Skip to main content
Resources

Approved Resolutions | Meeting of the New gTLD Program Committee

3-4 April 2014

  1. Main Agenda:
    1. Applications for .vin and .wine/ GAC Communiqué – Singapore

 

  1. Main Agenda:

    Meeting on 3 April 2014 at 22:00 UTC continued to 4 April 2014 at 21:00 UTC. The following resolutions were adopted on 4 April 2014:

    1. Applications for .vin and .wine/ GAC Communiqué – Singapore

      Whereas, on 9 September 2013, in a letter to the ICANN Board, the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) advised the Board that the GAC had finalized its consideration of the strings .WINE and .VIN, that there was no GAC consensus advice on additional safeguards for .WINE and .VIN, and that the applications for .WINE and .VIN should proceed through the normal evaluation process.

      Whereas, on 20 November 2013, the GAC issued its Buenos Aires Communiqué, wherein it suggested 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 asked staff to commission an independent legal analysis ("Independent Legal Analysis") of the legally complex and politically sensitive background on the GAC's advice regarding .WINE and .VIN.

      Whereas, on 22 March 2014, in Resolution 2014.03.22.NG01, the NGPC "accept[ed] the GAC advice identified in the GAC Register of Advice as 2013-09-09-wine and vin, and direct[ed] the President and CEO, or his designee, that the applications for .WINE and .VIN should proceed through the normal evaluation process."

      Whereas, as noted in the Rationale of Resolution 2014.03.22.NG01, the NGPC considered the Independent Legal Analysis as part of its deliberations on the GAC's advice, which is published at http://www.icann.org/en/groups/board/documents/analysis-wine-vin-22mar14-en.pdf [PDF, 771 KB].

      Whereas, on 27 March 2014, in the Singapore Communiqué, the GAC noted that "there appears to be at least one process violation and procedural error, including in relation to ByLaws Article XI-A, Section 1 subsection 6" in the ICANN Board's final deliberation of Resolution 2014.03.22.NG01 and advised that the ICANN Board reconsider the matter before delegating these strings.

      Whereas, in the Singapore Communiqué, the GAC further advised that "concerned GAC members believe the applicants and interested parties should be encouraged to continue their negotiations with a view to reach an agreement on the matter."

      Whereas, the NGPC has reviewed and considered the matter set forth in the Singapore Communiqué, specifically the issue raised by the GAC relating to its suggestion of a possible process violation or procedural error under ICANN Bylaws Article XI-A, Section 1, subsection 6.

      Whereas, the NGPC recognizes that some GAC members remain concerned about the .WINE and .VIN applications, and the NGPC recognizes that this is a matter of great importance to these GAC members, as well as to the interested applicants for these top level domains.

      Resolved (2014.04.04.NG01), the NGPC accepts the GAC advice identified in the Singapore Communiqué as it relates to the applications for .WINE and .VIN.

      Resolved (2014.04.04.NG02), upon having considered the matter set forth in the GAC Singapore Communiqué suggesting that there may have been a process violation or procedural error, the NGPC concludes that there has been no process violation or procedural error under the Bylaws.

      Resolved (2014.04.04.NG03), the NGPC directs the President and CEO, or his designee, to not commence the contracting process for the applications for .WINE and .VIN for 60 days from the date of publication of these resolutions in order to provide additional time for the relevant impacted parties to negotiate, which they are encouraged to do.

      Resolved (2014.04.04.NG04), the NGPC recommends that the full Board consider the larger implications of legally complex and politically sensitive issues such as those raised by GAC members, including whether ICANN is the proper venue in which to resolve these issues, or whether there are venues or forums better suited to address concerns such as those raised by GAC members in relation to the .WINE and .VIN applications.

      Rationale for Resolutions 2014.04.04.NG01 – 2014.04.04.NG04

      The NGPC's action today, addressing the Governmental Advisory Committee's ("GAC") advice in the Singapore Communiqué concerning the .WINE and .VIN applications, is part of the ICANN Board's role to address advice put to the Board by the GAC. Article XI, Section 2.1 of the ICANN Bylaws http://www.icann.org/en/about/governance/bylaws#XI permits 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." Module 3.1 of the Applicant Guidebook ("AGB") sets forth the parameters in which GAC Advice will be given under the New gTLD Program. 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 policies. 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.

