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Updated: New gTLDS: Briefing Papers for ICANN Board-GAC Consultations

Updated: 23 February 2011

The Root Zone Scaling paper is now available and is posted below.

In addition, a publication date of 21 February 2011 has been added to each of the 10 briefing papers posted with this announcement on 21 February 2011. There has been no content modification to any of these papers.


In preparation for the ICANN Board-GAC consultation in Brussels on 28 February and 1 March 2011, ICANN has prepared briefing papers to address the 12 topics identified in the GAC's Cartagena communiqué as "...outstanding and require additional discussion between the Board and the GAC." As some of the topics were considered to overlap or be inter-related, more than one topic is covered in some of the briefing papers.

The aim of the briefing papers is to identify the areas of difference which remain between the ICANN Board and the GAC on the nominated topics to focus the discussion on the issues in Brussels. These areas of difference have been identified through the GAC Principles on New gTLDs, GAC communications to the Board on the new gTLD program, and GAC communiqués. There have also been conference calls among ICANN Board, GAC and staff in the past few weeks to confirm the areas of difference. The papers also provide background and ICANN's position on the issues raised. Also attached to most briefing papers is an annex containing reference documents: the first is a summary of actions taken responding to GAC and public comments; and the second is a table which provides a chronological listing of GAC advice and comments on new gTLDs, responses provided by ICANN and key documents published on the topics.

Note that the GAC is preparing its own scorecard on these same issues – highlighting GAC consensus positions on the New gTLD Program and where that position differs from the current implementation model. It is expected that the GAC and ICANN papers will differ. The primary purpose of the Brussels consultation is to get joint understanding of specific differences between the GAC and Board positions. Once that understanding is obtained, the parties can work toward a common position.

These briefing papers are being posted for information only, so that interested participants will be able to have a sense of the issues to be discussed during the ICANN Board-GAC consultation. They are not being published for public comment.

The briefing papers are as follows:

Objection Procedures: includes requirements for governments to pay fees; procedures for review of sensitive strings; and early warning to applications—whether a proposed string would be considered controversial or to raise sensitivities (including geographical names) [PDF, 365 KB]

Root Zone Scaling [PDF, 296 KB]

Market and Economic Impacts [PDF, 316 KB]

Registry-Registrar Separation [PDF, 452 KB]

Protection of Rights Owners (trademark protections) [PDF, 276 KB]

Consumer Protection Issues (malicious conduct) [PDF, 262 KB]

Law Enforcement Due Diligence Recommendations [PDF, 291 KB]

Post Delegation Disputes with governments [PDF, 409 KB]

Geographic Names: use and protection of geographical names [PDF, 780 KB]

Legal Recourse for Applicants [PDF, 171 KB]

Providing Opportunities for all Stakeholders [PDF, 413 KB]

The Agenda for the meeting is being finalized.


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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."