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Last Contractual Hurdle Cleared in the Introduction of New Domain Names (Updated 5 July 2013)

ICANN Board Approves 2013 Registry Agreement

ICANN's New generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD) program has reached another milestone with passage of the 2013 Registry Agreement [PDF, 2.15 MB] (RA).

The new baseline agreement was approved by the New gTLD Program Committee of the ICANN Board of Directors.

"New gTLDs are now on the home stretch," said Fadi Chehadé, ICANN President and Chief Executive Officer. "This new Registry Agreement means we've cleared one of the last hurdles for those gTLD applicants who are approved and eagerly nearing that point where their names will go online."

Among the key points in the new Registry Agreement:

  • Includes a Trademark Clearinghouse that will serve as a one-stop shop where trademark holders can protect their rights.
  • Provides for a process for a rapid, efficient way to take down infringing domain names.
  • Provides a procedure where trademark rights holders can assert claims directly against a registry operator for domain name abuse if that operator has played an active role in the abuse.
  • Requires registry operators to have a single point of contact responsible for handling abuse complaints.

"We're getting to the point now where new gTLD applicants can see the finish line," said Akram Atallah, President of the ICANN's Generic Domains Division. "Much like the 2013 Registrar Accreditation Agreement approved by the Board last week, this new Registry Agreement is the culmination of input from a wide range of stakeholders and marks a dramatic improvement over the previous baseline agreement."

The New gTLD Registry Agreement is intended to enhance the security and stability of the Domain Name System while bolstering competition in domain name industry. The security provisions include:

  • A requirement that registry operators implement Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC), reducing so-called "man-in-the-middle" attacks and spoofed DNS records.
  • A requirement of enhanced WHOIS service at the registry level with a common interface, and more rapid search capabilities, facilitating efficient resolution of malicious activities.

"This isn't just a gradual step forward," said Atallah. "This is a major move that translates to far greater security protections."

To read the 2013 Registry Agreement, go here: [PDF, 2.15 MB]

UPDATE: View Redline Comparing Revised Version of RyA to 29 April 2013 Version [PDF, 1.62 MB].

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Domain Name System
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."