Tag Archives: Generic Names Supporting Organization

ICANN: Thick Whois Initial Report – GNSO Policy Development Process

ICANN logoPurpose (Brief): The Generic Names Supporting Organization (“GNSO“) Thick Whois Policy Development Process Working Group tasked with providing the GNSO Council with a policy recommendation regarding the use of ‘thick’ Whois by all gTLD Registries has published its Initial Report [PDF, 1.21 MB] for public comment.

Current Status: The Policy Development Process (PDP) Working Group has published its Initial Report [PDF, 1.21 MB] and is soliciting community input on the preliminary recommendations contained in the report.

Next Steps: Following review of the public comments received, the Working Group will continue its deliberations and finalize its report for submission to the GNSO Council.

Section I: Description, Explanation, and Purpose:

The Thick Whois PDP WG was tasked to provide the GNSO Council with ‘a policy recommendation regarding the use of thick Whois by all gTLD registries, both existing and future’. Following its analysis of the different issues outlined in its Charter, including: response consistency; stability; access to Whois data; impact on privacy and data protection; cost implications; synchronization / migration; authoritativeness; competition in registry services; existing Whois applications; data escrow, and registrar Port 43 Whois requirements (see section 5 of the Initial Report), on balance the Working Group concludes that there are more benefits than disadvantages to requiring thick Whois for all gTLD registries. As a result, the Working Group recommends that:
The provision of thick Whois services should become a requirement for all gTLD registries, both existing and future.

The WG expects numerous benefits as a result of requiring thick Whois for all gTLD registries. Nevertheless, the WG recognizes that a transition of the current thin gTLD registries would affect over 120 million domain name registrations and as such it should be carefully prepared and implemented. In section 7.2 of the Initial Report, the WG outlines a number of implementation considerations. In section 7.3 of the Initial Report the WG also provides other observations that emerged from this discussion which while not directly related to the question of thin or thick did and should receive due consideration by other bodies.

The WG would like to encourage all interested parties to submit their comments and suggestions so these can be considered as the WG continues its deliberations in view of finalizing its report and recommendations in the next phase of the policy development process.

Section II: Background:

ICANN specifies Whois service requirements for generic top-level domain (gTLD) registries through the Registry Agreement (RA) and the Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA). Registries and registrars satisfy their Whois obligations using different service models. The two common models are often characterized as “thin” and “thick” Whois registries. This distinction is based on how two distinct sets of data are managed. One set of data is associated with the domain name, and a second set of data is associated with the registrant of the domain name.

  • A thin registry only stores and manages the information associated with the domain name. This set includes data sufficient to identify the sponsoring registrar, status of the registration, creation and expiration dates for each registration, name server data, the last time the record was updated in its Whois data store, and the URL for the registrar’s Whois service.
  • With thin registries, registrars manage the second set of data associated with the registrant of the domain and provide it via their own Whois services, as required by Section 3.3 of the RAA for those domains they sponsor. COM and NET are examples of thin registries.
  • Thick registries maintain and provide both sets of data (domain name and registrant) via Whois. INFO and BIZ are examples of thick registries.

The GNSO Council requested an Issue Report regarding the use of thick Whois by all gTLD Registries at its meeting on 22 September 2011. The Issue Report was expected to ‘not only consider a possible requirement of thick Whois for all incumbent gTLDs in the context of IRTP, but should also consider any other positive and/or negative effects that are likely to occur outside of IRTP that would need to be taken into account when deciding whether a requirement of thick Whois for all incumbent gTLDs would be desirable or not’.

Following the delivery of the Final Issue Report, the GNSO Council initiated a Policy Development Process at its meeting of 14 March 2012.

