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IDN Variant Issues Project – Proposed Project Plan for Next Steps

Comment/Reply Periods (*) Important Information Links
Comment Open: 20 February 2012
Comment Close: 18 March Extended to 8 April 2012
Close Time (UTC): 23:59 Public Comment Announcement
Reply Open: 9 April 2012 To Submit Your Comments (Forum Closed)
Reply Close: 8 April Extended to 29 April 2012 View Comments Submitted
Close Time (UTC): 23:59 Report of Public Comments
Brief Overview
Originating Organization: Stakeholder Relations
Categories/Tags: Top-Level Domains
Purpose (Brief): To receive community feedback on the proposed project plan [PDF, 211 KB] for next steps of the IDN Variant Issues Project.
Current Status: Phase II of IDN Variant Issues Project has been completed with the publication of the final Integrated Issues Report [PDF, 2.15 MB] following the public comment period. Project team has created a project proposed plan for next steps and seeks community feedback on this plan.
Next Steps: This project plan will be discussed at the ICANN public meeting in Costa Rica in March 2012. Comments received in this forum as well as community feedback during the Costa Rica meeting will be incorporated into the final project plan.
Staff Contact: Kurt Pritz Email: kurt.pritz@icann.org
Detailed Information
Section I: Description, Explanation, and Purpose

Public Comment: IDN Variant Issues Project – Proposed Project Plan for Next Steps [PDF, 211 KB]

The IDN Variant Issues Project has been exploring the issues associated with the potential inclusion of IDN variant TLDs in the DNS root zone at the request of the ICANN board and the community.

The first two phases of the project have been completed with the publication of the final Integrated Issues Report on 17 February 2012 and the project is now entering its next phase. The IDN Variant Issues Project team has created a project plan for next steps and is now seeking community input on the proposed steps forward.

The proposed project plan will be discussed at the ICANN public meeting in Costa Rica in March 2012, to determine whether and how ICANN should proceed with regard to additional work on IDN variant TLDs. This public comment period makes the project plan available to the community for review and comment prior to the Costa Rica meeting.

Section II: Background

On 20 April 2011, ICANN announced the IDN Variant Issues Project to explore the issues associated with the potential inclusion of IDN variant TLDs in the DNS root zone. This project was initiated in response to a 2010 ICANN Board of Directors resolution.

Phase I involved the formation of six case study teams for the Arabic, Chinese, Cyrillic, Devanagari, Greek and Latin scripts. These teams were comprised of community experts with support by ICANN and worked on identifying issues related to IDN variant TLDs for each particular script, resulting in the publication in October of six individual reports detailing their findings.

Phase II focused on integrating those six case study reports into the Integrated Issues Report. To complete this phase, ICANN formed a coordination team comprised of experts from each of the case study teams. The coordination team advised ICANN in completing the Integrated Issues Report, which summarizes and categorizes the various issues related to the identification and management of IDN variant TLDs.

On 23 December 2011, ICANN published for public comment the draft Integrated Issues Report [PDF, 1.06 MB]. Following the public comment period, ICANN published a Summary and Analysis of comments received and the final Integrated Issues Report.

Section III: Document and Resource Links
Section IV: Additional Information
None

(*) Comments submitted after the posted Close Date/Time are not guaranteed to be considered in any final summary, analysis, reporting, or decision-making that takes place once this period lapses.

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."