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Summary and Analysis of Public Comments for: City TLD Constituency Petition and Charter

  • To: "ctld-petition@xxxxxxxxx" <ctld-petition@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: Summary and Analysis of Public Comments for: City TLD Constituency Petition and Charter
  • From: Robert Hoggarth <robert.hoggarth@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 13 Jul 2009 21:14:29 -0700

Summary and Analysis of Public Comments for:

City TLD Constituency Petition and Charter

Comment period ended: 10 July 2009
Summary published: 14 July 2009

Prepared by: Robert Hoggarth, Senior Policy Director


In June 2008, the ICANN Board of Directors endorsed a series of recommendations 
on how to improve the structures and operations of the Generic Names Supporting 
Organization (GNSO). One of the significant drivers of those recommendations 
was the goal to maximize participation in the GNSO and its policy development 
processes. Among the various recommendations endorsed by the Board was that 
ICANN take steps to clarify and promote the option to self-form new 
constituencies as a means to increase participation in GNSO policy development 

The current ICANN Bylaws provide that any group of individuals or entities may
petition the Board for recognition as a new or separate constituency, in
accordance with Section 5(4) of Article X. Such a petition must explain (1) why
"the addition of such a Constituency will improve the ability of the GNSO to
carry out its policy-development responsibilities" and (2) why "the proposed
new Constituency would adequately represent, on a global basis, the
stakeholders it seeks to represent."

The ICANN Board has now received a total of four formal petitions from
prospective constituencies, including the subject of this forum - the City 
Top-Level-Domain (City TLD) Constituency.

At the direction of the Board, the ICANN Staff developed a two-step process for 
potential new constituencies to follow. The proponents of the City Top-Level 
Domain (hereinafter “City TLD Constituency” or “CTLDC”) completed the first 
step of the process on 15 February 2009 by filing a Notice of Intent to Form a 
New Constituency http://gnso.icann.org/en/improvements/ctldc-noif-15feb09.pdf. 
The second step of the process, submission of a New Constituency Petition and 
 and Introduction Letter 
http://gnso.icann.org/en/improvements/ctldc-petition-letter-01jun09.pdf were 
completed on 1 June 2009.

Community comment on new constituency petitions and charters is an important
component of the Board's evaluation of these petitions and will be used to
inform the Board's decisions to approve or, at its option, to recommend any
alterations or amendments to the various submissions.


As of 11 July 2009, three comments had been submitted to this comment forum. 
The commenters included one individual (Eric Brunner-Williams,), one registrar 
(Go Daddy, Inc.) and one GNSO Constituency (the gTLD Registries Constituency).


The comments from Go Daddy, Inc. (Go Daddy) and the gTLD Registries 
Constituency (RyC) express concern about the City TLD Constituency proposal and 
recommend steps to address those concerns.  Generally, the two commenters 
oppose immediate approval of the proposal. Fundamentally, they argue that the 
proposal is premature in that the entities that would comprise the new 
constituency do not yet have contracts with ICANN.  They both question the 
possible participation of government entities in the contract Party house of 
the GNSO. Secondarily the RyC has concerns about the proposed CTLDC voting 
structure and Go Daddy believes that the non contract party house of the GNSO 
is “a better home for the constituency.”

The comments of Mr. Brunner-Williams (EBW) challenge some those basic 
assumptions and argue for approval of the proposal.

RyC Comments: The RyC expresses three major concerns about the City TLD 
Constituency Petition and Charter.  First, the RyC says the proposal to become 
part of the Registries Stakeholder Group (RySG) is “misplaced.” The RyC says 
the RySG is part of the Contracted Party House of the new GNSO, and those 
entities that compose the CTLDC have no contracts with ICANN. Until their 
applications to manage registries are accepted and they execute contracts with 
ICANN, collectively they simply do not qualify as a constituency within the 

Secondly, the RyC asserts that the proposal to include government agencies in a 
constituency is inconsistent with the fundamental structure of ICANN in which 
governments participate in an advisory capacity through the Governmental 
Advisory Committee (GAC). Furthermore, the RyC says, the inclusion of 
governmental agencies opens the possibility of two areas of voting influence 
and one area of significant advisement for a single government hierarchy.

Finally, the RyC asserts that the CTLDC proposal suggests a method of voting 
representation that directly conflicts with the proposed charter version 
currently before the Board. The RyC claims that Constituencies are comprised of 
RySG members who share common interests.  The RyC notes that under the RySG 
charter as reviewed by the SIC, “there is no direct voting representation for a 
constituency as an entity or organized body since the members are already 
granted their own direct voting rights at the RySG level” (emphasis added).

