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[gnso-idn-wg] GAC principles related to new gTLDs

  • To: "GNSO Council" <council@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: [gnso-idn-wg] GAC principles related to new gTLDs
  • From: "Bruce Tonkin" <Bruce.Tonkin@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 29 Mar 2007 21:46:27 +1000

Hello All,

The GAC Communiqué is available at:

With respect to gTLDs, the main communiqué stated:

"The GAC adopted Principles Regarding New gTLDs (Annex B) which are intended to 
provide the ICANN Board and the wider global community with a clear indication 
of the governmental priorities for the introduction, delegation and operation 
of new gTLDs.   The principles respond directly to several agreed provisions 
resulting from the World Summit on the Information Society and will provide a 
coherent framework for future interactions on these issues, particularly in 
relation to the ongoing ICANN Policy Development Process for new gTLDs.

The GAC intends to develop its interactions with the GNSO in the future 
regarding the implementation of both the WHOIS and New gTLD principles."

With respect to IDN, the main communiqué stated:

"The GAC acknowledges with satisfaction ICANN's 7th March 2007 announcement of 
its successful conduct of laboratory tests of Internationalized Domain Names.  
The GAC has taken note of the draft issue paper on selection of IDN ccTLDs 
associated with the ISO 3166-1 two letter codes prepared within the joint 
ccNSO-GAC IDN Working Group.

In the spirit of the collaborative effort that was adopted in the Sao Paulo 
meeting GAC has asked all its members to evaluate the socio-political and 
cultural implications of the issues outlined in the aforesaid paper in terms of 
the languages and characters that may be used for IDN ccTLDs and respond 
directly to the ccNSO Council.   The GAC has similarly taken note of the 
outcomes report of the working group on IDNs constituted by the GNSO Council.

The GAC recognizes that the IDN ccTLD standards development processes can be 
slow and would encourage early action to develop methodology to prepare these 

The GAC and its members along with the ccNSO and GNSO Councils will work 
towards the global deployment of IDNs which will expand the spread of the 
Internet and enable a vast number of people to exchange information in their 
local languages."

Please see below for the GAC principles.

Bruce Tonkin

Annex B


Presented by the Governmental Advisory Committee
March 28, 2007

1.      Preamble

1.1     The purpose of this document is to identify a set of general public 
policy principles related to the introduction, delegation and operation of new 
generic top level domains (gTLDs). They are intended to inform the ICANN Board 
of the views of the GAC regarding public policy issues concerning new gTLDs and 
to respond to the provisions of the World Summit on the Information Society 
(WSIS) process, in particular "the need for further development of, and 
strengthened cooperation among, stakeholders for public policies for generic 
top-level domains (gTLDs)"  and those related to the management of Internet 
resources and enunciated in the Geneva and Tunis phases of the WSIS. 

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     A gTLD is a top level domain which is not based on the ISO 3166 
two-letter country code list . For the purposes and scope 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 recalls 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 coordination.
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 process.
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' recommendations. 

2.      Public Policy Aspects related to new gTLDs

        When considering the introduction, delegation and operation of new 
gTLDs, the following public policy principles need to be respected: 

Introduction of new gTLDs

2.1     New gTLDs should respect:

a) The provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights  which seek to 
affirm "fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person 
and in the equal rights of men and women". 

        b) The sensitivities regarding terms with national, cultural, 
geographic and religious significance.
2.2     ICANN should avoid country, territory or place names, and country, 
territory or regional language or people descriptions, unless in agreement with 
the relevant governments or public authorities. 

2.3     The process for introducing new gTLDs must make proper allowance for 
prior third party rights, in particular trademark rights as well as rights in 
the names and acronyms of inter-governmental organizations (IGOs).

2.4     In the interests of consumer confidence and security, new gTLDs should 
not be confusingly similar to existing TLDs. To avoid confusion with 
country-code Top Level Domains no two letter gTLDs should be introduced. 

Delegation of new gTLDs

2.5     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. 

2.6     It is important that the selection process for new gTLDs ensures the 
security, reliability, global interoperability and stability of the Domain Name 
System (DNS) and promotes competition, consumer choice, geographical and 
service-provider diversity.
2.7     Applicant registries for new gTLDs should pledge to:
a) Adopt, before the new gTLD is introduced, appropriate procedures for 
blocking, at no cost and upon demand of governments, public authorities or 
IGOs, names with national or geographic significance at the second level of any 
new gTLD.

b) Ensure procedures to allow governments, public authorities or IGOs to 
challenge abuses of names with national or geographic significance at the 
second level of any new gTLD.

2.8     Applicants should publicly document any support they claim to enjoy 
from specific communities.
2.9      Applicants should identify how they will limit the need for defensive 
registrations and minimise cyber-squatting that can result from bad-faith 
registrations and other abuses of the registration system
Operation of new gTLDs

2.10            A new gTLD operator/registry should undertake to implement 
practices that ensure an appropriate level of security and stability both for 
the TLD itself and for the DNS as a whole, including the development of best 
practices to ensure the accuracy, integrity and validity of registry 

2.11    ICANN and a new gTLD operator/registry should establish clear 
continuity plans for maintaining the resolution of names in the DNS in the 
event of registry failure. These plans should be established in coordination 
with any contingency measures adopted for ICANN as a whole.  

2.12    ICANN should continue to ensure that registrants and registrars in new 
gTLDs have access to an independent appeals process in relation to registry 
decisions related to pricing changes, renewal procedures, service levels, or 
the unilateral and significant change of contract conditions.

2.13    ICANN should ensure that any material changes to the new gTLD 
operations, policies or contract obligations be made in an open and transparent 
manner allowing for adequate public comment. 

2.14    The GAC WHOIS principles are relevant to new gTLDs.

3.      Implementation of these Public Policy Principles

3.1     The GAC recalls Article XI, section 2, no. 1 h) of the ICANN Bylaws, 
which state 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.

3.2     ICANN should consult the GAC, as appropriate, regarding any questions 
pertaining to the interpretation of these principles.  

3.3     If individual GAC members or other governments express formal concerns 
about any issues related to new gTLDs, the ICANN Board should fully consider 
those concerns and clearly explain how it will address them.

3.4     The evaluation procedures and criteria for introduction, delegation and 
operation of new TLDs should be developed and implemented with the 
participation of all stakeholders.
        N.B. 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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