Minutes | Meeting of the New gTLD Program Committee 21 August 2015

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 21 August 2015 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: Rinalia Abdul Rahim, Fadi Chehadé (President and CEO, ICANN), Steve Crocker (Board Chairman), Chris Disspain, Asha Hemrajani, Markus Kummer, Bruno Lanvin, Erika Mann, Gonzalo Navarro, George Sadowsky, and Mike Silber.

Thomas Schneider (GAC Liaison) was in attendance as a non-voting liaison to the Committee.

Ray Plzak and Kuo-Wei Wu sent apologies.

Secretary: John Jeffrey (General Counsel and Secretary).

ICANN Executives and Staff in attendance for all or part of the meeting: Akram Atallah (President, Global Domains Division); Megan Bishop (Board Support Coordinator); Michelle Bright (Board Support Content Manager); Allen Grogan (Chief Contract Compliance Officer); Dan Halloran (Deputy General Counsel); Jamie Hedlund (Vice President, Strategic Programs – Global Domains Division); Vinciane Koenigsfeld (Board Support Content Manager); Cyrus Namazi (Vice President, DNS Industry Engagement); Olof Nordling (Senior Director, GAC Relations); Erika Randall (Senior Counsel); Amy Stathos (Deputy General Counsel); and Christine Willett (Vice President, Operations – Global Domains Division).

These are the Minutes of the Meeting of the New gTLD Program Committee, which took place on 21 August 2015.

  1. Consent Agenda:
    1. Approval of Minutes
  2. Main Agenda:
    1. GAC Buenos Aires Communiqué
    2. Sunsetting of the New gTLD Program Committee
    3. Board Governance Committee Recommendation Regarding .DOCTOR


  1. Consent Agenda:

    1. Approval of Minutes

      The Chair introduced for approval the minutes of the 6 June and 21 June 2015 meetings. Asha Hemrajani suggested a revision to the discussion included in the 6 June 2015 minutes about implementation of GAC Advice regarding .DOCTOR. Asha suggested that the minutes note the Committee's discussion of the differences between the version of the public interest commitment (PIC) proposed in Brice Trail's Reconsideration Request (15-3) and the original version of the proposed PIC. The Committee took the following action by acclamation:

      Resolved (2015.08.21.NG01), the Board New gTLD Program Committee (NGPC) approves the minutes of its 6 June 2015 and 21 June 2015 meetings.

      All members of the Committee present voted in favor of Resolution 2015.08.21.NG01. Ray Plzak and Kuo-Wei Wu were unavailable to vote on the Resolution. The Resolution carried.

  2. Main Agenda:

    1. GAC Buenos Aires Communiqué

      The Committee began discussions about how to respond the GAC's June 2015 Communiqué issued in Buenos Aires. The Communiqué addressed certain topics related to the New gTLD Program including safeguards for new gTLDs and protections for the names and acronyms of Inter-governmental Organizations.

      Jamie Hedlund outlined the contents of the Buenos Aires Communiqué, and noted that in the Communiqué, the GAC made some "recommendations" concerning New gTLD Program related matters. For example, the Communiqué stated that the GAC "recommends that the NGPC [c]reate a list of commended public interest commitment (PIC) examples related to verification and validation of credentials for domains in highly regulated sectors to serve as a model." The Committee noted that wording the Buenos Aires Communiqué was a different formulation than previous Communiqués where the GAC would specifically "advise" the Committee (or Board) to take certain actions. The Bylaws establishes the process for how the Board must consider the "advice" of the GAC, and the Committee considered whether the GAC intended for the Committee to consider its recommendations differently than it considers advice.

      Thomas Schneider stated that the GAC may not have intended there to be a conscious difference when it used the term "recommend" versus "advise". Chris Disspain suggested that the Committee postpone further consideration of the Communiqué until the Committee gets clarity from the GAC on how to interpret the language in the Buenos Aires Communiqué. Steve Crocker agreed that the Committee should seek clarification from the GAC, and Thomas suggested that the Committee write a formal letter to the GAC.

