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Minutes | New gTLD Program Committee

Note: On 10 April 2012, the Board established the New gTLD Program Committee, comprised of all voting members of the Board that are not conflicted with respect to the New gTLD Program. The Committee was granted all of the powers of the Board (subject to the limitations set forth by law, the Articles of incorporation, Bylaws or ICANN's Conflicts of Interest Policy) to exercise Board-level authority for any and all issues that may arise relating to the New gTLD Program. The full scope of the Committee's authority is set forth in its charter at http://www.icann.org/en/groups/board/new-gTLD.

A Regular Meeting of the New gTLD Program Committee of the ICANN Board of Directors was held in Amsterdam, The Netherlands on 18 May 2013 at 17:00 local time.

Committee Chairman Cherine Chalaby promptly called the meeting to order.

In addition to the Chair the following Directors participated in all or part of the meeting: Fadi Chehadé (President and CEO), Chris Disspain, Bill Graham, Olga Madruga-Forti, Erika Mann, Gonzalo Navarro, Ray Plzak, George Sadowsky, Mike Silber, Judith Vazquez, and Kuo-Wei Wu.

Thomas Narten, IETF Liaison and Francisco da Silva, TLG Liaison, were in attendance as non-voting liaisons to the committee. Heather Dryden, GAC Liaison, was in attendance as an invited observer.

ICANN Staff in attendance for all or part of the meeting: John Jeffrey, General Counsel and Secretary; Akram Atallah, Chief Operating Officer; Tarek Kamel; David Olive; Megan Bishop; Michelle Bright; Samantha Eisner; Dan Halloran; Jamie Hedlund; Karen Lentz; Cyrus Namazi; Amy Stathos; and Christine Willett.

  1. Consent Agenda
    1. Approval of Board Meeting Minutes
    2. BGC Recommendation on Reconsideration Request 13-1
    3. BGC Recommendation on Reconsideration Request 13-2
  2. Main Agenda
    1. Addressing GAC Advice from Beijing Communiqué

 

The Chair introduced the agenda, noting that there are items on the consent agenda and then the Committee would be discussing the GAC advice received in Beijing.

  1. Consent Agenda

    The Chair introduced the items on the consent agenda and called for a vote. The Committee then took the following action:

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

    1. Approval of Board Meeting Minutes

      Resolved (2013.05.18.NG01), the New gTLD Program Committee approves the minutes of the 26 March 2013, 5 April 2013 and 11 April 2013 Meetings of the New gTLD Program Committee.

    2. BGC Recommendation on Reconsideration Request 13-1

      Whereas, Ummah's Digital, Ltd.'s ("Ummah") Reconsideration Request, Request 13-1, sought reconsideration of the staff conclusion that the Ummah gTLD application "is ineligible for further review under the New gTLD Program," which was based on the Support Applicant Review Panel (SARP) determination that Ummah's application did not meet the criteria for financial assistance.

      Whereas, the BGC recommended that Reconsideration Request 13-1 be denied because Ummah has not stated proper grounds for reconsideration, and Ummah's stay request fails to satisfy the Bylaws' requirements for a stay.

      Whereas, the BGC noted that "Ummah raises some interesting issues in its Request and suggests that the Board direct that the concerns raised in Ummah's Request be included in a review of the Applicant Support Program so that the design of future mechanisms to provide financial assistance and support in the New gTLD Program can benefit from the experiences within this first round."

      Resolved (2013.05.18.NG02), the New gTLD Program Committee adopts the recommendation of the BGC that Reconsideration Request 13-1 be denied on the basis that Ummah has not stated proper grounds for reconsideration and that Ummah's stay request fails to satisfy the Bylaws' requirements for a stay.

      Resolved (2013.05.18.NG03), the Board directs the President and CEO to include the concerns raised in Ummah's Reconsideration Request in the review of the Applicant Support Program so that the design of future mechanisms to provide financial assistance and support in the New gTLD Program can benefit from the experiences within this first round.

      Rationale for Resolutions 2013.05.18.NG02 – 2013.05.18.NG03

      In July 2009, as part of the comprehensive GNSO Improvements program, the ICANN Board approved the formal Charters of four new GNSO Stakeholder Groups (see ICANN Board Resolution 2009.30.07.09).

