13 December 2016
AUTHORIZATION FOR RELEASE OF LETTER/LETTER TWO-CHARACTER ASCII LABELS AT THE SECOND LEVEL
Effective 13 December 2016, pursuant to Section 2 of Specification 5 of the Registry Agreement, ICANN authorizes all new gTLD Registry Operators to release for registration to third parties and activation in the DNS at the second level all two-character letter/letter ASCII labels not previously authorized by ICANN for release and not otherwise required to be reserved pursuant to Section 6 of Specification 5 of the Registry Agreement, subject to the following:
1. implementing “Measures for Letter/Letter Two-Character ASCII Labels to Avoid Confusion with Corresponding Country Codes” included in Appendix A; and
2. compliance with all other terms of the Registry Agreement applicable to each individual TLD.
President, Global Domains Division
Measures for Letter/Letter Two-Character ASCII Labels to Avoid Confusion with Corresponding Country Codes
Mandatory Measures to Avoid Confusion with Corresponding Country Codes
1. REGISTRATION POLICY
Registry Operator must include a provision in its publicly available registration policy requiring a representation that the registrant of a letter/letter two-character ASCII label will take steps to ensure against misrepresenting or falsely implying that the registrant or its business is affiliated with a government or country-code manager if such affiliation, sponsorship or endorsement does not exist.
2. POST-REGISTRATION COMPLAINT INVESTIGATION
Registry Operator shall take reasonable steps to investigate and respond to any reports from governmental agencies and ccTLD operators of conduct that causes confusion with the corresponding country code in connection with the use of a letter/letter two-character ACSCII domain. In responding to such reports, Registry Operator will not be required to take any action in contravention of applicable law.
Voluntary Measures to Avoid Confusion with Corresponding Country Codes
3. EXCLUSIVE AVAILABILITY PRE-REGISTRATION PERIOD
Registry Operator may implement a 30-day period in which registration of letter/letter two-character ASCII labels that are country codes, as specified in the ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 standard, will be made exclusively available to the applicable country-code manager or government. All registrations will remain subject to compliance with all other requirements in the registry agreement, such as community TLD policies pursuant to Specification 12, or the Trademark Clearinghouse Rights Protection Mechanism Requirements. The Registry Operator commits to affirmatively reaching out to those country-code managers and governments to provide notice of the Exclusive Availability Pre-Registration Period, including dates and registration process.
Registry Operator may implement additional measures to avoid confusion with corresponding country codes at its discretion.
In addition to the measures identified above, in accordance with advice issued to the ICANN Board in the GAC Helsinki Communiqué (30 June 2016), ICANN “urge[s] the relevant Registry or the Registrar to engage with the relevant GAC members when a risk is identified in order to come to an agreement on how to manage it or to have a third-party assessment of the situation if the name is already registered.”
Registry Operator continues to be subject to all other safeguards, measures and requirements as set forth by the Registry Agreement applicable to each individual TLD.
 The “Measures for Letter/Letter Two-Character ASCII Labels to Avoid Confusion with Corresponding Country Codes” were adopted by the ICANN Board on 8 November 2016 in Resolution 2016.11.08.15: https://www.icann.org/resources/board-material/resolutions-2016-11-08-en#2.a
 TLDs with an executed Specification 13 or Exemption from Specification 9 - Code of Conduct should not implement this measure based on the fact that all registrations in the TLD must be registered exclusively to Registry Operator, its Affiliates or, if applicable, its Trademark Licensees.