Section III: Document and Resource Links:

Comment / Reply Periods

  • Comment Open Date: 21 June 2013
  • Comment Close Date: 14 July 2013 – 23:59 UTC
  • Reply Open Date: 15 July 2013
  • Reply Close Date: 4 August 2013 – 23:59 UTC

Important Information Links

This ICANN announcement was sourced from:
www.icann.org/en/news/public-comment/thick-whois-initial-21jun13-en.htm

ICANN: Proposed Modification of GNSO PDP Manual to Address the Suspension of a PDP

ICANN logoPurpose (Brief): The Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) Standing Committee on Improvements Implementation (SCI) is recommending a modification of the GNSO Policy Development Process (PDP) Manual, which is an integral part of the GNSO Operating Procedures, to address the possible termination or suspension of a PDP.
Current Status: As required by the ICANN Bylaws, a public comment forum is hereby initiated on the proposed changes prior to GNSO Council consideration.
Next Steps: Following the closing of the public comment forum, the SCI will review the comments received; revise its recommendations, if deemed appropriate, and; submit these to the GNSO Council for approval

Detailed Information

Section I: Description, Explanation, and Purpose:

Having encountered the need to suspend a PDP for a limited amount of time, the GNSO Council realized that currently the Policy Development Process (PDP) Manual does not contain a specific provision on how to deal with such a situation. As a result, the GNSO Council requested the SCI in April 2012 to review whether there should be a modification to the GNSO PDP (PDP) Manual to address the possible suspension of a PDP following its initiation. After reaching consensus the SCI opened a public comment period on 22 October 2012 on proposed modifications to the PDP Manual.  Upon the close of that period on 03 December 2013, the SCI further deliberated on the procedures and reached consensus on further modifications to the PDP Manual to address termination and suspension of a PDP.  These proposed modifications to the existing provision on terminating a PDP (section 15) are as follows, with additions in bold and deletions stricken:

The GNSO Council may terminate or suspend* a PDP prior to the publication of a Final Report only for significant cause, upon a motion that passes with a Supermajority Vote in favour of termination or suspension. The following are illustrative examples of possible reasons for a premature termination or suspension of a PDP:

  1. Deadlock. The PDP Team is hopelessly deadlocked and unable to identify recommendations or statements that have either the strong support or a consensus of its members despite significant time and resources being dedicated to the PDP;
  2. Changing Circumstances. Events have occurred since the initiation of the PDP that have rendered the PDP moot, or no longer necessary; or warranting a suspension; or
  3. Lack of Community Volunteers. Despite several calls for participation, the work of the PDP Team is significantly impaired and unable to effectively conclude its deliberations due to lack of volunteer participation.

If there is no recommendation from the PDP Team for its termination, the Council is required to conduct a public comment forum first prior to conducting a vote on the termination of the PDP (as described above).
In the case of a proposed termination of a PDP prior to the issuance of a Final Report or suspension of a PDP upon the recommendation of the PDP Team, the GNSO liaison to the PDP Team shall promptly submit to the Council a written Termination Summary or Suspension Summary specifying the reasons for the recommended action to be taken and, if applicable, the points of view represented in the PDP Team and the consensus status (as defined by the GNSO Working Group Guidelines) at the time such action is recommended. In the event that no PDP Team has been formed or there is no recommendation from the PDP Team for a proposed termination or suspension by the GNSO Council, any GNSO Council member may propose termination or suspension of a PDP.  In the case of such a proposal, the GNSO Council will publicly specify the reasons for the recommended action and will conduct a public comment forum on the proposed termination or suspension prior to conducting the vote.

Upon the request of any Council Member, Advisory Committee or the ICANN Board, the GNSO Council will prepare a formal report on the proposed termination or suspension of a PDP outlining the reasons for the proposed action, current status of the PDP and expected next steps, if any.

*Suspension is a stated time interval during which there is a temporary cessation of the PDP, i.e. all activities are temporarily halted upon a decision of the GNSO Council. A mere change in milestones or schedule of the PDP is not considered a suspension.

As required by the ICANN Bylaws, the SCI is requesting community input on these proposed modifications to the GNSO Operating Procedures.

Section II: Background: 

The Standing Committee on Improvements Implementation (SCI) was established by the GNSO Council on 7 April 2011 to be responsible for reviewing and assessing the effective functioning of recommendations provided by the Operational Steering Committee (OSC) and Policy Process Steering Committee (PPSC) and approved by the GNSO Council. For further information about the SCI and its activities, please see https://community.icann.org/display/gnsosci/Home.

