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Minutes | Regular Meeting of the ICANN Board

A Regular Meeting of the ICANN Board of Directors was held publicly in Dublin, Ireland on 22 October 2015 at 17:57 local time.

Steve Crocker, Chair, promptly called the meeting to order.

In addition to the Chair, the following Directors participated in all or part of the meeting: Rinalia Abdul Rahim, Cherine Chalaby, Fadi Chehadé (President and CEO), Chris Disspain, Asha Hemrajani, Wolfgang Kleinwächter, Markus Kummer, Bruno Lanvin, Erika Mann, Gonzalo Navarro, Ray Plzak, George Sadowsky, Mike Silber, Bruce Tonkin (Vice Chair), and Kuo-Wei Wu.

The following Board Liaisons participated in all or part of the meeting: Ram Mohan (SSAC Liaison), Thomas Schneider (GAC Liaison), and Jonne Soininen (IETF Liaison).

The following Board Liaisons sent their apologies: Suzanne Woolf (RSSAC Liaison).

Invited Observers: Ron da Silva, Rafael Lito Ibarra, and Lousewies van der Laan.

Secretary: John Jeffrey (General Counsel and Secretary).

  1. Consent Agenda:
    1. Approval of Board Meeting Minutes
    2. Delegation of IDN ccTLD ελ representing Greece in Greek script
    3. Delegation of IDN ccTLD عراق representing Iraq in Arabic script
    4. Approval for Contracting and Disbursement for CRM Platform Enhancement
    5. Thank You to Community Members
    6. Thank You to Local Host of ICANN 54 Meeting
    7. Thank You to Sponsors of ICANN 54 Meeting
    8. Thank You to Interpreters, Staff, Event and Hotel Teams of ICANN 54 Meeting
  2. Main Agenda:
    1. Thank You to the 2015 Nominating Committee
    2. GNSO gTLD Registries Stakeholder Group Charter Amendments (2015)
    3. Decommissioning of the New gTLD Program Committee
    4. Consideration of Independent Review Panel's Final Declaration in Vistaprint v. ICANN
    5. Thank You to Wolfgang Kleinwächter for his service to the ICANN Board
    6. Thank You to Gonzalo Navarro for his service to the ICANN Board
    7. Thank You to Ray Plzak for his service to the ICANN Board

 

  1. Consent Agenda:

    The Chair provided a brief overview of the items on the Consent Agenda. The Chair then called for a vote, and the Board took the following action:

    Resolved, the following resolutions in this Consent Agenda are approved:

    1. Approval of Board Meeting Minutes

      Resolved (2015.10.22.01), the Board approves the minutes of the 28 September 2015 Regular Meeting of the ICANN Board.

    2. Delegation of IDN ccTLD ελ representing Greece in Greek script

      Resolved (2015.10.22.02), as part of the exercise of its responsibilities under the IANA Functions Contract, ICANN has reviewed and evaluated the request to delegate the ελ country-code top-level domain to ICS-FORTH GR. The documentation demonstrates that the proper procedures were followed in evaluating the request.

      Resolved (2015.10.22.03), the Board directs that pursuant to Article III, Section 5.2 of the ICANN Bylaws, that certain portions of the rationale not appropriate for public distribution within the resolutions, preliminary report or minutes at this time due to contractual obligations, shall be withheld until public release is allowed pursuant to those contractual obligations.

      Rationale for Resolutions 2015.10.22.02 – 2015.10.22.03

      Why the Board is addressing the issue now?

      In accordance with the IANA Functions Contract, the ICANN staff has evaluated a request for ccTLD delegation and is presenting its report to the Board for review. This review by the Board is intended to ensure that ICANN staff has followed the proper procedures.

      By way of background, the ελ ("el") string was able to proceed to the IANA delegation step following its completion of the IDN ccTLD Fast Track Process. The string was initially rejected by the IDN ccTLD Fast Track DNS Stability Panel based on possible string similarity concerns between the candidate string and entries on the ISO 3166-1 list. However, in October 2014, a second review panel called the Extended Process Similarity Review Panel (EPSRP) found that "the candidate string is not confusingly similar to any ISO 3166-1 entries". The EPRSP report is available at: https://www.icann.org/en/system/files/files/epsrp-greece-30sep14-en.pdf [PDF, 2.47 MB]. The EPSRP findings allowed the string to successfully complete the IDN ccTLD Fast Track string evaluation process and proceed to the IANA delegation process.

      What is the proposal being considered?

      The proposal is to approve a request to IANA to create the country-code top-level domain and assign the role of sponsoring organization (also known as the manager or trustee) to ICS-FORTH GR.

      Which stakeholders or others were consulted?

      In the course of evaluating a delegation application, ICANN staff consults with the applicant and other interested parties. As part of the application process, the applicant needs to describe consultations that were performed within the country concerning the ccTLD, and their applicability to their local Internet community.

      What concerns or issues were raised by the community?

      Staff is not aware of any significant issues or concerns raised by the community in relation to this request.

      What significant materials did the Board review?

      Redacted – Sensitive Delegation Information

      What factors the Board found to be significant?

      The Board did not identify any specific factors of concern with this request.

      Are there positive or negative community impacts?

      The timely approval of country-code domain name managers that meet the various public interest criteria is positive toward ICANN's overall mission, the local communities to which country- code top-level domains are designated to serve, and responsive to ICANN's obligations under the IANA Functions Contract.

      Are there financial impacts or ramifications on ICANN (strategic plan, operating plan, budget); the community; and/or the public?

      The administration of country-code delegations in the DNS root zone is part of the IANA functions, and the delegation action should not cause any significant variance on pre-planned expenditure. It is not the role of ICANN to assess the financial impact of the internal operations of country-code top-level domains within a country.

