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Minutes | Board Accountability Mechanisms Committee (BAMC) Meeting

Board Accountability Mechanisms Committee (BAMC) Attendees: Becky Burr, Sarah Deutsch, Chris Disspain (Chair), Nigel Roberts, and León Sanchez

Other Board Member Attendees: Manal Ismail and Matthew Shears

ICANN Organization Attendees: John Jeffrey (General Counsel and Secretary), Aaron Jimenez (Board Operations Senior Coordinator), Vinciane Koenigsfeld (Director, Board Operations), Elizabeth Le (Associate General Counsel), Cyrus Namazi (VP, Domain Name Services & Industry Engagement, Global Domains Division), Lisa Saulino (Board Operations Senior Coordinator), and Amy Stathos (Deputy General Counsel)


The following is a summary of discussions, actions taken, and actions identified:

  1. Reconsideration Request 16-3 - Becky Burr abstained from the discussion, noting potential conflicts. The Committee received a briefing on Reconsideration Request 16-3, which was submitted by dotgay LLC seeking reconsideration of one aspect of the Board Governance Committee's (BGC) denial of the Requestor's Reconsideration Request 15-21. Request 15-21 sought reconsideration of the results of the second Community Priority Evaluation (CPE) (Second CPE) of the Requestor's community-based application for the .GAY generic top-level domain (gTLD). The Requestor claims that, in denying Request 15-21, the BGC erred when it determined that the independent provider that conducted the CPE (CPE Provider) adhered to all applicable policies and procedures in conducting the Second CPE. While Request 16-3 on its face only seeks reconsideration of the BGC's determination on this issue, the Requestor has since argued in the numerous materials submitted in support of Request 16-3 that the Requestor is also re-challenging the issues raised in Request 15-21 regarding the Second CPE Report. Specifically, these issues are whether the CPE Provider violated established policies or procedures in its application of sub-criterion 2-A-Nexus, and Criterion 4: Community Endorsement. Upon discussion and careful consideration of all relevant materials, the BAMC determined that the BGC did not rely on any false or inaccurate information nor did it disregard any material information that existed when the BGC determined that that CPE Provider did not violate any established policies or procedure in conducting the Second CPE. The BAMC further found that the Requestor does not identify any misapplication of policy or procedure by the CPE Provider in the Second CPE that materially or adversely affected the Requestor. Rather, the Requestor's claims amount to disagreement with the CPE Provider's findings. Accordingly, the BAMC approved a recommendation to the Board that Request 16-3 be denied.

    The BAMC noted that, in reaching its conclusions, the Committee was not making a determination as to the existence, adequacy, or validity of the gay community. Rather, it is simply evaluating the claims set forth in Request 16-3 and in the materials that have been submitted in support of the Request pursuant to the relevant reconsideration standard. The BAMC further notes that as stated in the Applicant Guidebook, the CPE process does not determine the existence, adequacy, or validity of a community. It merely evaluates whether a community-based application satisfies the CPE criteria for community priority.

    • Action(s): ICANN organization to prepare materials for the Board's consideration of this matter.
  2. Reconsideration Request 16-5 Becky Burr abstained from the discussion, noting potential conflicts. The Committee received a briefing on Reconsideration Request 16-5, which was submitted by DotMusic Limited (DotMusic), the International Federation of Musicians, the International Federation of Arts Councils and Culture Agencies, the Worldwide Independent Network, the Merlin Network, the Independent Music Companies Association, the American Association of Independent Music, the Association of Independent Music, the Content Creators Coalition, the Nashville Songwriters Association International, and ReverbNation (collectively, Requestors), seeking reconsideration of the Community Priority Evaluation (CPE) report (CPE Report), of DotMusic's community-based application for the .MUSIC generic top-level domain (gTLD), and ICANN organization's acceptance of that Report. Specifically, the Requestors claim that the independent provider that conducted the CPE (CPE Provider) violated established CPE procedures in its evaluation of DotMusic's application, and that the Board should have either conducted an investigation of the CPE process as a whole or revised the CPE Report in response to certain Independent Review Process (IRP) findings. Upon discussion and careful consideration of all relevant materials, the BAMC determined that the CPE Provider did not violate any established policies or procedure in conducting the CPE. The Requestors do not identify any misapplication of policy or procedure by the CPE Provider in the CPE that materially or adversely affected the Requestors. Rather, the Requestors' claims amount to disagreement with the CPE Provider's findings on sub-criterion 2-A-Nexus and Criterion 4; the Requestor does not identify any instances in which the CPE Provider's application of the CPE criteria was inconsistent with the Applicant Guidebook or contradicted established policy or procedure. The BAMC further finds that ICANN org did not violate any established policies, Bylaws, and Articles of Incorporation when it accepted the CPE Report. The Requestors do not identify any misapplication of policy or procedure by ICANN org that materially or adversely affected the Requestors.

