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Public Comment: Reallocation of Dot-info Sunrise Domains

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ICANN is today opening a public comment forum on a proposed amendment from Afilias to Appendix 7 of the dot-info Registry Agreement.

On 28 August 2008, ICANN posted for public information a request submitted by Afilias through the Registry Services Evaluation Process (RSEP). The request calls for a “phased equitable re-allocation process for non-compliant Sunrise domain names in .INFO.” This means that a group of approximately 1,400 dot-info domain names were determined by WIPO to not comply with the terms of the Afilias Sunrise process and that these could be reallocated via some equitable process. These processes could be a request for proposals process, auction mechanism or first-come, first-served release. (Not included in the list of names to be reallocated are a number of country names that remained locked in accordance with ICANN Board Resolution 01-92.)

The Afilias proposal is available at http://www.icann.org/registries/rsep/afilias-request-2008008-28aug08.pdf [PDF, 40K].

As provided for by existing consensus policy (http://www.icann.org/en/registries/rsep/rsep.html), ICANN performed a preliminary review to determine whether the proposal might raise significant security, stability, or competition issues. ICANN's determination is that the proposal does not raise such issues.

A copy of the proposed contract amendment is available here [PDF, 24K]. Comments on the proposed amendment may be submitted to info-sunrise-amendment at icann.org through 2 May 2009 23:59 UTC. Comments may be viewed at http://forum.icann.org/lists/info-sunrise-amendment/.

All documentation related to the Afilias proposal is available at http://www.icann.org/en/registries/rsep/#2008008.

BACKGROUND

Afilias has submitted an RSEP request to ICANN to reallocate a number of domain names that were originally registered during the Sunrise Period phase of the launch of the dot-info registry. Conducted from July to October 2001, the Sunrise Period was designed to enable qualified trademark owners to register a domain name corresponding to their trademark in advance of general registration. The requisite qualifications to participate in the Sunrise Period were established by Afilias and publicly posted in advance of the Sunrise Period.1 This was the first time that a Sunrise Process had been used in connection with the launch of an open gTLD.

Due in part to a lack of a pre-verification mechanism with respect to Sunrise registrations, there were a substantial number of non-complaint registrations, i.e., registrations that were not based on valid current trademarks or service marks. Certain of these non-compliant registrations were resolved in a predefined “Challenge” process. This process did not resolve all non-compliant registrations. Afilias, in consultation with ICANN and WIPO, undertook to resolve remaining non-compliant registrations (see, http://www.info.info/dispute_resolution/sunrise_challenge_policy_revised).

Of the initial Sunrise registration totals (approximately 300,000 domain names), there were approximately 20,000 names that were deemed to be non-compliant as a result of the challenge process, and therefore subject to cancellation. In 2002, Afilias reallocated the majority of these 20,000 names in consultation with ICANN on a first-come, first-served basis. However, there was a set of 1,400 domain names that were not subject to reallocation at that time because they were still in the challenge process or withheld from reallocation as they were the subject of litigation.

Those challenges and disputes settled, Afilias seeks to reallocate them in an equitable manner in accordance with the process outlined in their proposal.


1 For an overview of the Sunrise Challenge Process, see http://www.info.info/dispute_resolution/sunrise_challenge_overview.


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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."