      Are there any security, stability or resiliency issues relating to the DNS?

      ICANN does not believe this request poses any notable risks to security, stability or resiliency. This is an Organizational Administrative Function not requiring public comment.

    3. Delegation of IDN ccTLD عراق representing Iraq in Arabic script

      Resolved (2015.10.22.04), as part of the exercise of its responsibilities under the IANA Functions Contract, ICANN has reviewed and evaluated the request to delegate the عراق country-code top-level domain to Communications and Media Commission (CMC). The documentation demonstrates that the proper procedures were followed in evaluating the request.

      Resolved (2015.10.22.05), the Board directs that pursuant to Article III, Section 5.2 of the ICANN Bylaws, that certain portions of the rationale not appropriate for public distribution within the resolutions, preliminary report or minutes at this time due to contractual obligations, shall be withheld until public release is allowed pursuant to those contractual obligations.

      Rationale for Resolutions 2015.10.22.04 – 2015.10.22.05

      Why the Board is addressing the issue now?

      In accordance with the IANA Functions Contract, the ICANN staff has evaluated a request for ccTLD delegation and is presenting its report to the Board for review. This review by the Board is intended to ensure that ICANN staff has followed the proper procedures.

      What is the proposal being considered?

      The proposal is to approve a request to IANA to create the country-code top-level domain and assign the role of sponsoring organization (also known as the manager or trustee) to Communications and Media Commission (CMC).

      Which stakeholders or others were consulted?

      In the course of evaluating a delegation application, ICANN staff consults with the applicant and other interested parties. As part of the application process, the applicant needs to describe consultations that were performed within the country concerning the ccTLD, and their applicability to their local Internet community.

      What concerns or issues were raised by the community?

      ICANN is not aware of any significant issues or concerns raised by the community in relation to this request.

      What significant materials did the Board review?

      Redacted – Sensitive Delegation Information

      What factors the Board found to be significant?

      The Board did not identify any specific factors of concern with this request.

      Are there positive or negative community impacts?

      The timely approval of country-code domain name managers that meet the various public interest criteria is positive toward ICANN's overall mission, the local communities to which country- code top-level domains are designated to serve, and responsive to ICANN's obligations under the IANA Functions Contract.

      Are there financial impacts or ramifications on ICANN (strategic plan, operating plan, budget); the community; and/or the public?

      The administration of country-code delegations in the DNS root zone is part of the IANA functions, and the delegation action should not cause any significant variance on pre-planned expenditure. It is not the role of ICANN to assess the financial impact of the internal operations of country-code top-level domains within a country.

      Are there any security, stability or resiliency issues relating to the DNS?

      ICANN does not believe this request poses any notable risks to security, stability or resiliency.

      This is an Organizational Administrative Function not requiring public comment.

    4. Approval for Contracting and Disbursement for CRM Platform Enhancement

      Whereas, ICANN has been using a CRM platform that was architected in 2013 to specifically support applicant tracking and applications management for the New gTLD Program, on top of which an online portal to support registries was built.

      Whereas, ICANN has identified the need to comprehensively support end-to-end interactions with contracted parties, from applicant tracking through all interactions with registries and registrars, to contractual compliance and all associated reporting and community-facing dashboards.

      Whereas, ICANN has determined to engage technical consultants from a vendor having the unique expertise, experience and knowledge, allowing ICANN to successfully improve and enhance its CRM platform.

      Whereas, the Board Finance Committee (BFC) reviewed the financial implications of the project totaling [AMOUNT REDACTED] of which [AMOUNT REDACTED] in FY16 has recommended approval by the Board.

      Whereas, certain members of the Board Risk Committee have reviewed the suggested project solution and have provided guidance to staff on risks and useful mitigation actions.

      Whereas, both the staff and the BFC have recommended that the Board authorize the President and CEO, or his designee(s), to take all actions necessary to execute the contract(s) needed to improve and enhance ICANN'S CRM platform, and make all necessary disbursements pursuant to those contract(s).

      Resolved (2015.10.22.06), the Board authorizes the President and CEO, or his designee(s), the take all necessary actions to execute the contract(s) for the CRM platform project and make all necessary disbursements pursuant to those contract(s).

      Resolved (2015.10.22.07), specific items within this resolution shall remain confidential for negotiation purposes pursuant to Article III, section 5.2 of the ICANN Bylaws until the President and CEO determines that the confidential information may be released.

      Rationale for Resolutions 2015.10.22.06 – 2015.10.22.07

      In 2013, ICANN developed the initial version of its Salesforce.com platform, or pilot CRM solution, to support the needs of the business operations of the New gTLD Program. In March of 2014, ICANN extended the functionality by building an online portal to support registries. It is expected that this solution will continue to achieve its goal and will continue to support processing all remaining new gTLD applications through 2017.

      ICANN is planning to add significant value for its constituencies and is envisioning extending this platform to include capabilities for end-to-end interactions with contracted parties, from applicant tracking through all interactions with registries and registrars, to contractual compliance and all associated reporting and community-facing dashboards.

      In support of extending the capabilities, the staff performed a thorough analysis of the current platform, including engaging a third party to independently assess the extensibility of the current design, and have concluded that a reformed design affords the opportunity to leverage lessons learned, out-of-the-box functionality (without significant programming and testing), and efficient, stable and mature business processes. Most importantly, it provides an opportunity to create a foundation that is architected to be secure, scalable, extensible and aligned with the future goals and objectives of the business.

