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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 in Durban, South Africa on 13 July 2013 at 09:15 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, ICANN), Chris Disspain, Bill Graham, Erika Mann, Gonzalo Navarro, Ray Plzak, George Sadowsky, Mike Silber, Judith Vazquez and Kuo-Wei Wu.

Olga Madruga-Forti sent apologies.

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

Jonne Soininen was in attendance as an observer to the Committee.

ICANN Staff in attendance for all or part of the meeting: Akram Atallah, President, Generic Domains Division; Susanna Bennett, Chief Operating Officer; John Jeffrey, General Counsel and Secretary; Megan Bishop; Michelle Bright; Dan Halloran; Jamie Hedlund; Amy Stathos; and Christine Willett.

This is a preliminary report the Meeting of the New gTLD Program Committee, which took place on 13 July 2013.

  1. Main Agenda
    1. Funding Objections
  2. Ombudsman Letters
  3. IGO protections and Category 1 advice
  4. AOB

 

  1. Main Agenda

    1. Funding Objections

      The Chair introduced the item to the Committee, and the Committee considered the request to fund objections made to the Centre for Expertise of the International Chamber of Commerce. Staff noted that ICANN made a commitment in the New gTLD Applicant Guidebook to fund certain objections, and informed the Committee that there were a total of 27 objections filed with reliance on this funding commitment, which were all submitted to the Centre for Expertise of the International Chamber of Commerce. Staff informed the Committee of the costs and noted that the costs were within the estimates included in the budget.

      The Committee then took the following action:

      Whereas, ICANN committed to fund certain objections by the Independent Objector, governments, and ALAC.

      Whereas a total of 27 objections that ICANN committed to fund were filed by the Independent Objector, governments, and ALAC.

      Whereas the Centre for Expertise of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has accepted these objections, estimated the advance payment of costs, and invoiced ICANN.

      Whereas, ICANN budgeted the amount needed to fund such objections.

      Whereas, the Board Finance Committee recommended that this resolution be passed.

      Resolved (2013.07.13.NG01), the New gTLD Program Committee authorizes the President, Generic Domains Division, to disburse all fees necessary to the ICC for the objection proceedings that ICANN committed to fund, which have been filed by the Independent Objector, governments and the ALAC.

      Rationale for Resolution 2013.07.13.NG01

      As part of the new gTLD Program, ICANN made a commitment, as set out in the applicant guidebook, to fund objections on behalf of the Independent Objector, governments (one per government), and ALAC. Twenty-seven objections that ICANN committed to fund have been filed. Given that all of these objections were filed with the same dispute resolution service provider, the Centre for Expertise of the International Chamber of Commerce ("ICC"), the ICC has requested advance payment of fees to administer the proceedings and to pay expert panel members for their time in adjudicating the objections.

      ICANN must now fulfill its commitment and make a disbursement to the ICC to fund all 27 objections. Given that the amount is over $500,000, in accordance with ICANN Contracting and Disbursement Policy, the Board must approve the disbursement.

      This decision will have a fiscal impact on ICANN, but that impact was anticipated and budgeted for. This decision will not have any impact on the security, stability or resiliency of domain name system.

      This is an Organizational Administrative Function that does not require public comment at this time. Although it is noted that ICANN's commitment to fund these above-referenced objections has been subjected to public comment on more than one occasion.

      All members of the Committee in attendance approved Resolution 2013.07.13.NG01. One member was not available to vote on the Resolution. The Resolution carried.

    2. Ombudsman Letters

      Staff provided an overview of certain written reports from the Ombudsman to the Board, which included recommendations for consideration by the Committee, related to certain objection processes in the New gTLD Program. The new gTLD-related complaints to the Ombudsman concerned decisions made by two Dispute Resolution Service Providers (DRSPs) in the New gTLD Program about filing deadlines. Staff presented the facts and analysis reported by the Ombudsman in each of the cases. The Chair asked staff to provide its rationale for the recommendation to have the Committee direct the President, Generic Domains Division to ask the DRSPs to revisit their decisions in light of the facts and analysis stated in the Ombudsman's reports. Staff clarified that it was not asking the Committee to make a determination on the merits of each case.

      Staff also recommended that the Committee consider adopting a catchall provision in the resolutions in the interests of fairness and reasonableness so that in the future, DRSPs can use their discretion, in light of the facts and circumstances of each matter, as to whether or not to grant extensions or deviate from the deadlines in the Applicant Guidebook.

      The Committee then took the following action:

      Whereas, the Ombudsman has issued two reports to the ICANN Board relating to deadlines found in the New gTLD Dispute Resolution Procedures and set out facts based on his investigations and made specific recommendations in each report.

      Whereas, given the subject matters of the reports, the New gTLD Program Committee (NGPC) has reviewed those reports.

      Whereas, the two issues relating to deadlines addressed by the Ombudsman's reports to the Board are not the only inquiries about whether the Dispute Resolution Service Providers (DRSPs) must strictly adhere to the deadlines set forth in the New gTLD Program Dispute Resolution Procedures in all circumstances.