Section III: Document and Resource Links: 

Current version of the GNSO PDP Manual – see gnso.icann.org/council/annex-2-pdp-manual-16dec11-en.pdf [PDF, 126 KB].

Comment / Reply Periods
Comment Open Date:
7 March 2013
Comment Close Date:
6 April 2013

ICANN: Preliminary Issue Report on Translation and Transliteration of Contact Information

ICANN logo

Brief Overview
Originating Organization: Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO)
Categories/Tags: Policy Processes
Purpose (Brief): As a required step in the GNSO Policy Development Process (PDP), ICANN Staff is seeking input on the Preliminary Issue Report on Translation and Transliteration of Contact Information [PDF, 649 KB].
Current Status: Following the request for an Issue Report by the GNSO Council on 17 October 2012, ICANN Staff has now published the Preliminary Issue Report on Translation and Transliteration of Contact Information for public comment.
Next Steps: The Preliminary Issue Report will be updated to reflect community feedback submitted through this forum. A Final Issue Report will then be presented to the GNSO Council for its consideration.
Detailed Information
Section I: Description, Explanation, and Purpose
ICANN staff is seeking comments on the Preliminary Issue Report on Translation and Transliteration of Contact Information[PDF, 649 KB]. This Report addresses the following issues:

  1. Whether it is desirable to translate contact information to a single common language or transliterate contact information to a single common script.
  2. Who should decide who should bear the burden translating contact information to a single common language or transliterating contact information to a single common script.
  3. Whether to start a PDP to address these questions.

This Public Comment solicitation represents an opportunity for the ICANN community to provide its views on the issues outlined above and on whether a PDP should be initiated. This Preliminary Issue Report will be updated to reflect community feedback submitted through this forum. A Final Issue Report will then be presented to the GNSO Council for its consideration.

Section II: Background
This preliminary Issue Report addresses three issues associated with the translation and transliteration of contact information at the request of the GNSO Council as approved in its motion on 17 October 2012. These issues are focused on Domain Name Registration Data and Directory Services, such as the WHOIS, in generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs). In the context of these issues, “contact information”is a subset of Domain Name Registration Data. It is the information that enables someone using a Domain Name Registration Data Directory Service (such as WHOIS) to contact the domain name registration holder. It includes the name, organization, and postal address of the registered name holder, technical contact, as well as administrative contact. Domain Name Registration Data is accessible to the public via a Directory Service (also known as the WHOIS service). The Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA 3.3.1) specifies the data elements that must be provided by registrars (via Port 43 and via web-based services) in response to a query, but it does not require that data elements, such as contact information, must be translated or transliterated.
Section III: Document and Resource Links
Comment Open: 08 January 2013
Comment Close: 08 February 2013
Close Time (UTC): 23:59 UTC Public Comment Announcement
Reply Open: 09 February 2013 To Submit Your Comments (Forum)
Reply Close: 1 March 2013 View Comments Submitted
Close Time (UTC): 23:59 UTC Report of Public Comments

This ICANN announcement was sourced from:
www.icann.org/en/news/public-comment/comments-transliteration-contact-08jan13-en.htm

 

ICANN: Expired Registration Recovery Policy

ICANN logoPurpose (Brief): ICANN is opening a Public Comment Period for the draft Expired Registration Recovery Policy. Members of the Internet Community are asked to provide feedback on the proposed document. The proposed Policy is based on recommendations from the Generic Names Supporting Organization Council related to Post-Expiration Domain Name Recovery (“PEDNR”).

Current Status: The Generic Names Supporting Organization Council (“GNSO”) initiated a Policy Development Process in May 2009, which resulted in the submission of several policy and process recommendations to the ICANN Board of Directors, which the Board approved on 28 October 2011. ICANN staff developed this proposed, draft Policy in consultation with an Implementation Review Team convened by the GNSO.

Next Steps: ICANN will review the submitted comments and, where appropriate, incorporate suggested modifications into the Policy. Once finalized, the Policy will be implemented and made effective for all gTLD registrars and registries.