      Building the improved and enhanced CRM platform foundation can be achieved with outside resources, inside resources, or a strategic combination of the two. Both business operations and IT believe that ICANN does not currently have the proper skill set in house to take on this project without assistance. Therefore, ICANN plans to engage expert technical consultants from a vendor for a period of nine to twelve months that have unique architecture skills and deep platform knowledge. The cost of the project is expected to be approximately [AMOUNT REDACTED], inclusive of travel expenses, of which approximately [AMOUNT REDACTED] during FY16. Concurrently to the engagement with the expert consultants, ICANN plans to on-board an incremental four highly skilled technical staff members who will transition both the development efforts and on-going maintenance from the vendor to ICANN, in order to sustainably maintain and continuously enhance the platform. Working together with the vendor's recommendation, the four roles are currently envisioned to include a Solution Architect, Senior Business Analyst, Senior Technical Developer and a Senior Admin Configurator. This will result in an incremental expense of approximately [AMOUNT REDACTED] in FY17 and thereafter. This action does not have any direct impact on the security, stability or resiliency of the domain name system.

      The obligation under the intended vendor contract will exceed US$500,000 and as such, entering into this engagement requires Board approval.

      This is an Organizational Administrative function that does not require public comment.

    5. Thank You to Community Members

      Whereas, ICANN wishes to acknowledge the considerable effort, skills, and time that members of the stakeholder community contribute to ICANN.

      Whereas, in recognition of these contributions, ICANN wishes to acknowledge and thank members of the community when their terms of service end on the Advisory Committees and Supporting Organizations.

      Whereas, the following members of the At-Large community are concluding their terms of service:

      • Ms. Fátima Cambronero, At-Large Advisory Committee Member
      • Mr. Garth Bruen, North American Regional At-Large Organization Chair
      • Mr. Olivier Crépin-Leblond, At-Large Advisory Committee Member
      • Mr. Eduardo Diaz, At-Large Advisory Committee Member
      • Mr. Rafid Fatani, At-Large Advisory Committee Member
      • Ms. Beran Dondeh Gillen, At-Large Advisory Committee Member
      • Mr. Wolf Ludwig, European Regional At-Large Organization Chair
      • Mr. Glenn McKnight, At-Large Advisory Committee Member
      • Ms. Yuliya Morenets, European Regional At-Large Organization Secretariat
      • Ms. Hadja Ouattara, At-Large Advisory Committee Member

      Resolved (2015.10.22.08), Fátima Cambronero, Garth Bruen, Olivier Crépin-Leblond, Eduardo Diaz, Rafid Fatani, Beran Dondeh Gillen, Wolf Ludwig, Glenn McKnight, Yuliya Morenets, and Hadja Ouattara have earned the deep appreciation of the Board of Directors for their terms of service, and the Board of Directors wishes them well in their future endeavors within the ICANN community and beyond.

      Whereas, the following member of the Root Server System Advisory Committee has concluded his term of service:

      • Mr. Marc Blanchet, Liaison from the Internet Architecture Board

      Resolved (2015.10.22.09), Marc Blanchet has earned the deep appreciation of the Board of Directors for his terms of service, and the Board of Directors wishes him well in his future endeavors within the ICANN community and beyond.

      Whereas, the following member of Address Supporting Organization has concluded his term of service:

      • Ron da Silva, Address Council Member

      Resolved (2015.10.22.10), Ron da Silva has earned the deep appreciation of the Board of Directors for his terms of service, and the Board of Directors wishes him well in his future endeavors within the ICANN community and beyond.

      Whereas, the following members of the County Code Names Supporting Organization (ccNSO) are concluding their terms of service:

      • Mr. Victor Abboud, ccNSO Councilor
      • Mr. Martin Boyle, ccNSO Member
      • Mr. Keith Davidson, ccNSO Vice Chair
      • Mr. Jordi Iparraguirre, ccNSO Councilor
      • Ms. Dotty Sparks le Blanc, Councilor

      Resolved (2015.10.22.11), Victor Abboud, Martin Boyle, Keith Davidson, Jordi Iparraguirre, and Dotty Sparks le Blanc have earned the deep appreciation of the Board of Directors for their terms of service, and the Board of Directors wishes them well in their future endeavors within the ICANN community and beyond.

      Whereas, the following members of the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) are concluding their terms of service:

      • Mr. Rafik Dammak, Non-Commercial Stakeholders Group Chair
      • Ms. Avri Doria, GNSO Councilor
      • Mr. Keith Drazek, Registries Stakeholder Group Chair
      • Mr. Bret Fausett, GNSO Councilor
      • Mr. Tony Holmes, GNSO Councilor
      • Mr. Yoav Keren, GNSO Councilor
      • Mr. Osvaldo Novoa, GNSO Councilor
      • Mr. Daniel Reed, GNSO Councilor
      • Mr. Thomas Rickert, GNSO Councilor
      • Mr. Jonathan Robinson, GNSO Council Chair
      • Mr. Brian Winterfeldt, GNSO Councilor

      Resolved (2015.10.22.12), Rafik Dammak, Avri Doria, Keith Drazek, Bret Fausett, Tony Holmes, Yoav Keren, Osvaldo Novoa, Daniel Reed, Thomas Rickert, Jonathan Robinson, and Brian Winterfeldt have earned the deep appreciation of the Board of Directors for their terms of service, and the Board of Directors wishes them well in their future endeavors within the ICANN community and beyond.

    6. Thank You to Local Host of ICANN 54 Meeting

      The Board wishes to extend its thanks to the local host organizer, Internet Neutral Exchange Association (INEX), for its support. Special thanks are extended to Niall Murphy, INEX Chair, Barry Rhodes, INEX Chief Executive Officer, Eileen Gallagher, Head of Marketing and Membership Development, and the entire INEX staff.