      Factual Background

      The GAC previously issued advice to the Board on the New gTLD Program, and specifically on the .WINE and .VIN applications, 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 the .WINE and .VIN applications. In the Buenos Aires Communiqué, the GAC suggested that the Board may "wish to seek a clear understanding of the legally complex and politically sensitive background on this matter in order to consider the appropriate next steps in the process of delegating the two strings. GAC members may wish to write to the Board to further elaborate their views." (https://gacweb.icann.org/download/attachments/33849634/FINAL_Buenos_Aires_GAC_Communique_20131120.pdf?version=1&modificationDate=1390438464000&api=v2 [PDF, 97 KB].)

      Following the Buenos Aires Communiqué, the NGPC directed staff to commission independent legal analysis as to whether international law or national law in wine-growing regions -- France, Italy, Spain, Australia, elsewhere -- establish a bar that would entitle governments or administrative agencies to prevent administration of the .WINE and .VIN gTLDs and whether any rights or protections granted to wine-related geographic indications impose a duty on ICANN to provide for protection at the second level if the .WINE or .VIN stings were to be delegated (the "Independent Legal Analysis").

      The Independent Legal 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." (http://www.icann.org/en/groups/board/documents/analysis-wine-vin-22mar14-en.pdf [PDF, 771 KB] at Pg. 7.)

      On 22 March 2014, the NGPC adopted Resolution 2014.03.22.NG01, whereby it "accept[ed] the GAC advice identified in the GAC Register of Advice as 2013-09-09-wine and vin, and direct[ed] the President and CEO, or his designee, that the applications for .WINE and .VIN should proceed through the normal evaluation process." (http://www.icann.org/en/groups/board/documents/resolutions-new-gtld-22mar14-en.htm#1.a.) The NGPC noted that it considered the Independent Legal Analysis as part of its deliberations on the GAC's advice. (See id.) As part of Resolution 2014.03.22.NG01, the NGPC published the Independent Legal Analysis at http://www.icann.org/en/groups/board/documents/analysis-wine-vin-22mar14-en.pdf [PDF, 771 KB].

      On 27 March 2014, the GAC published its Singapore Communiqué. On the topic of .WINE and .VIN, the GAC stated as follows:

      The GAC notes the NGPC Resolution 2014.03.22.NG01 concerning .wine and .vin as well as its rationale. In the final deliberation of the Board there appears to be at least one process violation and procedural error, including in relation to ByLaws Article XI-A, Section 1 subsection 6 which states:

      6. Opportunity to Comment. The Governmental Advisory Committee, in addition to the Supporting Organizations and other Advisory Committees, shall have an opportunity to comment upon any external advice received prior to any decision by the Board.

      The GAC therefore advises:

      That the Board reconsider the matter before delegating these strings. The GAC needs to consider the above elements more fully. In the meantime concerned GAC members believe the applicants and interested parties should be encouraged to continue their negotiations with a view to reach an agreement on the matter.

      (https://gacweb.icann.org/download/attachments/27132037/Final%20Communique%20-%20Singapore%202014.pdf?version=1&modificationDate=1395925159241&api=v2 [PDF, 448 KB].)

      Discussion and Analysis

      In sum, the NGPC has accepted the GAC advice and has carefully reviewed and evaluated whether there was a procedure or process violation under the Bylaws. The NGPC has determined that there was not because, among other reasons, ICANN did not seek the Independent Legal Analysis as External Expert Advice pursuant to Article XI-A, or any other portion of the Bylaws.

      The GAC's advice on the .WINE and .VIN applications was issued pursuant to the GAC-related procedures in Module 3.1 of the Applicant Guidebook and not as External Expert Advice for purposes of the policy development process on new gTLDs, which was concluded in August 2007. Rather, the Independent Legal Analysis was obtained as part of the implementation of the New gTLD Program.

