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ICANN Board Votes Against .XXX Sponsored Top Level Domain Agreement

Marina del Rey, California, 10 May 2006: Today, ICANN's Board of Directors voted against a proposed agreement for a .XXX. Sponsored Top Level Domain (sTLD). The application was proposed by the ICM Registry.

The application has received much public comment and detailed discussion by the ICANN Board. Reflecting the diversity of views this application has generated, the Board discussion at today's meeting focused on the criteria for the sTLD, especially for sponsorship, and the terms of the contract proposed by ICM, including compliance issues related to key terms associated with public policy concerns. ICM had proposed additional terms in response to issues raised by ICANN's Governmental Advisory Committee, particularly at ICANN's meeting in Wellington in March. http:// www.icann.org/announcements/announcement1-18apr06.htm

ICM had requested that the ICANN Board vote on the proposed contract at this meeting.

ICANN's Board voted 9 to 5 against the proposed agreement. Votes in favor of the proposed .XXX Registry Agreement were cast by the following Board Members: Veni Markovski, Susan Crawford, Peter Dengate Thrush, Joichi Ito, and Mouhamet Diop. Directors who voted against the approval were Vint Cerf (Chairman), Alejandro Pisanty (Vice-Chairman), Raimundo Beca, Demi Getschko, Hagen Hultzsch, Njeri Rionge, Vanda Scartezini, Paul Twomey (President and CEO), and Hualin Qian. Additional details regarding the vote will be provided by ICANN later this week.

About ICANN

ICANN is an internationally organised, non-profit corporation that has responsibility for Internet Protocol (IP) address space allocation, protocol identifier assignment, generic (gTLD) and country code (ccTLD) Top-Level Domain name system management, and root server system management functions. As a private-public partnership, ICANN is dedicated to preserving the operational stability of the Internet; to promoting competition; to achieving broad representation of global Internet communities; and to developing policy appropriate to its mission through bottom-up, consensus-based processes.

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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."