    7. Thank You to Sponsors of ICANN 54 Meeting

      The Board wishes to thank the following sponsors: Minds + Machines Group, Neustar, Uniregistry Corp., Verisign, Inc., China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), Afilias Limited, EURid, Rightside, CentralNic, Domain Name Services, Nominet, NCC Group, Public Interest Registry, PDR Solutions FZC, Dyn, Trademark Clearinghouse, Radix FZC, Sedo, TLDs Powered by Verisign, Asian Domain Name Dispute Resolution Centre, Teleinfo Network, IDA Ireland, IE Domain Registry Limited, Blacknight Internet Solutions Ltd., Interconnect Communications Ltd., Failte Ireland / Tourism Ireland and Tapastreet.

    8. Thank You to Interpreters, Staff, Event and Hotel Teams of ICANN 54 Meeting

      The Board expresses its deepest appreciation to the scribes, interpreters, audiovisual team, technical teams, and the entire ICANN staff for their efforts in facilitating the smooth operation of the meeting.

      The Board would also like to thank the management and staff of the Convention Centre Dublin for providing a wonderful facility to hold this event. Special thanks are extended to Anne McMonagle, Account Manager, International Associations, Emma O'Brien, Acting Senior Event Manager, Adrienne Clarke, Head of Conference Sales and Edel Malone, Credit Controller.

    All members of the Board that were in attendance voted in favor of Resolutions 2015.10.22.01, 2015.10.22.02, 2015.10.22.03, 2015.10.22.04, 2015.10.22.05, 2015.10.22.06, 2015.10.22.07, 2015.10.22.08, 2015.10.22.09, 2015.10.22.10, 2015.10.22.11, and 2015.10.22.12. The Resolutions carried.

  2. Main Agenda:

    1. Thank You to the 2015 Nominating Committee

      Chris Disspain moved and Wolfgang Kleinwächter seconded the proposed resolution.

      The Chair introduced the agenda item. Stephane Van Gelder, Chair of the 2015 Nominating Committee (NomCom), provided an overview of the work that was accomplished by the NomCom in 2015, including the NomCom's selections for the Board, the ALAC, the GNSO, and the ccNSO. Stephane also noted that, in an effort to make the selection process even more transparent, the NomCom implemented, for the first time, a whistle-blower email system whereby anyone with a concern regarding a potential conflict of interest or other issue can make such a report to an independent source that is managed by ICANN staff (not NomCom leadership). Stephane further noted that the NomCom has worked to build a greater interaction with the BGC. In addition, this year all members of the NomCom committed to being reviewed and having those 360-degree reviews published. Stephane also explained that the NomCom has created subcommittees to look at specific areas of NomCom work (such as conflicts of interest, outreach, and statement of interest revisions) so that the application process runs as smoothly and easily as possible.

      The Chair called for a vote, and the Board took the following action:

      Whereas, ICANN appointed Stéphane Van Gelder as Chair of the 2015 Nominating Committee, Ron Andruff as Chair-Elect of the 2015 Nominating Committee, and Cheryl Langdon-Orr as Associate Chair.

      Whereas, the 2015 Nominating Committee consisted of delegates from each of ICANN's constituencies and advisory bodies.

      Whereas, the following members of the Nominating Committee are concluding their terms of service:

      • Mr. Ron Andruff, Chair-Elect
      • Mr. Satish Babu, Member
      • Mr. John Berryhill, Member
      • Mr. Alain Bidron, Member
      • Mr. Don Blumenthal, Member
      • Ms. Sarah Deutsch, Member
      • Mr. Robert Guerra, Member
      • Mr. Louis Houle, Member
      • Mr. Juhani Juselius, Member
      • Mr. Brenden Kuerbis, Member
      • Ms. Cheryl Langdon-Orr, Associate Chair
      • Mr. John Levine, Member
      • Mr. William Manning, Member
      • Ms. Fatimata Seye Sylla, Member

      Resolved (2015.10.22.13), Ron Andruff, Satish Babu, John Berryhill, Alain Bidron, Don Blumenthal, Sarah Deutsch, Robert Guerra, Louis Houle, Juhani Juselius, Brenden Keurbis, Cheryl Langdon-Orr, John Levine, William Manning, and Fatimata Seye Sylla have earned the deep appreciation of the Board of Directors for their terms of service, and the Board of Directors wishes them well in their future endeavors within the ICANN community and beyond.

      All members of the Board that were in attendance voted in favor of Resolution 2015.10.22.13. The Resolution carried.

    2. GNSO gTLD Registries Stakeholder Group Charter Amendments (2015)

      Rinalia Abdul Rahim moved and Ray Plzak seconded the proposed resolution.

      Rinalia, as the Chair of the Organizational Effectiveness Committee (OEC), introduced the agenda item. Rinalia provided an overview of some important points about the GNSO gTLD Registries Stakeholder Group Charter amendments. ICANN has an established process for changing organizational charters. The steps involve discussion and preparation of the amendments by the affected parties, staff review, public comments, review by the OEC, and Board review and approval. In the case of the GNSO gTLD registry stakeholder group charter amendments, the OEC has reviewed the charter amendments, evaluated their consistency with ICANN principles as well as potential fiscal and liability concerns and risks. The OEC has adopted a formal resolution on this matter and recommends Board approval of the amendments. Also, in light of the public comments received on the proposed amendments, the OEC recommends that the Board encourage the Registry Stakeholder Group to review its governance document and examine the issues raised by the commenters.

      The Chair called for a vote, and the Board took the following action:

      Whereas, the gTLD Registries Stakeholder Group (RySG) of the GNSO has proposed a series of amendments to its governing Charter document.

      Whereas, the RySG, ICANN staff, and the Organizational Effectiveness Committee (OEC) have completed all requirements associated with the Board Process For Amending GNSO Stakeholder Group and Constituency Charters.

      Whereas, the Board notes community support for the existing amendments and acknowledges community suggestions that a more holistic consideration of the voting, membership and structural issues of the RySG Charter is merited.

