Purpose: ICANN is posting for public comment the proposed agreement for renewal of the 2011 Registry Agreement for .NET. This proposal is a result of discussions between ICANN and Verisign, Inc.
Current Status: As per Section 4.2 of the .NET Registry Agreement, the .NET Registry Agreement shall be renewed upon the expiration of the initial term set forth in Section 4.1 of the agreement. The .NET Registry Agreement will expire on 30 June 2017.
Next Steps: After the public comment period has concluded, the proposed renewal .NET Registry Agreement will be considered for execution in light of the summary and analysis of the comments.
Section I: Description and Explanation
ICANN is posting for public comment the proposed agreement for renewal of the 2011 Registry Agreement for .NET, set to expire on 30 June 2017. The renewal proposal is a result of bilateral discussions between ICANN and Verisign, Inc. (the Registry Operator for the .NET TLD).
The proposed renewal agreement for the .NET Registry Agreement is based on the current .NET Registry Agreement with modifications agreed upon by ICANN and Verisign, and includes certain provisions incorporated into legacy gTLD Registry Agreements (such as from the.ORG Registry Agreement, dated 22 August 2013), as well as certain provisions from the base New gTLD Registry Agreement. Below is a summary of provisions in the proposed .NET renewal Registry Agreement that are materially different from the current .NET Registry Agreement:
- Revised versions of Appendices 1, 2, and 5 of the .NET Registry Agreement will become effective upon the later of 1 August 2017 or 15 days following the execution of a new Escrow Agreement to reflect updated requirements in those Appendices, including:
- Adoption of the escrow format of the New gTLD Registry Agreement for data escrow deposits and BRDA (Bulk Registration Data Access) files.
- Adoption of the API Interface Specification of the New gTLD Registry Agreement for data escrow reporting.
- Registration Data Directory Services (i.e. Whois) Specifications modeled after Section 1 of Specification 4 of the base New gTLD Registry Agreement.
- A revised Appendix 3 incorporating the Zone File Access requirements of Section 2 of Specification 4 of the New gTLD Registry Agreement will become effective 120 days following 1 July 2017.
- The contractual compliance audit provisions have been revised to incorporate the provisions in the .ORG Registry Agreement, which are consistent with the provisions of the New gTLD Registry Agreement.
- The termination provision related to Verisign's bankruptcy has been revised to reflect the provisions in the .ORG Registry Agreement, which are consistent with the provisions of the New gTLD Registry Agreement.
- Within 120 days following the Effective Date, ICANN and Verisign have agreed to negotiate in good faith to amend the .NET Registry Agreement, including any applicable Appendices, to implement an emergency transition process for the interim operation of the registry for the TLD, the requirements for designation of an emergency interim registry provider and objective standards under which Verisign would resume operation of the registry for the TLD.
- Within 6 months following the Effective Date, ICANN and Verisign have agreed to develop a transition plan setting forth the timing and processes by which the monthly reports for the .NET registry will transition to the content and formatting set forth in Specification 3 of the New gTLD Registry Agreement.
- A new renewal related provision requiring ICANN and Verisign to initiate negotiations at least six months prior to the expiration date of the .NET Registry Agreement, which is similar to a provision under the .ORG Registry Agreement.
- A new provision under which Verisign acknowledges that ICANN may take certain compliance actions with respect to ICANN-accredited registrars, similar to the .ORG Registry Agreement.
- Verisign's indemnification obligation has been revised such that Verisign will not be obligated to indemnify ICANN if a claim arose due to the willful misconduct of ICANN, which is consistent with the terms of the New gTLD Registry Agreement and the .COM Registry Agreement.
Posted for public comment are both clean and "redline" versions of the .NET Registry Agreement as follows:
- Proposed Renewal Registry Agreement
- Redline showing changes compared to the current .NET Registry Agreement
- Redline of the new Appendices 1, 2, 3 and 5 compared to their applicable Specifications in the base New gTLD Registry Agreement
- Summary of Changes
Contractual Compliance Review: As part of the renewal process, ICANN conducted a review of contractual compliance under the .NET Registry Agreement. Verisign was found to be in substantial compliance with their contractual requirements for .NET.
Section II: Background
On 1 July 2011, ICANN and Verisign, Inc. entered into an Unsponsored Registry Agreement under which Verisign operates the .NET top-level domain.
The current .NET Registry agreement will expire on 30 June 2017, but it provides for presumptive renewal so long as certain requirements are met. The .NET Registry Agreement also provides that upon renewal, changes may be made to render the terms similar to the five largest gTLDs (determined by the number of domain name registrations under management at the time of renewal). The proposed renewal agreement includes modified provisions to make the agreement in line with other gTLD registry agreements as well as certain provisions from the base New gTLD Registry Agreement (as proposed to be modified by the Global Amendment posted for public comment on 31 May 2016).
Section III: Relevant Resources
- Current .NET Registry Agreement and Appendices: https://www.icann.org/resources/unthemed-pages/net-registry-agreement-2011-07-01-en
- Approved base New gTLD Registry Agreement (as updated on 9 January 2014): http://newgtlds.icann.org/sites/default/files/agreements/agreement-approved-09jan14-en.htm