Section I: Description, Explanation, and Purpose

The Registrar Accreditation Agreement between the registrars and ICANN contains a number of provisions outlining the obligations of registrars to communicate the details of their deletion and auto-renewal policies to new registrants. However, because of diverse registrar business practices in the way registrations are handled after they expire, some registrants might not fully understand their available options for recovering domain names post-expiration. Many registrars currently offer post-expiration grace periods of varying lengths, during which registrants can renew expired names. Similarly, many gTLD registries and registrars offer registrants a redemption service, allowing registrants a certain amount of time to redeem names after they are deleted.

The proposed Expired Registration Recovery Policy is intended to help align registrant expectations with registrar practices by establishing certain minimum communications requirements and making renewal and redemption of registrations uniformly available in prescribed circumstances. When the Policy is finalized, ICANN will create educational materials in consultation with interested stakeholders to help registrants properly manage their registrations.

Section II: Background

At the request of ICANN‘s At-Large Advisory Committee, on 5 December 2008, ICANN published an Issues Report [PDF, 422 KB] on the topic of Post-Expiration Domain Name Recovery. The Generic Names Supporting Organization Council (“GNSO“) initiated a Policy Development Process in May 2009, which resulted in the submission of several policy and process recommendations to the ICANN Board of Directors. The ICANN Board approved the recommendations on 28 October 2011, directing staff to implement this policy.

Section III: Document and Resource Links

Draft Expired Registration Recovery Policy  [PDF, 94 KB]

Comment Open: 11 October 2012
Comment Close: 11 November 2012
Close Time (UTC): 23:59 Public Comment Announcement
Reply Open: 12 November 2012 To Submit Your Comments (Forum)
Reply Close: 30 November 2012 View Comments Submitted
Close Time (UTC): 23:59 Report of Public Comments

This ICANN announcement was sourced from:
www.icann.org/en/news/public-comment/draft-errp-policy-11oct12-en.htm

ICANN: Application for New GNSO Constituency Candidacy-“Public Internet Access/Cybercafe Ecosystem”

ICANN logoPurpose (Brief): ICANN has received its first application under the New GNSO Constituency Recognition Process adopted by the ICANN Board in June 2011. The purpose of this forum is to notify the ICANN community and solicit feedback on the Application for Candidacy (AFC) submitted by the Cyber Café Association of India (CCAOI), to form a new GNSO Constituency called the “Public Internet Access/Cybercafé Ecosystem (PIA/CC)”. The application package submitted by CCAOI requests that the new Constituency be approved for recognition within the GNSO’s Non-Commercial Stakeholder Group (NCSG). Community input will help inform deliberations by the NCSG as it evaluates the application.

Current Status: This Public Comment period is part of Step 1-Application Phase of the “Process for Recognition of New GNSO Constituencies” which is accessible at: gnso.icann.org/en/about/form-new-constituency.htm. The Non-Commercial Stakeholder Group (NCSG), as the requested home for the proposed new Constituency, has been notified of the application and advised as to its responsibilities and associated timeframes.

Next Steps: Within 10 days of the conclusion of the Public Comment/Reply periods (18 December 2012), ICANN Staff will publish a Report of the community’s feedback concerning this application. According to the process requirements, the NCSG has 90 days from date of application receipt to formulate an “Accept” or “Reject” decision as to whether the proposed Constituency should proceed to Step 2-Candidate Phase. The NCSG’s decision, together with supporting rationale, will be forwarded to the ICANN Board for its review and action. For additional details concerning the steps, roles/responsibilities, applicable criteria, actions, and timetables associated with this process, please see the actual procedures. A flowchart of the process is also available (and can be separately downloaded) at gnso.icann.org/en/about/form-new-constituency.htm.

Detailed Information

Section I: Description, Explanation, and Purpose

In accordance with the requirements of the “Process for Recognition of New GNSO Constituencies, the Cyber Cafe Association of India (CCAOI) has formally requested that a prospective new GNSO Constituency to be called “Public Internet Access/Cybercafé Ecosystem (PIA/CC)” be approved as a member of the Non-Commercial Stakeholder Group (NCSG). CCAOI completed and submitted an Application for Candidacy (AFC) form as well as cover letter (see Section III for document links). That application package was then supplemented at CCAOI’s request with some follow-up email correspondence to ICANN Staff. The ICANN community is invited to comment on all aspects of this application.