The RyC concludes that if the Board feels the need to act on the City TLD 
Constituency Petition and Charter, then it should postpone approval until (1) 
the members of the CTLDC have contracts with ICANN; (2) “government agencies” 
are removed from the proposed Constituency; (3) ICANN adopts procedures as 
recommended by the President’s Strategy Committee (PSC) to prevent double 
voting; and (4) changes are made to the application regarding its proposed 
voting representation at the GNSO Council level. The RyC says these changes 
must acknowledge and be consistent with the membership requirements in the 
proposed and SIC-reviewed RySG charter         

Go Daddy Comments: Go Daddy notes that it is pleased to see that many City gTLD 
applicants are working cooperatively with municipal officials in the 
development and submission of their TLD applications.  But, in general terms, 
Go Daddy questions the need for two GNSO constituencies that both represent 
gTLD registries.  Go Daddy believes that an interest group comprised of City 
gTLD registries within the existing Registry Constituency may make more sense.

Go Daddy also has some concerns with the CTLDC’s proposed membership 
requirements - especially the definitions of “Associated” Members and 
“Ex-officio” Members. Go Daddy notes that “Associated” Members are identified 
as Individuals and organizations with an interest in City TLD issues, and 
“Ex-­officio” Members are identified as governments and authorities from cities 
and other political divisions.  Similar to the RyC argument, Go Daddy says that 
the inclusion of these types of members in a GNSO Constituency is not 
consistent with the definition of the GNSO’s Contracted Party House, which 
stipulates that all members are under direct contract with ICANN. Go Daddy says 
“the prerequisite requirement of an ICANN contract for membership in this house 
extends to the Registry Stakeholder Group, all existing or proposed associated 
constituencies, and all interest groups within it.”

Similar to the RyC Comments, Go Daddy recommends that the Board consider the 
City TLD Constituency Petition as one to form an “interest group” within the 
existing RyC, and ”that it be revised to narrow membership to those parties 
directly under contract with ICANN.”  Alternatively, Go Daddy says the 
potential City TLD non-­contracted interests (“Associated” and “Ex-­officio” 
members) should consider forming corresponding organizations within the GNSO’s 
Non­Contracted Party House, or other areas of the ICANN community (such as ALAC 
or GAC).

Eric Brunner-Williams (EBW) Comments:  EBW challenges what he calls “the 
prevailing assumption” that entities seeking standing as a GNSO Constituency 
must “obtain membership in an existing Constituency.” He says, “I think this 
assumes that no entity with interests, or material conditions unlike any of the 
entities which applied for standing as a Constituency under [the ICANN Bylaws] 
will ever apply for such standing.”

He is concerned that this “prevailing assumption” has been applied to the City 
TLD group in particular, with the claim that entities composed of parties to 
registry contracts with ICANN are generic registries.He says, “the difference 
that locality makes is sufficient to … rebut the ‘a registry is a registry’ 
assumption.” He says “the situation of City TLDs as a group within the GNSO has 
useful alternatives,” and, independent of the degree of partial success of the 
GNSO "reform,” constituency status has its uses.

EBW asserts that the model for City TLDs is “sufficiently distinct from the 
model shared by all the existing members of the Registry Constituency” and that 
the request has standing within the reformed GNSO which is equal to, and 
separate from, the standing of the existing registry contracted parties.

EBW says, “the relationship between a locality defined registry operator and 
its registrants, who share a common property of locality, is materially 
different from the relationship between a locality undefined registry operator 
and its registrants, who share no common property of locality.”  He says, “it 
is conceivable that the Registry Constituency will not be an effective means 
for City TLDs to constructively engage, through the GNSO, with the ASO, or 
constructively engage, within the GNSO, on issues of Consensus Policy, on 
issues where locality is present.”


In addition to the comment in this forum, the Staff will collect relevant
community comments made on this issue in other public forums including those
held during the ICANN Sydney Meeting. The ICANN Board of Directors will
subsequently review the Staff's analysis and comments on the submissions. The
Board is likely to consider all the relevant community input and move forward
with a decision on the proposed charter as soon as practicably possible.

Attachment: Summary and Analysis of Public Comments for City TLD Constituency Petition and Charter.doc
Description: Summary and Analysis of Public Comments for City TLD Constituency Petition and Charter.doc

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