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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 Regular Meeting of the New gTLD Program Committee of the ICANN Board of Directors was held telephonically on 11 June 2013 at 21:00 UTC.

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: Chris Disspain, Bill Graham, Olga Madruga-Forti, Ray Plzak, George Sadowsky, Mike Silber, and Kuo-Wei Wu.

Fadi Chehadé, Erika Mann, Gonzalo Navarro, and Judith Vazquez  sent apologies.

Thomas Narten (IETF Liaison) and Francisco da Silva (TLG Liaison) were in attendance as a non-voting liaison to the Committee.

ICANN Staff in attendance for all or part of the meeting: Akram Atallah, Chief Operating Officer; Megan Bishop, Michelle Bright, Samantha Eisner, Allen Grogan, Dan Halloran, Jamie Hedlund, Karen Lentz, Cyrus Namazi, Erika Randall, and Amy Stathos.

This is a preliminary report the Meeting of the New gTLD Program Committee, which took place on 11 June 2013.

  1. Info Discussion on ALAC Statement on IDN Variants
  2. Plural vs. Singular
  3. Any Other Business

 

  1. Info Discussion on ALAC Statement on IDN Variants

    The Chair introduced the item on the main agenda regarding the letter from ALAC on the trademark clearing house (TMCH) and IDN variants. Staff provided the Committee with an overview of the ALAC's statement. The overview included a discussion of the existing purpose of the TMCH, the ongoing work on IDN variants, and the ability of registries to implement their own variant rules at the registry level. Staff also provided a summary of how the TMCH currently handles variants. Staff noted that ALAC's statement specifically asks for the Committee to request work on an interim mechanism where ICANN could take the IDN tables that have been provided by various applicants as part of the New gTLD Program, and work to synthesize the variant tables to establish some rules that the TMCH could apply universally.

    The Committee discussed how the ALAC advice could be considered and the appropriate timing for considering the advice. Some members questioned whether it was premature to consider the ALAC advice at this time, and inquired how the Board Variant Working Group's process would be impacted by implementing the ALAC's advice.

    The Committee requested staff to consider whether any of the recommendations in the ALAC statement were inconsistent with previous GAC advice or whether any of the recommendations raised policy concerns that should be referred to the GNSO. The Committee discussed possible responses to the ALAC, and requested that staff prepare a detailed analysis of the ALAC statement to inform additional discussions on the substantive issues raised.

  2. Plural vs. Singular

    The Committee began its discussions of the GAC Beijing advice regarding singular and plural versions of the same string as new gTLDs. The Committee noted it was undertaking this discussion following its decision on 4 June 2013 to accept the GAC's advice to consider this issue.

    At the Committee's request, staff provided a brief overview of the difference between what the expert String Similarity Panel assessed in its evaluation and what can be considered in the objection processes.

    The Committee examined examples of potentially confusing plurals and discussed the difficulties of drawing a line or creating a rule about what may cause user confusion. The Committee's discussion also included an assessment of whether it would be prudent to reexamine the work of the expert panel, and whether there are other viable alternatives to the approach taken to date. Some members of the Committee noted the objection process the ability to use the process to address which names or which strings are confusing as plurals and which are not.

    Some members of the Committee questioned what would be the long-term implications of not permitting singular and plural versions of the same string.  The Committee also engaged in a discussion of the merits of adopting a resolution to take final action on the issue. Some members of the Committee stressed the importance of developing a rationale that includes all of the factors taken into consideration (e.g. comments from the community, letters, etc.), not just the language included in the AGB, if the Committee decides not to make any changes to the program.

    The Committee tasked staff with preparing an additional briefing to assist it in making a final decision.

  3. Any Other Business

    The Committee briefly began discussions on how to address the GAC's safeguard advice applicable to all new gTLD strings, including advice regarding security checks and WHOIS verification. The Committee discussed which of the advice items could be implemented by ICANN and which would be required to be implemented by registry operators through the New gTLD Registry Agreement. Some members of the Committee questioned whether some of the mandates may be unfunded and too open-ended. Some members also noted that policy guidance may be necessary to put appropriate parameters around what would be required by security checks in order to implement the GAC's advice. The Committee noted that it was important to have buy-in from the community on whatever course of action it decides to take. The Committee directed staff to provide additional details and agreed to continue discussions at its next meeting.

    The Chair directed staff to prepare an update to the community on the Committee's progress during this meeting. The Committee did not take formal action at the meeting, and the Chair called the meeting to a close.

Published on 20 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."