NPOC

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The Not-for-Profit Operational Concerns Constituency (NPOC) is a new constituency within the Generic Names Supporting Organization's Non-Commercial Stakeholder Group (NCSG). NPOC represents the interests of domain name registrants who belong to non-profit and non-government organizations. NPOC participates in ICANN community discussions on policy issues related to the Internet and Domain Name System (DNS), as such issues have a significant impact on the operations of these organizations and their delivery of services that are beneficial to various communities. NPOC was approved by the ICANN Board on June 24, 2011.[1] Amber Sterling serves as Interim Chairman until April 2012 when elections results for the period 2012-2012 were announced. A notice of Election was issued to its member on January 9, 2012 and election of NPOC Officers was conducted on March 5, 2012. A list of 2012-2013 elected NPOC Executive Committee members is available here.

At ICANN 43, the NPOC met with the Non-Commercial Stakeholders Group and later issued a joint-statement in which they declared that some of their previous outstanding contentions had been resolved and that the two groups were looking forward to fruitful engagement in the future. They wrote that, "Initial positive steps were made in order to begin to build trust between the two NCSG constituencies and we are all committed in working together for the promotion of non-commercial interests in the Internet. We believe we can work out our differences and our governance issues internally."[2]

Background

In June, 2008, the ICANN Board made recommendations on how to improve the operations and structure of the GNSO. One of its recommendations was the development of new GNSO constituencies in accordance with Article X, Section 5(4) of the ICANN Bylaws. As there were no specific guidelines stipulated in the ICANN Bylaws on how the community could file a petition for a new constituency, the ICANN Staff helped the community by formulating procedures in accordance with principles within the Bylaws, as directed by the ICANN Board. In October, 2008, two procedures were formulated and adopted by the Internet community: the submission of a Notice of Intent (NOIF) to Form a New GNSO Constituency and a formal Petition/Charter. NPOC submitted its NOIF on June 15, 2010, followed by its Petition/Charter on November 2, 2010, which was subsequently revised on December 7, 2010.[3]

A public comment regarding NPOC's intention to become a new GNSO Constituency was conducted by ICANN staff from December 1, 2010 until January 30, 2011.[4] The Charter of NPOC was approved by ICANN on June 24, 2011, and this NPOC became an official GNSO constituency.[5]

Structure

The NPOC is composed of Executives, Members, and Policy and Communications Committees. The constituency is to elect a Chairman, Vice Chairman, Secretariat and Committee Chairs. The officers and members of each committee shall be elected by the constituency members. Each term will last a year and any elected officer cannot serve more than more than five years within a ten years period. The rules and responsibilities of the elected officers are defined in the NPOC Charter.[6]

A list of 2012-2013 elected NPOC Executive Committee members is available here.

Members

The current members of NPOC include:[7]

  • ALSAC / St. Jude Children's Research Hospital - United States
  • American Council on Education (ACE) - United States
  • American Red Cross (ARC) - United States
  • Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) - United States
  • Australian Red Cross Society - Australia
  • Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio Communication (BNNRC) - Bangladesh
  • Centre for Science and Media Studies - India
  • Church of God in Christ, Inc. - United States
  • Corporacion Makia Asesoria Internacional - Colombia
  • Fundacion Chasquinet - Ecuador
  • Fundacion Omar Dengo - Costa Rica
  • Goodwill Industries International - United States
  • Human Rights Campaign - United States
  • IICD - The Netherlands
  • International Baccalaureate Organization - Switzerland
  • International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Socieites (IRC) - Switzerland
  • March of Dimes - United States
  • St. John Ambulance - United Kingdom
  • Tranquil Space Foundation - United States
  • The Association of NGOs (TANGO) - The Gambia
  • Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF) - United States
  • World Wildlife Fund (WWF) - United States
  • YMCA of The Gambia - The Gambia
  • YMCA of the USA - United States
  • YoungLIfe - United States

NPOC at ICANN 42

Debra Hughes represented the NPOC Constituency during the ICANN 42 meeting on October 26, 2011 held at Dakar, Senegal. She provided some updates to the ICANN community regarding the recent activities of NPOC and introduced the interim leadership of the constituency, which included: [8]

During the meeting, Ms. Hughes also informed the participants of the ICANN meeting that NPOC was concerned about the security and stability of the Internet and plans to concentrate on supporting DNSSEC and other internet security issues. Hughes emphasized that their constituency is ready to be actively involved in the different ICANN activities.

Comments on ICANN Issues

Since its establishment, NPOC had been active in sharing comments and recommendations on different ICANN issues, particularly regarding the new gTLD program, which launched on January 12, 2012. The organization submitted its comments during the drafting of the Applicant Guidebook; most recently, comments were submitted on May 15, 2011 by Amber Sterling, Chairwoman of the constituency. NPOC's comments include the following:

  • The ICANN Board should provide price options for non-profit organizations for new gTLD applications based on criteria.
  • It was suggested that the ICANN Board implement an initial evaluation period to weigh the costs and benefits of proposed new gTLDs to the public.
  • NPOC praised the ICANN Board's initiative in adding questions to the new gTLD application related to an applicant's intent. In connection to this, NPOC suggested to grade the answers to those questions as part of the review of applications.
  • NPOC suggested to further define the role of Independent Objector (IO) in connection with IO selection, IO support, IO application review and decision, to ascertain if it is necessary to object or not.
  • It was recommended that marks not protected by court or statute should be submitted to the Trademark Clearinghouse periodically (every 3 years) and a requirement during the Sunrise Period. In addition, the expansion of trademark claims and Sunrise Period services was also recommended by the constituency as well as the reduction of Clearinghouse filing fees for non-profit organizations.
  • It was also recommended that the Uniform Rapid Suspension (URS) fees be reduced for non-profit organizations.[9]

NPOC's compilation of comments on the different DNS Policy Issues of ICANN can be found here.

Senate Hearing Testimony Regarding New gTLD Expansion

On December 8, 2011, Angela Williams, General Counsel of YMCA of the USA, testified during a hearing conducted by the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation regarding the ICANN's new gTLD program. Ms. Williams also represented NPOC and testified that new gTLD program compromises the use of the Internet by increasing the risk of fraud, cybersquatting, and trademark infringement and by significantly escalating the cost to protect against such unlawful activities. She requested the Senate committee and all parties involved to further evaluate the program with the non-profit organizations in mind.[10]

Some people were surprised with the sudden participation of Williams in the Senate Hearing due to the fact the YMCA never had an active role nor participated within the ICANN community. Kieren Mc Carthy of .nxt believed that the organizations move is an Intellectual Property lobby. [11]

References