May 22, 2009

May 22, 2009

To: AAF Members
From: Clark Rector, Senior Vice President-Government Affairs
Re: Internet Governance

The AAF has joined a number of other organizations in writing to U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke asking that the Department maintain continued involvement in the governance of the Internet.

The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is the principal supervisory body for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). ICANN is preparing to conclude its longstanding Memorandum of Understanding with the Department in September 2009. Absent the Department’s supervisory role there will be no way to hold ICANN accountable for governance decisions that might adversely affect the business community or other users and stakeholders in the Internet.

One example of the potential danger is ICANN’s proposed plan to create thousands of new generic Top Level Domains (gTLD) on the Internet. If enacted the plan could create a huge financial burden on companies by forcing them to defensively register brands and trademarks to protect them from cyber-squatters and pirates. Here is a copy of my alert from last December and the comments we submitted with others to ICANN at that time.

Our letter to Secretary Locke can be found here. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any comments or questions.