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ICANN Posts Revised Settlement Agreement

ICANN today posted a newly revised proposed set of agreements which, if approved, will settle all pending litigation with VeriSign. The proposed agreement documents are being posted for public comment in order to inform the Board's deliberations; the proposed settlement remains subject to final approval or disapproval of the ICANN Board.

The newly proposed agreements contain significant changes from the October 2005 proposed agreements in response to Internet community feedback. The proposed changes include the following: the elimination of the proposed registry-level transaction fee (which would have been passed through directly to registrars); a direct contribution from VeriSign in the form of significantly increased fixed registry-level fees (which VeriSign will not be permitted to pass through directly to registrars); a new limitation on the frequency of permitted price increases for domain name registrations; a revision to the ICANN consensus policy limitation relating to the introduction of new registry services; a clarification of the permissible uses of traffic data; and the incorporation of new service-level specifications for the .COM registry.

After entering into a diligent round of negotiations with ICANN staff and granting these additional concessions to address feedback from the Internet community, VeriSign has advised ICANN that this proposal represents its last, best offer to settle the pending litigation.

Background: Over three months ago, on 24 October 2005, ICANN announced the first proposed settlement to its litigation with VeriSign and opened a forum for public comments on the proposed settlement documents <>. The comments received in response represented a diversity of views, with broader agreement on some issues than on others.

A full description of the history of the settlement negotiations, the settlement documents, and the issues raised in public fora can be found at . This summary includes clean and red-lined versions of the amended agreements. ICANN has also published a matrix summary of Revisions to the Settlement and Registry Agreements.

<click here to submit a comment regarding the revised agreements>

<click here to view comments regarding the revised agreements>

Comment period will close 20 February 2005, at 12:00 noon, UTC

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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"""" is not an IDN."