      Resolved (2013.07.13.NG02), the New gTLD Program Committee directs the President, Generic Domains Division, or his designee, to forward to the World Intellectual Property Organization Arbitration and Mediation Center (WIPO) the Ombudsman's report about the applicant's response to the objection that WIPO is administering relating to .AXIS and ask WIPO to reconsider its stance with regard to the rejection of the applicant's response in light of the facts and analysis stated in the Ombudsman's report.

      Resolved (2013.07.13.NG03), the New gTLD Program Committee directs the President, Generic Domains Division, or his designee, to forward to the ICC the Ombudsman's report about GOProud's objection to a .GAY application and ask the Centre for Expertise of the International Chamber of Commerce to revisit its decision in light of the facts and analysis stated in the Ombudsman's report.

      Resolved (2013.07.13.NG04), in the interests of fairness and reasonableness, notwithstanding the deadlines set out in the Applicant Guidebook, in the future, the DRSPs are permitted and encouraged to use their discretion, in light of the facts and circumstances of each matter, and in cases where it is shown that the affected party is making a good faith effort to comply with the deadlines, as to whether to grant extensions, or deviate from the deadlines set forth in the Applicant Guidebook.

      Rationale for Resolutions 2013.07.13.NG02 – 2013.07.13.NG04

      The ICANN Ombudsman reports directly to the ICANN Board. The purpose of the Ombudsman is to ensure that the members of the ICANN community have been treated fairly. The Ombudsman acts as an impartial officer in attempting to resolve complaints about unfair treatment by ICANN using ADR techniques. Where, in the conduct of an investigation of a complaint, the Ombudsman forms an opinion that there has been a serious breach of administrative fairness or maladministration, the Ombudsman may notify the Board of Directors of the circumstances.

      The Ombudsman has issued two reports to the Board (through the NGPC) regarding decisions made by two Dispute Resolution Service Providers ("DRSPs'") in the New gTLD Program. In one instance, the Ombudsman has requested the NGPC ask the applicable DRSP to reconsider its stance of strictly adhering to the deadlines set forth in the Applicant Guidebook. In the other instance, although the Ombudsman does not request specific action from the Board, he thinks the matter should be revisited. Both reports and respective requests therein are presented in the spirit of fairness and reasonableness to the affected parties. Beyond the two Ombudsman reports, ICANN has received several other inquiries from objectors, applicants, and the DRSPs about issues related to late filing and whether the DRSPs have the discretion to deviate from the specific deadlines set forth in the Applicant Guidebook.

      In the interest of fairness and reasonableness, and after a review of the Ombudsman reports, the NGPC has determined that it is appropriate for the NGPC to ask the DRSPs, in light of the circumstances presented by the Ombudsman, to reconsider their strict adherence to the deadlines set forth in the Applicant Guidebook and apply reasonable judgment in such matters. Taking this action will have a positive impact on ICANN's accountability to the community, as it is appropriate to review of all applicable circumstances when taking decisions that have significant impact on participants within ICANN.

      This decision will not have direct fiscal impact on ICANN. There is potential financial impact to the filing parties to the Objection proceedings, although ICANN cannot infer the magnitude of such and the impact is dependent upon the DRSP response to the NGPC directive. This decision will not have any impact on the security, stability or resiliency of domain name system.

      This is an Organizational Administrative Function that does not require public comment.

      All members of the Committee in attendance approved Resolutions 2013.07.13.NG02 – 2013.07.13.NG04. One member was not available to vote on the Resolutions. The Resolutions carried.

    3. IGO protections and Category 1 advice

      The Committee was provided an overview of its previous actions and discussions on GAC advice in the Beijing Communiqué concerning IGO protections and Category 1 Safeguards in preparation for discussions with the GAC in Durban. The Committee discussed the implications of extending permanent protections to IGO names and acronyms, which included consideration of the requested protections. They compared these permanent protections to the special protections afforded to the RCRC and IOC based on unique protections provided in international treaties and national law in multiple jurisdictions around the world.

      The Committee also discussed its approach to begin discussions with the GAC in Durban on the Category 1 Safeguard advice, and considered ideas on how to make progress on resolving concerns with the advice.

      The Committee revisited the procedures in the Bylaws requiring it to consider GAC advice, including any timing considerations if the Committee determines that it will act inconsistently with the advice. The Committee considered what its next steps should be after its meeting with the GAC on the IGO protections and Category 1 Safeguards, and decided to have a meeting during the first week of August to make progress on the remaining open issues of GAC advice.

    4. AOB

      The Committee reviewed the proposed upcoming discussions with members of the GAC who have expressed concerns about the new gTLD applications for .HALAL and .ISLAM..

      The President and CEO provided an update on the SSAC's paper on the name collision, and noted that the final report would be issued later in the week. The Committee also discussed the status of the report on dotless domains and requested information regarding when the report could be shared with the community.

      The Chair called then called the meeting to a close.

Published on 23 July 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."