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ICANN and Contract Negotiations Update: Improved DNS Abuse Requirements

30 May 2023

On behalf of the ICANN organization, I would like to thank the negotiating team members of the Registrars Stakeholder Group (RrSG) and the generic top-level domain (gTLD) Registries Stakeholder Group (RySG) for their collaboration with our negotiating team. As a result, we have successfully negotiated targeted amendments to the Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA) and Registry Agreement (RA) concerning Domain Name System (DNS) abuse. The proposed amendments make specific and meaningful new obligations that will require contracted parties to stop or disrupt a domain name from being used for DNS abuse. This is a major accomplishment, and I would like to congratulate everyone involved for their time and hard work to get us to this point in less than six months.

The ICANN organization and the Contracted Parties House Negotiating Team (CPH NT) are now seeking input from the ICANN community on the proposed amendments to the RAA and the RA. The proposed changes have been published for community review and Public Comment. The Public Comment Proceeding opened on 29 May 2023 and will close on 13 July 2023. Also published is a draft ICANN Advisory that is intended to explain the new requirements and how they will be enforced. The final version of the Advisory will be published if the proposed amendments are approved.

The scope of the proposed RAA and RA amendments is deliberately focused, and is part of a larger, two-pronged approach. First, the ICANN organization and the contracted parties are strengthening the RAA and RA obligations to ensure that mitigation of DNS abuse is a requirement for both registrars and registry operators.

Second, the narrow focus of the amendments gives the ICANN community the opportunity to discuss and determine if further obligations are desired. If so, this would likely take place through the Generic Names Supporting Organization's open and transparent, multistakeholder policy development process.

These efforts are important to ICANN. A variety of constituents, including governments and review teams, have been calling on ICANN to do more to combat DNS abuse. In response, in late 2022, the contracted parties proposed to the ICANN organization the idea of developing specific improvements to the abuse provisions in the RAA and RA, which led to the proposed amendments posted for comment. We encourage the ICANN community to review the proposed amendments and provide feedback via the Public Comment process.

Upon the closure of the Public Comment period, the ICANN organization will analyze the comments made, publish a report based on them, and, if needed, discuss any potential adjustments with the CPH NT. Once finalized, the proposed amendments will be provided to registrars and registry operators for approval by vote and then consideration by the ICANN Board of Directors. If approved, the amendments will become effective following notice from the ICANN organization. They could be enacted by the early second quarter of 2024 at the soonest.

Mitigating DNS abuse is an effort that affects the entire ICANN community. I'd like to take this opportunity to recognize the collaborative and creative approach taken by everyone involved in the negotiations which made it possible for this important work to be successfully completed.

If you would like to engage further with the ICANN organization and the CPH NT on this topic, please join the Information Session – DNS Abuse Contract Amendments on Tuesday, 30 May 2023, at 18:00–19:30 UTC during ICANN77 Prep Week, and the Joint Session: CPH and ICANN Abuse Amendment Negotiations on Tuesday, June 13 2023, at 17:45 UTC during ICANN77. These sessions are designed to explain the amendments and answer questions.


Sally Costerton

Sally Costerton

Sr. Advisor to President & SVP, Global Stakeholder Engagement and Interim President & CEO