      Resolved (2015.10.22.14), that the ICANN Board approves the gTLD Registries Stakeholder Group Charter Amendments with encouragement to the RySG to consider a broader examination of the weighted voting, membership and structural matters regarding the operations of the stakeholder group. ICANN staff should inform the RySG leadership of this resolution and work with the RySG to ensure it provides access to the new governing document on the appropriate RySG web pages.

      All members of the Board that were in attendance voted in favor of Resolution 2015.10.22.14. The Resolution carried.

      Rationale for Resolution 2015.10.22.14

      Why is the Board addressing this issue now?

      ICANN Bylaws (Article X, Section 5.3) state, "Each Stakeholder Group shall maintain recognition with the ICANN Board." The Board has interpreted this language to require that the ICANN Board formally approve any amendments to the governing documents of Stakeholder Groups (SG) and/or Constituencies in the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO).

      In September 2013, the Board established a Process For Amending GNSO Stakeholder Group and Constituency Charters (Process) to provide a streamlined methodology for compliance with the Bylaws requirement.

      Earlier this year, the gTLD Registries Stakeholder Group (RySG) of the GNSO approved amendments to its governing documents and availed itself of the Process.

      What are the proposals being considered?

      The Stakeholder Group has amended its existing Charter document to adjust to an evolving composition of membership and to enable it to more effectively undertake its policy development responsibilities. Among a number of amendments, the most substantial charter changes are in the following areas:

      • Changes to the classifications of "active" and "inactive" RySG members;
      • Adding the concept of "staggered" terms for RySG officers;
      • Creation of a "Vice Chair of Policy" officer position;
      • Creation of a "Vice Chair of Administration" officer position;
      • Adjustments to the formula for calculating an RySG meeting quorum;
      • Adding a new election nomination procedure; and
      • Other minor format and non-substantive editorial changes.

      What stakeholders or others were consulted?

      The proposed amendments were subjected to a 40-day Public Comment period (8 May - 16 June 2015). When the period was completed staff produced a Summary Report for community review on 15 July 2015.

      What significant materials did the Board review?

      The Board reviewed a redline formatted document of the proposed charter amendments and a copy of the Staff Summary Report summarizing community comments.

      What factors did the Board find to be significant?

      The GNSO Registries Stakeholder Group (RySG), ICANN staff, and the Organizational Effectiveness Committee completed all steps identified in the Process including a determination that the proposed charter amendments will not raise any fiscal or liability concerns for the ICANN organization and publication of the amendments for community review and comment.

      Are there Positive or Negative Community Impacts?

      The Stakeholder Group has amended its existing Charter document to adjust to an evolving composition of membership and to enable it to more effectively undertake its policy development responsibilities.

      Are there fiscal impacts/ramifications on ICANN (Strategic Plan, Operating Plan, Budget); the community; and/or the public?

      No.

      Are there any Security, Stability or Resiliency issues relating to the DNS?

      There is no anticipated impact from this decision on the security, stability and resiliency of the domain name system as a result of this decision.

      Is this either a defined policy process within ICANN's Supporting Organizations or ICANN's Organizational Administrative Function decision requiring public comment or not requiring public comment?

      The proposed amendments were subjected to a 40-day Public Comment period (8 May 2015 - 16 June 2015).

    3. Decommissioning of the New gTLD Program Committee

      Cherine Chalaby moved and Asha Hemrajani seconded the proposed resolution.

      Cherine, Chair of the New gTLD Program Committee (NGPC), introduced the agenda item. Cherine noted that the two reasons for establishing the NGPC in April 2012 were to ensure that all conflicted Board members vis-a-vis the New gTLD Program were not part of the NGPC and to provide for a more efficient way of executing the Program due to the large volume of work. Over the last three and a half years, the NGPC has conducted more than sixty meetings and approved 112 resolutions. At this point, the initial reasons for creating the NGPC no longer exist. As such, it is appropriate to decommission the NGPC at this time. Cherine noted that the Board will continue to perform oversight of the New gTLD Program. Cherine also thanked all the members of the NGPC, the staff that supported the Committee as well as the community for their input.

      The Chair called for a vote, and the Board took the following action:

      Whereas, in order to have efficient meetings and take appropriate actions with respect to the New gTLD Program, on 10 April 2012, the Board took action to create the New gTLD Program Committee ("NGPC") in accordance with Article XII of the Bylaws.

      Whereas, the Board delegated decision-making authority to the NGPC as it relates to the New gTLD Program for the current round of the Program and for the related Applicant Guidebook that applies to this current round.

      Whereas, the reasons that led to the formation of the NGPC no longer exist as they did at formation.

      Whereas, the Board Governance Committee ("BGC") has considered the necessity of maintaining the NGPC as a standing committee of the Board, and recommended that the Board decommission the NGPC.

      Resolved (2015.10.22.15), the ICANN Board New gTLD Program Committee is hereby decommissioned.

      Resolved (2015.10.22.16), the Board wishes to acknowledge and thank the NGPC Chair and all of its members for the considerable energy, time, and skills that members of the NGPC brought to the oversight of the 2012 round of the New gTLD Program.

      All members of the Board that were in attendance voted in favor of Resolutions 2015.10.22.15 and 2015.10.22.16. The Resolutions carried.

      Rationale for Resolutions 2015.10.22.15 – 2015.10.22.16

      Section 1, Article XII of the ICANN Bylaws provide that the Board may establish or eliminate Board committees, as the Board deems appropriate. (Bylaws, Art. XII, § 1.) The Board has delegated to the BGC the responsibility for periodically reviewing and recommending any charter adjustments to the charters of Board committees deemed advisable. (See BGC Charter at http://www.icann.org/en/committees/board-governance/charter.htm.) 

