Skip to main content

Message from Louis Touton to Kevin Brannon

23 June 2003

Kevin E. Brannon
Preston, Gates & Ellis LLP

Subject: VeriSign Wait-Listing Service

Dear Mr. Brannon:

This message follows up on my messages to you of 6 and 20 May and 3 June 2003 concerning your inquiries, on behalf of your client Dotster, Inc., about the VeriSign Wait-Listing Service.

With my 20 May 2003 message, I forwarded to you the Reconsideration Committee's recommendation on Dotster's Request for Reconsideration RC 02-5. This recommendation was adopted by the ICANN Board on 2 June 2003, as I advised you in my message of 3 June 2003.

The resolution of Dotster's reconsideration request completes one of the two items you inquired about in your 9 April 2003 letter to Paul Twomey.

The other matter you inquired about in your 9 April 2003 letter was a request, originally conveyed in your 9 September 2002 letter to Stuart Lynn, that ICANN establish an independent review panel to consider whether the Board's action on the VeriSign Wait-Listing Service proposal was supported by a consensus as required for "Consensus Policies" as defined under subsection 4.3.1 of Dotster's Registrar Accreditation Agreement with ICANN. This request, however, was based on a faulty premise: that the Board's action in connection with the VeriSign Wait-Listing Service proposal was taken under the provisions of subsection 4.3.1, or for that matter any other provision, of the Registrar Accreditation Agreement.

As noted in Reconsideration Committee recommendation RC 02-5, the Board's action was not taken pursuant to subsection 4.3.1. This point is not in dispute: both your 9 September 2002 letter and recommendation RC 02-5 are in full agreement on this. In fact, the Board's action on VeriSign's Wait-Listing Service proposal was not taken pursuant to any provision of Dotster's Registrar Accreditation Agreement, and does not create any obligation of Dotster under the Registrar Accreditation Agreement.

Instead, what the Board has done concerning the VeriSign Wait-Listing Service proposal is to authorize negotiation with VeriSign of revisions to its .com and .net registry agreements with ICANN. Under these revisions, restrictions in ICANN's registry agreements with VeriSign would be relaxed to permit it to offer all registrars the option (which no registrar is obliged to exercise) of placing subscriptions on behalf of registants to a Wait-Listing Service for the .com and .net top-level domains. Dotster's Registrar Accreditation Agreement with ICANN does not give Dotster the right to block consensual revisions to ICANN's agreements with other companies, particularly when Dotster's apparent motive is to stymie another company from providing a service that Dotster believes will be viewed by consumers as a more convenient and effective alternative to Dotster's own service.

In view of the lack of any dispute as to whether the requirements of subsection 4.3.1 were met (they were not), there is no requirement or authorization under subsection 4.3.2 of the Registrar Accreditation Agreement for an independent review proceeding to review whether the requirements of subsection 4.3.1 have been met. In conclusion, it appears that there is no controversy at all regarding whether the ICANN Board action complied with subsection 4.3.1.

In the event that you or your client has a different view, ICANN would be interested in hearing that view.

Best regards,

Louis Touton
General Counsel

cc: Clint Page
Paul Twomey, President and CEO, ICANN
Phil Sbarbaro, Esq.

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."