RFC2690: A Proposal for an MOU-Based ICANN Protocol Support Organization

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Network Working Group                                         S. Bradner
Request for Comments: 2690                            Harvard University
Category: Informational                                   September 1999

    A Proposal for an MOU-Based ICANN Protocol Support Organization

Status of this Memo

   This memo provides information for the Internet community.  It does
   not specify an Internet standard of any kind.  Distribution of this
   memo is unlimited.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (1999).  All Rights Reserved.

1. Abstract

   This is a copy of the proposal for an MOU-based Protocol Supporting
   Organization that was submitted to ICANN on April 23, 1999.

2. Cover Letter

   This is a copy of the cover letter that was used to submit the draft
   to ICANN.

   Dear Esther,

           Enclosed please find a description of a proposed Protocol
   Support Organization (PSO) for ICANN's consideration.  This
   description is purposefully informal as it is meant to be a basis for
   discussion and not a final formal legal document.

           This proposal was developed primarily by using the open
   Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) poisson working group mailing
   list to discuss successive versions of the proposal.  In addition the
   proposal has benefited from extensive discussion within the IETF's
   Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG) and Internet Architecture
   Board (IAB).  The proposal also benefited from extended discussions
   with representatives of the International Telecommunication Union
   (ITU) and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

           I look forward to ICANN's evaluation of this proposal and am
   also looking forward to the MOU development meeting  noted in section
   1.c of the proposal.

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3. Proposal for a MOU-based PSO

                     ICANN Protocol Supporting Organization

   1. Definition of the PSO.

      a. Purpose.

         The Protocol Support Organization (PSO) will be a consensus-
         based advisory body within the ICANN framework.

      b. Components.

         The PSO will establish a "Protocol Council" and host an annual
         open meeting (known as the "General Assembly" (described

      c. Creation through a Memorandum of Understanding.

         Arrangements regarding the PSO are to be reflected in a
         Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) among ICANN and a group of
         open international Internet related standards development
         organizations (SDOs). SDOs must satisfy a set of objective
         criteria before they can be considered for membership. (see
         Appendix A) After ICANN has accepted a proposal for an ICANN
         PSO, including the SDO criteria, a meeting, open to all SDOs
         that believe they meet the criteria, will be held to develop
         the MOU.

         All existing MOU signatories must agree to the admission of new
         signatories. Rejected applicants can appeal to the ICANN Board
         where a 2/3rds majority can override such a rejection if the
         board finds the SDO meets the criteria.

   2. The Protocol Council

      a. Members

         The Protocol Council will have up to [12] individual members
         selected by the SDO signatories of the MOU. (see below)

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      b. Term

         The term of Protocol Council members will be 2 years. Removal
         will be pursuant to procedures established through the MOU.
         (Initial terms will be 1 and 2 years to provide initial
         conditions for staggered terms.)

      c. Powers/Duties of the Protocol Council

         i   Appointment of ICANN Directors

             The Protocol Council will nominate 3 Directors to the ICANN
             Board (By-laws, Art. V, Sec. 4(iii)). The initial directors
             would have terms of 1, 2 and 3 years (By-laws, Art. V, Sec.

             The Protocol Council will conduct an open call for
             nominations for any open PSO seats on the ICANN board. Each
             SDO signatory to the MOU is entitled to nominate candidates
             by procedures of its own choosing. Additionally,
             nominations from the public at large should be allowed
             under conditions to be defined by the Protocol Council.

             The Protocol Council will select the PSO nominees to the
             ICANN board from among these nominees by a means of its own

         ii  Qualifications of ICANN Directors

             No more than 2 PSO-nominated Directors may come from the
             same geographic region.

         iii Role of ICANN Directors

             The Directors appointed by the Protocol Council will not
             represent the PSO on the Board, but will function as full
             Directors of ICANN.  (By-laws, Art. V, Sec. 8)

         iv  Advisory Role

             The Protocol Council will advise the Board of ICANN on
             matters referred to the Protocol Council by the ICANN
             Board. As per the ICANN By-laws, only matters relating to
             the assignment of parameters for Internet protocols would
             be so referred.

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      d. Policy Development

         In the tradition of the Internet, standards development
         policies and conflict resolution mechanisms should be created
         by those institutions most directly involved, without undue
         interference from centralized bodies.

