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Preliminary Report | Meeting of the 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.

Formal Minutes are still to be approved by the New gTLD Program Committee. This has not been approved by the New gTLD Program Committee and does not constitute minutes but does provide a preliminary attempt setting forth the unapproved reporting of the resolutions from that meeting. Details on voting and abstentions will be provided in the  Minutes, when approved at a future meeting.

NOTE ON ADDITIONAL INFORMATION INCLUDED WITHIN PRELIMINARY REPORT – ON RATIONALES -- Where available, a draft Rationale for each of the Board's actions is presented under the associated Resolution. A draft Rationale is not final until approved with the minutes of the Board meeting.

A Meeting of the New gTLD Program Committee of the ICANN Board of Directors was held on 10 April 2012 at 5:30 am local time in Los Angeles, California.

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: Rod Beckstrom, Chris Disspain, Bill Graham, Erika Mann, Gonzalo Navarro, Ray Plzak, R. Ramaraj, George Sadowsky, Mike Silber, and Kuo-Wei Wu.

Heather Dryden, GAC Liaison, attended as an observer.

Thomas Roessler, TLG Liaison and non-voting liaison to the committee, sent apologies.

This is a preliminary report of the approved resolutions resulting from the Meeting of the New gTLD Program Committee, which took place on 10 April 2012.

  1. Defensive Applications for New gTLDs
  2. GNSO Recommendation for Protection of Red Cross and International Olympic Committee Names in New gTLDs

 

  1. Defensive Applications for New gTLDs

    After receiving a report on this topic, the Committee discussed the public comment received.

    The Committee then took the following action:

    Whereas, the Board approved the New gTLD Program with protections for certain interests and rights, and intellectual property rights in particular (http://www.icann.org/en/groups/board/documents/resolutions-20jun11-en.htm);

    Whereas, the Board provided its rationale for approving the New gTLD Program with these elements (http://www.icann.org/en/groups/board/documents/resolutions-20jun11-en.htm);

    Whereas, the availability of the objection process and other aspects of the program have been actively communicated;

    Whereas, ICANN received comment describing an apparent need to submit gTLD applications for defensive purposes to protect established legal rights;

    Whereas, ICANN responded by establishing a public comment period to seek input on the sources of this perception and how it could be addressed (http://www.icann.org/en/news/public-comment/new-gtlds-defensive-applications-06feb12-en.htm);

    Whereas, ICANN held a public workshop during ICANN's public meeting in Costa Rica to hold a community discussion regarding suggestions raised during the comment period, and additional suggestions with participation from the community (http://costarica43.icann.org/node/29711);

    Whereas the New gTLD Program goals include the protection of established legal rights,;

    Whereas, a summary and analysis of public comment was performed and the discussion in the public workshop was transcribed;

    Whereas the sense of the public discussion indicated that trademark protections should continue to be discussed and developed for the registration of second-level domain names and also indicated that cybersquatting was not likely to be a significant issue in the registration of top-level domain names;

    Whereas, ICANN is committed to reviewing the effectiveness of the application and evaluation process, and of the safeguards put in place to mitigate issues involved in the introduction of new gTLDs, following the initial application round;

    Whereas, the comments indicated that significant concerns about awareness of the protections available and that renewed efforts should be undertaken to broadly communicate those protections to rights holders;

    Resolved (2012.04.10.NG1), the New gTLD Program Committee thanks the community for its participation in the discussion of this issue.

    Resolved (2012.04.10.NG2), while the New gTLD Program Committee is not directing any changes to the Applicant Guidebook to address defensive gTLD applications at this time, the New gTLD Program Committee directs staff to provide a briefing paper on the topic of defensive registrations at the second level and requests the GNSO to consider whether additional work on defensive registrations at the second level should be undertaken;

    Resolved (2012.04.10.NG3), the New gTLD Program Committee directs staff to continue implementing targeted communications about the processes used and protections available in the New gTLD Program.

