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Approved Resolutions | Meeting of the New gTLD Program Committee

  1. Main Agenda

 

  1. Main Agenda:

    1. Outstanding GAC Advice

      Whereas, on 11 September 2013, the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) issued advice to the ICANN Board that it had finalized its consideration of the strings .WINE and .VIN.

      Whereas, the GAC advised the ICANN Board that there was no GAC consensus advice on additional safeguards for .WINE and .VIN, and the applications for .WINE and .VIN should proceed through the normal evaluation process.

      Whereas, in the Buenos Aires Communiqué, the GAC noted that the Board may wish to seek a clear understanding of the legally complex and politically sensitive background on its advice regarding .WINE and .VIN in order to consider the appropriate next steps of delegating the two strings.

      Whereas, the NGPC commissioned an analysis [PDF, 772 KB] of the legally complex and politically sensitive background on the GAC's advice regarding .WINE and .VIN, which the NGPC considered as part of its deliberations on the GAC's advice.

      Whereas, the Bylaws (Article XI, Section 2.1) require the ICANN Board to address advice put to the Board by the GAC.

      Whereas, the NGPC is undertaking this action pursuant to the authority granted to it by the Board on 10 April 2012, to exercise the ICANN Board's authority for any and all issues that may arise relating to the New gTLD Program.

      Resolved (2014.03.22.NG01), the NGPC accepts the GAC advice identified in the GAC Register of Advice as 2013-09-09-wine and vin, and directs the President and CEO, or his designee, that the applications for .WINE and .VIN should proceed through the normal evaluation process.

      Rationale for Resolution 2014.03.22.NG01

      The NGPC's action today, addressing the open item of GAC advice concerning .WINE and .VIN, is part of the ICANN Board's role to address advice put to the Board by the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC). Article XI, Section 2.1 of the ICANN Bylaws <http://www.icann.org/en/about/governance/bylaws#XI> permit the GAC to "put issues to the Board directly, either by way of comment or prior advice, or by way of specifically recommending action or new policy development or revision to existing policies." The GAC issued advice to the Board on the New gTLD Program through its Beijing Communiqué dated 11 April 2013, its Durban Communiqué dated 18 July 2013, and its Buenos Aires Communiqué dated 20 November 2013. The GAC also issued advice to the ICANN Board in a letter dated 9 September 2013 concerning .WINE and .VIN. The ICANN Bylaws require the Board to take into account the GAC's advice on public policy matters in the formulation and adoption of the polices. If the Board decides to take an action that is not consistent with the GAC advice, it must inform the GAC and state the reasons why it decided not to follow the advice. The Board and the GAC will then try in good faith to find a mutually acceptable solution. If no solution can be found, the Board will state in its final decision why the GAC advice was not followed.

      The action being approved today is to accept the GAC's advice to the ICANN Board that there was no GAC consensus advice on additional safeguards for .WINE and .VIN, and the GAC "has finalized its consideration of the strings .wine and .vin and further advises that the application should proceed through the normal evaluation process." The effect of the NGPC's action concerning the GAC advice on .WINE and .VIN is that the strings will continue to proceed through the normal evaluation process and no additional safeguards will be required for the TLDs.

      As part of its consideration of the GAC advice, ICANN posted the GAC advice and officially notified applicants of the advice, triggering the 21-day applicant response period pursuant to the Applicant Guidebook Module 3.1. The complete set of applicant responses are provided at: <http://newgtlds.icann.org/en/applicants/gac-advice/>. The NGPC has considered the applicant responses in formulating its response to the item of GAC advice being addressed today.

      Additionally, on 28 September 2013, the NGPC noted that it stood ready to hear from GAC members as to the nature of the differences in views expressed in the advice while the NGPC analyzed the GAC's advice. Several governments provided letters to the NGPC expressing the nature of their views on whether the GAC's advice on the .WINE and .VIN TLDs should be imposed, with some individual governments expressing concerns that additional safeguards should be imposed before the strings are delegated, while others recommended that no additional safeguards should be imposed on the strings.

      In response to the GAC's suggestion in the Buenos Aires Communiqué, the NGPC commissioned an analysis of the legally complex and politically sensitive background on this matter in the context of the GAC advice in order to consider the appropriate next steps of delegating .WINE and .VIN. The expert analysis concluded that "[a]s regards the applications for the assignment of the new gTLDs '.vin' and '.wine' filed by the Donuts company, there is no rule of the law of geographical indications, nor any general principle which obliges ICANN to reject the applications or accept the applications under certain specific conditions."