      After discussion, the Committee decided that it would formally write to the GAC to ask for clarification so that the Committee would better understand how it should consider the items in the Buenos Aires Communiqué. The Committee agreed to discuss the Buenos Aires Communiqué after it receives clarification from the GAC.

      The Committee also discussed correspondence from a community member regarding safeguards for gTLD strings associated with highly regulated industries. The Chair and Akram Atallah outlined the suggestions made in the correspondence, which included a recommendation that ICANN create a review committee for gTLD strings associated with highly regulated industries.

      Rinalia Abdul Rahim and Chris noted that the correspondence raised policy considerations that should be part of broader community discussions in the GNSO about safeguards for gTLDs. Rinalia also suggested that any community discussions on the matter should specifically gather input from end-users, since ultimately the safeguards would affect the end-users. George Sadowsky agreed, and noted that outreach to end-users is critical given that the policy development process tends to be more heavily represented by contracted parties and others with specialized interests. Mike Silber reminded the Committee that the correspondence represents a single viewpoint and that the recommendations should be considered along with other viewpoints in the community regarding safeguards. The Committee agreed to forward the correspondence along with previous ALAC Statements on safeguards to the GNSO Council for consideration.

      The Chair also requested a status update from Akram on discussions held during the ICANN Meeting in Singapore between members of the Committee and various members of advisory committees and stakeholder groups regarding safeguards for strings associated with highly regulated industries. Akram reported on the progress underway in the industry and noted that additional briefing would be provided to the Committee at a subsequent meeting.

    2. Sunsetting of the New gTLD Program Committee

      The Committee continued its discussions about whether it was time to begin planning for an eventual sunsetting of the New gTLD Program Committee as a Board committee. The Committee discussed how conflicts of interest could be dealt with if certain matters were referred to the Board for consideration, and also whether the Board meeting schedule would need to change if the Committee were disbanded.

      The Committee discussed the next steps to move forward with sunsetting the Committee during the annual general meeting in Dublin, and it was noted that the matter would be taken up by the Board Governance Committee and eventually by the full Board for action.

    3. Board Governance Committee Recommendation Regarding .DOCTOR

      The Committee continued its previous discussions concerning the recommendation of the Board Governance Committee (BGC) that "the NGPC again review the proposed implementation of a public interest commitment for the .DOCTOR TLD, and to re-evaluate the NGPC's 12 February 2015 determination." The BGC's recommendation was in response to Reconsideration Request 15-3 filed by Brice Trail, LLC (an entity related to Donuts Inc.) – one of the contending applicants for the .DOCTOR TLD.

      The Committee considered whether or not to adopt the proposal suggested in Brice Trail's Reconsideration Request to require a registrant to demonstrate "legitimate medical practitioner" status only if the registrant holds itself out as a medical practitioner. This would be implemented by adding an additional public interest commitment (PIC) to the .DOCTOR Registry Agreement. Adopting this proposal would allow non-medical practitioners to register names in the .DOCTOR TLD.

      Asha Hemrajani and George Sadowsky raised questions about how the applicants would implement the PIC, such as whether the applicants would verify and/or validate credentials for medical practitioners and how the applicants would treat a registration from a company owning a medical practice. Staff agreed to gather additional information from the applicants to respond to the Committee's questions about implementation of the additional PIC.

      Rinalia Abdul Rahim asked how the GAC may view the revised PIC, and the Committee discussed sending a letter to the GAC to explain how the Committee intends to handle the BGC's recommendation concerning the .DOCTOR TLD.

      Gonzalo Navarro commented that this matter had been discussed on several occasions by the Committee, and he urged the Committee reach a final decision on the matter as soon as possible.

      The Chair called the meeting to a close.

Published on 29 September 2015