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ICANN's Major Agreements and Related Reports

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ICANN operates in large part by entering into agreements with various other parties involved in the operation of the Internet. These agreements fall generally into two categories: Transition Agreements and Implementation Agreements.

Transition Agreements

In its 5 June 1998 "Statement of Policy, Management of Internet Names and Addresses," 63 Fed. Reg. 31741(1998) (commonly known as the White Paper), the United States Government declared its willingness to recognize a new, not-for-profit corporation formed by private sector Internet stakeholders to administer policy for the Internet name and address system. The White Paper envisioned a transition process during which the not-for-profit corporation would enter various agreements to facilitate ending the United States Government's role in the Internet number and name address system in a manner that ensures the stability of the Internet. These agreements are as follows:

Implementation Agreements

Policies adopted through the ICANN process are implemented by agreement of entities involved in the operation of the Internet. In some cases, this agreement occurs after the policy is adopted; in other cases the implementation is pre-arranged through written agreements. Some of those agreements are:

Note: The documents listed below supplement the 1 March 2000 IETF/ICANN Memorandum of Understanding concerning the Technical Work of the IANA.

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."