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ICANN Extends Comment Period for GNSO Improvements

Email comments by 25 April to the public forum at:

The public comment period on the GNSO Improvements Report has been extended by 30 days and will now close on 25 April 2008.

In response to a request from three constituencies of the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO), the Executive Committee of the ICANN Board agreed to grant the month long extension of the original March 25 deadline to permit sufficient time for: (1) the parties requesting the extension to have additional time to prepare and provide their proposal to the ICANN Board (including the details of the consultations and nature of the support that they have gathered); and (2) to allow time for an additional call to the community to file submissions relating to all aspects of the posted report.

The extension decision by the Executive Committee was prompted by a request from Philip Sheppard on behalf of the Commercial and Business Users, the Intellectual Property, and the Internet Service and Connection Providers Constituencies.

The comment forum was originally opened for the community to respond to a set of recommendations developed by the ICANN Board Governance Committee's GNSO Review Working Group to improve the effectiveness of the GNSO, including its policy activities, structure, operations and communications (see 3 February 2008 Report of the Board Governance Committee GNSO Review Working Group On GNSO Improvements [PDF, 197K].

The Report reflects the Working Group's examination of many aspects of the GNSO's functioning, including the use of working groups and the overall policy development process (PDP), and the structure of the GNSO Council and its constituencies. The Board Governance Committee determined that the GNSO Improvements working group had fulfilled its charter and forwarded the report to the Board for consideration.

On 15 February 2008, the ICANN Board acknowledged receipt of the "GNSO Improvements Report" and indicated that it would like to receive final public comments on the Report to enable it to consider and implement the Report's recommendations as soon as possible. The Board directed ICANN Staff to open a public comment forum on the Report for 30 days, draft a detailed implementation plan in consultation with the GNSO, begin implementation of the non-contentious recommendations, and return to the Board and community for further consideration of the implementation plan.

The entire comment forum, as well as background information, is available online at

Additional background information about the GNSO Improvements Initiative can be found at

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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."