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GAC Responds to Board on Geographic Names

On 26 May 2009, the GAC submitted a final letter [PDF, 72K] responding to the ICANN Board's concerns about the ability to implement the provisions of article 2 of the GAC Principles regarding new gTLDs, particularly paragraph 2.71. The letter recommends, as a minimum, that the names contained in three internationally recognised lists must be reserved at the second level at no cost to governments of all new gTLDs. However, other issues relating to geographic names at the top level and the potential misuse of the respective names at the second level requires further discussion.

The GAC's letter is in response to the 6 March, 2009 ICANN Board resolution, and subsequent letter from ICANN of 17 March, 2009 seeking GAC members input on possible options to resolve the outstanding implementation issues regarding the protection of geographic names at the second level (http://www.icann.org/en/minutes/resolutions-06mar09.htm#08 and http://www.icann.org/correspondence/twomey-to-karklins-17mar09-en.pdf) [PDF, 245K].

The GAC provided an interim response to this request on 24 April 2009 http://www.icann.org/correspondence/karklins-to-twomey-24apr09.pdf [PDF, 95K].

On 15 May 2009, the GNSO Council provided comments on the proposal outlined in the GAC's letter of 24 April 2009, http://gnso.icann.org/correspondence/gnso-ltr-to-gac.pdf [PDF, 69K].

The Board requested a final report from the GAC by 25 May, 2009 and which will now be published 29 May, 2009. http://www.icann.org/en/announcements/announcement-2-24apr09-en.htm


1 Applicant registries for new gTLDs should pledge to: a) adopt, before the new gTLD is introduced, appropriate procedures for blocking, at no cost and upon demand of governments, public authorities or IGOs, names with national or geographic significance at the second level of any new gTLD; b) ensure procedures to allow governments, public authorities or IGOs to challenge abuses of names with national or geographic significance at the second level of any new gTLD.


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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."