      In an effort to streamline operations and maximize efficiency, the BGC reviewed the necessity and appropriateness of moving forward with the current slate of standing Board committees. At the time of formation, the Board determined that establishing the New gTLD Program Committee ("NGPC") as a new committee without conflicted Board members, and delegating to it decision making authority, would provide some distinct advantages. First, it would eliminate any uncertainty for actual, potential or perceived conflicted Board members with respect to attendance at Board meetings and workshops since the New gTLD Program topics could be dealt with at the Committee level. Second, it would allow for actions to be taken without a meeting by the Committee. As the Board is aware, actions without a meeting cannot be taken unless done via electronic submission by unanimous consent; such unanimous consent cannot be achieved if just one Board member is conflicted. Third, it would provide the community with a transparent view into the Board's commitment to dealing with actual, potential or perceived conflicts.

      After review, the BGC determined that reasons that lead to the formation of the NGPC no longer exist as they did at formation. At this time, only two voting members of the Board are conflicted with respect to new gTLDs and as a result do not serve on the NGPC. Three of the four Board non-voting liaisons are conflicted and do not serve on the NGPC. Additionally, staff is at the tail end of implementing the current round of the New gTLD Program. All New gTLD Program processes have been exercised1, and a majority of unique gTLD strings have been delegated or are near delegation. Specifically, as of 30 September 2015, over 750 new gTLDs have been delegated. Numerous review and community activities are currently underway that will likely inform when the next round will take place and how it will be carried out.

      In making its recommendation to the Board, the BGC noted, and the Board agrees, that decommissioning the NGPC does not mean that the topics addressed by the NGPC no longer exist, or are of any less import. The Board shall continue maintaining general oversight and governance over the New gTLD Program, and continue to provide strategic and substantive guidance on New gTLD-related topics as the current round of the Program comes to a conclusion. For example, there are active matters being considered by the NGPC, such as GAC advice concerning the protection for Intergovernmental Organizations, and matters that are subject to ICANN's accountability mechanisms (e.g. Requests for Reconsideration and Independent Review Processes). As a result of this resolution, the full Board will take up these matters at future meetings and address any conflict issues as appropriate.

      In taking this action, the Board also reinforces its commitment to the 8 December 2011 Resolution of the Board (Resolution 2011.12.08.19) regarding Board member conflicts, and specifying in part: "Any and all Board members who approve any new gTLD application shall not take a contracted or employment position with any company sponsoring or in any way involved with that new gTLD for 12 months after the Board made the decision on the application."

      It is not anticipated that there will be direct fiscal impacts on ICANN associated with the adoption of this resolution, and approval of this resolution will not impact security, stability or resiliency issues relating to the domain name system.

      This decision is an Organizational Administrative Function that does not require public comment.

    4. Consideration of Independent Review Panel's Final Declaration in Vistaprint v. ICANN

      Bruno Lanvin moved and Asha Hemrajani seconded the proposed resolution.

      Bruno introduced the agenda item. George Sadowsky and Ram Mohan abstained from participation in this matter noting a potential conflict of interest. The Chair explained that the Independent Review Process (IRP) panel in the Vistaprint v. ICANN IRP issued its Final Declaration and, pursuant to the Bylaws, the Board is considering that Final Declaration in this meeting. The Chair noted that the Board is not only considering the Final Declaration but is also accepting the Panel's recommendations and acting upon those recommendations in this Resolution.

      The Chair called for a vote, and the Board took the following action:

      Whereas, on 9 October 2015, an Independent Review Process (IRP) Panel (Panel) issued its Final Declaration in the IRP filed by Vistaprint Limited (Vistaprint) against ICANN (Final Declaration).

      Whereas, Vistaprint specifically challenged the String Confusion Objection (SCO) Expert Determination (Expert Determination) finding Vistaprint's applications for .WEBS to be confusingly similar to Web.com's application for .WEB.

      Whereas, the Panel denied Vistaprint's IRP request because the Panel determined that the Board's actions did not violate the Articles of Incorporation (Articles), Bylaws, or Applicant Guidebook (Guidebook). (See Final Declaration, ¶¶ 156-157, https://www.icann.org/en/system/files/files/vistaprint-v-icann-final-declaration-09oct15-en.pdf [PDF, 920 KB].)

      Whereas, while the Panel found that ICANN did not discriminate against Vistaprint in not directing a re-evaluation of the Expert Determination, the Panel recommended that the Board exercise its judgment on the question of whether an additional review is appropriate to re-evaluate the Expert Determination. (See id. at ¶ 196, https://www.icann.org/en/system/files/files/vistaprint-v-icann-final-declaration-09oct15-en.pdf [PDF, 920 KB].)

      Whereas, in accordance with Article IV, section 3.21 of ICANN's Bylaws, the Board has considered the Panel's Final Declaration.

      Resolved (2015.10.22.17), the Board accepts the following findings of the Panel's Final Declaration that: (1) ICANN is the prevailing party in the Vistaprint Limited v. ICANN IRP; (2) the Board (including the Board Governance Committee) did not violate the Articles, Bylaws, or Guidebook; (3) the relevant polices, such as the standard for evaluating String Confusion Objections, do not violate any of ICANN's Articles or Bylaws reflecting principles such as good faith, fairness, transparency and accountability; (4) the time for challenging the Guidebook's standard for evaluating String Confusion Objections – which was developed in an open process and with extensive input – has passed; (5) the lack of an appeal mechanism to contest the merits of the Vistaprint SCO Expert Determination is not, in itself, a violation of ICANN's Articles or Bylaws; (6) in the absence of a party's recourse to an accountability mechanism, the ICANN Board has no affirmative duty to review the result in any particular SCO case; and (7) the IRP costs should be divided between the parties in a 60% (Vistaprint) / 40% (ICANN) proportion.