      As part of its deliberations, the NGPC reviewed the following materials and documents:

      There are no foreseen fiscal impacts associated with the adoption of this resolution. Approval of the resolution will not impact security, stability or resiliency issues relating to the DNS. As part of ICANN's organizational administrative function, ICANN posted the Buenos Aires GAC advice and officially notified applicants of the advice on 11 December 2013. The Durban Communiqué and the Beijing Communiqué were posted on 18 April 2013 and 1 August 2013, respectively. In each case, this triggered the 21-day applicant response period pursuant to the Applicant Guidebook Module 3.1.

    2. Approval of Disbursements to New gTLD Auction Service Provider

      Whereas, on 25 September 2010, the Board approved the New gTLD Application Processing budget (http://www.icann.org/en/minutes/resolutions-25sep10-en.htm#1).

      Whereas, on 20 June 2011, the Board authorized the President and CEO to implement the New gTLD Program and approved the expenditures related to the New gTLD Program as detailed in section 7 of the Draft FY12 Operating Plan and Budget (http://www.icann.org/en/minutes/resolutions-20jun11-en.htm).

      Whereas, the Board previously authorized the CEO or his designee to enter all contracts or statements of work with, and make all disbursements to, all gTLD Service Providers so long as the contract and disbursement amounts are contemplated in the approved budget for such expenditures (http://www.icann.org/en/groups/board/documents/resolutions-2-14mar12-en.htm#1).

      Whereas, on 22 August 2013, the Board formally adopted the FY14 Operating Plan and Budget, which included the details of anticipated expenditures related to the New gTLD Program (http://www.icann.org/en/about/financials/adopted-opplan-budget-fy14-22aug13-en.pdf [PDF, 1.05 MB]).

      Whereas, to date ICANN has entered into a Master Services Agreement with Power Auctions LLC (the "Auction Provider") to serve as the entity to provide ICANN facilitated auctions as a last resort for resolving String Contention Sets, as described in the Applicant Guidebook (AGB) section 4.3.

      Whereas, the Auction Provider could provide in excess of $500,000 worth of auction services in any given billing cycle and ICANN must be prepared to timely pay for those services.

      Resolved (2014.03.22.NG02), the President and CEO or his designee is authorized to enter all contracts or statements of work with, and make all disbursements to, the Auction Provider so long as the contract and disbursement amounts are contemplated in the approved budget for such expenditures.

      Rationale for Resolution 2014.03.22.NG02

      The New gTLD auction process is an essential part of the New gTLD Program to resolve string contention sets. Contention sets are groups of applications containing identical or confusingly similar applied for gTLD strings. Contention sets must be resolved prior to the execution of a Registry Agreement for an applied-for gTLD string. An ICANN facilitated auction is a last resort for resolving string contention sets, as described in the Applicant Guidebook. ICANN's Disbursement Policy limits ICANN officers from contracting for or disbursing more than US $500,000.00 per obligation. Fees payable to the Auction Provider could exceed the contracting and disbursement limits of the Disbursement Policy during one or more billing cycles.

      Accordingly, to ensure that payment obligations are satisfied with the Auction Provider in a timely manner, the NGPC has determined that it is appropriate to take this action now. The NGPC is therefore authorizing the President and CEO to enter into all required contracts and make all required disbursements, with the Auction Provider, subject to budgetary limits and based on the budget model that the Board approved on 22 August 2013, which included details of anticipated expenditures related to the New gTLD Program (http://www.icann.org/en/about/financials/adopted-opplan-budget-fy14-22aug13-en.pdf [PDF, 1.05 MB]).

      Providing for this additional contracting and disbursement authority will have a positive impact on the community because it will allow ICANN to timely contract with and pay the Auction Provider that will be conducting the auctions of last resort. There are fiscal impacts on ICANN but all of those impacts have been anticipated in the approved FY 2014 and draft FY 2015 budgets. There will not be any security, stability or resiliency issues relating to the domain names system.

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

    3. Approval of Registry Agreement Specification 13 for Brand Category of Applicants

      No resolution taken.

    4. Reconsideration Request 13-13, Christopher Barron/GOProud

      Whereas, on 13 March 2013, GOProud Inc. filed a community objection against dotGAY's LLC's application for .GAY.

      Whereas, 12 April 2013, the International Centre for Expertise of the International Chamber of Commerce's ("ICC") dismissed GoProud Inc.'s community objection for failure to timely cure a deficiency in the objection.

      Whereas, on 19 October 2013, Christopher Barron ("Barron") filed a Reconsideration Request ("Request 13-13") seeking reconsideration of the ICC's decision to dismiss GOProud, Inc.'s community objection to dotGAY LLC's application for .GAY.

