price Changes | Namecheap.com Blog: "... we do have to discontinue support of TLDs [top-level domains] from time to time. Some of our TLDs currently face significant price increases from the registry. As a result, we have decided to discontinue the sale of these [new gTLD] domains to protect our customers." (emphasis added) [Editor's note: don't look to ICANN for any consumer (registrant) protection, inept ICANN is the source of the problem.]
And Namecheap is not alone--GoDaddy also drops Uniregistry new gTLDs' domain names--"GoDaddy strives to provide its customers with great product experiences wherever possible. After careful consideration, we decided to stop offering new Uniregistry [new gTLD] domain names for sale because their pricing changes caused frustration and uncertainty with our customers."--Mike McLaughlin, EVP & GM, Domains, GoDaddy Inc., as reported in DomainNameWire.com, August 18, 2017.

4) ICYMI Internet Domain News 
•  Free Speech & Internet Freedom: internet intermediaries, e.g., GoDaddy, Google, and CloudFlare, barring neo-Nazis sets dangerous precedents for silencing legitimate voices — Fighting Neo-Nazis and the Future of Free Expression | Electronic Frontier Foundation | eff.org.

•  Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) government block on social media images an appalling attack on freedom of expression | Amnesty International | amnesty.org

•  China targets Alibaba's Taobao, other e-commerce sites, in VPN crackdown | Reuters.com

•  China ranks 134th in global internet speed while Taiwan comes in 3rd | Shanghaiist.com

•  India: With Internet Archive Ban, Bollywood's Fight Against Piracy Threatens Online Freedom Again | TheWire.in

•  U.S. Senate Crackdown on Online Sex Trafficking Hits Opposition | NYTimes.com

•  Apple and Amazon are helping China censor the internet | Slate.com

•  China is perfecting a new method for suppressing dissent on the internet | Vox.com

•  The War Over Internet Freedom Heats Up | capitalandmain.com: "The juggernaut of deregulation under the current administration threatens to crush the net neutralists."

5) Investing
Gold a safe haven? "... from July 1997 to September 1998, when the Asian financial crisis brought devaluations to half a dozen countries, the Russian ruble collapsed, and hedge fund Long-Term Capital Management was bailed out. Far from gaining from safe-haven flows, the yellow metal fell 13 percent ...."--Bloomberg.com
How about Bitcoin or other Cryptocurrencies?"99% of Cryptocurrencies are total scams. And, yes, Cryptocurrencies are in a bubble .... there's a lot of hype and scammers out there [Editor's note: sounds just like ICANN and the new gTLDs' hucksters in 2014]. We've seen this story at least twice before in past 20 years and many people have gotten hurt ..."--James Altucher | LinkedIn.com [Editor's note: Altucher goes on to note one can make money if you can identify which cryptocurrencies are legitimate and then successfully trade on the "volatility" in pricing--a challenging feat for most investors. You've Been Warned!]
For cautious investors, I suggest reading thoroughly: How to Bet on a Bond Market Collapse | USNews.com: "... Gundlach warned that rising interest rates will negatively impact stock prices as well ..."

6) Most read posts (# of pageviews Sun-Sat) this past week on DomainMondo.com: 
1. Tech Review: Amazon Plans to Disrupt Payments Industry (video)
2.  News Review: Uneducated and Illiterate, the Internet's Next Big User Group
3.  iPhone Generation: Lonely & Depressed Losers? (video)
4.  Alibaba Group $BABA Q2 2017 Earnings LIVE Webcast Aug 17 Replay

-- John Poole, Editor, Domain Mondo 

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