home Domains, gTLD's, ICANN ZACR Falsely Appropriated .Africa Endorsement, ICANN Assisted ZACR to Pass Review

ZACR Falsely Appropriated .Africa Endorsement, ICANN Assisted ZACR to Pass Review

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DCA’s latest Memorial submitted by international law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP – which represents DCA in the DCA vs. ICANN IRP – indicates that appear to be an anomaly on ZACR’s .africa endorsement section amongst others.

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It states that: “The Board itself undertook to promote the AUC’s attempts to secure .AFRICA; and despite repeated notifications submitted by DCA, the Board turned a blind eye to the actions its staff took to ensure that the AUC would prevail in acquiring .AFRICA.”

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New revelations from DCA vs. ICANN IRP documents provide new details which could have serious consequences for ZACR’s application for the hotly contested .africa gTLD.

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Newly published documents – which are part of the ongoing DCA vs ICANN IRP – include Sophia Bekele’s (DotConnectAfrica’s – DCA’s – executive director) expert testimony and the Second Memorial on the Merits by DCA’s legal representatives on how the .Africa new gTLD application was processed.

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It appears that ZACR the competing applicant may not have had the endorsements required for the .Africa geographic name and had falsely used the letters written for the African Union Commission by African governments regarding the reservation of the .Africa name in the Top-Level Reserved Names List as its letters of endorsements.

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dotconnectafrica logoThe IRP memorial is heavily redacted (edited for legal reasons).

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In light of these revelations, since DCA has always maintained that ZACR did not have any valid endorsements for its .Africa new gTLD application; even in a carefully-worded letter that DCA wrote to ICANN nearly two years ago (before any GAC objections on its application), which for instance cited the letter that was written by the Namibian Network Information Centre as a good example of the sort of letter that was written by an African country to support the AU Position for the reservation of the .Africa domain name, which ZACR would have falsely appropriated as its own letter of endorsement.

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The statement is not kind towards ICANN either, and states that the US-based body which manages the global internet supported ZACR’s application.

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It also appears that ICANN played a big part in supporting ZACR’s application against the rules of engagement where ICANN was supposed to be a referee.

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The redacted document states “ICANN not only advised the AUC on how to control the delegation of .africa, but it also…in order to ensure that ZACR’s application would pass review.”

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Bekele states in her testimony that “These purported endorsements actually were letters written in support of the AUC’s request to reserve .AFRICA (something that is not contemplated by the New gTLD Program) and not in any way related to the endorsements required under the AGB for an applicant for a geographic gTLD. At the time, I was not aware of any African government that had actually endorsed the ZACR application. Not only were the supporters of the “AU position” confused, but the AU itself and supporting entities involved in the project do not seem to have understood that the only entity actually applying for the right to operate .AFRICA was ZACR and not the AUC.”

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And further that

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“Additionally, it is apparent that UniForum/ZACR relied on purported endorsements – not of its application for .AFRICA – but of the position of the AU on .AFRICA. This does not meet the requirements of the AGB… Moreover, the endorsements demonstrate that the governments of the African countries expressed support for the AU’s position on reserving the strings for the AU-not for the AU to apply for or designate an applicant for the strings.”

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According to the statement, the clarifications therefore put in ‘serious doubt’ the existence of the said endorsements and ICANN’s strong help to pass ZACR during the evaluation of the applications period that resulted in DCA not receiving its result on the Geographic panel as it was not completed.

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DCA’s memorial also states that: “The Board itself undertook to promote the AUC’s attempts to secure .AFRICA; and despite repeated notifications submitted by DCA, the Board turned a blind eye to the actions its staff took to ensure that the AUC would prevail in acquiring .AFRICA.”

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Outside of this the expert testimony by Bekele also referred to many other issues it complained about ZACR’s application, which ICANN has entirely ignored to give a “pass” to ZACR while objecting to DCA.

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A face to face hearing on this issue was initially scheduled for December 19- 20, 2014 but has now been rescheduled due to administrative delays occasioned by the resignation of the ICANN appointed Panel member.

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Source:  CIO EAfrica

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Brent Donald

This is my collection of some of the things I find interesting from art, design, internet culture, technology and advertising and scoops I get from colleagues and my searches. Internet technology is one of the best technologies that we have been afforded to utilize accordingly.

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