      Whereas, on 12 December 2013, the Board of Governance Committee ("BGC") considered the issues raised in Request 13-13 and recommended that Request 13-13 be denied because Barron has not stated proper grounds for reconsideration and the New gTLD Program Committee agrees.

      Whereas, ICANN has since confirmed that the GOProud Inc. entity that filed the community objection against dotGAY LLC's application for .GAY has been dissolved and that the dissolved GOProud Inc. entity was reorganized and reincorporated as a different legal entity under the name GOProud Inc. 2.0.

      Whereas, despite numerous attempts, ICANN has been unable to contact Barron regarding his affiliation with GOProud Inc. 2.0.

      Whereas, ICANN has confirmed with GOProud Inc. 2.0 that Barron is not associated with the entity and that GOProud Inc. 2.0 has absolved itself from the community objection against dotGAY LLC's application for .GAY and Request 13-13.

      Resolved (2014.03.22.NG03), the New gTLD Program Committee ("NGPC") concludes that Request 13-13 and any potential relief sought thereunder is moot because an entity does not exist to pursue the community objection brought by the dissolved GOProud Inc. against dotGAY LLC's application for .GAY, and on that basis the NGPC denies Request 13-13.

      Rationale for Resolution 2014.03.22.NG03

      Requester Christopher Barron ("Barron") asked the Board (or here the NGPC) to reconsider the ICC's decision to dismiss GOProud, Inc.'s community objection to dotGAY LLC's application for the .GAY gTLD (the "Objection"). The ICC dismissed GOProud's Objection because GOProud failed to timely cure a deficiency in its Objection. The Requester contends that he did not receive notification that GOProud needed to cure a deficiency in its Objection until it was too late to cure because the ICC failed to notify at the proper address. The Requester also claims that the ICC failed to conduct its administrative review within 14 days required under the Applicant Guidebook and the New gTLD Dispute Resolution Procedure. (See Attachment A to Ref. Mat.)

      The BGC concluded on 12 December 2013 that the Requestor has not stated proper grounds for reconsideration because there is no indication that the ICC violated any policy or process in deciding to dismiss GOProud's Objection. (See Attachment B to Ref. Mat.)

      Since the BGC's Recommendation was issued, ICANN has confirmed the GOProud Inc. entity that filed the community objection to dotGAY LLC's ("dotGAY") application for .GAY has been dissolved. (See Attachment C to Ref. Mat.) ICANN further learned the dissolved GOProud Inc. entity was reorganized and reincorporated as a different legal entity under name GOProud Inc. 2.0. (See Attachment D to Ref. Mat.)

      ICANN has confirmed with GOProud Inc. 2.0 that Barron is not associated with the entity. ICANN has also confirmed with GOProud Inc. 2.0 that the entity does not intend to proceed with the Objection or Reconsideration Request 13-13.

      ICANN has made numerous attempts to contact via email and telephone Barron regarding Request 13-13 and his affiliation with GOProud Inc. 2.0. However, ICANN has been unable to reach Barron.

      The NGPC had opportunity to consider all of the materials relevant to Request 13-13, including the materials submitted by or on behalf of the Requestor (see http://www.icann.org/en/groups/board/governance/reconsideration), the BGC's Recommendation on Request 13-13, and the materials included as Attachments C – D to the Reference Materials. The NGPC concludes that the Request 13-13 and any potential relief sought thereunder is moot because there does not exist an entity to pursue the community objection brought by the dissolved GOProud Inc. against dotGAY's application for .GAY and on that basis, the NGPC denies Request 13-13.

      In terms of timing of the BGC's Recommendation, we note that Section 2.16 of Article IV of the Bylaws provides that the BGC shall make a final determination or recommendation with respect to a Reconsideration Request within thirty days following receipt of the request, unless practical. See Article IV, Section 2.16 of the Bylaws. To satisfy the thirty-day deadline, the BGC would have to have acted by 18 November 2013. Due to the volume of Reconsideration Requests received within recent weeks, the first practical opportunity for the BGC to take action on this Request was on 12 December 2013; it was impractical for the BGC to consider the Request sooner. Upon making that determination, staff notified the requestor of the BGC's anticipated timing for the review of Request 13-13. Further, due to the circumstances surrounding Request 13-13 that arose after the BGC issued its Recommendation and other pending issues before the NGPC, the first practical opportunity for the NGPC to consider this Request was on 22 March 2014.

      This resolution does not have any financial impact on ICANN and will not negatively impact the systemic security, stability and resiliency of the domain name system.

