The Individual Domain Name Owners Constituency

38 Sharon Road
Browns Bay
New Zealand
fax +64 9 4795552

August 11, 1999

To the members of the Board of Directors of the
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)
4676 Admiralty Way, Suite 330
Marina del Rey, CA 90292


This letter constitutes a reiteration of our public petition of 23 April, 1999 under Article VI-B, Section 3(d) of the ICANN bylaws for recognition of the Individual Domain Name Owner’s constituency (the IDNO) as a Constituency of ICANN’s Domain Name Supporting Organization (the DNSO.)

The IDNO was formed in April 1999.  It is a self-organized, primarily member funded, highly international constituency, springing from no pre-existing organizations or structures.  Yet its membership is already larger than of any of the existing DNSO Constituencies.  And we expect that the IDNO's membership will grow rapidly once the IDNO is a recognized constituency.

IDNO members are active participants in ICANN, having attended several of ICANN’s meetings.

Our members come from many parts of the world.

IDNO members are active participants in the DNSO’s General Assembly and in the DNSO’s various working groups.

The IDNO maintains a site on the World Wide Web at containing a members’ list, charter, archive of on-line discussions, voting system, and other materials and resources.

The IDNO has a public, archived e-mail discussion list.

The IDNO is the only constituency with a fully operational electronic voting system that has been repeatedly and successfully used to guide the IDNO as it evolves.

The purpose the IDNO is to give a voice to those individuals who “own” domain names.

The IDNO’s focus is on individuals, not on corporations or organizations.  The IDNO does not care whether a member is a businessperson, a teacher, an artist, or a person using the Internet to express his or her opinions.

Because essentially all of the existing DNSO constituencies are open only to corporations and organizations, these individuals have no way but the IDNO to fully participate within the DNSO.

We must mention that membership in the DNSO General Assembly, although nominally open to individuals, is no substitute for having a Constituency to defend Individuals' domain name interests.  It is only through the IDNO as a recognized Constituency that individual domain name owners can participate with a full and peer voice on the DNSO’s names council.

Why should the Individuals be represented in the DNSO?

The IDNO has adopted an inclusive approach to its membership.  Unlike other Constituencies which require that a candidate for membership be a corporation or an organization, or be engaged in a particular type of business, the IDNO simply looks at whether a candidate “owns” a domain name.

The IDNO measures ownership not by legal formalisms, but rather by a pragmatic evaluation whether the candidate has sufficient elements of control over a domain name that it amounts to what reasonable people would consider to be ownership.  Our membership rules permit membership even when the domain name owner owns the name through a intermediary, such as a corporation or trust, that is fully under the control of the candidate.

The IDNO has evolved beyond a gathering of people.  The IDNO has both an elected Steering Committee and a Membership Committee.

The IDNO is an early, and perhaps the first, successful experiment in broadly based democratic participation within ICANN.

The IDNO brings to ICANN the concerns of the individual domain name owner, concerns that have so far lacked an advocate.

We have attached two Appendices to this petition:



Joop Teernstra 
(Constituency bootstrap) New Zealand

IDNO Steering Committee:

Karl Auerbach United States
Dan Steinberg Canada
William X. Walsh United States
Mikki Barry United States
Kevin Kelly United States
Srikanth Narra India
Roeland Meyer United States
Bradley Thornton United States
Dietmar Stefitz Spain
Arnold Gehring United States
Andy Gardner New Zealand
Rachel Luxemburg United States
Karl Peters United States
Joe Abley New Zealand
Mark Langston United States
Dennis Schaefer United States
David Zanetti New Zealand
Rod Dixon United States
Mark Measday Switzerland
Joan Faber United States
Allan Speedy New Zealand


Appendix A – Relevant sections of the ICANN By-Laws



(a)  Each Constituency shall self-organize, and shall determine its own criteria for participation, except that no individual or entity shall be excluded from participation in a Constituency merely because of participation in another Constituency, and constituencies shall operate to the maximum extent feasible in an open and transparent manner and consistent with procedures designed to ensure fairness.  The Board shall recognize a Constituency (including the initial Constituencies described in (b) below) by a majority vote, whereby the Constituency shall be deemed to exist for purposes of these Bylaws.

(d) Any group of individuals or entities may petition the Board for recognition as a new or separate Constituency.  Any such petition will be posted for public comment pursuant to Article III, Section 3.  The Board may create new Constituencies in response to such a petition, or on its own motion, if it determines that such action would serve the purposes of the Corporation.  In the event the Board is considering acting on its own motion it shall post a detailed explanation of why such action is necessary or desirable, set a reasonable time for public comment, and not make a final decision on whether to create such new Constituency until after reviewing all comments received.  Whenever the Board posts a petition or recommendation for a new Constituency for public comment, it will notify the names council and will consider any response to that notification prior to taking action.

Appendix B – IDNO Charter

Note: This charter is still evolving and parts are still awaiting ratification (using our electronic voting system) from our growing membership.  Those parts that have been ratified are in bold.

1. Constituency purpose and mission.

1.1 Purpose: to provide representation in the DNSO for all Domain Name Owners, who do not wish to be classified as non-commercial, nor wish to be represented by the Business constituency.  We will represent the concerns of individuals rather than organizations.

1.2 Mission: to ensure that Individual Domain Name Owners, as stakeholders in the DNS, will have a strong say in all new ICANN rulemaking that will affect their financial interest, on-line freedom or security of existence.

2. Constituency Name and definition

2.1 The Name “the Cyberspace Association” will be subjected to a vote by the members as soon as the membership has passed 100 members.

2.2. The Individual Domain Name Owners Constituency is requesting the ICANN board to approve it’s membership of the DNSO in accordance with the US government’s White Paper and allow it to contribute 3 elected representatives from among its members to the Names Council of the DNSO.

