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ICANN announces clarifications to the WHOIS specifications in ICANN agreements.
To help support registry and registrar implementation and ease the path for compliance with the specifications, ICANN is announcing clarification to the Registration Data Directory Service (RDDS), which is commonly known as WHOIS. The clarifications are in response to input from both registries and registrars regarding the RDDS specification and intended to aid contracted parties in complying with Registry Agreements (RA) and Registrar Accreditation Agreements (RAAs).
The document, "Clarifications to the New gTLD Registry Agreement, Specification 4; and the 2013 Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA), Registration Data Directory Service (WHOIS) Specification" is published at https://www.icann.org/resources/pages/advisories-2012-02-25-en.
Most of the clarifications apply to both registries and registrars; however, the clarifications described in the second section only apply to registries, while the third section only applies to registrars. ICANN recognizes these clarifications may take some time to implement in active systems and is providing notice that it will begin enforcing compliance with these items as of 12 February 2015. One of the objectives of these clarifications is to retain the ability to easily parse the output. Interested users are encouraged to consider the clarifications when developing parsers for RDDS output.
There are 37 clarifications specified in the advisory, with some being required and others being optional. The document includes, but is not limited to, clarifications relating to formatting guidelines, field definitions, service level requirements, and pre-delegation testing specifications.