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

    5. Reconsideration Request 14-7, Asia Green IT System Ltd.

      Whereas, Asia Green IT System Ltd.'s ("Requester") Reconsideration Request 14-7, sought reconsideration of the New gTLD Program Committee's ("NGPC") 5 February 2014 resolution deferring the contracting process for the .ISLAM and .HALAL strings until certain noted conflicts have been resolved.

      Whereas, Request 14-7 also seeks reconsideration of an alleged staff action implementing the NGPC's 5 February 2014 resolution through the 7 February 2014 letter from Steve Crocker, Chairman of the ICANN Board, to the Requester.

      Whereas, the Board of Governance Committee ("BGC") considered the issues raised in Request 14-7.

      Whereas, the BGC recommended that Request 14-7 be denied because the Requester has not stated proper grounds for reconsideration and the New gTLD Program Committee agrees.

      Resolved (2014.03.22.NG04), the New gTLD Program Committee adopts the BGC Recommendation on Reconsideration Request 14-7, which can be found at http://www.icann.org/en/groups/board/governance/reconsideration/14-7/recommendation-agit-13mar14-en.pdf [PDF, 149 KB].

      Rationale for Resolution 2014.03.22.NG04

      1. Brief Summary

        The Requester applied for .ISLAM and .HALAL. The applications were the subject of two GAC1 Early Warning notices, an evaluation by the Independent Objector, an objection filed with the ICC,2 three issuances of related GAC Advice, and significant objections from a number of other entities and governments. Ultimately, the NGPC resolved to take no further action on the .ISLAM and .HALAL applications until and unless the Requester resolves the conflicts between its applications and the objections raised by the organizations and governments identified by the NGPC. The Requester claims that the NGPC failed to consider material information in taking its action and also claims that ICANN staff violated an established policy or procedure by failing to inform the Requester how it should resolve the noted conflicts.

        The BGC concluded that there is no indication that the NGPC failed to consider material information in reaching its 5 February 2014 Resolution. Rather, the record demonstrates that the NGPC was well aware of the information Requester claims was material to the 5 February 2014 Resolution. In addition, the Requester has not identified an ICANN staff action that violated an established ICANN policy or procedure. Instead, the action challenged by the Requester was that of the Board, not staff, and, in any event, the Requester has failed to identify any ICANN policy or procedure violated by that action. Given this, the BGC recommends that Request 14-7 be denied. The NGPC agrees.

      2. Facts

        1. Relevant Background Facts

          The Requester Asia Green IT System Ltd. ("Requester") applied for .ISLAM and .HALAL ("Requester's Applications").

          On 20 November 2012, the Requester's Applications received GAC Early Warning notices from two GAC members: (i) the United Arab Emirates ("UAE") (https://gacweb.icann.org/download/attachments/27131927/Islam-AE-23450.pdf [PDF, 71 KB]; https://gacweb.icann.org/download/attachments/27131927/Halal-AE-60793.pdf [PDF, 123 KB]); and (ii) India (https://gacweb.icann.org/download/attachments/27131927/Islam-IN-23459.pdf [PDF, 81 KB]; https://gacweb.icann.org/download/attachments/27131927/Halal-IN-60793.pdf [PDF, 89 KB].) Both members expressed serious concerns regarding the Requester's Applications, including a perceived lack of community involvement in, and support for, the Requester's Applications.

          In December 2012, the Independent Objector ("IO") issued a preliminary assessment on the Requester's application for .ISLAM, noting that the application received numerous public comments expressing opposition to a private entity, namely the Requester, having control over a gTLD that relates to religion ("IO's Assessment on .ISLAM"). (http://www.independent-objector-newgtlds.org/home/the-independent-objector-s-comments-on-controversial-applications/islam-general-comment.) The Requester submitted responses to the IO's initial concerns, and the IO ultimately concluded that neither an objection on public interest grounds nor community grounds to the application for .ISLAM string was warranted. (See IO's Assessment on .ISLAM.)

          On 13 March 2013, the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of the UAE filed community objections with the ICC to the Requester's Applications ("Community Objections").3

          On 11 April 2013, the GAC issued its Beijing Communiqué, which included advice to ICANN regarding the Requester's Applications, among others. Specifically, the GAC advised the Board that, pursuant to Section 3.1 of the Applicant Guidebook ("Guidebook"), some GAC members:

          [H]ave noted that the applications for .islam and .halal lack community involvement and support. It is the view of these GAC members that these applications should not proceed.

          (Beijing Communiqué, Pg. 3, available at http://www.icann.org/en/news/correspondence/gac-to-board-18apr13-en.pdf [PDF, 156 KB].)

