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Preliminary GNSO Issue Report on the Protection of International Organization Names in New gTLDs

Comment/Reply Periods (*) Important Information Links
Comment Open: 4 June 2012
Comment Close: 25 June 2012
Close Time (UTC): 23:59 Public Comment Announcement
Reply Open: 26 June 2012 To Submit Your Comments (Forum Closed)
Reply Close: 16 July 2012 Extended to 26 July 2012 View Comments Submitted
Close Time (UTC): 23:59 Report of Public Comments
Brief Overview
Originating Organization: ICANN Policy Department
Categories/Tags: Policy Processes
Purpose (Brief): ICANN staff is seeking community input on the Preliminary GNSO Issue Report on the Protection of International Organization Names in new gTLDs [PDF, 566 KB].
Current Status: This Report is designated as "preliminary" to allow for community input and dialogue prior to the publication of the Final Issue Report.
Next Steps: The Preliminary Issue Report will be updated to reflect community feedback submitted through this forum. A Final Issue Report will then be presented to the GNSO Council for its consideration.
Staff Contact: Margie Milam Email:
Detailed Information
Section I: Description, Explanation, and Purpose

ICANN staff is seeking community input on this Preliminary Issue Report which is being published in response to a request by the GNSO Council for an issue report as a required preliminary step before a PDP may be commenced on the topic of whether ICANN should provide additional protections to the names of certain international organizations at the first and second levels for names introduced through the New gTLD Program. In its motion requesting this Issue Report, the GNSO Council specified that the Issue Report should: 1) Define the type of organizations that should be evaluated in any related PDP for any such special protection at the top and second level; and 2) Describe how the PDP could be structured to analyze whether ICANN should adopt policies to protect such organizations at the top and second level.

In addition to other elements of this Issue Report, the ICANN community is encouraged as part of the public comment forum to comment on whether a PDP – if initiated, should be focused on additional protections for: (i) only international organizations that are not-for-profit AND are afforded unique protections under international treaties or national laws in multiple jurisdictions, and/or (ii) all international governmental organizations.

Section II: Background

Issues related to whether certain international organizations such as Intergovernmental Organizations ("IGOs"), the Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement ("RCRC") and the International Olympic Committee ("IOC") should receive special protection for their names at the top level and second level in new gTLDs have been raised throughout the development of the New gTLD program.

The ICANN Board has requested policy advice from the GNSO Council and the GAC on whether special protections should be afforded to the RCRC, IOC and/or IGOs. Specifically, in its Singapore resolution, the Board authorized the President and CEO to implement the New gTLD Program "which includes the following elements: "the 30 May 2011 version of the Applicant Guidebook, subject to the revisions agreed to with the GAC on 19 June 2011, including: …(b) incorporation of text concerning protection for specific requested Red Cross and IOC names for the top level only during the initial application round, until the GNSO and GAC develop policy advice based on the global public interest….."

In addition, the ICANN Board, on 11 March 2012, in response to a letter from the OECD and other IGOs seeking that ICANN provide protections similar to those afforded to the RCRC and IOC and a pre-emptive mechanism to protect their names at the second level, formally requested that the GNSO Council and the GAC provide policy advice on the IGO's request.

With regard to providing special protections for the RCRC and IOC names, during the Dakar Meeting on 27 October 2011, the GNSO Council convened an informal drafting team to focus on the narrower issue of whether the RCRC and the IOC should receive special protections beyond those currently afforded to them in the Applicant Guidebook. This drafting team, known as the IOC-RC Drafting Team, was convened to respond to the Board's 20 June 2011 Singapore resolution with regard to the protection of names of the RCRC and the IOC during the first round of applications (the "Singapore resolution) and in particular, to a subsequent GAC proposal to permanently protect the RCRC and IOC names at both the top and second levels.

The IOC-RC Drafting Team produced a set of recommendations that were published for public comment on 2 Mar 2012, and were subsequently modified during the March 2012 Costa Rica ICANN Meeting before adoption by the GNSO Council at its special meeting on 26 March 2012. These recommendations, which were forwarded to the ICANN Board for consideration, are described in greater detail on Annex 3 to this Report.

At its 10 April 2012 meeting the ICANN Board's New gTLD Program Committee considered the GNSO recommendations but decided not to change the Applicant Guidebook.  In its rationale for this resolution, the Committee observed that although "the GNSO's recommendations were well taken, the Committee opted for preserving the status quo. As protections already exist, when balanced with the accountability and operational issues posed by changing the Applicant Guidebook at that time, the Committee noted that "the public interest will be better served by maintaining the status quo…. Nothing in the Committee's action or this rationale is intended to preclude the consideration of the GNSO recommendations for future rounds of applications within the New gTLD Program."

The Preliminary Issue Report recommends that the GNSO Council should consider whether or not to initiate a PDP as an approach to develop any additional policy advice in response to Board requests on the topic of whether to create additional protections to only certain types of international organizations in new gTLDs.

Section III: Document and Resource Links

Preliminary Issue Report [PDF, 566 KB]

Report of Public Comments on Proposal to Protect International Red Cross and International Olympic Committee Names at the Top Level in New gTLDS [PDF, 284 KB]

The ICANN Board Resolution from the Singapore Meeting

The GAC letter concerning the protection of IOC/RCRC names [PDF, 1.05 MB]

The Questions & Answers concerning the protection of IOC/RCRC names [PDF, 229 KB]

The IGO letter to the Board [PDF, 157 KB]

The Board letter to the GNSO and GAC on the IGO issue [PDF, 222 KB]

The GNSO Council response to the Board's letter on the IGO issue [PDF, 105 KB]

Section IV: Additional Information
Links to relevant background documents and resources are provided in the Preliminary Issue Report

(*) 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"""" is not an IDN."