Apparently I should have checked my sources more clearly before posting yesterday’s piece about ICANN taking over the virtual world. I should have suspected the press release was phoney when I noticed that it came from a email@example.com. My bad. It goes to show that not everything you read on the internets is true.
Anyway, I finally got the straight story from Bret Fausett, internet and IP attorney and initiator of the Ninca / ICANN second life sim, via IM today. An abridged version of our chat follows….
UPDATE 12/13/06, 9PM: The Second Life Herald wrote a cute story about my little spoof press release, which apparently was taken all too seriously by Daniel Davenport of Think Inc. Daniel, I’m happy to give you one my Net Neutrality shirts!
Edited Chat Log with Bret Fausett:
Rik : hi bret
Bret : hey
Rik : Wanted to touch base with you about how to proceed with the SL ICANN story
getting you in trouble!
Rik: but I think the cat is somewhat out of the bag
Bret: Well, it would be fair to describe the project as a bottom-up, grass
roots driven project to support ICANN
Bret: It’s proof of concept, to see
if there are online alternatives to travelling around the world for
Bret: Of course, I’ve already
blogged it myself at icann.blog.us
Bret: Joi Ito is on the ICANN Board and, as you may know, a big believer in SL.
Bret: I’m trying to build interest
in the ICANN community in SL as an experiment, and obviously also would like to
build interest in SL in ICANN.
Rik: In a nutshell: this is a proof of concept experiment in building public
engagement with ICANN.
Bret: Help wanted, I might add. Especially if anyone has a solution that will
allow live Real streams to appear in SL.
Rik: Sweet. Can you clarify the disclaimer about not representing ICANN in
Bret: "ICANN" as a company or ICANN as a community? I am not employed
by ICANN the corporation. I’ve been an active participant in ICANN’s activities
since it was founded in 1998, and for the last two years I have been serving on
ICANN’s Generic Names Supporting Organization (“GNSO”) and in its At Large
Advisory Committee. ICANN, as a community, depends on the bottom-up, grassroots
work of those who wish to contribute to its work. This is an "ICANN
project" only in that sense. It was not commissioned by ICANN’s staff and not being paid for out of ICANN’s funds. But, in my view, it
still very much a part of the ICANN community work.
Rik: perfect, thanks.
Rik: who are you on Second Life btw?
Bret: Lex Flagstaff
So there you have it, straight from the horse’s mouth.
Drop in to the Ninca sim if you’d like to check it out! (direct teleport SLURL.) Three points for Troy McLuhan for noticing that "Ninca" is an anagram of "ICANN." Minus five points to all of you who made bad ICANN puns.
Seriously, I think this is a great initiative that I hope I have not totally wrecked with my little joke. I will be the first in line if there is an effort to bring together the ICANN community and the Second Life community, which in my opinion has natural synergies.
If you are an SL developer and want to help Bret to connect the IRC chat and the Real Media video broadcast in-world, he would really appreciate the assistance. For the near future, he is planning on organizing a Second Life forum on ICANN, broadcasting actual video from the latest meetings in Brazil. Sounds really awesome.