      Resolved (2015.10.22.18), the Board accepts the Panel's recommendation that "ICANN's Board exercise its judgment on the question of whether an additional review mechanism is appropriate to re-evaluate the Third Expert's determination in the Vistaprint SCO, in view of ICANN's Bylaws concerning core values and non-discriminatory treatment, and based on the particular circumstances and developments noted in this Declaration, including (i) the Vistaprint SCO determination involving Vistaprint's .WEBS applications, (ii) the Board's (and NGPC's) resolutions on singular and plural gTLDs, and (iii) the Board's decisions to delegate numerous other singular/plural versions of the same gTLD strings." (Final Declaration, Pg. 70, https://www.icann.org/en/system/files/files/vistaprint-v-icann-final-declaration-09oct15-en.pdf [PDF, 920 KB].) The Board will consider this recommendation at its next scheduled meeting, to the extent it is feasible.

      Resolved (2015.10.22.19), the Board directs the President and CEO, or his designee(s), to ensure that the ongoing reviews of the New gTLD Program take into consideration the issues raised by the Panel as it relates to SCOs.

      All members of the Board that were in attendance voted in favor of Resolutions 2015.10.22.17, 2015.10.22.18, and 2015.10.22.19. The Resolutions carried.

      Rationale for Resolutions 2015.10.22.17 – 2015.10.22.19

      Vistaprint filed a request for an Independent Review Process (IRP) challenging ICANN's acceptance of the String Confusion Objection (SCO) Expert Determination that found Vistaprint's applications for .WEBS to be confusingly similar to Web.com's application for .WEB (Expert Determination). In doing so, among other things Vistaprint challenged procedures, implementation of procedures, and ICANN's purported failure to correct the allegedly improperly issued Expert Determination.

      On 9 October 2015, the three-member IRP Panel (Panel) issued its Final Declaration. After consideration and discussion, pursuant to Article IV, Section 3.21 of the ICANN Bylaws, the Board adopts the findings of the Panel, which are summarized below, and can be found in full at https://www.icann.org/en/system/files/files/vistaprint-v-icann-final-declaration-09oct15-en.pdf [PDF, 920 KB].

      The Panel found that it was charged with "objectively" determining, whether the Board's actions are inconsistent with the Articles of Incorporation (Articles), Bylaws, and new gTLD Applicant Guidebook (Guidebook), thereby requiring that the Board's conduct be appraised independently, and without any presumption of correctness. The Panel agreed with ICANN that in determining the consistency of the Board action with the Articles, Bylaws, and Guidebook, the Panel is neither asked to, nor allowed to, substitute its judgment for that of the Board. (See Final Declaration at ¶¶ 125, 125, 127.)

      Using the applicable standard of review, the Panel found that: (1) ICANN is the prevailing party in this Vistaprint Limited v. ICANN IRP; and (2) the Board (including the Board Governance Committee (BGC)) did not violate the Articles, Bylaws, or Guidebook. (See id. at ¶¶ 156, 157, 196.)

      More specifically, the Panel found that while the Guidebook permits the Board to individually consider new gTLD applications, the Board has no affirmative duty to do so in each and every case, sua sponte. (See id. at ¶ 156.) The Panel further found that the Board's adoption and implementation of the specific elements of the New gTLD Program and Guidebook, including the string confusion objection (SCO) process, does not violate ICANN's Articles or Bylaws. (See id. at ¶¶ 171, 172.) The Panel also found that the time for challenging the Guidebook's standard for evaluating SCOs has passed. (See id. at ¶ 172.) The Panel also concluded that the lack of an appeal mechanism to contest the merits of Vistaprint's SCO Expert Determination is not a violation of ICANN's Articles or Bylaws. (See id. at ¶ 174.)

      Vistaprint also claimed that ICANN discriminated against Vistaprint through the Board's (and the BGC's) acceptance of the Vistaprint Expert Determination while: (i) allegedly allowing other gTLD applications with equally serious string similarity concerns to proceed to delegation; or (ii) permitting other applications that were subject to an adverse SCO determination to go through an additional review process. In response to this disparate treatment claim, the Panel found that

      due to the timing and scope of Vistaprint's Reconsideration Request (and this IRP proceeding), and the time of ICANN's consultation process and subsequent NGPC resolution authorizing an additional review mechanism for certain gTLD applications that were the subject of adverse SCO decisions, the ICANN Board had not had the opportunity to exercise its judgment on the question of whether, in view of ICANN's Bylaw concerning non-discriminatory treatment and based on the particular circumstances and developments noted [in the Final Declaration], such an additional review mechanism is appropriate following the SCO expert determination involving Vistaprint's .WEBS applications. Accordingly, it follows that in response to Vistaprint's contentions of disparate treatment in this IRP, ICANN's Board –and not this Panel—should exercise its independent judgment of this issue, in the of the foregoing considerations [set forth in the Final Declaration].

      (Id. at ¶ 191.) It should be noted, however, that while declaring that it did not have the authority to require ICANN to reject the Expert Determination and to allow Vistaprint's applications to proceed on their merits, or in the alternative, to require a three-member re-evaluation of the Vistaprint SCO objections, the Panel recommended that

      the Board exercise its judgment on the questions of whether an additional review mechanism is appropriate to re-evaluate the [expert] determination in the Vistaprint SCO, in view of ICANN's Bylaws concerning core values and non-discriminatory treatment, and based on the particular circumstances and developments noted in this Declaration, including (i) the Vistaprint SCO determination involving Vistaprint's .WEBS applications; (ii) the Board's (and NGPC's) resolutions on singular and plural gTLDs, and (iii) the Board's decisions to delegate numerous other singular/plural versions of the same gTLD strings.

      (Id. at ¶ 196.)

