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Preliminary Report | Special Meeting of the Board

(Posted 15 September 2003)

ICANN's Board of Directors held a meeting by teleconference on 9 September 2003. Directors Vint Cerf (Chair), Mouhamet Diop, Tricia Drakes, Masanobu Katoh, Thomas Niles, Michael D. Palage, Alejandro Pisanty, Njeri Rionge and Paul Twomey were present. Board Liaisons Steve Crocker, Roberto Gaetano, John Klensin, Francisco A. Jesus Silva and Mohamed Sharil Tarmizi also participated. Esme Smith with Jones Day, counsel to ICANN and acting as secretary for the meeting, was also in attendance. The Board engaged in discussion of the following matters:

Timing of 2003 Annual Meeting

The Board continued a discussion initiated at the Board’s 19 August 2003 meeting regarding timing of the 2003 annual meeting. The Board discussed the desirability of designating Carthage as the 2003 annual meeting, which would obviate the cost and scheduling difficulties for ICANN in holding another public meeting during the fourth calendar quarter of 2003. It was noted that ICANN’s Bylaws currently require a public meeting during the fourth calendar quarter to be held each year at ICANN’s office in Marina Del Rey. Board members stated this Bylaws provision as presently drafted to be impracticable, and the desirability of changing it. The Board determined staff would be asked to circulate draft resolutions for consideration to designate Carthage as the 2003 annual meeting, and for the preparation of an amendment to the Bylaws to allow additional flexibility in the timing and scheduling of ICANN’s annual meetings. The Board also determined that input from constituent groups on making Carthage the 2003 annual meeting would be considered.

Update on new TLDs Issues

Mr. Twomey briefed the Board on status of a policy paper for consideration on the creation of new TLDs, and sub-topics for such a paper. It was noted that as the formal comment period for the draft new sTLDs RFP had closed on 26 August, staff was reviewing and compiling a summary of comments received. The Board discussed whether, and to what extent, issues concerning gTLDs and sTLDs should be analyzed separately and be distinguished from each other. It was noted by Mr. Twomey that the RFP was drafted with the intention of considering a new round of new sTLDs as an extension of the proof of concept from the 2001 round of new TLDs, and should continue to be considered in this light. The process and criteria for selection of a consultant to review and analyze applications for a new round of sTLDs was discussed. The discussion included the importance of the establishment of and adherence to objective criteria for such third-party review. Progress of the report on the review of the 2001 TLDs was discussed, as well as the process of the selection for the consultant performing such review. The Board discussed and determined to consider further whether a more formal process for selection in the future of consultants and others performing services for ICANN should be instituted.

Board members noted an appreciation of the importance to the community in proceeding to make timely progress on this topic. Mr. Twomey indicated he intended to provide further input on this topic to the Board shortly.

Review of IRP Providers; Progress on Establishment of Ombudsman Program

Mr. Twomey reviewed for the Board the Bylaws requirement that ICANN establish a relationship with an arbitration provider for the creation of an Independent Review Panel as provided under Article IV, Section 3 of the Bylaws. The purpose of the establishment and use of such an Independent Review Panel was reviewed for the benefit of the newer members of the Board. Mr. Twomey reviewed for the Board the three arbitration providers being considered as appropriate to operate the Independent Review Panel, each an arbitration provider with an internationally recognized reputation of high standing. The Board determined to instruct staff to gather further details and specifics from the three arbitration providers being considered.

Mr. Twomey reviewed in brief a progress report received on establishment of the Ombudsman program. Drafting of relevant documents for the Ombudsman program by an outside consultant was noted as well underway, including procedures and policies for the program. Recruitment for the position was hoped to begin shortly.

Other Business

Mr. Twomey briefed the Board on continuing dialogue between ICANN and the U.S. Department of Commerce regarding the relationship between the parties. Mr. Twomey was asked to report on the filling of positions on the committee for WIPO II. Input into selection of the committee members had been asked of the GAC, GNSO and the ALAC. Mr. Twomey noted input from three GNSO constituencies had been received, and input was forthcoming within the upcoming week from the remaining GNSO constituencies. Coordination between ICANN and the ITU-T for the upcoming joint workshop to be co-hosted by the parties on the .int TLD was discussed in brief.

The call was formally adjourned at 7:20 a.m., Pacific time.

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"""" is not an IDN."