April 3, 2007

Odd Drafting of ICANN's .xxx Resolution

Until this last week every resolution before ICANN for a new TLD was written as a positive question, roughly in the form "should we approve this TLD?"

The .xxx resolution, unlike all of its predecessors, was written in the negative; it was in the form of "should we deny this TLD?".

That made things very odd, and the transcript contains several interventions by ICANN's chairman to clarify that "no" meant "yes" and that "yes" meant "no".  Indeed one director, in explaining her vote got the two in reverse.

By passing this resolution, ICANN's board voted to doing nothing - the same effect would have been achieved simply by not having a vote at all.  That's a rather odd way of doing business but it's a legitimate way.  However it is quite at odds with ICANN's past practices.

Which raises the question: Why the change?  And the ancillary question: Who wrote the resolution?

My own feeling, based only on speculation, is that the resolution was written by ICANN's "staff" and outside legal counsel in was put into that form in expectation of litigation and a feeling that the negative form would be a stronger prophalytic.

Posted by karl at April 3, 2007 1:50 AM