3. Constituency principles: democracy, transparency, accountability in all the Constituency’s activities and representations. Philosophy: freedom of enterprise in the TLD and SLD space.

4. Eligibility and membership.

4.1. IDNO constituency membership is open to any individual person who can demonstrate “colour of title” to a Domain name.

4.2. No individual may have more than a single membership in the IDNO.

4.3. “Colour of title” means enough control over a domain name that a reasonable person could conclude that such control constitutes “ownership”.  Examples of elements to be considered may include, and are not limited to, the following:

4.3.1. Whether the candidate is named in domain contact information.

4.3.2. Whether the candidate’s own funds were used to pay any registration fees. - Whether the candidate may cause the domain name to be relinquished.

4.3.3. Whether the candidate may be considered the intended beneficial owner of a domain name that is registered or operated by some intermediary.

4.3.4. In the cases of direct control of domain name by a corporation or other entity, whether that entity’s control of the domain name is effectively directed by the candidate and subject to his/her discretion.

4.4. In cases where control of a domain is diffused among multiple individuals that domain may not be used as a basis of membership.

4.5. No single domain name may be used to support membership of more than one individual.

4.6. The domain name used as a basis of membership must be a Domain Name that is not a top level domain name, nor a reserved second level Domain name in registries where this level is not open for individual registration.

4.7. Administrative staff may determine whether a candidate has presented adequate prima facie evidence of colour of title to a domain name.

4.8. Disputes about entitlement to membership or entitlement to candidacy to the Names Council shall be resolved by an elected membership committee of the IDNO.  Such committee shall examine the totality of the facts and make such decisions as appropriate.  The decisions of such committee are final with regards to basic membership.  With regards to candidature to the Names Council they are open to appeal to the entire membership, which will decide by majority vote.

4.8.1. The membership committee shall have a minimum of three members and a maximum of nine.

4.9. Non-Exclusivity - Members associated with other DNSO constituencies may be members of the IDNO constituency as long as they meet the eligibility criteria.

4.10. Non-Duplication - Members are subject to the following voting restrictions:

4.10.1. Any member who is either a voting member, representative of a voting member, or who effectively controls a voting member in one or more other constituencies of the DNSO may not vote or stand for election in the IDNO unless the member, for a period of at least nine months, waives and does not exercise such voting rights in those other constituencies.

4.10.2. Any member who has been elected to the Names Council by another DNSO constituency may not vote or stand for election in the IDNO during his or her term.

4.11. Loss of membership. Rules with regards to loss of membership will be drawn up by an elected membership committee for approval by the general membership.  Such rules will assure a Fair Hearing of all parties. Sole criterion for loss of membership should be direct action against the best interests of the IDNO or blatant conflict of interest with the mission and purpose of the IDNO.

5. Nominations. ** to be discussed and approved

5.1. Any member can nominate any other member as a candidate for a seat on the Names Council.

5.2. The candidate should approve of the nomination within a reasonable period.

5.3. Self - nomination is not possible.

5.4. In order to be placed on the candidates’ list, a nominee must secure one vote seconding the nomination.

6. Voting for representatives.

6.1. All Individual members will vote as individuals.

6.2. Owning more than one Domain Name will not give rights to multiple votes per individual.

6.3. Detailed procedures for voting will be established.  It is envisaged that the system of voting for candidates will take full advantage of the potential inherent in on-line voting, i.e. each voter can express a preference-vote for each candidate on a list of candidates.

6.4. A steering committee will be established of no less than 5 members and no more than 21, that will be tasked with drafting the charter of the constituency in more detail and nominating candidates for committees.  The initial steering committee will stand for re-election after three months. After the initial term, the term of office will be six months.

6.5. Spokespeople will be those who gain the highest approval ratings in elections.  The total number of spokespeople will be determined by vote of the steering committee.

7. Elections committee.

7.1. As soon as this is feasible, the membership will establish an election committee of at least 3 members, who will be tasked with overseeing all procedures regarding the nomination of candidates and their election as representatives for the constituency on the Names Council.

7.2. In the interim, the membership may choose to elect one election officer, tasked with overseeing the election of the initial representative(s) to the meeting in Berlin.

8. Using the Internet for procedures. Mailing list.

8.1. Candidates are nominated and accept their nominations via email to a mailing list to which all members are subscribed.

8.2. Voting will take place on-line, unless 60% of the membership is physically present in a meeting.

8.3. Verification of on-line votes.  The election committee will have full access to all logs and records generated by the on-line voting system.

9. On-line decision making.  Discussion list , free speech and moderation.

9.1 All members can participate in policy making discussions via the all-member mailing list.

9.2 Clearly frivolous postings can be moderated and postings aimed at disruption of proceedings can be disallowed.

9.3 The will of the majority will find expression in the decisions of a moderation committee that will be tasked with drafting and implementing fair rules aimed at maintaining civil discourse and discouraging abuse of the freedom of speech.

9.4 In principle the members of the moderation committee can be the members elected to represent the constituency on the Names Council, but they may stand aside for other elected moderators.

9.5 Members of the election committee will be ineligible for moderator.

9.6 In these rules the principle of free exchange of idea’s and opinions will be paramount and procedures for Fair Hearings and Due Process will form part of any such rules.

9.7 Meeting list.  For the purpose of holding formal meetings, a second list is envisaged. Rules for procedures on this list, archiving and public record will be drafted in further detail.

10. Funding. Minimal membership fees will be set to defray the expenses of representation, website- and mailing list hosting and other expenses related to the necessary functions of the constituency.  The constituency will seek donations from members and other sources to defray initial expenses.