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[gnso-vi-feb10] ICANN Board Votes to Enhance New gTLDs Competition

  • To: "Gnso-vi-feb10@xxxxxxxxx" <Gnso-vi-feb10@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: [gnso-vi-feb10] ICANN Board Votes to Enhance New gTLDs Competition
  • From: Marika Konings <marika.konings@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 10 Nov 2010 00:12:24 -0800

For your information – see 
http://www.icann.org/en/announcements/announcement-09nov10-en.htm

ICANN Board Votes to Enhance New gTLDs Competition

New gTLD Registrars and Registries will Compete for the Benefit of Consumers

9 November 2010

ICANN's Board of Directors voted to allow new gTLD registries to own 
registrars, opting not to create new rules prohibiting registrars from applying 
for or operating new gTLD registries.

Following over two years of community discussions, which had not resulted in 
consensus, the Board carefully considered expert economic advice, community 
comments, and numerous proposed approaches to registry-registrar 
cross-ownership.

"In the absence of existing policy or new bottom-up policy recommendations, the 
Board saw no rationale for placing restrictions on cross-ownership;" said Peter 
Dengate Thrush, Chairman of the Board. "Any possible abuses can be better 
addressed by properly targeted mechanisms. Co-ownership rules are not an 
optimal technique in this area."

Under the Board resolution additional enforcement mechanisms have been added. 
New gTLD registry agreements are to include: (1) a Code of Conduct prohibiting 
any misuse of data or other abusive conduct arising out of registry-registrar 
cross-ownership; (2) robust auditing requirements; (3) graduated sanctions up 
to and including contractual termination and punitive damages; and (4) ICANN's 
right to refer competition issues to appropriate government competition 
authorities.

Background: The cross-ownership provisions have varied over time and no formal 
"policy" on this topic has ever been recommended or adopted by ICANN. (For 
example, each of the seven new gTLDs delegated by ICANN in the 2000-2001 
proof-of-concept introduced by ICANN in 2000 have featured some degree of 
registry-registrar cross-operation or cross-ownership.)

The ICANN community has been discussing whether to continue, expand or remove 
the restrictions in current registry agreements that limit the existing 
registries from owning more than 15% of a registrar. Some have urged the 
creation of new rules that would for the first time prohibit registrars from 
applying for or operating new gTLDs.

The ICANN Board had previously attempted to spur a consensus view, asking 
ICANN's GNSO to resolve the registry-registrar cross-ownership question. In May 
2010, the ICANN Board encouraged the GNSO to develop a consensus based policy 
on this issue, but indicated that the Board would review the issue if no 
consensus position was reached. The GNSO recently reported that it has been 
unable to reach consensus.

###

To read the resolutions passed by ICANN Board, go here: 
http://www.icann.org/en/minutes/resolutions-05nov10-en.htm

To learn more about gTLDs, go here: 
http://www.icann.org/en/topics/new-gtld-program.htm


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