Donuts' Comments on Registry Agreement
Donuts Inc. wishes to express support for the newly published Registry Agreement. Most applicants did not seek changes to the Registry Agreement from the version contained in the Applicant Guidebook (AGB). Further, for the most part, applicants did not appreciate the initial process ICANN used for proposing changes. The AGB agreement was derived through a set of community discussions over many months. A set of last-minute changes, accompanied by a warning that extended debate would delay the program, was unwelcome to say the least. The potential for additional and unwarranted delay upsets the billions in global investment made in reliance on ICANN’s assurances of a predictable, transparent process. With that said and in our opinion, when taken as a whole, this new draft agreement is acceptable, with changes that benefit applicants and the ICANN community. The published draft agreement resulted from the hard work of a group of applicant volunteers that entered into good faith discussions with ICANN staff to accommodate requested changes. The group enjoyed the gifts of collaboration, open-mindedness and flexibility and arrived at the new version of the agreement, now ready for consideration through this public comment process. Depending on one's perspective, parts are better than the AGB version and parts are worse. Likely, that is the sign of a successful negotiation. We believe the following positives in the draft agreement outweigh the concerns about the new amendment process (which is far better than the versions first published by ICANN earlier this year). The draft agreement provides clearer policies on reserved names and registry use of names; clarification on implementation of Rights Protection Mechanisms; a prohibition on ICANN from assessing registry fees until delegation (as opposed to time of contracting); confidentiality rights for trade secrets; clarified provisions related to change of control and assignment; and a process to address conflicts with local and national law. These changes, combined with the existing safeguards in the Registry Agreement, will make new gTLDs far safer for consumers than most existing TLDs. New gTLDs were scheduled to be delegated at least four months ago, in January 2013. The program has been delayed for far too long, and at great harm to applicants and to the anticipated benefits the program will bring, as well as to the program itself. ICANN has permitted this delay to be caused, in part, by those who never supported the program in the first place and are using delay tactics as a strategy. As such, we support adoption of this new agreement and look forward to signing it forthwith. Jonathon Nevett Co-Founder & EVP, Donuts Inc.