Icann president and chief executive officer Paul Twomey has said that the non-profit group is being forced to make decisions on such wide-ranging issues as content and delivery, when its remit is, in fact, very narrow.
Under the group's charter, Icann is only responsible for Internet Protocol (IP) address allocation, protocol identifier assignment, the domain name system and root server management.
VeriSign's recent lawsuit against the organisation, which accuses it of trying to regulate the company's controversial Wait Listing Service for expired domain names, is just the latest example. VeriSign accused Icann of overstepping its bounds as the internet's technical co-ordinating body and delaying the implementation of its service amid protests that the service is unfair to consumers by convincing them to back-order domain names they may never be able to register.
"What we do is narrow, and we don't need an added role," Twomey said. The CEO had just wrapped up a group meeting in Rome over the weekend, where the organisation had decided to allow VeriSign's WLS service to go ahead for a one-year trial period, with some stipulations.
Although the board approved of the service in principle, Twomey said he had not heard from VeriSign whether it would drop its lawsuit against Icann. He was also unsure whether the organisation would accept the $100,000 registrar Go Daddy Software pledged to help fund Icann's defence in the case.
"Quite a number of people said they'd contribute and we wouldn't say no since we are publically funded ... but there's no way we'd take money if it was tied to conditions," he said.
Twomey claimed that "these issues are more than Icann issues" and are a product of the contractual nature of its relationships with internet registries.
"We have agreements with registries that they openly volunteer to enter and these disagreements are a product of these contracts," he said. "But what we are in charge of is actually very narrow."
Scarlet Pruitt writes for IDG News Service