ICANN Announces Important Milestones in Making the Internet More Accessible to All
In the past several days, ICANN has announced recent milestones regarding changes in how the Internet community will use the Internet in the near future. These important developments include the plan for deployment of Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) in the next few months and significant progress in developing the model for delegating new generic top-level domains (gTLDs).
Proposed Final Implementation Plan: IDN ccTLD Fast Track Process
ICANN is pleased to announce the public posting of the Proposed Final Implementation Plan for the IDN ccTLD Fast Track Process (for the full announcement go here).
The IDN ccTLD Fast Track Process is an important step at making the Internet equally accessible for everyone. It will enable the introduction of a limited number of internationalized country-code top level domain names (IDN ccTLDs). As noted by ICANN CEO Rod Beckstrom, once implemented, this will be the first time that users can obtain a domain name with the entire string in characters other than ASCII (or Latin) characters, "this is one of the most exciting developments for the users of the Internet globally in years. IDNs will enable the people the world over to use domain name addresses in their own language." The process will be available to all countries and territories where the official language is based on scripts other than the Latin (extended) script. IDNs, like the Affirmation of Commitments announced last week (www.icann.org) are another step towards making the Internet more truly global to achieve our goal of "one world, one Internet, everyone connected."
The proposed final plan is scheduled for ICANN Board consideration at the ICANN meeting in Seoul, Korea, 26-30 October 2009.
The proposed launch date for the IDN ccTLD Fast Track Process is 16 November 2009.
ICANN is looking forward to feedback on the final plan in the public comment forum designated for that purpose.
The proposed final plan has been developed based on responses to community comments and discussions. See the latest status update at: http://www.icann.org/en/announcements/announcement-2-09sep09-en.htm.
The official announcement for the publication of the final implementation plan can be found at: http://www.icann.org/en/announcements/announcement-2-30sep09-en.htm
The latest draft of the Applicant Guidebook that describes the process of applying for new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) was released today. New gTLDs are expected to bring innovative services and greater choice to Internet users through increased competition and engender broad participation through the introduction of IDNs and community-based TLDs into the Domain Name System.
In the last three months, the community has joined in extensive collaborative efforts on technical, intellectual property, potential for malicious conduct, and other matters, with global consultations in New York, Sydney, London, Hong Kong and Abu Dhabi.
The Guidebook has been changed significantly. As indicated by ICANN Chief Operating Officer, Doug Brent, "this third version of draft guidebook represents months of outstanding effort by many in the ICANN community - working to resolve the few, challenging remaining issues. This version is being released with materials that describe how public comment has influenced the changes presented in it." In all, there are over 50 areas of change, clearly indicated in the "redline" version of the Guidebook. In addition to specific trademark protections (described below) the new Guidebook includes:
- Measures to prevent or mitigate potential for malicious conduct including a proposal to create high-security zones;
- Enhanced stability / security measures, requiring DNSSEC deployment and prohibiting use of wildcards;
- Protecting registrants by taking step to ensure registry viability: defining a financial instrument that will ensure ongoing registry operations in the event of failure, and specifying certain pre-delegation registry tests; and
- Enhanced contractual tools through the development of post-delegation dispute procedures including one to ensure that community-based TLDs adhere to their self-described purpose.
Like all previous versions, this draft is posted for public comment. It has been released prior to the ICANN meeting to be held in Seoul from October 25-30. During the Seoul meeting ICANN will conduct several sessions to facilitate discussion of this version of the Applicant Guidebook and finding solutions to the outstanding issues. Information about additional events will be available on the Seoul Meeting schedule at: http://sel.icann.org/full-sched.
Trademark Protection Measures – Where to next?
Specific trademark protection mechanisms are still to be decided upon by the Board.
After receiving trademark protection recommendations from the Implementation Recommendation Team and others, taking extensive comment and conducting consultation with the broad community, ICANN has drafted a set of implementation recommendations related to intellectual property protections for the new gTLD program. Additional rights protection included in the Guidebook are the:
- requirement to maintain a "thick" Whois database, and
- specification of a post-delegation dispute procedure so that trademark holders can lodge complaints of abusive behavior against registries when merited.
For other proposed rights protection mechanisms, the Board is providing the Generic Names Supporting Organization (the policy organization that developed the new gTLDs policy) with the opportunity to offer focused input on this specific area of the proposed implementation plan that is being published now. Those proposed rights protection mechanisms are:
- The creation of an IP Clearinghouse, which is a database of validated trademarks to be utilized by new gTLD registry operators in implementing either an IP Claims service or Sunrise process during TLD launch; and
- The creation of a Uniform Rapid Suspension process for use in clear-cut, blatant cases of trademark infringement.
The community at-large may also comment on these specific issues, and of course, any other new gTLD issues through comment fora found on the new gTLD pages.
The public comment period on these trademark protection solutions will be open until 22 November 2009.
Please continue checking the New gTLD program webpage for updates.
Prior to implementation, ICANN will work with the community to address remaining issues including: competition, consumer protection, security, stability and resiliency, malicious abuse issues, sovereignty concerns, and rights protection.
New gTLD program webpage:
Seoul meeting: http://sel.icann.org/