      The Board acknowledges and accepts the foregoing recommendation by the IRP Panel. The Board will consider this recommendation at its next meeting, to the extent feasible. Further, ICANN will take the lessons learned from this IRP and apply it towards its ongoing assessments of the New gTLD Program, particularly as it relates to SCO proceedings, as applicable.

      This action will have a positive financial impact on the organization as ICANN was deemed to be the prevailing party and therefore subject to partial reimbursement of some costs from Vistaprint. This action will have no direct impact on the security, stability or resiliency of the domain name system.

      This is an Organizational Administrative function that does not require public comment.

    5. Thank You to Wolfgang Kleinwächter for his service to the ICANN Board

      Markus Kummer moved and Bruno Lanvin seconded the proposed resolution.

      The Chair introduced the agenda item and thanked Wolfgang Kleinwächter for his service on the Board. Wolfgang responded with an overview of his time with ICANN, his opinions about the direction and goals of ICANN, and his appreciation for his time on the Board. The Chair commented upon and thanked Wolfgang for his service to the community and his commitment to ICANN. All of the comments in full are available at https://meetings.icann.org/en/dublin54/schedule/thu-board.

      The Chair called for a vote, and the Board took the following action:

      Whereas, Wolfgang Kleinwächter was appointed by the Nominating Committee to serve as a member of the ICANN Board on 21 November 2013.

      Whereas, Wolfgang Kleinwächter concluded his term on the ICANN Board on 22 October 2015.

      Whereas, Wolfgang served as a member of the following Committee:

      • Organizational Effectiveness Committee

      Resolved (2015.10.22.20), Wolfgang Kleinwächter has earned the deep appreciation of the Board for his term of service, and the Board wishes him well in his future endeavors within the ICANN community and beyond.

      All members of the Board that were in attendance voted in favor of Resolution 2015.10.22.20. The Resolution carried.

    6. Thank You to Gonzalo Navarro for his service to the ICANN Board

      Kuo Wei Wu moved and Jonne Soininen seconded the proposed resolution.

      The Chair introduced the agenda item and thanked Gonzalo Navarro for his service on the Board. Bruce Tonkin noted that Gonzalo was the former Chair of the Global Relationship Committee and thanked him for his tremendous contributions to the Board, the Board Governance Committee (BGC), the Audit Committee, and the Finance Committee. Jonne also commented on Gonzalo's impressive contributions to the Board. Gonzalo responded with an overview of his six years on the Board, and his appreciation for the experience he gained while on the Board. All of the comments in full are available at https://meetings.icann.org/en/dublin54/schedule/thu-board.

      The Chair called for a vote, and the Board took the following action:

      Whereas, Gonzalo Navarro was appointed by the Nominating Committee to serve as a member of the ICANN Board on 30 October 2009.

      Whereas, Gonzalo concluded his term on the ICANN Board on 22 October 2015.

      Whereas, Gonzalo served as a member of the following ICANN Board Committees and Working Groups:

      • Audit Committee
      • Finance Committee
      • Global Relationships Committee
      • Governance Committee
      • New gTLD Program Committee
      • Public and Stakeholder Engagement Committee
      • Board-GAC Recommendation Implementation Working Group (Co-Chair)
      • Board Global Relations Committee (Chair)

      Resolved (2015.10.22.21), Gonzalo Navarro has earned the deep appreciation of the Board for his term of service, and the Board wishes him well in his future endeavors within the ICANN community and beyond.

      All members of the Board that were in attendance voted in favor of Resolution 2015.10.22.21. The Resolution carried.

    7. Thank You to Ray Plzak for his service to the ICANN Board

      Kuo Wei Wu moved and Rinalia Abdul Rahim seconded the proposed resolution.

      The Chair introduced the agenda item and thanked Ray Plzak for his service on the Board. Cherine Chalaby thanked Ray for his immense contributions to the Internet in general, to the community, and to ICANN over his twenty-five year career. Cherine commented that Ray was the former Chair of the Organizational Effectiveness Committee, and served on the Audit Committee, the BGC, the NGPC, the Risk Committee, and the Board/GAC Recommendation Implementation Working Group. Erika Mann, Rinalia, Kuo, and Asha Hemrajani also thanked Ray for his generosity and advice. Ray responded and thanked everyone. Ray also expressed his wish that those at ICANN be kind to each other, respect each other, and continue to act in the global public interest. All of the comments in full are available at https://meetings.icann.org/en/dublin54/schedule/thu-board.

      The Chair called a vote, and the Board took the following action:

      Whereas, Ray Plzak was appointed to serve by the Address Supporting Organization (ASO) as a member of the ICANN Board on 24 April 2009.

      Whereas, Ray concludes his term on the ICANN Board on 22 October 2015.

      Whereas, Ray has served as a member of the following Committees and Working Groups:

      • Audit Committee
      • Governance Committee
      • New gTLD Program Committee
      • Organizational Effectiveness Committee, formerly known as the Structural Improvements Committee (former Chair)
      • Risk Committee
      • Board-GAC Recommendation Implementation Working Group

      Resolved (2015.10.22.22), Ray Plzak has earned the deep appreciation of the Board for his term of service, and the Board wishes him well in his future endeavors within the ICANN community and beyond.

      All members of the Board that were in attendance voted in favor of Resolution 2015.10.22.22. The Resolution carried.

    The Chair called the meeting to a close.

Published on 4 February 2016


1 As of 31 July 2015, two of the seven major Program processes defined in the Applicant Guidebook are complete (i.e. Application Window and Application Evaluation), and two are approximately 90% complete (i.e. Dispute Resolution and Contention Resolution). Contracting and Pre-Delegation Testing are well over halfway complete, while Delegation is approximately 52% complete.

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""icann.org"" is not an IDN."