      Under Module 3.1 of the Guidebook, the Board has the discretion to seek independent expert analysis on issues raised in the GAC Advice on new gTLD applications. This provision does not mention a Board consultation with the GAC after independent analysis has been obtained and before a decision is taken. There is no reference in Module 3.1, or elsewhere in the Applicant Guidebook, to Article XI-A, or any of its subsections.

      Further, because the NGPC did not " . . . determine[] to take an action that is not consistent with the Governmental Advisory Committee advice, . . ." the NGPC did not "inform the Committee [of its determination] and state the reasons why it decided to not follow the advice" ((Bylaws, Article XI, Section 2.1.j). Specifically, as noted in the Rationale of Resolution 2014.03.22.NG01, "[t]he 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.'" (http://www.icann.org/en/groups/board/documents/resolutions-new-gtld-22mar14-en.htm#1.a.) The NGPC obtained the Independent Legal Analysis, which it has the discretion to do under the Module 3.1 of the Applicant Guidebook, and in part at the suggestion of the GAC. Further, when the GAC suggested that the NGPC may want to seek such advice, the GAC did not ask the NGPC to provide the GAC with that advice (the Independent Legal Analysis) before taking action and accepting the GAC's advice on the .WINE and .VIN applications.

      Decision

      The NGPC has taken the GAC's suggestion of a potential process violation or procedural error very seriously and recognizes the import of the matters at issue. After careful consideration, the NGPC has concluded that there was no process violation or procedural error under the Bylaws, particularly because the Independent Legal Analysis was not sought as External Expert Advice pursuant to Article X1-A, or any other Bylaws provision. Rather, the Independent Legal Analysis was sought pursuant to Module 3.1 of the Applicant Guidebook, and partly at the GAC's suggestion.

      Although NGPC did not find a process violation or procedural error under the Bylaws, consistent with ICANN's commitment to transparency, ICANN did attach to Resolution 2014.03.22.NG01 the Independent Legal Analysis concerning .WINE and .VIN. Further, for ease of reference, ICANN will provide a copy of the Independent Legal Analysis directly to the GAC.

      Additional time (60 days) should be allotted before proceeding with the .WINE and .VIN contracting to allow the relevant impacted parties additional time to try to work out their differences.

      Further, the full Board should consider the larger implications of legally complex and politically sensitive issues such as those raised by GAC members, including whether ICANN is the proper venue in which to resolve these issues, or whether there are venues or forums better suited to address concerns such as those raised by GAC members in relation to the .WINE and .VIN applications.

      In taking this action today, the NGPC acknowledges the correspondence received on .WINE and .VIN since the ICANN Singapore meeting, including:

      • Letter dated 19 March 2014 [PDF, 120 KB] from Mr. Martin Schulz, President, The European Parliament
      • Letter dated 26 March 2014 [PDF, 141 KB] from Ms. Linda Corugedo-Steneberg, Director – European Commission, Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology
      • Letter dated 1 April 2014 [PDF, 500 KB] from Mr. Sergio Zingarelli, President - Consorzio Vino Chianti Classico
      • Letter dated 2 April 2014 [PDF, 68 KB] from Ms. Linda Corugedo-Steneberg, Director – European Commission, Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology
      • Letter dated 2 April 2014 [PDF, 1.23 MB] from Mr. Jean-Luc Barbier, General Director - Comité Interprofessional du Vin de Champagne (CIVIC)
      • Letter dated 3 April 2014 [PDF, 226 KB] from Mr. Manuel de Novae Cabral, Presidente - Instituto os Vinhos do Douro e do Porto
      • Letter dated 3 April 2014 [PDF, 739 KB] from Mr. Steven L. Bate, Executive Director - The Long Island Wine Council
      • Letter dated 3 April 2014 [PDF, 924 KB] from Ms. Linda Reiff, President & CEO - Napa Valley Vintners
      • Letter dated 3 April 2014 [PDF, 179 KB] from Mr. César Saldaña, Director General, Consejo Regulador Do Jerez-Xérès-Sherry

      There are no foreseen financial impacts 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.

Published on 4 April 2014

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."