          On 18 April 2013, ICANN published the GAC Advice thereby notifying the Requester and triggering the 21-day applicant response period. Requester submitted to the Board timely responses to the GAC Advice, which included, among other things, a summary of the support received for the Requester's Applications and a draft of the proposed governance model for the .ISLAM string ("Requester's Responses to GAC Advice"). (http://newgtlds.icann.org/sites/default/files/applicants/23may13/gac-advice-response-1-2130-23450-en.pdf [PDF, 2.39 MB]; http://newgtlds.icann.org/sites/default/files/applicants/23may13/gac-advice-response-1-2131-60793-en.pdf [PDF, 907 KB]; see also Summary and Analysis of Applicant Responses to GAC Advice, Briefing Materials 3 ("NGPC Briefing Material") available at https://www.icann.org/en/groups/board/documents/briefing-materials-3-04jun13-en.pdf [PDF, 515 KB].)

          On 4 June 2013, the NGPC adopted the NGPC Scorecard ("4 June 2013 Resolution") setting forth the NGPC's response to the GAC Advice found in the Beijing Communiqué ("NGPC Scorecard"). (http://www.icann.org/en/groups/board/documents/resolutions-new-gtld-04jun13-en.htm#1.a.; http://www.icann.org/en/groups/board/documents/resolutions-new-gtld-annex-1-04jun13-en.pdf [PDF, 564 KB].) With respect to the .ISLAM and .HALAL strings, the NGPC Scorecard stated in pertinent part:

          The NGPC accepts [the GAC] advice.… Pursuant to Section 3.1ii of the [Guidebook], the NGPC stands ready to enter into dialogue with the GAC on this matter. We look forward to liaising with the GAC as to how such dialogue should be conducted.

          (NGPC Scorecard, Pg. 3.) The NGPC Scorecard further noted the Community Objections filed against the Requester's Applications and indicated that "these applications cannot move to the contracting phase until the objections are resolved." (Id.)

          On 18 July 2013, pursuant to Section 3.1.II of the Guidebook, members of the NGPC entered into a dialogue with the governments concerned about the .ISLAM and .HALAL strings to understand the scope of the concerns expressed in the GAC's Advice in the Beijing Communiqué.

          On 25 July 2013, the Ministry of Communications for the State of Kuwait sent a letter to ICANN expressing its support for UAE's Community Objections and identifying concerns that the Requester did not receive the support of the community, the Requester's Applications are not in the best interest of the Islamic community, and the strings "should be managed and operated by the community itself through a neutral body that truly represents the Islamic community such as the Organization of Islamic Cooperation." (http://www.icann.org/en/news/correspondence/al-qattan-to-icann-icc-25jul13-en.pdf [PDF, 103 KB])

          On 4 September 2013, in a letter to the NGPC Chairman, the Republic of Lebanon expressed general support for the .ISLAM and .HALAL strings, but stated that it strongly believes "the management and operation of these TLDs must be conducted by a neutral non-governmental multi-stakeholder group representing, at least, the larger Muslim community." (http://www.icann.org/en/news/correspondence/hoballah-to-chalaby-et-al-04sep13-en.pdf [PDF, 586 KB].)

          On 24 October 2013, the expert panel ("Panel") appointed by the ICC to consider UAE's Community Objections rendered two separate Expert Determinations ("Determinations") in favor of the Requester.4 Based on the submissions and evidence provided by the parties, the Panel determined that UAE failed to demonstrate substantial opposition from the community to the Requester's Applications or that the Applications created a likelihood of material detriment to the rights or legitimate interests of a significant portion of the relevant community. (.ISLAM Determination, ¶ 157; .HALAL Determination, ¶ 164.) The Panel dismissed the Community Objections and deemed the Requester the prevailing party. (.ISLAM Determination, ¶ 158; .HALAL Determination, ¶ 165.)

          On 4 November 2013, the Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation ("OIC") submitted a letter to the GAC Chair, stating that, as the "second largest intergovernmental organization with 57 Member States spread across four continents" and the "sole official representative of 1.6 million Muslims," the Member States of the OIC officially opposed the use of the .ISLAM and .HALAL strings "by any entity not representing the collective voice of the Muslim people" ("4 November 2013 OIC Letter to GAC Chair".) (http://www.icann.org/en/news/correspondence/crocker-to-dryden-11nov13-en.pdf [PDF, 1.59 KB].)

          On 11 November 2013, having received a copy of the OIC's 4 November 2013 letter, the ICANN Board Chairman sent a letter to the GAC Chair, noting that the NGPC has not taken any final action on the .ISLAM and .HALAL applications while they were subject to formal objections. The letter further stated that since the objection proceedings have concluded, the NGPC will wait for any additional GAC input regarding the strings and stands ready to discuss the applications if additional dialog would be helpful. (Cover Letter to 4 November 2013 OIC Letter to GAC Chair.)

