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ccTLD Compliance Program (Archive - last updated 26 March 2007)

The existing ccTLD agreements share a common basic structure. However, the specific requirements vary depending on the type of agreement (i.e., whether or not a model involves the respective government in which the ccTLD is designated). Additionally, national law must be taken into consideration in crafting the agreement.

The provisions in the ccTLD agreements can be divided into seven general compliance areas. All items corresponding to each of the seven policy areas can be dealt with as a group. However, there are areas of overlap the compliance cases resulting in some limited redundancy in the compliance test. This could not be avoided.

When and how often an area should be audited in a given year will be determined on a case-by-case basis depending upon the characteristics of the request and the agreement.

Both ICANN and the registry operators/sponsors will benefit from this flexible approach and will be developed further. Given the nature of the agreement, part of the compliance enforcement will rest with ICANN, and part shall be conducted together with the local Internet community and/or respective government.

The compliance procedures are based on the model agreements as posted on the ICANN website, one referred to as a ‘Triangular Sponsorship Agreement’ and the other as the ‘MoU’. While these agreements differ in certain aspects, the compliance procedures are essentially the same for each. The compliance program described below specifies the complete set of contractual compliance issues that will be addressed in a proactive manner; establishes procedures to check, ensure, and maintain compliance on these issues; and provides visibility as to whether the responsibilities of each party are being carried out.

Historically, compliance efforts relating to a ccTLD sponsoring organization or manager have been undertaken by ICANN in response to complaints received or issues raised in the local Internet community, i.e., in a passive manner. This includes complaints regardless of whether the ccTLD sponsoring organizations have contracts with ICANN. The ccTLD Registry Compliance Program will provide the ICANN staff with the tools to carry out proactive compliance checks and to enforce the agreements in a timely and consistent manner.

Compliance Areas

  1. Operate name servers for ccTLD in a stable and secure manner (§4.1)
  2. Ensure that zone file and registration data are continually available to ICANN (§4.2)
  3. Establish a data escrow or mirror site policy for registry data (§4.3)
  4. Obtain approval from Governmental Authority for data escrow or mirror site operator (§4.3)
  5. Establish proper agreement among Sponsor, GA and escrow agent (§4.3)
  6. Notify ICANN of changes in contact info within 7 days (§4.4)
  7. Abide by ICANN consensus policies that concern interoperability or other topics as applicable (§4.5)
  8. Make financial contributions to ICANN (§4.6 and Attachment E)
  9. Notify ICANN of proposed subcontractors (§6.11.1)
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"""" is not an IDN."