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2023 Global Amendments to the Base gTLD Registry Agreement (RA), Specification 13, and 2013 Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA)

News

19 January 2023 – the voting period will open at 17:00 UTC. Registries and registrars may vote up until 20 March 2023 23:59 UTC.

17 & 18 January 2023 – ICANN org hosted two separate webinars to review the proposed amendments and provide an overview of the voting process and procedures. Both webinars included real-time translation in Arabic, Chinese, French, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. The webinar recordings by language are listed below:

View archived news

Relevant Resources

Background

In October 2019, ICANN organization (org) initiated negotiations with the gTLD Registries Stakeholder Group (RySG) and the Registrar Stakeholder Group (RrSG) to develop amendments to the base gTLD Registry Agreement (base RA) and the 2013 Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA) to specify the operating requirements for the Registration Data Access Protocol (RDAP) and to define the plan to sunset obligations to provide Registration Data Directory Services (RDDS) via the WHOIS protocol. In June 2021, ICANN org and the contracted parties also began discussing the desire to extend the Domain Abuse Activity Reporting (DAAR) project metrics to the registrar level, and reached agreement in principle on the concept in October 2021. The resulting proposed amendments incorporate:

  • The reporting requirements and service level requirements for RDAP.
  • The requirement for both registries and registrars to comply with the gTLD RDAP Profile to ensure registries and registrars provide responses via RDAP in a standardized format and consistent with the ICANN Consensus Policies.
  • The sunset of certain obligations to provide RDDS via the WHOIS protocols (i.e., WHOIS port-43 and web-based WHOIS) 18 months after amendment effective date.
  • The allowance for ICANN to use an existing data set provided by registries for research purposes. This change will enable ICANN to extend the DAAR project metrics to registrars to study DNS security threat concentrations across registrars.

Following agreement between ICANN org and the Contracted Party House Negotiating Team (CPH NT), the proposed changes to the base RA, Specification 13, and the RAA were published for Public Comment on 6 September 2022. On 16 December 2022, ICANN org published the Public Comment Summary Report.

According to the process described in Section 7.7 of the base RA, Section 11 of Specification 13, and Section 7.4 of the RAA, in order to enact the changes, the proposed base RA, Specification 13, and RAA Global Amendments (respectively, the base RA Global Amendment, Spec 13 Global Amendment, and RAA Global Amendment) must be approved by Applicable Registry Operators, Applicable Brand Registry Operators, and Applicable Registrars, respectively. The proposed Global Amendments also require the approval of the ICANN Board.

Voting Process

On 4 January 2023, ICANN org sent a legal notice to registry operator and registrar primary contacts and the legal (notice) contacts informing registries and registrars that the voting period will open at 17:00 UTC on 19 January 2023.

On Thursday, 19 January 2023 at 17:00 UTC the Registry and Registrar Primary Contact listed in the Naming Services Portal (NSp) will receive an email communication from eBallot, a secure third party online voting platform operated by Votenet. The email will be sent from noreply@eballot.com

The email invitation will contain a direct link to an online ballot which will permit the primary contact to vote. The online ballot can be accessed from any smartphone or device with full browser capabilities.

  • For Registry Operators: If the registry primary contact's email address is associated with multiple gTLDs within the same registry operator account, the vote will apply to each gTLD that is associated with the registry primary contact's same email address. The registry primary contact will receive one email invitation per registry operator account, unless unique registry primary contact email addresses are associated with gTLDs under the registry operator account. In such instances, separate invitations will be sent to each unique registry primary contact email address associated with the registry operator account.
  • For Registrars: If the registrar's primary contact email address is associated with more than one registrar (e.g., a registrar family), the vote will apply to all associated registrars.

Voting Options: You will have two options on how to vote:

  1. "Yes" - voting "yes" means that you approve the proposed Global Amendment.
  2. "No" - voting "no" means that you do not approve the proposed Global Amendment.