Section II: Background

On 24 June 2011, the ICANN Board approved a “Process for Recognition of New GNSO Constituencies.” The process was designed to accomplish four goals:

  1. Optimize the considerable time and effort required to form, organize, and propose a new GNSO Constituency by prescribing a streamlined sequence of steps and associated evaluation criteria that are objective, fair, and transparent – with ample opportunity for community input;
  2. Delegate more authority to each GNSO Stakeholder Group in evaluating new Constituency proposals while maintaining the Board’s oversight role;
  3. Manage the entire process to a flexible, but specific and limited timeframe; and
  4. Provide a partial set of criteria for use during the periodic review of the GNSO.

The approved process contains two distinct steps or phases: Applicant and Candidate. A petitioner initiates the process by completing an Application for Candidacy (AFC) form. Staff then opens a Public Comment period and forwards the application to the GNSO Stakeholder Group in which the applicant requests placement. The SG has 90 days to review the application and formulate an “Accept” or “Reject” decision, with supporting rationale, which is then subject to Board ratification. Following successful completion of the Applicant Phase, a limited six-month Candidate Phase follows during which a provisional Constituency, acting in an observer status, is expected to demonstrate having achieved certain participation and membership recruiting standards as well as producing a charter document. At the end of the second phase, the SG, with Board concurrence, decides whether the candidate will be approved as a Recognized Constituency. The entire procedure, the phase criteria, as well as a process flowchart are available for download at: gnso.icann.org/en/about/form-new-constituency.htm

Section III: Document and Resource Links

Section IV: Additional Information

Additional review and comment time is being provided to account for the upcoming ICANN Public Meeting in Toronto. The comment period spans 35 days and the reply comment period spans 30 days.

This ICANN announcement was sourced from:
www.icann.org/en/news/public-comment/afc-ccaoi-piacc-10oct12-en.htm

US Govt Wants New Trademark Protections at .Com and a Default Judgment URS by Philip Corwin, Internet Commerce Association

Internet Commerce Association logoOn the eve of ICANN’s 45th public meeting in Toronto — the last such meeting for the next half year until the April 2013 Beijing event — the United States government has urged ICANN to consider adding new trademark protections at .com and other incumbent gTLDs, and to adopt a Uniform Rapid Suspension (URS) model that includes a default judgment procedure. These proposals could dramatically alter the balance between complainants and registrants in both UDRP and URS cases involving domains at new and existing gTLDs, and ICA intends to fully engage in the ensuing debate.

These suggestions are contained in an October 4th letter sent by Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information Lawrence Strickling to ICANN Board Chairman Steve Crocker (letter available at www.icann.org/en/news/correspondence/strickling-to-crocker-04oct12-en).

In regard to considering new trademark protections beyond those being implemented for the new gTLD program, the letter urges ICANN to “explore additional trademark protections across all TLDs, existing and new, through community dialogues and appropriate policy development processes in the coming year”. (Emphasis added) This call for initiation of a policy development process (PDP) for altering trademark protections at incumbent gTLDs is at direct odds with a mid-December 2011 resolution passed by ICANN’s GNSO Council, made under substantial pressure from the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) and major brand interests, to defer initiation of any PDP until 18 months after the first new gTLD is delegated to the root. GNSO Resolution 20111215-1 (available at gnso.icann.org/en/resolutions) states:

RESOLVED further, the GNSO Council requests a new Issue Report on the current state of all rights protection mechanisms implemented for both existing and new gTLDs, including but not limited to, the UDRP and URS, should be delivered to the GNSO Council by no later than eighteen (18) months following the delegation of the first new gTLD.

At the time, ICA and many other groups were urging the GNSO Council to initiate a PDP on procedural UDRP reform based on a decade of UDRP experience, and rejected the notion that ICANN and the community lacked the capacity to simultaneously implement the new gTLD program and consider procedural improvements. When the GNSO passed on that option, it was expected that the first new gTLD would be delegated in early 2013 and that the PDP would therefore kick off in mid-2014 – but intervening events have now pushed the schedule back by at least a year.

