Purpose: This public comment proceeding aims at gathering community input on the proposed amendment to the .SHARP Registry Agreement to remove Searchable Whois service from the Exhibit A (Approved Services) of the .SHARP Registry Agreement. This amendment is intended to implement the request from the registry operator to remove this service from their registry agreement, which is submitted through the Registry Services Evaluation Policy (RSEP) process. Also, this public comment proceeding aims at gathering community input on this type of requests in general, so that public comment can be considered with similar future requests.
Current Status: As per the New gTLD Program Applicant Guidebook, provision for Searchable Whois capabilities; and a description of potential forms of abuse of this feature, how these risks will be mitigated, and the basis for these descriptions is associated with 2 points in the Initial Evaluation of the application.
As required by the Registry Services Evaluation Policy (RSEP), ICANN has undertaken a preliminary determination on whether the proposal might raise significant competition, security or stability issues. ICANN’s preliminary review (based on the information provided) did not identify any such issues for this proposal.
ICANN is seeking public comment on the proposed amendment that will remove the Searchable Whois service from the Exhibit A (Approved Services) of the .SHARP Registry Agreement.
Next Steps: ICANN will prepare a public comment summary and analysis report at the conclusion of the public comment period. ICANN will consider these comments as it determines whether or not to submit the requested amendment to the Board of Directors for deliberation.
Section I: Description and Explanation
On 15 May 2015, Sharp Corporation, Registry Operator of .SHARP TLD submitted a Registry Services Evaluation Policy (RSEP) request to remove Searchable Whois service currently available in the Exhibit A (Approved Services) of the .SHARP Registry Agreement.
As provided in the Searchable Whois service in the Exhibit A of the .SHARP Registry Agreement:
Registry Operator must offer a searchable Whois service compliant with the requirements described in Section 1.10 of Specification 4 of this Agreement. Registry Operator must make available the services only to authenticated users after they logged in by supplying proper credentials (e.g., user name and password). Registry Operator must issue such credentials exclusively to eligible users and institutions that supply sufficient proof of their legitimate interest in this feature (e.g., law enforcement agencies). Registry Operator shall use rate-limiting to prevent abuse of the searchable Whois service.
It should be noted that "A Searchable Whois service: Whois service includes web-based search capabilities by domain name, registrant name, postal address, contact names, registrar IDs, and Internet Protocol addresses without arbitrary limit. Boolean search capabilities may be offered. The service shall include appropriate precautions to avoid abuse of this feature (e.g., limiting access to legitimate authorized users), and the application demonstrates compliance with any applicable privacy laws or policies" is associated with 2 points in the Initial Evaluation of the application as indicated in the New gTLD Program Applicant Guidebook. The proposed amendment, which is being posted for comment, would remove Searchable Whois service from Exhibit A (Approved Services) of the .SHARP Registry Agreement, which was signed on 1 May 2014. It should also be noted that .SHARP's application to be granted Specification 13 was posted for public comment on 5 August 2014, however the status of the application has not been finalized yet.
The RSEP request was posted for public information on the Registry Service Evaluation Process webpage, available at https://www.icann.org/resources/pages/rsep-2014-02-19-en.
In their RSEP request, Sharp Corporation, the Registry Operator of .SHARP TLD, explained that since they are switching their backend registry services provider from GMO Registry Inc. to Japan Registry Services Co., Ltd. (JPRS), they would like to change their Registry Services defined in Exhibit A of the .SHARP Registry Agreement to keep it up to date with the registry services JPRS provides. Sharp Corporation also indicated in their RSEP request that "the proposed service is fully compliant with Specification 4 Section 1 "Registration Data Directory Services" of the Registry Agreement, along with RFC 3912". Additionally, Sharp Corporation expressed that "As a back-end registry services provider, JPRS has already offered WHOIS service for new gTLD Registry Operators. Thus far, there have been no technical issues with WHOIS service, and we will follow the same procedures, protocols, and specifications."
As provided by the Registry Services Evaluation Policy, ICANN has undertaken a preliminary determination on whether this proposal might raise significant competition, security or stability issues. ICANN's preliminary review (based on the information provided) did not identify any such issues for these requests.Following ICANN's preliminary determination that the proposal does not raise significant competition, security or stability issues, it was further determined that the change would require a material change to the respective Registry Agreement and that an amendment is needed in order to effect the change.
Section II: Background
On 1 May 2014, ICANN and Sharp Corporation entered into a Registry Agreement under which Sharp Corporation operates the .SHARP top-level domain. The .SHARP Registry Agreement is available for review here: https://www.icann.org/resources/agreement/sharp-2014-05-01-en.
Section III: Relevant Resources
- RSEP Webpage: https://www.icann.org/resources/pages/rsep-2014-02-19-en
- RSEP Policy: https://www.icann.org/resources/pages/policy-bd-2012-02-25-en
- SHARP Corporation RSEP Request [PDF, 16 KB]
Section IV: Additional Information
- .SHARP Proposed Amendment [PDF, 60 KB]