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Re: [alac] UDRP issue prioritization -- no clear message?


I agree with Wendy.  I cannot confidently base that on as intimate a knowledge 
of the UDRP as Wendy can.  But the process here seems flawed.  Apart from the 
specific topic at hand, I would consider any list of issues that includes both 
systemic and nip-and-tuck considerations to be a sign of insufficient initial 
consideration of the problem at hand.  To the extent that this request for 
prioritization does not help members of ALAC engage with the UDRP 
reconsideration, it must seem to the broader world of internet users completely 


Kenneth Hamma
Asst. Director, Getty Museum
Sr. Advisor for Information Policy, Getty Trust

1200 Getty Center Drive, 1000
Los Angeles, CA  90049-1687

v  +1 310 440 7186
e  khamma@xxxxxxxxx
f  +1 310 440 7752


>>> Wendy Seltzer <wendy@xxxxxxxxxxx> 09/23/03 06:42AM >>>
Thanks Thomas,
I'd agree that UDRP is an issue on which the Internet-using public, 
and this committee, have a variety of opinions.  At the same time, 
I'd say that the list of issues we were given to prioritize is 
particularly unhelpful in reaching any consensus.  The issues 
differed widely in scope, some reaching to the core of the policy 
(definition of "confusing similarity" and holding vs. "use") or its 
operation (precedential value), others having a more limited nature 
(should decisions be put in a central repository, should complaints 
and responses be published, should providers be accredited).

It appears that those who think the entire UDRP is broken in a way 
that harms individual registrants favor broad changes to the 
substance of the procedure to balance the power of challenger and 
respondent and to provide better notice to registrants of their 
rights, while those who think the UDRP as-is does a good job of 
protecting the public against cybersquatting confusion favor study of 
more minimal changes to regularize its procedures.

Personally, I think the UDRP is a mess, unpredictable and often at 
odds with legal principles and free speech concerns.  I don't want to 
be rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic, engaging in a "study" that 
validates a fundamentally broken process by adding a procedural 
nicety or two.

That said, I think Thomas's statement below does a good job reporting 
our committee discussion.  Since ALAC isn't a "constituency," it 
probably wouldn't have any effect if we did submit a specific list, 

I'd leave out the Verisign mention.

At 0:59 +0200 9/23/03, Thomas Roessler wrote:
>First, apologies for coming up with this so lately; we only have
>about a day left for coming to closure on this.
>Reviewing the issues that were mentioned on the list, and the little
>discussion that has occured, I'm under the impression that we don't
>actually have a clear set of issues to push on the GNSO council.
>Only six committee members contributed to the discussion.  Four
>issues were mentioned by four committee members each, and another
>five issues were mentioned by three committee members each.
>Opposition came from Hong against raising any substantial issues
>(two of which -- 13, 18 -- received four "votes"), and from myself
>regarding the centralized database -- 1 --, on the basis that this
>is not a policy question; 1 also received four "votes".
>I do not believe that there is, at this point, a strong enough
>collective view on this committee on what specific issues should be
>raised on the council.
>For this reason, I'd probably refrain from submitting a list of five
>to the council, and would instead send a more general note, roughly
>like this one:
>From: roessler
>To: council
>Subject: ALAC remarks on UDRP prioritization
>ALAC members have had some discussion on the staff manager's issues
>report on UDRP review.  There is no clear consensus on the ALAC
>about what issues would be our "top five."
>Committee members were concerned about questions of transparency and
>accountability regarding UDRP decisions (issues 1, 2, 4, 5 are
>relevant to this); about internal appelate review and precedential
>effect (10, 19); and in particular about affirmative defenses (18),
>the interpretation of "holding vs. use" (15), and the interpretation
>of "confusing similarity" (13).
>It was observed that a centralized database of UDRP decisions (issue
>1) would have most value if there is enforceable precedential value
>to earlier decisions.  Issues 4 and 5 were considered to be so
>closely related that they should probably be dealt with together.
>[ We also note that the sitefinder service that has been deployed by
>Verisign is not just breaking design assumptions made by technology,
>but also affects assumptions made in the UDRP. Depending on how
>things further evolve in this question, issue 20 (cancellation as a
>remedy under the UDRP) may become an urgent matter for the GNSO to
>deal with. ]
>Thoughts?  (Not sure about the sitefinder reference, since our (and
>probably everyone's) preferred outcome is clearly that sitefinder be
>shut down, not that the UDRP adapt to it.  Should I keep it or
>remove it?)
>Thomas Roessler  <roessler@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
>At-Large Advisory Committee: http://alac.info/ 

Wendy Seltzer -- wendy@xxxxxxxxxxx || wendy@xxxxxxx 
Staff Attorney, Electronic Frontier Foundation
Fellow, Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School