We see several major issues raised by Secretary’s Strickling’s suggestion:

  • As it seems impossible to envisage changing trademark protections at .com et al without opening up the substance of the UDRP, acquiescing to the suggestion less than a year after its decision to defer UDRP reform would make the GNSO Council appear to be akin to a yo-yo directed by Washington, and would also kick off the discussion without it being informed by the requested Issue Report.
  • Implementing new rights protection measures (RPMs) at new gTLDs, which don’t yet exist and where registrants will obtain domains with clear notice of the new rules, is quite a different exercise than changing the substantive rules for existing gTLDs that are comprised of more than 100 million domains, many of which are highly valued in the secondary market. This debate is likely to feature far more controversy than even the heated discussion that accompanied development of the new gTLD RPMs, and initiating it while those RPMs are still being implemented could result in yet further delay in the launch of new gTLDs.
  • While ICA continues to favor the initiation of a PDP on procedural UDRP reform, we believe that any discussion of substantive UDRP reform should await experience with the performance of the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMC) and URS at new gTLDs. It would be irresponsible to consider imposing these untested RPMs on 100 million-plus incumbent gTLD domains before we have analyzed their real-world performance, especially in regard to their effect on the legitimate rights of domain registrants.

Again, there is plenty to evaluate and decide in any procedural UDRP PDP without debating substantive changes to rights protections. ICA has advocated that the heart of such reform be the development of a standard contract for all UDRP providers that delineates and limits their powers and provides ICANN with effective and flexible enforcement tools, with clear goals such as assuring uniformity and integrity in decision-making and the prevention of forum shopping. The need for such a contractual framework was illustrated again by the recent updating of attorney Zak Muscovitch’s survey of National Arbitration Forum (NAF) panelist selection procedures. The updated August 2012 study (available at dnattorney.com/NAFdomainnamedisputestudy2012.shtml) found that, while NAF claims to have 136 panelists on its trademark experts roster, 70 of whom (about half) were from the United States, in actual practice only seven of these panelists, all from the U.S.,  decided almost half (45.9 percent) of UDRP complaints filed with NAF.

So, clearly, one provision of a standard UDRP provider contract could be that when a provider is accredited by ICANN on the basis of claiming a large number of panelists from a variety of jurisdictions it should be required to actually use those panelists on a random basis — and not direct nearly half of all cases to a favored five percent of those panelists. The Muscovitch study certainly raises further questions about the quality of decisions provided by the number two UDRP provider. Earlier this year ICA requested that ICANN investigate NAF’s UDRP practices (see internetcommerce.org/NAF_UDRP_FAIL) and the response we received to our letter was unsatisfactory and indicated that ICANN takes UDRP provider oversight less seriously than it should. Frankly, we have always found it outrageous that ICANN accredits UDRP arbitration providers to extinguish or transfer valuable domain assets without any written or enforceable standards – trademark owners would never stand for a private entity being given such powers over their assets absent written and credible controls.

We do note that in Secretary Strickling’s letter the NTIA does not take a position for or against any potential trademark protection proposal, and does advocate that “ICANN should continue an open and transparent dialogue between all actors in order to find solutions to these issues”. (Emphasis added) ICA definitely intends to be a clear and consistent voice in that dialogue for the proposition that registrant rights must receive balanced treatment vis-à-vis trademark rights.

As for the letter’s advocacy for a clear linkage between the TMC and URS and to “provide efficient default judgment procedures” in the URS, we have two big concerns —

  • First, while we are open to a linkage between the two new RPMs, a final decision must await a determination of what data will actually be contained in the TMC – exact matches of trademarks, or all sorts of additions and variations as some brand owners are urging?
  • Second, we remain strongly opposed to a default judgment procedure that would automatically suspend a domain when the registrant fails to file a response in the now-truncated time period of 14 days. During this past week’s URS webinar there was substantial pushback from many quarters against adopting this proposal.

