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Minutes | Board Governance Committee (BGC) Meeting

Published 14 April 2015

BGC Attendees:  Cherine Chalaby, Chris Disspain – Chair, Gonzalo Navarro, Mike Silber, Bruce Tonkin, and Suzanne Woolf

BGC Member Apologies: Erika Mann

Other Board Member Attendees:  Fadi Chehadé

Executive and Staff Attendees: Megan Bishop (Board Support Coordinator), Michelle Bright (Board Support Manager), Larisa Gurnick (Strategic Initiatives Director), John Jeffrey (General Counsel and Secretary), Liz Le (Senior Counsel), Amy Stathos (Deputy General Counsel), Theresa Swinehart (Sr. Advisor to the President on Strategy)


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

  • Reconsideration Request 15-1 – Staff briefed the BGC regarding the request submitted by Atgron, Inc. ("Requester") seeking reconsideration of staff's actions in processing the Requester's Registry Services Evaluation Policy ("RSEP") request to allow the Requester to offer third-level domain name registrations in .WED.  Staff explained that upon receipt of the RSEP Request, staff conducted and completed an administrative completeness check and a preliminary review for significant security, stability, or competition issues in accordance with the RSEP process.  Following that review, staff informed the Requester that while the RSEP Request raised no significant security, stability, or competition issues, implementation of the request would require an amendment to the Requester's Registry Agreement and because it had the potential to substantially affect third parties, it would require a public comment period.  The public comments identified concerns regarding the proposed new registry service, including, among other things, the circumvention of intellectual property protections embedded within the New gTLD Program, a potential lack of adequate rights protection mechanisms at the third level, and minimal consultation with registrars and other constituents that may be affected by the proposed registry service.  Given the comments received, staff concluded that material revisions to the proposed Registry Agreement amendment were necessary and a revised proposed amendment was drafted.  Further, given that the revised amendment was materially different from the initial proposed amendment, an additional public comment period was necessary.  Staff then explained to the BGC that the Requester objected to a public comment period for the revised amendment, and  filed this Reconsideration Request, challenging ICANN staff's decision to require a public comment period for the revised amendment, and more generally expressed disagreement with the manner in which ICANN staff responded to the RSEP Request.  After discussion, the BGC determined that the Requester has not demonstrated any misapplication of any policy or procedure by ICANN staff.  The Requester's substantive disagreement with staff's determination that the second public comment period would be required is not a basis for reconsideration.  The BGC further concluded that since the Requester has failed to demonstrate that ICANN staff acted in contravention of any established policy or procedure in responding to the RSEP Request, Request 15-1 is thereby denied.
  • ATRT2 Update – Staff provided the BGC with an update on the status of the implementation of the ATRT2 Recommendations.  Staff also presented examples of enhanced status reports that are under development and which provide more clarity on the implementation status of each of the adopted recommendations.
    • Action:  The BGC to continue discussion of the status of the implementation of the ATRT2 Recommendations at the next BGC meeting.
  • Structural Improvements Committee Chair – The BGC discussed its understanding that Ray Plzak, the current Chair of the Structural Improvements Committee (SIC), will be stepping down from the ICANN Board when his term expires at the Annual General Meeting this year.  The BGC further discussed the fact that Mr. Plzak indicated that he had talked to Rinalia Abdul Rahim about taking over as Chair of the SIC now, with Mr. Plzak serving as an advisor during the remainder of his term.  Following the discussion, the BGC discussed and approved a motion recommending that the Board appoint Rinalia Abdul Rahim as the Chair of the SIC and retain Ray Plzak as a member of the SIC effective immediately.
    • Action:  Staff to prepare a paper for consideration by the Board at its next meeting.
  • Ombudsman – The BGC discussed the Board roles in relation to the Ombudsman, and information regarding the length of the Ombudsman's term.
    • Action:  Staff to prepare a paper for consideration by the BGC at its next meeting.
  • Cooperative Engagement Process ("CEP") – Staff provided the BGC with an update on the CEP process and timelines, as well as the status of current ongoing CPEs.  Staff also reported on continuing improvements and enhancements to the transparency of the CEP and independent review process (IRP) and the BGC reviewed the most recently posted Status update chart.
    • Action:  Staff to prepare an explanatory memo setting forth some of the reasons that deadlines within the CEP are extended.
  • AOB
    • IRP Standing Panel Update  – Staff provided an update on the status of the implementation work on the IRP standing panel in light of the ongoing work across the ICANN community regarding accountability by the Cross Community Working Group on Enhancing ICANN's Accountability.
      • Action:  Staff to prepare and post a call for expressions of interest for candidates to serve as IRP standing panel members.
    • Roles and Responsibilities Across the ICANN Community – The BGC discussed the understanding of the various roles and responsibilities across the ICANN community.
      • Action:  BGC members to review and provide input in the next several days in anticipation of further discussion with the Board.
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."