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An Open Letter to ICANN

  • date icon May 26, 2016
  • category icon

from the Internet Economy

Göran Marby
President and CEO
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers
12025 Waterfront Drive, Suite 300
Los Angeles, CA 90094–2536

Dear Mr. Marby:

Congratulations on your appointment as President and CEO of ICANN, an organization that is undergoing intense and rapid change. The Internet industry is an important stakeholder in ICANN, and we wish you success in your new role. The Internet Association represents nearly 40 of the world’s leading Internet companies. We support the IANA transition — both as members of ICANN’s Business Constituency as well as in our own capacity — and were actively involved in the multistakeholder process.

Earlier this week, I testified about the IANA transition before the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee. I explained to the Senators why our members support the transition and discussed the risks of a failed multistakeholder process. It is critically important that a successful ICANN multistakeholder process succeed, not just in theory, but also in reality. Your first 100 days in office provide a significant opportunity for you to send the right signal to the multistakeholder community: the new ICANN is indeed different and committed not only to the letter but also to the spirit of the IANA transition proposal.

In order to preserve the Internet’s position as a free and open platform for innovation and growth, we recommend that ICANN adhere to several suggestions:

First, ICANN must prioritize not only Workstream 1 but also the Workstream 2 proposals. The latter Workstream is not yet complete and includes several very important issues for the multistakeholder community going forward. As one important stakeholder in ICANN — the GNSO — has explained, Workstream 2 issues “remain vitally important and must be budgeted and supported at a level sufficient to ensure their development and implementation.”

Second, at the next ICANN gathering in Helsinki, you should send a clear signal to the multistakeholder community that ICANN will not engage beyond its core mission statement. Of particular concern to Internet Association members is that a post-transition ICANN would become a new forum for policing beyond its core mandate. Specifically, ICANN should leave intellectual property content policing and enforcement to other forums better equipped to handle these issues.

Third, don’t be a stranger: come visit us. Internet platforms — including my member companies — are a global driver of the innovation economy, with Internet industries representing an estimated 6 percent, or $967 billion, of U.S. GDP in 2014. Today, more than three billion people, equivalent to 43 percent of the world’s population, use the Internet worldwide. Most of these people are consumers who derive significant benefits from Internet-enabled companies, including Internet Association members, that save customers time, money, and energy. These companies are important stakeholders in ICANN and have invested millions of dollars in the organization. They have also spent considerable political capital supporting the transition.

ICANN has a unique opportunity now, more than ever before, to set the Internet on a path forward to thrive. If properly executed, the new multistakeholder model will bring Internet users from around the world together to celebrate and invest in ideas that cultivate and strengthen innovation. With a bottom-up approach, the global Internet community can build consensus that drives Internet-positive policies and guidelines.

Successful completion of the IANA transition will strengthen the Internet’s position as one of the most accessible, empowering, and liberating forces in human history. The Internet community looks forward to working together with ICANN to accomplish our shared goal of preserving the open Internet and maintaining a robust multistakeholder model of governance.

Yours sincerely,
Michael Beckerman
President & CEO
Internet Association

Originally published on Medium.