27 August 2001
I read with interest the August 16, 2001 registrars constituency's letter concerning registrar transfer issues. Fashioning practices that best address the paramount interests of the registrants raises many difficult issues, and I am encouraged that the registrars have been able to make some progress toward solutions.
Near the end of its letter, the registrars constituency seeks clarifications regarding the procedures available for developing appropriate solutions. In particular, the constituency asks whether adjustments of or elaborations on existing transfer practices would be a "policy change" or a "procedural interpretation of existing ICANN policy."
Transfers of sponsorship are governed by the "Policy on Transfer of Sponsorship of Registrations Between Registrars" that appears as an exhibit to the Registry-Registrar Agreement for each top-level domain. As it turns out, VGRS recently sought ICANN's guidance on the meaning of that policy. In his reply letter sent today, Louis Touton, ICANN's General Counsel, explained many aspects of the policy that are also pertinent to the issues raised in your letter. That letter will be posted on ICANN's web site later today.
As noted near the end of Mr. Touton's letter, within the framework of the existing policy there are opportunities for the registrars, through codes of practice or agreements between or among themselves, to assist in developing sound practices for ascertaining the desires of registrants. In the event that the registrars wish to change the policy, however, it would be appropriate for them to proceed through the bottom-up consensus process by which new or changed policies are developed in the DNSO.
Both of these avenues can lead to real progress toward the best transfer policy for consumers. I encourage the registrars constituency to continue its discussions with the hope that its progress will continue.
cc: Ken Stubbs
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