Why ICANN has no members

Why ICANN has no members

In a recent NYT article, Rod Beckstrom, ICANNs new CEO opined that "California is a good place for ICANN" because the laws work well for technology firms".

Tthat's an interesting opinion, but I'd like to hear lawyers chime in on that one, cause, I sure don't think so, and hey, I love California and lived there for a decade.

Around the time ICANN, ORSC and BWG were drafting bylaws for the NTIA proposal to be the "newco", the issue of where to incorporate we examined in great depth, and the group I was involved drafting with, ORSC pondered "how does one choose a state to incorporate in?" That is what criteria do lawyers use? I'll tell you what our lawyer said.

Turns out what they look for is a robust and predictable set of state laws. The more people understand how laws are interpreted in a state the more likely that state will be chosen as the seat of incorporation. This is one of the major reasons Delaware is so often chosen and the place to incorporate - the laws are well understood, precedents abound, and you're less likely to get surprised there. Not so with California. They're not considered to be as robust or predictable. Which makes sense, each coast law is much older and has had time to set precedents for things that haven't happened in California yet.

Nobody really knows why California was chosen, as it was chosen in secret, so one can only guess and it's probably not coincidence that the ICANN office is 4 stories up in the same building where Jon Postel worked all his life at USC/ISI.

Now, California has a law on the books that has caused ICANN work around it, in defiance to the mandate handed them by the US Government - membership.

In California members of an organization can sue the board to remove them if a certain percentage are unhappy, and the organization has to pay the legal bill. Boom. Karl Aurbach figured this one out.

And this, and this alone, is why ICANN does not have, nor will it ever have, members. It's afraid its members, if they were to exist, would "throw the bums out". Why?

Another goal the DoC set out for ICANN was for it to have a board that was "immune to capture". If you can't vote to get rid of them how are ever supposed to get rid of a board that's been captured?