          On 21 November 2013, the GAC issued its Buenos Aires Communiqué, which stated the following with respect to the Requester's Applications:

          GAC took note of letters sent by the OIC and the ICANN Chairman in relation to the strings .islam and .halal. The GAC has previously provided advice in its Beijing Communiqué, when it concluded its discussions on these strings. The GAC Chair will respond to the OIC correspondence accordingly, noting the OIC's plans to hold a meeting in early December. The GAC chair will also respond to the ICANN Chair's correspondence in similar terms.

          (Buenos Aires Communiqué, Pg. 4, available at https://gacweb.icann.org/download/attachments/27132037/FINAL_Buenos_Aires_GAC_Communique_20131120.pdf?version=1&modificationDate=1385055905332&api=v2 [PDF, 97 KB].)

          On 29 November 2013, the GAC Chair responded to the ICANN Board Chairman's 11 November 2013 correspondence, confirming that the GAC has concluded its discussion on the Requester's Applications and stating that "no further GAC input on this matter can be expected." (http://www.icann.org/en/news/correspondence/dryden-to-crocker-29nov13-en.pdf [PDF, 73 KB].)

          On 4 December 2013, the Requester submitted a letter to the ICANN Board Chairman requesting contracts for .ISLAM and .HALAL "as soon as possible." (http://www.icann.org/en/news/correspondence/abbasnia-to-crocker-04dec13-en.pdf [PDF, 141 KB].)

          On 19 December 2013, the Secretary General of the OIC sent a letter to the ICANN Board Chairman, stating that the Foreign Ministers of the 57 Muslim Member States of the OIC have unanimously approved and adopted a resolution officially objecting to the .ISLAM and .HALAL strings and indicating that the resolution "underlines the need for constructive engagement between the ICANN and OIC as well as between ICANN and OIC Member States." (http://www.icann.org/en/news/correspondence/ihsanoglu-to-crocker-19dec13-en.pdf [PDF, 1.06 MB].)

          On 24 December 2013, the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology on behalf of the government of Indonesia sent a letter to the NGPC Chairman, stating that Indonesia "strongly objects" to the .ISLAM string and, in principle, "approves" the .HALAL string "provided that it is managed properly and responsibly." (http://www.icann.org/en/news/correspondence/iskandar-to-chalaby-24dec13-en.pdf [PDF, 463 KB].)

          On 30 December 2013, the Requester submitted a letter to the ICANN Board Chairman challenging the nature and extent of the OIC's opposition to the Requester's Applications, reiterating its proposed policies and procedures for governance of .ISLAM and .HALAL, and requesting to proceed to the contracting phase. (http://www.icann.org/en/news/correspondence/abbasnia-to-crocker-30dec13-en.pdf [PDF, 1.90 MB].)

          On 5 February 2014, the NGPC adopted an updated iteration of the NGPC Scorecard ("Actions and Updates Scorecard"). (5 February 2014 Resolution, available at http://www.icann.org/en/groups/board/documents/resolutions-new-gtld-05feb14-en.htm#1.a.rationale; Actions and Updates Scorecard, available at http://www.icann.org/en/groups/board/documents/resolutions-new-gtld-annex-1-05feb14-en.pdf [PDF, 371 KB].) With respect to the Requester's Applications, the NGPC's Actions and Updates Scorecard stated in pertinent part:

          The NGPC takes note of the significant concerns expressed during the dialogue, and additional opposition raised, including by the OIC, which represents 1.6 billion members of the Muslim community.

          (Action and Updates Scorecard, Pg. 8.) In addition, the NGPC directed the transmission of a letter from the NGPC, via the Chairman of the Board, to the Requester ("7 February 2013 NGPC Letter to the Requester"). (http://www.icann.org/en/news/correspondence/crocker-to-abbasnia-07feb14-en.pdf [PDF, 541 KB].) The 7 February 2013 NGPC Letter to the Requester acknowledges the Requester's stated commitment to a multi-stakeholder governance model, but states:

          Despite these commitments, a substantial body of opposition urges ICANN not to delegate the strings .HALAL and .ISLAM.… There seems to be a conflict between the commitments made in your letters and the concerns raised in letters to ICANN urging ICANN not to delegate the strings. Given these circumstances, the NGPC will not address the applications further until such time as the noted conflicts have been resolved.

          (7 February 2013 NGPC Letter to the Requester, at Pg. 2.)

          On 26 February 2014, the Requester filed Request 14-7.

