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Preliminary Report | 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 2 February 2013 at 5:00 pm 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: 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: Akram Atallah, Chief Operating Officer; John Jeffrey, General Counsel and Secretary; Megan Bishop, Michelle Bright, Samantha Eisner, Dan Halloran, Karen Lentz, Denise Michel, Margie Milam, Cyrus Namazi, David Olive, Diane Schroeder, Amy Stathos, and Christine Willett.

This is a preliminary report the Meeting of the New gTLD Program Committee, which took place on 2 February 2013.

  1. "Closed Generic" Top-Level Domains

 

  1. "Closed Generic" Top-Level Domains

    The Chair introduced the topic of "Closed Generic" TLDs, noting that this has been a topic of conversation in the community and in the Committee, and that it did not appear to be possible to craft a solution to the issue at this time. The recommendation therefore is to take this issue out for public comment and to direct staff to produce additional research and analysis. The proposed resolution will help demonstrate that the Committee takes this issue seriously and is directing work that can advance the consideration of this issue. The Committee then reviewed the proposed resolution and discussed some of the details it expected to see reflected in the rationale for this decision. The Committee also began a discussion of how this resolution fit into the work plan for the New gTLD Program, and how the limited duration of the public comment forum was anticipated to meet with the work plan.

    The Committee then took the following action:

    Whereas, the New gTLD Program Committee has received correspondence from the community addressing "closed generic" TLDs and understands that members of the community term a "closed generic" TLD as a TLD string that is a generic term and is proposed to be operated by a participant exclusively for its own benefit.

    Whereas, ICANN implemented the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) policy recommendations on the "Introduction of New Generic Top-Level Domains", and within those policy recommendations there is no specific policy regarding  "closed generic" top-level domains (TLDs).

    Whereas, members of the community have expressed concerns regarding applications for "closed generic" TLDs.

    Whereas, the New gTLD Program Committee considers that it is important to understand all views and potential ramifications relating to 'closed generic' TLDs.

    Resolved (2013.02.02.NG01), the New gTLD Program Committee directs the President and CEO to open a 30-day public comment forum on this topic, which should include a call for identification of proposed objective criteria to classify applied-for TLDs as "closed generic" TLDs.

    Resolved (2013.02.02.NG02), the New gTLD Program Committee directs the President and CEO to, concurrently with the opening of the public comment forum, request the GNSO to provide guidance on the issue of "closed generic" TLDs if the GNSO wishes to provide such guidance. Guidance on this issue is requested to be provided by the close of the public comment forum.

    Resolved (2013.02.02.NG03), the New gTLD Program Committee directs the President and CEO to:

    1. Summarize and analyze all comments submitted in the public comment forum.

    2. Review materials supporting the policy development process resulting in the GNSO policy recommendations on the Introduction of New Generic Top-Level Domains and provide analysis of any discussions relating to the limitations on potential new gTLDs.

    3. Analyze the feasibility of objectively classifying applied for TLDs as "closed generic" TLDs.

    4. Provide an analysis as to whether the public interest and principles of international law are served by adopting a clear approach regarding 'closed generic' gTLDs.

    5. Provide a report to the New gTLD Program Committee informed by the comments received and analysis conducted, including alternatives to addressing this issue.

    All members of the New gTLD Program Committee voted in favor of Resolutions 2013.02.02.NG01, 2013.02.02.NG01 and 2013.02.02.NG03. The Resolutions carried.

      Rationale for Resolutions 2013.02.02.NG01 – 2013.02.02.NG03

    Why is the New gTLD Program Committee is addressing the issue now?
    ICANN has received numerous requests for clarification in this area, including recent correspondence expressing concerns about "closed generic" applications.

    What are the proposals being considered?
    Various proposals have been raised to the Committee's attention in correspondence, including rejection of certain applications, adoption of new requirements regarding TLD registration policies, and suggested criteria for applying or exempting registries from the Code of Conduct in the Registry Agreement. The Committee believes that a full analysis and discussion are necessary to inform any actions to be taken on this issue.

    What Stakeholders or others were consulted?
    The resolution initiates a public comment period to enable stakeholder consultation and consideration of relevant information and analysis, including a request for guidance from the GNSO.

    What concerns or issues were raised by the community?
    Recent correspondence has expressed concerns about the potential impact on competition and consumer choice, as well as phrasing the issue in terms of potential impact on the public interest.

    What significant materials did the New gTLD Program Committee review?
    The Committee reviewed all recent correspondence on this issue, as well as current provisions in the Applicant Guidebook, including the gTLD Registry Agreement.

    What factors did the New gTLD Program Committee find to be significant?
    The Committee considered it important to understand all views and potential ramifications relating to "closed generic" TLDs. Some in the community have urged the Board/New gTLD Program Committee to issue direction in regard to these applications to address their stated concerns.
    Taking action (such as the potential incorporation of a requirement to reject certain applications, or adoption of new requirements regarding TLD registration policies) that changes the fundamental provisions and criteria in the Applicant Guidebook must be balanced very carefully.

    Are there Positive or Negative Community Impacts?
    The resolution initiates a public comment period, and is intended to allow the Committee to examine and consider possible positive and negative community effects of the issue, and the extent of such effects. The resolution also invites guidance from the GNSO, as well as comprehensive research and analysis to better understand any broader effects of future action on this issue.

    Are there fiscal impacts/ramifications on ICANN (Strategic Plan, Operating Plan, Budget); the community; and/or the public as a result of taking this action?
    The analysis called for in the resolution will be conducted as part of budgeted work functions. No significant fiscal impacts are foreseen. The inputs are being requested on a short time frame to allow for minimal impact on operational planning/timelines.

    Are there any Security, Stability or Resiliency issues relating to the DNS as a result of taking this action?

    The Chair called the meeting to a close.

Published on 12 February 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."