ICANN is seeking public comment on a revised draft of the New gTLD Registry Agreement that will serve as the contractual document between successful New gTLD Applicants and ICANN, and will govern the rights and obligations of new gTLD registry operators. ICANN has made certain updates and changes to the New gTLD Registry Agreement in response to community feedback on the version of the New gTLD Registry Agreement posted for public comment on 5 February 2013 and discussions of the New gTLD Registry Agreement at the ICANN 46 meeting in Beijing, China 7-11 April 2013.
Section I: Description and Explanation
ICANN is posting today for public comment the proposed final New gTLD Registry Agreement that will be entered into between ICANN and successful new gTLD applicants. The proposed final agreement is the result of several months of negotiations, formal community feedback during a public comment forum initiated on 5 February 2013, and meetings with various stakeholders and communities. The proposed final draft also includes feedback from the ICANN community at the ICANN 46 Meeting on 7-11 April 2013 in Beijing. (Note: this version of the agreement does not address the recent Beijing GAC Communiqué.) Included in the proposed revisions are the following:
- Agreement Amendment Procedures: The amendment procedures have been substantially reworked to provide greater clarity and procedural safeguards. A new mechanism for bilateral negotiation of amendments to the agreements has been added, including provision for public comment on proposed revisions and potential arbitration of some classes of proposed amendments.
- Confidentiality Provision: A new confidentiality provision was inserted to ensure appropriate treatment of confidential information provided by a party to the other under the Agreement.
- Reserved Names: Proposed revisions to Specification 5 would clarify the reserved names requirements, including a provision addressing registry operator use of names for the operation or the promotion of the TLD (capped at 100 names).
Section II: Background
After the ICANN Board approves the final terms of the New gTLD Registry Agreement, it will serve as the contractual document between successful New gTLD Applicants and ICANN, and will govern the rights and obligations of new gTLD registry operators.
On 5 February 2013 ICANN posted a proposed "Revised New gTLD Registry Agreement Including Additional Public Interest Commitments Specification." In that posting ICANN announced revisions to the agreement in response to developments since the last posting of the Applicant Guidebook in June 2012 and a general review of the contractual needs of the new gTLD program.
Since February 5, ICANN hosted two webinars (6 March 2013 and 26 March 2013), held meetings with stakeholders, and initiated an official public comment period from 5 February 2013 to 20 March 2013 to provide the community opportunities to give feedback on revisions to this key agreement. A summary and analysis of the public comments received can be reviewed at: http://www.icann.org/en/news/public-comment/report-comments-base-agreement-01apr13-en.pdf [PDF, 508 KB]. An interim revised draft of the agreement was posted for information on the ICANN Blog on 1 April 2013.
(Please note that this version of the agreement does not address the recent Beijing GAC Communiqué [PDF, 156 KB]. The community is invited to provide feedback on how the ICANN Board New gTLD Program Committee should address GAC Advice on New gTLDs by submitting a comment to that public comment forum at http://www.icann.org/en/news/public-comment/gac-safeguard-advice-23apr13-en.htm.)
The Registry Agreement Negotiating Team asked ICANN to publish the following statement:
"The Registry Agreement Negotiation Team (RA-NT) is an ad-hoc group of volunteers from the Registry SG, NTAG, BRG, and individual applicants. This team was formed during the Beijing ICANN meeting in response to substantial changes proposed by ICANN on April 1, 2013. The RA-NT agreed to review the new gTLD Registry Agreement with ICANN staff in an effort to minimize some of the more controversial aspects of the Agreement for applicants as a whole. While participants reflected a variety of perspectives, the team did not "represent" or have any authority to "speak for" new gTLD applicants generally, or any group of applicants. The team's discussions with ICANN focused on a limited set of the most controversial and broadly applicable aspects of ICANN's proposed changes to the registry agreement published in the final New gTLD Application Guidebook. Applicants may disagree with the way these controversial issues are addressed in the draft, and may have concerns or comments about issues in the proposed agreement that the negotiating team did not discuss with ICANN. Further, not all members of the negotiating team agreed on every point.
"The form of the Registry Agreement may be subject to additional changes in response to the public comment period. Also, as noted in 5.1 of the Applicant Guidebook, 'Applicants may request and negotiate terms by exception; however, this extends the time involved in executing the agreement.' All applicants are encouraged to review this draft."
Section III: Relevant Resources
- Revised gTLD Registry Agreement 2013-04-29 (clean) [PDF, 600 KB]
- Revised gTLD Registry Agreement (redline vs. 5 February 2013 version) [PDF, 515 KB]
- Revised gTLD Registry Agreement (redline vs. 4 June 2012 version) [PDF, 582 KB] (New: 1 May 2013)
- Summary of Changes [PDF, 278 KB]
- Beijing GAC Communiqué 2013-04-11 [PDF, 156 KB]
- Draft gTLD Registry Agreement, 2013-04-01 version
- Draft gTLD Registry Agreement, 2013-02-05 version
- Draft gTLD Registry Agreement, 2012-06-04 version [PDF, 917 KB]
- ICANN Website for New Generic Top-Level Domains Applicant Guidebook
Section IV: Additional Information