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[gtld-council] Draft GAC guidelines on gTLDs

  • To: <gtld-council@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: [gtld-council] Draft GAC guidelines on gTLDs
  • From: "Bruce Tonkin" <Bruce.Tonkin@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 4 Dec 2006 03:33:42 +1100


(hereafter referred to as gTLD-principles)

DRAFT VERSION #2 (17/10/06)


1.1     The purpose of this document is to identify a set of general
public policy principles related to the implementation of new generic
top level domains (gTLDs), including sponsored top level domains,
relevant to national governments. They are intended to inform the ICANN
Board of the consensus views of the GAC regarding public policy issues
regarding new gTLDs and to respond to the provisions of the WSIS
declaration of 2005 which recognised "the need for further development
of, and strengthened cooperation among, stakeholders for public policies
for generic top-level domains (gTLDs)".

1.2     These principles shall not prejudice the application of the
principle of national sovereignty. The GAC has previously adopted the
general principle that the Internet naming system is a public resource
in the sense that its functions must be administered in the public or
common interest.  The WSIS Declaration of December 2003 also states that
"policy authority for Internet-related public policy issues is the
sovereign right of States. They have rights and responsibilities for
international Internet-related public policy issues."   

1.3     For the purposes of this document, new gTLDs are defined as any
gTLDs added to the Top Level Domain name space after the date of the
adoption of these principles by the GAC.

1.4     In setting out the following principles, the GAC respects and
takes full note of ICANN's stated core values as set out in its by-laws:

a. Preserving and enhancing the operational stability, reliability,
security, and global interoperability of the Internet.
b. Respecting the creativity, innovation, and flow of information made
possible by the Internet by limiting ICANN's activities to those matters
within ICANN's mission requiring or significantly benefiting from global
c. To the extent feasible and appropriate, delegating coordination
functions to or recognizing the policy role of other responsible
entities that reflect the interests of affected parties.
d. Seeking and supporting broad, informed participation reflecting the
functional, geographic, and cultural diversity of the Internet at all
levels of policy development and decision-making.
e. Where feasible and appropriate, depending on market mechanisms to
promote and sustain a competitive environment.
f. Introducing and promoting competition in the registration of domain
names where practicable and beneficial in the public interest.
g. Employing open and transparent policy development mechanisms that (i)
promote well-informed decisions based on expert advice, and (ii) ensure
that those entities most affected can assist in the policy development
h. Making decisions by applying documented policies neutrally and
objectively, with integrity and fairness.
i. Acting with a speed that is responsive to the needs of the Internet
while, as part of the decision-making process, obtaining informed input
from those entities most affected.
j. Remaining accountable to the Internet community through mechanisms
that enhance ICANN's effectiveness.
k. While remaining rooted in the private sector, recognizing that
governments and public authorities are responsible for public policy and
duly taking into account governments' or public authorities'
1.5     The GAC also recalls Article XI, section 2, no. 1 h) of the
ICANN Bylaws, stating that the ICANN Board shall notify the Chair of the
Governmental Advisory Committee in a timely manner of any proposal
raising public policy issues. Insofar, therefore, as these principles
provide guidance on GAC views on the implementation of new gTLDs, they
are not intended to substitute for the normal requirement for the ICANN
Board to notify the GAC of any proposals for new gTLDs which raise
public policy issues.

2.      Public Policy Aspects of new gTLDs

        When implementing new gTLDs, the following public policy
principles need to be respected: 

2.1     No new gTLD string shall promote hatred, racism, discrimination
of any sort, criminal activity, or any abuse of specific religions or

2.2     Any new registry and/or operator for a new gTLD should undertake
to implement best practice in relation to the operation of the TLD in
order to ensure an appropriate level of security and stability both for
the TLD itself and for the DNS as a whole.

2.3      The process of selection for new gTLDs should respect the
principles of the WSIS process, in particular those related to the
management of Internet resources and enunciated in the Geneva phase of
the WSIS in December 2003: 

a)  The need for an equitable distribution of resources
b)  The importance of international participation, taking into account
c)  The need to ensure a stable and secure functioning of the Internet
d)  The importance of transparency

2.4      In order to address these objectives, it is therefore important
that the selection process for new gTLDs promotes competition, consumer
choice and geographical and service-provider diversity, in relation both
to the string proposed and to the operator(s) of the proposed new gTLD.

2.6     Terms of national, cultural or religious significance should
only be considered for the codes of new gTLDs where there is a clear and
legitimate candidate "sponsor" for such an application and subject to no
major objections from the community concerned.

2.7      Applicants should identify how they will limit the need for
defensive registrations and minimise the problems of cyber-squatting,
for example through the use of appropriate registration policies and the
use of established and proven alternative dispute resolution procedures.

2.8     In the interests of consumer confidence and security, new gTLDs
should not be confusingly similar to existing TLDs. 

2.9      ICANN and a new gTLD operator/registry should establish clear
continuity plans for maintaining the resolution of names in the domain
name system in the event of registry failure.

2.10    Registrants in new gTLDs should have access to an independent
appeals process whereby they can appeal Registry decisions related to
pricing changes, renewal procedures, service levels, or the unilateral
and significant change of contract conditions.

2.11     The evaluation and selection procedure for new gTLD registries
should respect the principles of fairness, transparency and
non-discrimination. All applicants for a new gTLD registry should
therefore be evaluated against transparent and predictable criteria,
fully available to the applicants prior to the initiation of the
process. Normally, therefore, no subsequent additional selection
criteria should be used in the selection process. 

2.12     Each government should have the right, without cost, to reserve
or block its geographical name(s) in its' official language(s) in any
new gTLD. The introduction of new gTLDs using geographic identifiers
should require the explicit approval of the relevant GAC members(s)
and/or government(s). 

2.13     If there is doubt about the interpretation of these provisions
for specific applications, ICANN should consult the GAC, the relevant
government(s) directly, and/or the responsible services of the UN. If
the GAC or individual GAC members express formal concerns about a
specific new gTLD application, ICANN should defer from proceeding with
the said application until GAC concerns have been addressed to the GAC's
or the respective government's satisfaction.  

The public policy priorities for GAC members in relation to the
introduction of Internationalised Domain Name TLDs (IDN TLDs) will be
addressed separately by the GAC.

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