Minutes | Meeting of the New gTLD Program Committee 11 December 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 11 December 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: Rinalia Abdul Rahim, Fadi Chehadé (President and CEO, ICANN), Steve Crocker (Board Chairman), Chris Disspain, Asha Hemrajani, Markus Kummer, Erika Mann, Gonzalo Navarro, George Sadowsky, Mike Silber, and Kuo-Wei Wu.

Bruno Lanvin, Ray Plzak, and Thomas Schneider (GAC Liaison) sent apologies.

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); Samantha Eisner (Associate General Counsel); Allen Grogan (Chief Contract Compliance Officer); Dan Halloran (Deputy General Counsel); Jamie Hedlund (Vice President, Strategic Programs – Global Domains Division); Cyrus Namazi (Vice President, DNS Industry Engagement); Amy Stathos (Deputy General Counsel); and Christine Willett (Vice President, Vice President, Operations – Global Domains Division).

These are the Minutes of the Meeting of the New gTLD Program Committee, which took place on 11 December 2014.

  1. Consent Agenda:
    1. Approval of Minutes
  2. Main Agenda:
    1. ALAC Statement on Public Interest Commitments


  1. Consent Agenda:

    1. Approval of Minutes

      The Chair introduced for approval the Minutes of the 12-14 October 2014 and 7 November 2014 meetings. George Sadowsky moved and Kuo-Wei Wu seconded the proposed resolution to approve the Minutes. The Committee took the following action:

      Resolved (2014.12.11.NG01), the Board New gTLD Program Committee (NGPC) approves the minutes of its 12-14 October 2014 and 7 November 2014 meetings.

      All members of the Committee present voted in favor of Resolution 2014.12.11.NG01. Bruno Lanvin and Ray Plzak were unavailable to vote on the Resolution. The Resolution carried.

  2. Main Agenda:

    1. ALAC Statement on Public Interest Commitments

      The Committee continued its previous discussion of the ALAC Statement on Public Interest Commitments issued on 16 October 2014 (the "ALAC Statement"). The Chair provided an overview of the ALAC Statement, and noted that the Statement advised the Board to immediately cease contracting or delegating strings identified by the GAC as requiring enhanced safeguards pending further community review and changes to the Registry Agreement. The Chair also reported that the ALAC issued a follow-up to the ALAC Statement on 19 November 2014. The follow-up statement raised some concerns about public oversight of the Public Interest Commitments (PICs) included in the New gTLD Registry Agreement, and enforcement of those PICs. The Chair reported that the Committee received correspondence related to the ALAC Statement from various constituencies and stakeholder groups.

      Akram Atallah provided the history and background on how the PICs were created, and the multiple public comment forums initiated to develop the Public Interest Commitments Dispute Resolution Procedure (PICDRP). He noted that changes to the PICDRP would affect every New gTLD Registry Agreement.

      Committee members shared a variety of views on the ALAC Statement, and the Committee considered whether it would be appropriate to temporarily halt contracting or delegating the gTLD strings identified in the ALAC Statement in order to address the concerns underlying the ALAC Statement. George Sadowsky and Rinalia Abdul Rahim suggested that the Committee consider halting contracting for the identified strings so that the Committee could appropriately analyze how to address the concerns about safeguards for certain sensitive strings expressed by the ALAC and others in the community. Markus Kummer asked whether there would be a defined time limit if the contracting for the identified strings was temporarily halted.

      Thomas Schneider noted that the GAC also has concerns about the safeguards and PICs, and reiterated the GAC's advice that sufficient preventative safeguard measures need to be in place. Thomas noted that the GAC does not want to create uneven conditions between registry operators who have already signed New gTLD Registry Agreements, and those that have not. He suggested that the Committee also consider the broader, global implications for implementing safeguards beyond what registries and registrars may be required to do.

      As part of its discussion about how to respond to the ALAC Statement, the Committee engaged in a dialogue about the options available to amend the Registry Agreement, which included a discussion of negotiating individual amendments to the Registry Agreement of each registry operator and the development of consensus policy. Chris Disspain commented that a consensus policy may allow for a more coordinated solution that is developed through the bottom-up process.

      Mike Silber and Chris noted that the Committee should consider how to balance all of the competing factors, including fairness and existing contractual obligations given the current program status. Gonzalo Navarro stated that it was important to consider the implications of possibly changing the rules at this stage of the program, and to analyze whether the facts support a particular course of action.

      The Committee also considered the provisions in the Registry Agreement for amendments. Committee members commented on the relative merits and disadvantages of potential options on a path forward to respond to the ALAC.

      The Committee acknowledged the serious concerns about the PICs raised in the ALAC Statement and by other members of the community, and expressed its desire to be responsive to the concerns. After discussion, the sense of the Committee was that it was not supportive of halting the contracting and delegating process for the strings identified in the ALAC Statement, but the Committee decided to engage as soon as possible with the ALAC to better understand their concerns about the PICs, and to discuss a path forward. The Committee decided to prepare a response to the ALAC to provide the rationale for its decision, and to take steps to begin a dialogue with the ALAC. Mike also suggested that the Committee take steps to initiate a dialogue with the GAC to discuss its concerns with the PICs.

      The Chair called the meeting to a close.

Published on 6 February 2015