URS default judgments would be too much like the IP-based, due process-lacking “domain censorship” that would have been authorized by the SOPA legislation that incited a netizens revolt earlier this year. It is also just too prone to potential abuse, as no human expert would be checking to see if the rights holder complainant actually possessed the rights it claimed, or reviewing the domain name to see if it actually constituted a black-and-white, slam dunk instance of cybersquatting. We have nothing against a URS that is as cost-efficient as possible – but not at the cost of cheapening domain registrants’ rights.

We already expected the upcoming Toronto meeting to feature quite a bit of heated discussion of the final shape of RPMs for new gTLDs. By throwing .com and other incumbent gTLDs into the mix, and pushing the default judgment proposal, the Strickling letter should raise the temperature to an even higher level.

This article by Philip Corwin from the Internet Commerce Association was sourced with permission from:
internetcommerce.org/NTIA_URS_at_dotcom

URS Implementation Finally to Commence Under GNSO Direction by Philip Corwin, Internet Commerce Association

Philip Corwin imageFor more than a year ICA has been asking ICANN when it will commence with the task of implementing the Uniform Rapid Suspension (URS) policy for the new gTLD program as it currently stands in the Applicant Guidebook (AG). The URS is a required rights protection mechanism (RPM) that must be in place before any new gTLDs can open, and the current model balances trademark holder and registrant rights and is the result of a laborious two-year process resulting in recommendations that were unanimously adopted by the GNSO Council and subsequently by the ICANN Board. Each of our inquiries about the commencement of URS implementation have received the same general response of “soon”, but no perceptible progress had been made since the new gTLD program launched in the spring of 2011.

We have just learned that ICANN senior executive Kurt Pritz has sent a publicly available e-mail to GNSO Council Chairman Stephane Van Gelder advising him that URS implementation will finally begin in earnest within a few weeks. That exchange is below, and here are our key take-aways:

  • ICANN continues to assert that the present URS model does “not appear to meet cost requirements”. Yet, so far as know, and our knowledge includes a targeted document disclosure request filed on this and related subjects (see http://internetcommerce.org/WIPO2ICANN_URS_Summits), ICANN has no documented cost analysis proving this assertion and is instead relying on the feedback of the two principal UDRP providers, WIPO and NAF, who have their own separate rationales for making such an assertion. At the conference held yesterday in Washington held to discuss Melbourne IT’s HARM proposal (about which we shall post separately) there was a fairly broad consensus that ICANN should publish an RFP for the URS and solicit bids from a broad range of credible arbitration providers beyond the thin ranks of WIPO and NAF, based on the common sense belief that a URS focused on slam dunk infringement should not require a great deal of expert time or associated cost (if it takes more than 15 minutes to render a decision, it’s not a black-and-white case and belongs in a UDRP proceeding). There was also considerable support for the notion that, if the price target of $300-$500 simply cannot be met, ICANN should consider at least short-term subsidization by using some of the $350 million it has collected in new gTLD application fees. ICA believes it is premature to “flesh out some of those [alternative] models for possible implementation”, and thereby contemplate significant revisions of URS, until we have market testing of the true cost of implementing the present model. Before there is any consideration of “potential solutions”, let’s determine if there really is a cost problem that needs to be solved.
  • A meeting on URS implementation, possibly in the form of a webinar, will be scheduled for the first week of October. We are unsure who will be invited to speak at the webinar and whether it will include adequate representation of the registrant community, both commercial and non-commercial. Let’s wait and see.
  • A second meeting will be scheduled during the upcoming ICANN meeting in Toronto. We believe it’s is essential that this critical meeting result in a credible path to timely implementation.
  • ICANN has stated that “the meetings we are having are open to all”. This is consistent with the open and transparent approach to URS implementation that ICA has consistently advocated, and we intend to be intimately involved.
  • ICANN understands the key role played by the GNSO Council in developing and approving the present model and “that the GNSO leadership might want to conduct the URS discussions in a certain way”, and is willing to “work in whichever way the GNSO wishes to proceed”. From our viewpoint, this position is an extremely positive development because it respects the key policymaking role that the Council plays for gTLDs, puts the ICANN community as represented by the Council rather than ICANN staff in the driver’s seat on designing and managing the implementation process, and is a far better approach than the “Summit” concept contemplated earlier this year. It also undercuts potential efforts by some brand interests to try to circumvent the Council through direct lobbying of the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) and, through it, the ICANN Board.
  • ICANN aims to “seek to meet the cost and timeliness goals for which the URS was designed” and to balance that with a commitment to “seek to ensure that registrants enjoy the protections written into the current model”. Assuring that registrants enjoy the essential due process rights written into the current policy, and that they are not diluted in pursuit of complainant cost reduction, will be ICA’s foremost goal as this discussion ensues.