    The BAMC also finds that the Requestors have not shown that the Board relied on any false or inaccurate information or disregarded any material information when it responded to the IRP Panel Declaration in the Little Birch LLC et al. v. ICANN and Despegar Online SRL et al. v. ICANN IRP (Despegar IRP). The BAMC noted that nothing in the Despegar IRP Declaration mandated intervention in pending New gTLD Program applications. Further, the Board did undertake a review of the CPE process through the CPE Process Review.

    Accordingly, the BAMC approved a recommendation to the Board that Request 16-3 be denied. The BAMC noted that in reaching its conclusions, the Committee is not making a determination as to the existence, adequacy, or validity of the music community. Rather, it is simply evaluating the claims set forth in Request 16-5 and in the materials that have been submitted in support of the Request pursuant to the relevant reconsideration standard. The BAMC further notes that as stated in the Applicant Guidebook, the CPE process does not determine the existence, adequacy, or validity of a community. It merely evaluates whether a community-based application satisfies the CPE criteria for community priority.

    • Action(s): ICANN organization to prepare materials for the Board's consideration of this matter.
  3. Reconsideration Request 14-42: The Committee received a briefing on Reconsideration Request 14-42, which was submitted by the Ministry of Trade, Industry, Investment and Digital Economy of the Kingdom of Morocco, seeking reconsideration of the Geographic Names (Geo Names) Panel's determination in 2014 (the First Extended Evaluation Report), that the application for .TATA (Application) submitted by applicant Tata Sons Limited passed the geographic names review under the Applicant Guidebook (Guidebook). As Tata is a province of Morocco registered in the ISO 3166-2 standard, the Geo Names Panel determined that the Applicant's applied-for string was a geographic name, thereby triggering the requirements of Section 2.2.1.4.2 of the Guidebook. Section 2.2.1.4.2 requires that applied-for strings considered to be geographic names "must be accompanied by documentation of support or non-objection from the relevant governments or public authorities." During Extended Evaluation, the Applicant provided ICANN org with a letter from Director General of the Moroccan Authority of Trademark Rights, Office of the Moroccan Industrial and Commercial Property (OMPIC letter), which did not express opposition to the .TATA application, was proper documentation of non-objection and therefore the Application passed Geo Names Review. Thereafter, in light of the representations from Morocco about the OMPIC letter, it was determined that the Application be re-evaluated by the Geo Names Panel. As part of the re-evaluation, the Geo Names Panel asked the applicant to submit new evidence of support or non-objection from the Moroccan government. Despite receiving numerous extensions of time to provide the requested documentation, the Applicant was not able to do so. On 13 January 2017, the Geo Names Panel issued its second determination, concluding that the Application did not pass Geo Names Review because the required documentation was either not provided or did not meet the criteria described in the Guidebook (Second Extended Evaluation Report). Therefore, the Application was found "ineligible for further review" and its status was changed to "will not proceed." Because the relief sought by the Request — cancellation of the original determination and rejection of the .TATA application — has been effectuated by the Second Extended Evaluation Report, that the BAMC determine that Request 14-42 is denied on the basis of mootness. Because Request 14-42 was filed under pre-transition Bylaws, the BAMC has authority to make a final determination.

  4. Litigation Update – The BAMC received a litigation update.

Published on 26 February 2019

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."