        2. Requester's Claims

          The Requester claims that the NGPC failed to consider material information when it approved the 5 February 2014 Resolution. Specifically, the Requester contends that the NGPC ignored, or was not otherwise made aware of, material information including: (1) The ICC's Determinations dismissing the Community Objections; (2) the Requester's proposed multi-stakeholder governance model; and (3) the differences between the .ISLAM and .HALAL Applications. In addition, the Requester claims that the 7 February 2013 NGPC Letter to the Requester was a staff action that violates the policies set forth in the Guidebook and underlying the gTLD program because it fails to provide the Requester with guidance on how to resolve the conflicts identified in the letter.

      3. Issues

        The issue for reconsideration is whether the NGPC failed to consider material information in approving the 5 February 2014 Resolution, which deferred the contracting process for the Requester's Application until the identified conflicts have been resolved. Specifically, the issue is whether the NGPC ignored, or was not otherwise made aware of, the information identified in Section I.B, above. An additional issue for reconsideration is whether the 7 February 2013 NGPC Letter to the Requester was a staff action that violated ICANN policies because it failed to provide clear criteria for the Requester to resolve conflicts with the objecting entities and countries.

      4. The Relevant Standards for Evaluating Reconsideration Requests

        ICANN's Bylaws call for the BGC to evaluate and make recommendations to the Board with respect to Reconsideration Requests. See Article IV, Section 2 of the Bylaws. The NGPC, bestowed with the powers of the Board in this instance, has reviewed and thoroughly considered the BGC Recommendation on Request 14-7 and finds the analysis sound.5

      5. Analysis and Rationale

        1. The Requester Has Not Demonstrated That The NGPC Failed To Consider Material Information When It Approved The 5 February 2014 Resolution.

          The BGC concluded, and the NGPC agrees, that the Requester has not sufficiently stated a request for reconsideration of the 5 February 2014 Resolution. The Requester has identified some information that the NGPC had available to it and purportedly should have considered before approving the 5 February 2014 Resolution. But the Requester has failed to demonstrate that the NGPC did not consider this information or that the information was material and would have changed the NGPC's decision to defer the contracting process for the Requester's Applications until certain conflicts have been resolved.

          First, the BGC determined that the Requester has not demonstrated that the NGPC failed to consider the Determinations dismissing the Community Objections, or that the Determinations were material to the NGPC's Resolution. There is no evidence that the NGPC did not consider the ICC's Determinations on the Community Objections in adopting the challenged Resolution. To the contrary, in the NGPC's Actions and Updates Scorecard that was adopted by the NGPC as part of its 5 February 2014 Resolution, the NGPC specifically referenced the ICC's Determination on the Community Objections. Moreover, in communications with the GAC, ICANN noted that it did not take any final action on the Requester's Applications while the applications were subject to formal objections, but that the "objection proceedings have concluded." (Cover Letter to 4 November 2013 OIC Letter to GAC Chair.) The BGC also concluded that the Requester has also failed to demonstrate that the ICC's Determinations were material to the NGPC's Resolution or otherwise identify how the Determinations would have changed the actions taken by the NGPC. The NGPC agrees.

          Second, the BGC concluded and the NGPC agrees that the Requester has not demonstrated that the NGPC failed to consider the Requester's proposed multi-stakeholder governance model, or that the model was material to the NGPC's Resolution. The Requester's assertion that the NGPC failed to consider the Requester's proposed "multi-stakeholder governance model" in reaching its 5 February 2014 Resolution is unsupported. The BGC noted that the Requester's purported multi-stakeholder governance model was a subject of the Beijing Communiqué, the Requester's response to the Beijing Communiqué and the ICC's Determinations. The NGPC's 5 February 2014 Resolution makes clear that the NGPC considered the Beijing Communiqué, the NGPC Briefing Material summarized the Requester's response to the Beijing Communiqué, and, as set forth above, the NGPC was well aware of the ICC's Determinations. Moreover, as the Requester concedes, the 7 February 2013 NGPC Letter to the Requester identifies (and applauds) a 4 December 2013 letter and a 30 December 2013 letter from the Requester to ICANN relating to its proposed multi-stakeholder governance model. Finally, the Requester does not identify any other materials relating to the Requester's proposed governance model that should have, or could have, been considered by the NGPC before reaching its 5 February 2014 Resolution.

          In addition, the BGC noted that the Requester makes no effort to demonstrate that the Requester's proposed governance model was material to the NGPC's resolution or otherwise identify how the proposed model would have changed the action taken by the NGPC. Rather, the 7 February 2013 NGPC Letter to the Requester shows that the NGPC was concerned with conflicts between the Requester's purported model and the claims made about that model in the letters urging ICANN not to proceed with .ISLAM and .HALAL.