         The ICANN By-laws vest in the PSO the primary responsibility
         for developing and recommending substantive policies in the
         area of protocol parameter assignment.  The PSO is committed to
         the proposition that policies for parameter assignments for
         particular protocols are the responsibility of the individual
         SDO that developed the protocol. The Protocol Council will be
         available as needed by the SDOs to develop policies and
         procedures for conflict resolution between SDOs. (By-laws, New
         Art. VI, Sec. 2(b)). Any policies must be adopted by consensus
         of all SDOs.  The ICANN Board of Directors will take no
         addition action regarding disputes between SDOs related to
         protocol assignment or registration.

   3. Annual Open Meeting (General Assembly)

      a. Hosting an open meeting

         The Protocol Council will periodically host an open meeting
         ("General Assembly") for promoting discussion and receiving
         input regarding the work of the PSO. A General Assembly meeting
         will be held at least once per year, and will permit open
         participation by all interested individuals.

         The annual open meeting will be held in conjunction with a
         major meeting of one of the SDOs that have signed the MOU.
         (with an effort to hold no 2 consecutive meetings in the same
         geographic region.

         It is expected that the major SDOs within the Internet protocol
         standards development community will provide the constituency
         of the General Assembly.

      b. Selection of Protocol Council Members

         Prior to the annual open meeting, the Protocol Council shall
         make an open call for nominations to the upcoming vacancies in
         the Protocol Council. Each SDO signatory to the PSO MOU will be
         entitled to make nominations for some or all of the vacant
         seats by a procedure of its own choosing. In the event that
         there are more nominees than vacancies, an election will be
         held in which each SDO signatory to the PSO MOU has equal votes.

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         Protocol Council Members should fairly represent, to the extent
         reasonable, all constituencies within the member SDOs,
         including the major technical areas and geographical regions.

   4. Open Proceedings and Documents

      a. Communications between ICANN and the PSO

         All communications between ICANN and the PSO will be made
         public on the PSO web site. In the event that ICANN requests
         that a communication be kept confidential, the PSO will honor
         this request for a fixed period of time not to exceed one year,
         and then make the communication public.

      b. PSO Proceedings

         All discussions of PSO business will be conducted on a
         publicly-archived mailing list accessible through the PSO web
         site. The schedule for the PSO meetings will be posted 90 days
         in advance of the meeting date. The agenda for the Protocol
         Council and annual open meetings will be posted on the PSO web
         site at least 30 days before the meetings.  The minutes from
         all PSO meetings will be publicly posted on the PSO web site
         within 30 days of the meeting.

   5. Review of MOU

      The MOU signatories will periodically review the results and
      consequences of their cooperation under the MOU. When appropriate,
      the signatories will consider the need for improvements in the MOU
      and make suitable proposals for modifying and updating the
      arrangements and scope of the MOU.

   6. Recognition

      ICANN will officially recognize the PSO described in this memo as
      the PSO under the ICANN By-laws Art. 6, Sec. 3.

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Appendix A - requirements for consideration as a PSO-qualified SDO

      SDOs must be open, international, voluntary technical standard and
      technical specification development organizations which:

      1) Develop standards and/or specifications for use over the public

      2) Can demonstrate active membership in the IP-related standards
         and/or specification development process of more than 1000
         individuals, if individual memberships are used by the
         organization, or 100 companies, if corporate memberships are
         used by the organization.

      3) Has been in operation for 3 or more years at the time of their

      4) Can demonstrate that there is significant deployment of its
         standards on the Internet.

      5) The significant protocols controlled by the organization can be
         implemented without paying a licensing fee to the organization

      Open international voluntary standards bodies are defined as
      international organizations that plan, develop or establish
      voluntary standards.

      An organization shall be considered open and international if its
      standards and/or specifications development process is open to any
      person or organization of any nationality on equitable terms. It
      shall be considered voluntary if it makes no claim to compel use
      of its standards and specifications.

      In either case, to be considered as 'international', the voting
      (or other "full") membership must include individuals or companies
      primarily located in at least three different regions and at least
      two different countries within each of those regions.

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4. Security Considerations

   This type of non-protocol document does not directly effect the
   security of the Internet.

5. Editor's Address

   Scott Bradner
   Harvard University
   1350 Mass Ave, rm 876
   Cambridge, MA

   Phone: +1 617 495 3864
   EMail: sob@harvard.edu

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6. Full Copyright Statement

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (1999).  All Rights Reserved.

   This document and translations of it may be copied and furnished to
   others, and derivative works that comment on or otherwise explain it
   or assist in its implementation may be prepared, copied, published
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   included on all such copies and derivative works.  However, this
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   The limited permissions granted above are perpetual and will not be
   revoked by the Internet Society or its successors or assigns.

   This document and the information contained herein is provided on an


   Funding for the RFC Editor function is currently provided by the
   Internet Society.

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