By Nick Patience The third and final seat up for grabs in the current round of elections for places on the board of ICANN went to a Canadian intellectual property lawyer, Jonathan Cohen, who was busy horse- trading votes last week with other candidates last week, it now turns out successfully. Cohen secured the third […]
By Nick Patience
The third and final seat up for grabs in the current round of elections for places on the board of ICANN went to a Canadian intellectual property lawyer, Jonathan Cohen, who was busy horse- trading votes last week with other candidates last week, it now turns out successfully.
Cohen secured the third and final seat allocated to the domain name supporting organization (DNSO), which is for a one-year term. The other two seats were for two and three years and were secured last week by a Spanish lawyer and the chair of the Mexican chapter of the Internet Society (ISOC) respectively. These three board members will be part of the eventual 18-member board, which by next summer should also feature nine members selected by an at-large council. That council is supposed to represent individuals, but due to constraints imposed by California law cannot be voted for directly by individuals, hence the intermediate council. Cohen did not respond to requests for comment.
The election was suspended Friday following a technical glitch whereby the vote of one of the electorate which is the 19-member names council that runs the DNSO apparently went to the wrong candidate, although no details of exactly how the glitch effected the elections are available.
Nevertheless, the ICANN board decided in a closed telephone meeting on Monday to recognize the DNSO in full and authorized it to fulfill all its duties, including the election of the board members. In addition, the board passed resolutions requiring the seven constituencies to bring their constituencies into line with ICANN’s geographical diversity requirements by either January 15 or February 1 2000. Moreover, the non-commercial domain holder’s constituency is being told that it will only be recognized once it removes the part of its charter that says nobody can be a member if it if they are already part of one of the other constituencies and it too must get its geographical diversity sorted out; both of which it must do by February 1.
Meanwhile, amid the controversy over the election, the whole DNSO has gone to ground it seems, with nobody wishing to comment on the record. It appears that Cohen, a partner with the law firm of Shapiro, Cohen in Ottawa, beat out Peter Dengate-Thrush, a trademark lawyer from New Zealand, and Nii Quaynor, a computer scientist from Ghana.
Cries immediately went up that the US has been shut out of the elections, but it should be pointed out that under ICANN’s geographical splits, Cohen is representing North America; Asian and Africans are probably equally peeved that they didn’t get anybody on the board at this stage. The US voices are especially loud because Rick White, a former US Congressman was put forward to stand for election late on by influential forces within the DNSO, presumably with the expectation that he would win a seat. The other two supporting organizations (SO), the protocol SO and IP address SO will also hold elections soon among themselves. The protocol SO will no doubt pick one representative from each of the three IP registries, representing North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific.
Meanwhile, ICANN has appointed Louis Touton as VP, general counsel and secretary. In recognition of ICANN’s parlous financial position, Touton, a colleague of the current acting counsel Joe Sims at Jones Day Reavis & Pogue, says he will waive his salary at least through the end of ICANN’s fiscal year, ending June 30, 2000. Sims said last year he was working on a pro bono basis, but ICANN ended up paying Jones Day about $500,000 for his services in July. Touton is leaving Jones Day to work full-time at ICANN and starts November 1.