issue 32  



..........|| Friday, 08.11.00 || ...........

 AT-LARGE ELECTION DIARY:  Exit the Monolithic Blob

by Judith Oppenheimer

Thursday morning August 10th, ICB Toll Free News reported that  ICANN was blasted by At-Large candidate Karl Auerbach for expropriating his copyrighted work, and compromising its legibility and efficacy.

The latter issue is no small matter in an election where voters - comprised only of activated At-Large members to begin with - have a meager fifteen days, per ICANN's rules:

August 15 - Beginning of member-endorsement period

August 31 - Deadline for activated members to endorse candidates for member-nomination.

To review nominees and choose who to endorse. ICANN muddied the nominees' submitted formatting -- "All paragraphs," Auerbach wrote to the ICANN board and staff, "have been collapsed into a single monolithic blob" -- and eradicated their hyperlinks.

(In web browsers an unlinked web address will simply show up as undistinguished text and the user can click on it until his or her mouse melts - but it will never go anywhere. If it is hyperlinked in the underlying HTML coding, then it will show up in color on the users screen and the user can click on it to go to the referenced web page. A fundamental utility of the world wide web.)

"Destruction of the format of the original destroys much of the semantic value of the material," Auerbach told ICB. "And not     hyperlinking the supplied URL is particularly prejudicial."

The missing hyperlinks would offer readers ready access to Mr. Auerbach's and others' web sites. In denying his demand to fix the problem, Mike Roberts, ICANN President, wrote, "The template for member nomination information was carefully constructed by the staff and was reviewed by the At Large Election Committee... If  you have suggestions for improvement in the template, please direct them to Andrew McLaughlin."

Perhaps a more level-headed Mr. McLaughlin found Auerbach's existing suggestion good enough, for without further notice the application submission was returned to Mr. Auerbach's original format and functionality (see

We note that other candidates' application submissions were then similarly returned to useful form as well.

As for Mr. Auerbach's copyright issue, he wrote to the ICANN board objecting "in the strongest of terms to ICANN placement of its own copyright notice on my own work - in particular on the material that I submitted for my candidacy for the ICANN board of directors. I am the author of that material. ICANN is not. I own the copyright. ICANN does not."

Roberts replied that Auerbach either accede to ICANN's copyright notice or withdraw from the election. "There isn't going to be any change in ICANN's copyright policy," he wrote. "You have a choice; you can participate in the member nomination process on the same basis as all the other nominees, or you can withdraw. If you choose to withdraw, please notify Andrew."

Karl did contact Andrew McLaughlin, but only to thank him personally for correcting for formatting of the ICANN At-Large Member nominees' pages.

As for Roberts, Auerbach told ICB, he "doesn't even appear to realize that [ICANN is] engaged in the overt expropriation of intellectual property."

Which is one reason why the ICANN board can't get fresh blood, soon enough.

Judith Oppenheimer is a noted toll free number and domain name expert; president of, and publisher of Copyright (c) 2000 ICB, Inc. All rights reserved.

Copyright (c) 2000 ICB, Inc. All rights reserved.