    All voting members of the Committee voted in favor of the Resolutions. The Resolutions carried.

    Rationale for Resolutions 2012.04.10.NG1-2012.04.10.NG3

    In furtherance of its commitment to accountability and transparency, ICANN opened a public comment period regarding reported perceptions of the need to file defensive applications that arose as the application window for new gTLDs drew near. While some of the comments were in favor of providing additional protections, such as block lists, "do not sell" lists, or additional refund levels to allow the withdrawal of applications after the reveal of all strings, some commenters noted that the Board should not attempt to introduce new protections at the top level at this stage in the first round of applications without bottom-up policy discussion. The protections that exist within the New gTLD Program were already the result of extensive community discussion and debate. That discussion has included the proposals made during this most recent round of public comment.

    Instead of approving any changes at this time, the Committee directs ICANN to continue emphasizing the existing protections at the top level within communications on the New gTLD Program. As many comments referred to the potential for defensive registrations at the second level, the Committee is directing further work on this issue, to allow continued community discussion regarding whether further policy work should proceed on introducing additional protections at the second level. Further, ICANN has committed to conducting a post-first round study on whether the trademark protections should be adjusted.

    Not introducing changes to the Applicant Guidebook at this time will better serve the public interest as those rules are being relied upon in the ongoing process. This action is not expected to have an impact on resources, nor is it expected to have an impact on the security or the stability of the DNS.

  2. GNSO Recommendation for Protection of Red Cross and International Olympic Committee Names in New gTLDs

    The Committee discussed potential ways that it could address the GNSO Recommendation and the need to acknowledge the inputs provided by the GNSO though the Committee is not prepared to make changes to the Applicant Guidebook at this time.

    The Committee then took the following action:

    Resolved (2012.04.10.NG4), the New gTLD Program Committee acknowledges receipt of the GNSO's recommendation on extending certain protections to the Red Cross/Red Crescent and the International Olympic Committee names at the top level.

    Resolved (2012.04.10.NG5), the New gTLD Program Committee chooses to not change the Applicant Guidebook at this time.

    All voting members of the Committee voted in favor of the Resolutions. The Resolutions carried.

    Rationale for Resolutions 2012.04.10.NG4-2012.04.10.NG5

    The Committee thanks the GNSO for its work to date on this issue. While the recommendations of the GNSO are well taken, changing the Applicant Guidebook at this time must be balanced against ICANN's commitment to accountability and transparency. The public comment "reply" period remains open on this topic through 14 April 2012, therefore any Committee action at this time – other than maintaining the status quo – could not reflect all of the inputs received on this issue. The comments received to date also demonstrate the existence of opposition to the adoption of the recommendations.

    Implementation details have not been worked out to address these recommendations.In addition, a change of this nature to the Applicant Guidebook nearly three months into the application window – and after the date allowed for registration in the system – could change the basis of the application decisions made by entities interested in the New gTLD Program.

    Comments received in the public comment forum also raise procedural issues with these recommendations that indicate concerns with the multi-stakeholder process utilized in this instance. While the Committee is not making a determination at this time about these procedural concerns, their existence also weighs towards maintaining the status quo at this time.

    The status quo is that the Applicant Guidebook already provides several other protections available to the IOC and Red Cross for the top level, including a moratorium on the delegation of certain names at the top level in the first round of applications; an objection process which allows parties with standing to submit an objection on the grounds that an application infringes its existing legal rights; and the GAC Early Warning and Advice Processes. As protections already exist, when balanced with the accountability and operational issues posed by changing the Applicant Guidebook at this time, the public interest will be better served by maintaining the status quo.  This action is not expected to have an impact on resources, nor is it expected to have an impact on the security or the stability of the DNS.

    Nothing in the Committee's action or this rationale is intended to preclude the consideration of the GNSO recommendations for future rounds of applications within the New gTLD Program.

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."