From IP Justice and Keep the Core Neutral Coalition
www.ipjustice.org 
Public Comments Open on Domain Name Policy at ICANN
Netizens Encouraged to Weigh-In on Free Expression Concerns

(San Francisco) - ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and
Numbers, announced Friday that a 21-day comment period has opened for the
public to submit comments regarding ICANN's proposed policy for approving
new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) on the Internet.  The Keep The Core
Neutral coalition (KTCN) has created a new Action Alert to guide supporters
in submitting comments to ICANN.  The Action Alert web page can be found at
http://www.keep-the-core-neutral.org/action1 and KTCN appeals to all
supporters of free expression to participate in this public action.

KTCN is concerned with policy recommendations for ICANN to reject domain
names that others find to be offensive or immoral.  KTCN calls on ICANN to
refrain from making general policy decisions and to stick to its technical
mission.  KTCN launched in June 2007 and now has over 200 organizational
and individual members from around the world. All coalition members have
signed a petition urging ICANN to refrain from using non-technical criteria
for approving applications for new gTLDs and to create a policy driven by
the protection freedom of expression and innovation on the Internet.

The KTCN Action Alert addresses remaining flaws in the latest report from
ICANN's Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) and provides sample
text to suggest changes that would correct those flaws. The public comment
period will close at 4 pm on 30 August 2007, and a complete summary and
analysis of community feedback will be made available by ICANN shortly
thereafter. That summary will be considered by the GNSO Council, which will
vote on the report on 6 September 2007. If the Council accepts the policy
recommendations, the ICANN Board will then consider it as early as the end
of October 2007.

ICANN, a private non-profit corporation operating under a Joint Project
Agreement with the U.S. government, currently accredits 15 gTLDs operating
on the Internet, including familiar ones such as ".com" and ".net" as well
as several less well-known such as ".biz" and ".info". ICANN is currently
considering policy that would allow it to reject applications for new gTLDs
if they violate some undefined standard of "morality or public order." But
the existence of globally agreed cultural or legal standards is doubtful,
opening up a sizable potential for nations with restrictions on expression
to impose them on the whole world. Setting such precedents for generalized
public governance at ICANN would be dangerous, as it does not have a
governance structure that is effectively accountable to the general public.
This policy also establishes a subjective process for challenging gTLD
applications that raises costs for domain name applicants and encourages
self-censorship.

In addition to the current Action Alert, KTCN will continue to accept
additional members and signatures on its petition, which will be delivered
to the ICANN Board as it prepares to vote on this policy. The coalition
encourages sympathetic individuals and organizations to join and sign the
petition, found on its web site at:

http://www.keep-the-core-neutral.org/

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PDF version:
http://www.keep-the-core-neutral.org/files/Keep%20The%20Core%20Neutral%20Media%20Release%2020070813.pdf
IP Justice webpage on ICANN Domain Name Policy:
http://ipjustice.org/wp/campaigns/icann/gtlds/ 
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