All in all, these are overdue but overall positive developments. Again, it’s our belief that any substantial alteration of the URS based on cost goals should not even be considered until we have some accurate, market-tested idea of the cost of implementing the current model — and that does not yet exist. Even then, we are wary of reopening this carefully constructed RPM because some of the ideas floating around for reducing cost could substantially reduce registrant rights in new gTLDs and convert the URS from a narrow supplement to the UDRP into a cut-price, rights-gutting alternative to it. That’s an unacceptable bait-and-switch.

But ICANN’s recognition of the central role to be played by the GNSO Council in considering any alteration is positive. It is critically important that whatever is done on URS implementation get off to a sound launch in Toronto, because there is an unusually long half-year gap between it and the next, April 2013 ICANN meeting in Beijing. A botched process could lead to further pushback in the launch date for new gTLDs, while one that results in evisceration of registrant rights could fatally undermine their prospects for success.

The e-mail exchange follows:

From:owner-council@gnso.icann.org[mailto:owner-council@gnso.icann.org] On Behalf Of Stéphane Van Gelder
Sent: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 5:08 AM
To: Kurt Pritz
Cc: GNSO Council List
Subject: [council] Re: Uniform Rapid Suspension Discussion

Thanks Kurt. I am copying the Council for their information.

The Council will no doubt follow-up on this in the near future.

Best,

Stéphane Van Gelder
Directeur Général / General manager
INDOM NetNames France

—————-
Registry Relations and Strategy Director

NetNames

T: +33 (0)1 48 01 83 51
F: +33 (0)1 48 01 83 61

Le 18 sept. 2012 à 22:09, Kurt Pritz a écrit :


Hi Stephane:

I am writing to let you know that we are planning a set of discussions on Uniform Rapid Suspension (URS) implementation in the near future and seek the input of GNSO leadership. As you know, a meeting in Prague we indicated that URS, as currently designed, did not appear to meet cost requirements. In Prague, contributors in the meeting described briefly several potential solutions. In the next set of meetings, we want to flesh out some of those models for possible implementation. We want to have one meeting in about two weeks (probably a webinar type of format with a possibility for some face-to-face interaction), and then we have a meeting in Toronto is scheduled. The first meeting will be announced shortly.

I am writing you because some of the proposed solutions, while feasible, do not match up with the specific conclusions of the STI team when it did its work. We recognize the role of the GNSO in those discussions. While the meetings we are having are open to all, we understand that the GNSO leadership might want to conduct the URS discussions in a certain way. Having the twin goals of developing a solution in time for use by new gTLDs and ensuring that all those interested can participate in the discussion, we can work in whichever way the GNSO wishes to proceed. (Of course, we also seek to meet the cost and timeliness goals for which the URS was designed and also seek to ensure that registrants enjoy the protections written into the current model by the IRT and STI.)The output of the next meetings can inform GNSO discussion or we can carry on in a way acceptable to the GNSO.

I am also copying Olivier as ALAC members participated in the STI.

I hope you find this helpful. Contact me anytime with questions.

Regards,

Kurt

This article by the Internet Commerce Association’s Philip Corwin was sourced with permission from:
internetcommerce.org/URS_Implementation

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Public Comment Box Link: www.icann.org/en/news/public-comment/uoc-prelim-issue-report-25jul12-en.htm

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Public Comment Box Link: www.icann.org/en/news/public-comment/gnso-operating-procedures-2012-09jul12-en.htm

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This ICANN announcement was sourced from:
www.icann.org/en/news/announcements/announcement-2-04jun12-en.htm