Minutes | Regular Meeting of the New gTLD Program Committee 5 March 2014

Note: On 10 April 2012, the Board established the New gTLD Program Committee, comprised of all voting members of the Board that are not conflicted with respect to the New gTLD Program. The Committee was granted all of the powers of the Board (subject to the limitations set forth by law, the Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws or ICANN's Conflicts of Interest Policy) to exercise Board-level authority for any and all issues that may arise relating to the New gTLD Program. The full scope of the Committee's authority is set forth in its charter at http://www.icann.org/en/groups/board/new-gTLD.

A Regular Meeting of the New gTLD Program Committee of the ICANN Board of Directors was held telephonically on 5 March 2014 at 22:00 UTC.

Committee Chairman Cherine Chalaby promptly called the meeting to order.

In addition to the Chair the following Directors participated in all or part of the meeting: Fadi Chehadé (President and CEO, ICANN), Steve Crocker (Board Chairman), Chris Disspain, Bill Graham, Olga Madruga-Forti, Gonzalo Navarro, Ray Plzak, George Sadowsky, Mike Silber, and Kuo-Wei Wu.

Bruno Lanvin and Erika Mann sent apologies.

Jonne Soininen (IETF Liaison) was in attendance as a non-voting liaison to the Committee. Heather Dryden was in attendance as an observer to the Committee.

Secretary: John Jeffrey (General Counsel and Secretary).

ICANN Executives and Staff in attendance for all or part of the meeting: Akram Atallah (President, Global Domains Division); Megan Bishop (Board Support Coordinator); Michelle Bright (Board Support Manager); Allen Grogan (Chief Contracting Counsel); Jamie Hedlund (Advisor to the President/CEO); Elizabeth Le (Senior Counsel); Cyrus Namazi (Vice President, DNS Industry Engagement); Olof Nordling (Senior Director, GAC Relations); Erika Randall (Counsel); Amy Stathos (Deputy General Counsel); Russ Weinstein (Sr. Manager, gTLD Operations); and Christine Willett (Vice President, gTLD Operations).

These are the Minutes of the Meeting of the New gTLD Program Committee, which took place on 5 March 2014.

  1. Consent Agenda
    1. Approval of Minutes
  2. Main Agenda
    1. Update and discussion on New gTLD Program matters
    2. Reconsideration Request 13-13, Christopher Barron/GOProud
    3. Update on accountability mechanism processes
    4. AOB


  1. Consent Agenda:

    1. Approval of Minutes

      The Chair introduced the item on the Consent Agenda. Olga Madruga-Forti moved and George Sadowsky seconded the resolution to adopt the items on the consent agenda. The Committee took the following action:

      Resolved (2014.03.05.NG01), the ICANN Board New gTLD Program Committee (NGPC) approves the minutes of the 9 January, 30 January and 5 February 2014 NGPC meetings.

      All members of the Committee present voted in favor of Resolution 2014.03.05.NG01. Fadi Chehadé, Steve Crocker, Bruno Lanvin and Erika Mann were unavailable to vote on the Resolution. The Resolution carried.

  2. Main Agenda:

    1. Update and discussion on New gTLD Program matters

      Christine Willett made a presentation to the Committee concerning the New gTLD auction process, which will be used as a last resort for resolving string contention sets. Christine provided the Committee with an overview of the community consultation process undertaken to develop the auction rules consistent with the Applicant Guidebook, making note of the recently closed public comment forum and the discussions held during the ICANN meeting in Buenos Aires. She explained various mechanics of the auction rules, and highlighted particular rules and auction concepts that received a considerable number of comments from the community.

      George Sadowsky inquired about the rationale for using the second-highest-bid feature. Christine and Russ Weinstein addressed why the ascending clock method of auction uses this feature and provided examples of how it works.

      Christine also noted that during the public comment period on the auction rules, several community members commented on how the proceeds from auctions should be used. The Chair suggested that this topic be discussed in further detail with the Board.

      Olga Madruga-Forti asked for clarification about what would happen in an event of default, if for example, the highest bidder fails to pay the final auction price. She also asked about whether a single applicant would be able to delay an auction. Christine highlighted how the auction rules address these areas of concern.

      The Committee's update on the New gTLD Program also included a discussion of how the public interest commitments (PICs) in the New gTLD Registry Agreement would be enforced. Akram Atallah provided the Committee with an overview of the proactive and reactive options available in the Registry Agreement to ensure that registry operators are in compliance with the PICs, including the use of the Public Interest Commitments Dispute Resolution Process (PICDRP), and the use of audits performed by the Contractual Compliance Department. Akram noted that additional information would be presented at the ICANN meeting in London regarding the use of compliance audits to proactively monitor contractual compliance with the PICs.

      George expressed concern about whether the enforcement mechanisms available were sufficient to ensure compliance with the PICs. He also asked about the timelines for resolving a matter through the PICDRP. Mike Silber asked about the available resources for the Contractual Compliance Department to address compliance issues with the PICs. Mike also suggested that as part of planning for future rounds of the New gTLD Program consideration should be given to possibly developing objective standards for PICs, instead of relying on subjective standards voluntarily submitted by applicants.

      Bill Graham suggested that there may be a misunderstanding in the community about how PICs will be enforced, and ICANN must make clear its commitment that breaches of PICs will be treated as seriously as a breach of any other provision in the Registry Agreement. Heather Dryden noted that this clarity would also be helpful to address some of the concerns raised by the GAC. Olga posed additional questions about the standing requirements in the PICDRP.

      The Committee requested staff to provide additional clarification on enforcing the PICs, including the ability of a registry operator to amend its PICs, and the scope of the term "harmed party" in the PICDRP.

      Cyrus Namazi provided the Committee with an update on the ongoing work to address namespace collisions, noting that the recommendations in a study on namespace collisions and a framework for risk mitigation prepared by JAS Global Advisors was published for public comment on 26 February 2014. Cyrus highlighted the key recommendations in the JAS study, and reported that staff would report back to the Committee after the close of the public comment period. Mike suggested that the Committee be provided with additional details about what would happen in the event the Committee accepted JAS recommendations concerning permanent reservation of certain TLD strings.

      As part of its update on the New gTLD Program, the Committee made note of the correspondence it receives from governments on New gTLD Program matters, and discussed proposed methods for handling such correspondence. The President and CEO noted that ICANN was exploring methods for tracking correspondence in a systematic way.

    2. Reconsideration Request 13-13, Christopher Barron/GOProud

      The Committee decided to postpone further consideration of this agenda item to its next meeting to allow for analysis of additional facts at issue in the Reconsideration Request.

    3. Update on accountability mechanism processes

      Amy Stathos made a report to the Committee regarding the nature and number of Reconsideration Requests, Ombudsman recommendations, and Independent Review Proceedings filed in accordance with the Bylaws during 2013 and 2014 related to the New gTLD Program.

    4. AOB

      The Committee engaged in a discussion of ongoing debates in the community concerning the process for receiving a waiver from compliance with specific terms and conditions of the Data Retention Specification in the 2013 Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA). Cyrus Namazi provided a brief overview of the contractual provisions in the RAA that are the subject of community discussion and noted that approximately fifteen registrars had requested a waiver. Cyrus provided an update on the progress to date to address the waiver requests. The Committee determined that it would request that the Chairman of the Board include this topic on the Board's agenda for discussion at an upcoming meeting.

      The Committee discussed potential items to be included on the agenda for its meeting in Singapore, including some remaining open items of GAC advice.

      The Chair called the meeting to a close.

Published on 23 June 2014