Skip to main content

Advisory: Court Ruling in Auerbach v. ICANN Lawsuit

Marina del Rey, California, USA (29 July 2002) -- At a hearing today, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Dzintra Janavs ordered that ICANN Director Karl Auerbach should be allowed to inspect specified ICANN documents, but also ruled that Auerbach must respect ICANN's confidentiality designations, with the Court to resolve any disagreements over the propriety of those designations. While ICANN believes that portions of the Court's legal analysis are incorrect, it notes that the practical effect of the overall ruling is quite similar to the ICANN procedure that Mr. Auerbach rejected last October.

That rejection was followed, in March, by Auerbach's filing of a lawsuit in the Los Angeles Superior Court (the local court of first instance) challenging ICANN's procedure. In her analysis, Judge Janavs ruled that California law does not permit California non-profit corporations to place any restrictions or conditions on director's inspection rights, but allows only courts to place restrictions, after a demand for inspection has been refused. In this respect, the court rejected ICANN's position. ICANN respectfully disagrees and will consider whether to appeal this decision upon review of the Court's written judgment, which will be issued next week.

The Court also ruled orally that ICANN must, by Friday of this week, provide Mr. Auerbach with electronic copies of all "non-confidential" (as designated by ICANN) materials he has requested that already exist in electronic form. However, the Court also established a procedure where the Court will decide the extent, if any, to which Mr. Auerbach may publish materials that ICANN considers confidential. The Court also sided with ICANN that Mr. Auerbach's inspection of such materials must be at ICANN's offices.

The ultimate effect of the Court order is essentially the same as the ICANN procedure that Mr. Auerbach refused to follow. In both cases, Mr. Auerbach had the full right to inspect any and all documents at the ICANN offices, a right that was never in dispute. And in both cases any disagreements about his right to publish any of those materials would ultimately be resolved by a court, not by ICANN or Auerbach.

It is unfortunate that ICANN's limited resources must be used for matters such as this, which do not advance the core mission of ICANN. But so long as one of ICANN's directors continues to assert that he has a unilateral right to make decisions on behalf of ICANN without regard to the views of his fellow directors, ICANN is required to seek to protect the rights of the corporation from being abridged by the unilateral action of an individual director.


More Announcements
Domain Name System
Internationalized Domain Name ,IDN,"IDNs are domain names that include characters used in the local representation of languages that are not written with the twenty-six letters of the basic Latin alphabet ""a-z"". An IDN can contain Latin letters with diacritical marks, as required by many European languages, or may consist of characters from non-Latin scripts such as Arabic or Chinese. Many languages also use other types of digits than the European ""0-9"". The basic Latin alphabet together with the European-Arabic digits are, for the purpose of domain names, termed ""ASCII characters"" (ASCII = American Standard Code for Information Interchange). These are also included in the broader range of ""Unicode characters"" that provides the basis for IDNs. The ""hostname rule"" requires that all domain names of the type under consideration here are stored in the DNS using only the ASCII characters listed above, with the one further addition of the hyphen ""-"". The Unicode form of an IDN therefore requires special encoding before it is entered into the DNS. The following terminology is used when distinguishing between these forms: A domain name consists of a series of ""labels"" (separated by ""dots""). The ASCII form of an IDN label is termed an ""A-label"". All operations defined in the DNS protocol use A-labels exclusively. The Unicode form, which a user expects to be displayed, is termed a ""U-label"". The difference may be illustrated with the Hindi word for ""test"" — परीका — appearing here as a U-label would (in the Devanagari script). A special form of ""ASCII compatible encoding"" (abbreviated ACE) is applied to this to produce the corresponding A-label: xn--11b5bs1di. A domain name that only includes ASCII letters, digits, and hyphens is termed an ""LDH label"". Although the definitions of A-labels and LDH-labels overlap, a name consisting exclusively of LDH labels, such as""icann.org"" is not an IDN."