      ICANN's Bylaws at the time Reconsideration Request 13-1 was filed, called for the Board Governance Committee to evaluate and make recommendations to the Board with respect to Reconsideration Requests. See Article IV, section 3 of the Bylaws. The New gTLD Program Committee, bestowed with the powers of the Board in this instance, has reviewed and thoroughly considered the BGC's recommendation with respect to Reconsideration Request 13-1 and finds the analysis sound. The full BGC Recommendation, which includes the reasons for recommending that the Reconsideration Request be denied can be found at: http://www.icann.org/en/groups/board/governance/reconsideration

      Having a Reconsideration process set out in ICANN's Bylaws positively affects ICANN's transparency and accountability. It provides an avenue for the community to ensure that staff and the Board are acting in accordance with ICANN's policies, Bylaws and Articles of Incorporation.

      To assure that ICANN continues to serve the global public interest by ensuring worldwide accessibility to the Internet and opportunities for operating a registry, ICANN will include the issues raised in Ummah's Request in its review of the Program so that the design of future mechanisms to provide financial assistance and support in the New gTLD Program can benefit from the experiences within this first round.

      Adopting the BGC's recommendation has no financial impact on ICANN and will not negatively impact the systemic security, stability and resiliency of the domain name system.

      This is an Organizational Administrative Function not requiring public comment.

    3. BGC Recommendation on Reconsideration Request 13-2

      Whereas, Reconsideration Request 13-2, sought reconsideration of: (1) Staff and Board inaction on the consideration of Nameshop's letter of "appeal" sent after denial of Nameshop's change request to change its applied-for string in the New gTLD Program from .IDN to .INTERNET (the "Change Request"); and (ii) the decision of the Support Applicant Review Panel ("SARP") that Nameshop did not meet the criteria to be eligible for financial assistance under ICANN's Applicant Support Program.

      Whereas, the BGC recommended that Reconsideration Request 13-2 be denied because Nameshop has not stated proper grounds for reconsideration.

      Whereas, the BGC concluded that the Reconsideration Request 13-2 challenges: (i) an "appeal" process that does not exist; and (i) the substantive decisions taken within the New gTLD Program on a specific application, not the processes by which those decisions were taken and that the reconsideration process is not, and has never been, a tool for requestors to seek the reevaluation of decisions.

      Resolved (2013.05.18.NG04), the New gTLD Program Committee adopts the BGC's recommendation that Reconsideration Request 13-2 be denied on the basis that Nameshop has not stated proper ground for reconsideration.

      Rationale for Resolution 2013.05.18.NG04

      ICANN's Bylaws at the time Reconsideration Request 13-2 was filed, called for the Board Governance Committee to evaluate and make recommendations to the Board with respect to Reconsideration Requests. See Article IV, section 3 of the Bylaws. The New gTLD Program Committee, bestowed with the powers of the Board in this instance, has reviewed and thoroughly considered the BGC's recommendation with respect to Reconsideration Request 13-2 and finds the analysis sound. The full BGC Recommendation, which includes the reasons for recommending that the Reconsideration Request be denied can be found at: http://www.icann.org/en/groups/board/governance/reconsideration.

      Having a Reconsideration process set out in ICANN's Bylaws positively affects ICANN's transparency and accountability. It provides an avenue for the community to ensure that staff and the Board are acting in accordance with ICANN's policies, Bylaws and Articles of Incorporation.

      Request 13-2 challenges an "appeal" process that does not exist, and challenges the substantive decisions taken in implementation of the New gTLD Program on a specific application and not the processes by which those decisions were taken. Reconsideration is not, and has never been, a tool for requestors to seek the reevaluation of substantive decisions. This is an essential time to recognize and advise the ICANN community that the Board is not a mechanism for direct, de novo appeal of staff (or evaluation panel) decisions with which the requester disagrees. Seeking such relief from the Board is, in itself, in contravention of established processes and policies within ICANN.

      Adopting the BGC's recommendation has no financial impact on ICANN and will not negatively impact the security, stability and resiliency of the domain name system.

      This is an Organizational Administrative Function not requiring public comment.

    All members of the Committee voted in favor of Resolutions 2013.05.18.NG01, 2013.05.18.NG02, 2013.05.18.NG03, and 2013.05.18.NG04. The Resolutions carried.