Applicable Brand Registry Operators will vote on two separate items within a single ballot: 1) A vote on the base RA Global Amendment, and 2) A vote on the Spec 13 Global Amendment.

The voting period will be open for 60 days. Following the voting period, the vote will be tabulated by Votenet. For each proposed Global Amendment to be approved, it must receive Registry Operator Approval, Registrar Approval, and Brand Registry Operator Approval, as applicable, and approval from the ICANN Board of Directors. If the proposed Global Amendments are not approved, they will go back to the negotiating teams to discuss next steps.

Calculating the Vote

Registry Operator Approval

As defined in Section 7.6(j)(ii) of the base RA, Registry Operator Approval requires meeting the following two thresholds:

  1. The affirmative approval of Applicable Registry Operators whose payments to ICANN accounted for two-thirds of the total amount of fees paid, pursuant to the Registry Agreement, the immediately previous calendar year. Payments to ICANN in the immediately previous calendar year are payments received by ICANN as covered in Article 6, Section 6.1 (Registry-Level Fees), in the calendar year 2022.
  2. The affirmative approval of a majority (over 50%) of the Applicable Registry Operators at the time such approval is obtained, where each Applicable Registry Operator shall have one vote for each top-level domain operated by such Registry Operator pursuant to an Applicable Registry Agreement.

Brand Registry Operator Approval

As defined in Section 9 of Specification 13 of the base RA, Brand Registry Operator Approval requires meeting the following two thresholds:

  1. The affirmative approval of Applicable Brand Registry Operators whose payments to ICANN accounted for two-thirds of the total amount of fees paid, pursuant to the Applicable Brand Registry Agreement, the immediately previous calendar year. Payments to ICANN in the immediately previous calendar year are payments received by ICANN as covered in Article 6, Section 6.1 (Registry-Level Fees), in the calendar year 2022.
  2. The affirmative approval of a majority (over 50%) of the Applicable Brand Registry Operators at the time such approval is obtained, where each Applicable Brand Registry Operator shall have one vote for each top-level domain operated by such Registry Operator pursuant to an Applicable Brand Registry Agreement.

Important Note: Applicable Brand Registry Operators must vote for both the base RA Global Amendment AND the Spec 13 Global Amendment.

Registrar Approval

Each Applicable Registrar shall receive one vote per accreditation. As defined by Section 1.18.1 of the RAA, Registrar Approval requires meeting the following threshold:

  1. The affirmative approval from the Applicable Registrars accounting for 90% of the total registered domain names under management (TDUM) by the Applicable Registrars. Per the RAA the TDUM by each Applicable Registrar Family cannot exceed the TDUM of the 5th largest Applicable Registrar Family (measured by number of registered domain names under management) for both the numerator and the denominator. This means the TDUM of the 5th largest Applicable Registrar Family will replace that of the four (4) larger Applicable Registrar Families, and the TDUM will be updated accordingly.

The final calculation for Applicable Registrar voting weight will be based on the most recent Per-Registrar Transactions Report available prior to the conclusion of the voting period.

Vote Tabulations and Results

This section will be updated once voting has begun and will provide graphic representations of voting progress towards the respective approval thresholds.

Additional Resources

  1. Public Comment Summary Report – original report as published 16 December 2022.
  2. Public Comment on the Proposed Amendments to base New gTLDRegistry Agreement and 2013 Registrar Accreditation Agreement – initiated 06 September 2022.

Note this webpage summarizes provisions in the base RA and RAA to serve as a helpful resource. For the avoidance of doubt, no statement contained herein shall be deemed to modify or supplement in any way the provisions of the base RA or RAA. All capitalized terms and referenced sections used throughout this webpage have the meaning described to them in the base RA and RAA.

News Archive

06 September 2022 – Public Comment Proceeding on the proposed base RA, Spec 13, and RAA Global Amendments.

04 January 2023 – registry and registrar primary contacts and legal (notice) contacts shall receive a voting notice email informing registries and registrars that the voting period will open at 17:00 UTC on 19 January 2023.

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."