Note: On 10 April 2012, the Board established the New gTLD Program Committee, comprised of all voting members of the Board that are not conflicted with respect to the New gTLD Program. The Committee was granted all of the powers of the Board (subject to the limitations set forth by law, the Articles of incorporation, Bylaws or ICANN's Conflicts of Interest Policy) to exercise Board-level authority for any and all issues that may arise relating to the New gTLD Program. The full scope of the Committee's authority is set forth in its charter at http://www.icann.org/en/groups/board/new-gTLD.
A Regular Meeting of the New gTLD Program Committee of the ICANN Board of Directors was held telephonically on 8 May 2013 at 13:00 UTC.
Committee Chairman Cherine Chalaby promptly called the meeting to order.
In addition to the Chair the following Directors participated in all or part of the meeting: Chris Disspain, Bill Graham, Olga Madruga-Forti, Erika Mann, George Sadowsky, Mike Silber, Judith Vazquez, and Gonzalo Navarro.
Ray Plzak and Kuo-Wei Wu sent apologies.
Thomas Narten, IETF Liaison and Francisco da Silva, TLG Liaison, were in attendance as non-voting liaisons to the Committee. Heather Dryden, GAC Liaison, was in attendance as an invited observer.
ICANN Staff in attendance for all or part of the meeting: Akram Atallah, Chief Operating Officer; John Jeffrey, General Counsel and Secretary; Megan Bishop, Michelle Bright, Samantha Eisner, Allen Grogan, Dan Halloran, Jamie Hedlund, Karen Lentz, Margie Milam, Erika Randall, Amy Stathos, and Christine Willett.
These are the Minutes of the Meeting of the New gTLD Program Committee, which took place on 08 May 2013.
The Chair introduced the topic of responding the GAC advice issued in the Beijing Communiqué, and briefly outlined the contents of the briefing materials, including the "scorecard" document to assist in the resolution of the GAC's advice. The scorecard was modeled on the scorecard effectively used in the Board-GAC consultations on new gTLDs in Brussels and San Francisco in 2011.
Chris Disspain shepherded the discussion leading the Committee through items of the GAC advice where the Committee's initial position may be categorized on the scorecard as "1A," meaning the Committee agrees with the advice. Chris noted that final decisions by the Committee were subject to the Committee's consideration of the applicant and public comments solicited on the GAC advice.
Chris explained that staff was requested to go through and take each of the pieces of advice and consider whether it's possible that some of those are handled elsewhere or previously. Chris noted that he has also asked the legal team for an opinion about whether implementing GAC advice would require changes to the New gTLD Program.
The Committee's discussion included the GAC advice on applications for .AFRICA and .GCC. Chris commented that there is a WIPO consideration of the application of .GCC. Mike Silber noted that there were multiple fora in which to object to an application, and the Committee should not delay its final determination pending the WIPO objection process.
The Committee engaged in a discussion concerning the wording the GAC used for its advice on the applications for .HALAL and .ISLAM. Chris questioned whether the advice is the type specified in the Applicant Guidebook (AGB) that requires the Board to enter into a dialogue with the GAC to understand the scope of concerns when the GAC advises that there are particular concerns about an application. Dan Halloran agreed to take this issue under advisement and provide a response to the Committee at its next meeting. Heather Dryden also noted that she would review the specific wording of the AGB and provide clarity as to whether the GAC is advising and wants consultation, or whether the GAC simply is reporting the sentiment of some GAC members. She also cautioned that it is important to show responsiveness on this issue in whatever way the Committee decides to respond.
Chris opened the discussion on the GAC's advice to the Board that the advice of a community, which is clearly impacted by a new gTLD application, should be duly taken into account when the community expresses a collective and clear opinion on the applications. Mike noted that the advice looks to be applicable to the current and future rounds.
The Committee also engaged in a discussion of the GAC's advice on reconsidering singular and plural versions of a string. Chris recommended that the Committee accept the advice, but noted that the Committee had not previously considered the issue as an initial matter. Olga Madruga-Forti agreed that the Committee should respond to the GAC that it will consider the issue. Mike inquired whether the Committee had received documentation regarding the singular versus plural decisions as made by the the new gTLD review panel.
In response, Christine Willett provided a brief overview on staff's work to compile procedure documents for each of the new gTLD review panels. Olga commented that it was important to distinguish between process or procedure documents and the reasoning used by panel members to make decisions. Gonzalo Navarro and Thomas Narten discussed the importance of ensuring that decisions of the review panels are delivered with a rationale for the sake of accountability.
Christine informed the Committee that the criteria and rationale for the review panels' decisions were based on the evaluation criteria in the AGB, along with additional guidance that was given in the form of supplemental notes and applicant advisories. Christine explained that the challenge with providing rationale for any one decision is that the decisions were the judgments of at least dozens of experts, and in some cases, hundreds of experts, to formulate the decisions. The Committee tasked staff with preparing additional briefing materials on this issue to facilitate further discussion at the Committee's meeting in Amsterdam.
The Committee also began discussions on the GAC's advice concerning IOC/RCRC names. Chris highlighted that this advice applies to all new gTLD applications and so it must be resolved before any applied-for strings can move forward. George Sadowsky questioned whether the advice was inconsistent with instructing the GNSO to undertake an expedited PDP on the issue of protections of IGO and INGO names and identifiers. Heather noted the GNSO's initiation of a PDP creates an issue because the GAC's position is that it is not within the purview of other parts of ICANN (i.e. non- governments) to identify which organizations should receive protections based on treaties. Thomas inquired whether and how the GAC is involved in the GNSO's PDP on this issue. The Chair provided a brief overview of the Committee's past actions to protect the IOC/RCRC names, and the Committee directed staff to prepare a briefing document outlining the Committee's previous actions leading up to the decision to initiate the PDP on IGO/INGO names.
The Committee examined an action plan and timeline for addressing the GAC advice in the Beijing Communiqué. The Chair and Erika Mann advised that the Committee should provide an update of its progress to the community and to the GAC before the Amsterdam meeting so that the community stays informed. Thomas noted that the community is looking for publication of a clear roadmap showing how the Committee will tackle the GAC advice. Heather added that the best channel for communicating back to governments about next steps is by communicating via the GAC, and the Committee agreed to send a letter to the GAC to advise it of the Committee's next steps. Jamie Hedlund noted that the applicant response window, which closes on 10 May 2013, and the public comment forum on safeguard advice, which closes 4 June 2013, should be factored into the timeline. Thomas questioned whether the Committee was expecting to have a GAC consultation and what the timing and logistics of such a consultation are if necessary.
The Committee agreed to consider other items of GAC advice during the Committee's meeting in Amsterdam scheduled for 18 May 2013, including the advice on singular and plural strings and protections for IOC/RCRC names.
The Committee did not take formal action at the meeting, and the Chair adjourned the meeting.
Published on 19 June 2013