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Advisory Concerning Regland Litigation

ICANN has seen reports that Regland, Inc. has filed a lawsuit against ICANN in state court in Texas. The lawsuit complains about ICANN's statements concerning Regland's business practices in taking money for "pre-registrations" in proposed top-level domains (TLDs) that do not exist, have not yet been approved by ICANN, and may never be available on the Internet. Regland's claims are utterly baseless and ICANN regards the lawsuit as frivolous.

ICANN believes that it is entirely appropriate to alert the public that no TLDs have been selected and that no company — including Regland — is yet authorized to be selling domain names in new TLDs. These statements are entirely true and are designed to caution consumers who may be mislead into believing that they have actually registered a name in a TLD that does not yet exist.

On 29 September, ICANN's primary advisory body on domain name issues — the Names Council of ICANN's Domain Name Supporting Organization — issued a statement warning consumers that "it is premature for companies to offer pre-registration services for domain names in speculative new TLDs. To date, no new TLDs have been selected and there is no guarantee that any particular organization will be authorized to take registrations for any particular TLD. The registration of names in new TLDs will be done on a fair basis, and the practice of pre-registration should not be encouraged."

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Internationalized Domain Name ,IDN,"IDNs are domain names that include characters used in the local representation of languages that are not written with the twenty-six letters of the basic Latin alphabet ""a-z"". An IDN can contain Latin letters with diacritical marks, as required by many European languages, or may consist of characters from non-Latin scripts such as Arabic or Chinese. Many languages also use other types of digits than the European ""0-9"". The basic Latin alphabet together with the European-Arabic digits are, for the purpose of domain names, termed ""ASCII characters"" (ASCII = American Standard Code for Information Interchange). These are also included in the broader range of ""Unicode characters"" that provides the basis for IDNs. The ""hostname rule"" requires that all domain names of the type under consideration here are stored in the DNS using only the ASCII characters listed above, with the one further addition of the hyphen ""-"". The Unicode form of an IDN therefore requires special encoding before it is entered into the DNS. The following terminology is used when distinguishing between these forms: A domain name consists of a series of ""labels"" (separated by ""dots""). The ASCII form of an IDN label is termed an ""A-label"". All operations defined in the DNS protocol use A-labels exclusively. The Unicode form, which a user expects to be displayed, is termed a ""U-label"". The difference may be illustrated with the Hindi word for ""test"" — परीका — appearing here as a U-label would (in the Devanagari script). A special form of ""ASCII compatible encoding"" (abbreviated ACE) is applied to this to produce the corresponding A-label: xn--11b5bs1di. A domain name that only includes ASCII letters, digits, and hyphens is termed an ""LDH label"". Although the definitions of A-labels and LDH-labels overlap, a name consisting exclusively of LDH labels, such as""icann.org"" is not an IDN."