          Third, the BGC determined and the NGPC agrees that the Requester has not demonstrated that the NGPC failed to consider differences between the .ISLAM and the .HALAL Applications, or that such differences were material to the NGPC's Resolution. The Requester claims that there are differences between the .ISLAM and .HALAL Applications and that the NGPC failed to consider these differences in reaching its 5 February 2014 Resolution. The BGC noted that the Requester's only support for this claim is a letter from Indonesia objecting to .ISLAM, but "endors[ing]" .HALAL, and a letter from the Islamic Chamber Research and Information Center ("ICRIC") expressing support for .HALAL. The BGC further noted that the record indicates that the NGPC reviewed both of these letters before taking its action. Moreover, the Requester has not explained how consideration of these two letters is material to the NGPC's Resolution or otherwise identify how the letters would have changed the action taken by the NGPC.

        2. The Requester Has Not Demonstrated That The ICANN Staff Took An Action Inconsistent With An Established ICANN Policy Or Process.

          The BGC concluded that the Requester's claim that the 7 February 2013 NGPC Letter to the Requester was a staff action that violates the policies set forth in the Guidebook and underlying the New gTLD Program by failing to provide the Requester with guidance on how it should resolve the conflicts associated with the .ISLAM and .HALAL Applications is not a proper basis for seeking reconsideration.

          To challenge a staff action, the Requester would need to demonstrate that it was adversely affected by a staff action that violated an established ICANN policy or process. (Bylaws, Art. IV., Section 2.2.) The 7 February 2013 NGPC Letter to the Requester was not a staff action, it was a Board (or NGPC) action. The letter was sent to the Requester under the signature of the Chair of the ICANN Board, Stephen D. Crocker. More importantly, the NGPC, delegated with all legal and decision making authority of the Board relating to the New gTLD Program, (http://www.icann.org/en/groups/board/documents/resolutions-10apr12-en.htm), directed transmission of the letter to explain its reasoning for the 5 February 2014 Resolution. (Actions and Updates Scorecard, Pg. 8.) As such, the BGC concluded that the 7 February 2013 NGPC Letter to the Requester is a Board (or NGPC) action and cannot be challenged as a staff action.

          The BGC further noted that even if this were to be considered a staff action, which it is not, there is no established ICANN policy or procedure that requires the ICANN Board or the NGPC to provide gTLD applicants with individualized explanations or direction on what the applicants should do next.

      6. Decision

        The NGPC had the opportunity to consider all of the materials submitted by or on behalf of the Requestor (see http://www.icann.org/en/groups/board/governance/reconsideration/14-7) or that otherwise relate to Request 14-7. Following consideration of all relevant information provided, the NGPC reviewed and has adopted the BGC's Recommendation on Request 14-7, which shall be deemed a part of this Rationale and the full text of which can be found at http://www.icann.org/en/groups/board/governance/reconsideration/14-7/recommendation-agit-13mar14-en.pdf [PDF, 149 KB].

        Adopting the BGC's recommendation has no financial impact on ICANN and will not negatively impact the systemic security, stability and resiliency of the domain name system.

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

    6. Update on proposed review mechanism for perceived inconsistent string confusion objection determinations

      No resolution taken.


1 Governmental Advisory Committee.

2 International Centre for Expertise of the International Chamber of Commerce.

3 UAE's Community Objections asserted that there is "substantial opposition to [each] gTLD application from a significant portion of the community to which the gTLD string may be explicitly or implicitly targeted." (Guidebook, Section 3.2.1; New gTLD Dispute Resolution Procedure ("Procedure"), Art. 2(e).)

4 .ISLAM Determination, available at http://www.iccwbo.org/Data/Documents/Buisness-Services/Dispute-Resolution-Services/Expertise/ICANN-New-gTLD-Dispute-Resolution/EXP-430-ICANN-47-Expert-Determination/ [PDF, 174 KB]; .HALAL Determination, available at http://www.iccwbo.org/Data/Documents/Buisness-Services/Dispute-Resolution-Services/Expertise/ICANN-New-gTLD-Dispute-Resolution/EXP-427-ICANN-44-Expert-Determination/ [PDF, 277 KB].

5 Having a reconsideration process whereby the BGC reviews and, if it chooses, makes a recommendation to the Board/NGPC for approval, positively affects ICANN's transparency and accountability. It provides an avenue for the community to ensure that staff and the Board are acting in accordance with ICANN's policies, Bylaws, and Articles of Incorporation.

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."