  2. Main Agenda

    1. Addressing GAC Advice from Beijing Communiqué

      Chris Disspain led the Committee in a discussion regarding the GAC Advice from the Beijing Communiqué, stressing that the Committee is not being asked to take any decisions today. Rather, there are goals to understand the timing of decisions to be taken in the future, with particular focus on those items that the Committee is likely to accept.

      Akram Atallah provided an overview of a timeline for proposed action, focusing on those items of advice that are applicable across all strings, and noting that it is a priority to deal with those items first. The next in priority are the items that affect strings in related categories. The public comment is still open on the safeguard advice, and there will be time needed to provide the Board with a summary of those comments. A decision will be needed soon after to keep the Program on track.

      The Chair summarized his understanding of the items that needed to be ready for decision soon after the close of the comment period: The safeguards applicable to all new gTLDs; IGO protections; the Registry Agreement; the GAC WHOIS principle; IOC/RC protections; and the category of safeguards for restricted access policies. While many on the Committee are eager to discuss the singular/plural issue and .Africa and .GCC, those decisions are not essential for moving forward with the Program.

      Chris confirmed that there is a plan to deal with the individual issues as well as the general issues. For the .Africa and .GCC pieces of advice, the Committee first has to consider the applicant input, as well as for .Islam and .Halal. Applicant comments also have to be considered on the groups of strings identified in the Communiqué. The advice on singular/plural and IGO protections are on track to be dealt with separately, and there is ongoing work for all other portions of the advice.

      Thomas Narten pointed out that there could be a need for further public comment in the even that the NGPC takes a decision that requires further input.

      Olga Madruga-Forti and Tarek Kamel both noted that it is important for the Committee to take the GAC Advice seriously and respond in a timely manner, and not to solely focus on the process that is not as well understood among all of the governments of the world. In addition, some of the focus on the issues raised in the Communiqué has gone beyond the governments.

      Gonzalo Navarro agreed and urged the Committee to be proactive in its responses.

      Heather Dryden confirmed that the members of the GAC worked carefully to create this Communiqué.

      The President and CEO urged the Committee that, when appropriate, even if formal action or decision is not ripe, the Committee should indicate the direction in which it is leaning on some of the more sensitive areas of advice.

      Chris confirmed that particularly in regards to the portion of Communiqué where the GAC indicated it needed further time for discussion, the progress on this will in part be based upon the outcomes of that further discussion. However, for some of the names identified, there are already objection processes underway and so the results of those objections may remove the need for GAC action. However, it is possible for the Committee to telegraph how it anticipates acting in regards to these items, particularly when provided along with a clear statement of the Committee's understanding of the GAC's position.

      Olga agreed with Chris' suggestion.

      Heather stressed the import of being responsive to the GAC while still allowing the objection processes to run.

      Gonzalo Navarro shared his expectation that we will see heightened government participation at the Durban meeting as a result of the Communiqué, and the messaging within the GAC and the Committee will be very important.

      Bill Graham agreed with Heather that it is important to proceed with caution, and to not signal potential action by the Committee that may not be feasible if the GAC or objection process leads to a change in course.

      Chris then walked the Committee through proposed responses for inclusion in Scorecard and the Committee suggested modifications throughout the document. While discussing the Scorecard, Chris confirmed that the Committee would have further discussion on the singular/plural issue at a future call of the Committee, as a decision on this point could have great impact regarding future rounds of the program. For the IGOs, the Committee will be going into consultation with the GAC, and a letter will be sent to the GAC thanking it for its willingness to engage. The Committee had previously stated to the GAC that the deadline for addressing the IGO acronym issue is in Durban, to allow the Committee to take a resolution as soon after Durban as possible. Chris also noted that addressing the GAC advice on RAA, the GAC Whois Principles and the IOC/Red Cross should be very straightforward. For the safeguard advice applicable to all strings, Chris briefly led the Committee through some proposed Scorecard language, and requested that staff provide the Committee with additional information and explanations for the proposed suggestions of how to address the GAC Advice. As it related to the safeguard advice for particular categories of strings, Chris noted that due to lack of time, it made sense to postpone a review of these items.

      Chris then confirmed that the topic for the Committee's next call should be to address those areas that will have a 1A on the Scorecard, so that the Committee can take further action. He also agreed that the staff should provide an update to the community on the Committee's progress.

      The Chair then called the meeting to a close.

Published on 19 June 2013

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."