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Uniregistry Comment on SSAC-053

  • To: "sac053-dotless-domains@xxxxxxxxx" <sac053-dotless-domains@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: Uniregistry Comment on SSAC-053
  • From: Bret Fausett <bret@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 21 Sep 2012 23:52:44 -0500

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the Security and Stability
Advisory Committee's Report on the so-called "Dotless Domains" (SSAC-053).

Uniregistry, Corp. ("Uniregistry") is a new gTLD applicant that has
applied for fifty-four new top-level domains in the current application

At the outset, we wish to note that Uniregistry has not proposed any use
of "Dotless Domains" in its new gTLD applicants, nor has it based any
revenue projections on such uses. When its applications are approved and
operational, Uniregistry has no current plans to implement "dotless
domains" as described in SSAC-053.

Nevertheless, Uniregistry has concerns both about the SSAC report itself
and the possible action item out now for public comment ("One option under
consideration to implement the SSAC's recommendation could be to amend the
base new gTLD agreement to prohibit A, AAAA and MX records in the apex of
the TLD").

First, as a matter of principle, we do not believe that ICANN can or
should place contractual restrictions on new gTLD registry operators that
are materially different than those in the Module 5 Registry Agreement
published at the time applicants applied.

Second, as a matter of principle, technical policy for the operation of
TLD registries should be consistently applied across all classes of
registry operators. Any modification of the Registry Agreement for new
gTLD applicants would place those applicants in a more restrictive
position than either ccTLD or incumbent gTLD registry operators. The
issues identified by the SSAC do not apply to any specific class of
registry operator, so changing the base Registry Agreement only for new
gTLD registries would violate Article II, Section 3 of the ICANN Bylaws on
non-discriminatory treatment.

Third, policy binding on gTLD registry operators follows a defined path
through the Generic Names Supporting Organization ("GNSO"). We do not
believe that the ICANN Bylaws allow ICANN to bind registry operators to
contractual terms based solely on the report of an Advisory Committee. As
an Advisory Committee, the SSAC "may raise an issue for policy
development" by requesting an issue report from the GNSO Council (ICANN
Bylaws, Annex A, Section 3), which is, at most, what should happen as the
next step, if the Board feels that additional measures might be warranted.

Fourth, we are concerned with the recommendation in SSAC-053 that registry
operators be constrained in what they publish in a zone file because of
the possibility that the publication of A or AAAA records will have
negative consequences on third-party applications or protocols. A
contractual prohibition on "dotless domains" reduces any incentive
third-party developers might have to update or modify software and
protocols, thus inhibiting the natural evolution of the DNS namespace.

We believe that both the expectations of users and the usages of the DNS
will evolve rapidly when users become accustomed to thousands of top-level
domains, especially those associated with a single user, such as in a
.BRAND-style top-level domain. A contractual prohibition would hinder this
evolution, with no obvious benefit over the current RSEP process.

Finally, we encourage ICANN to consider both the anti-competitive effect
of disparate technical rules for zone content and the possibility that
some proponents of contractual restrictions may have competitive reasons
for their recommendations. A more complete policy process would allow a
more robust discussion of the benefits and risks of dotless domains and
the various commercial and technical interests at play.

 * * * * *

While Uniregistry has no plans to implement "dotless domains," it does
foresee a future where applications, protocols and, most importantly,
Internet users expect dotless domains to work in many of the ways that
second-level domains do now. We do not know whether this evolution will
take place over the next year or the next ten years, but when it does, TLD
registries should be able to support change equally with ccTLD operators
and without having to re-negotiate their contracts.

We believe that SSAC-053, as other SSAC advisories, is an advisory for
certain community best practices. We believe that virtually all TLD
operators will follow its advice in the immediate and near-term future.
Its advice should not become binding policy, however, written into some,
but not all, registry contracts.

Uniregisty welcomes the opportunity to provide additional feedback on
SSAC-053 at the appropriate time or as requested by ICANN.

Bret Fausett
On behalf of Uniregistry, Corp.

Bret Fausett, Esq.
Internet Pro APC
4640 Admiralty Way, 5th Floor
Marina del Rey, California 90292
(310) 496-5755 | www.internet.pro

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