The ICANN Board has handed down its most recent response to the advice provided by the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) on the New gTLD Program. Here’s a run down of what the ICANN Board decided:

Safeguards Applicable to All Applications

The GAC recommended that the following safeguards should apply to all gTLDs and be subject to contractual oversight:

  • Whois verification and checks
  • Mitigating abusive activity
  • Security checks
  • Documentation
  • Making and handling complaints
  • Consequences 

What the Board said:

Let’s make security a bigger part of the contract.

The Board has directed ICANN staff to modify the Registry Agreement specifically to make sure that registries require their registrars to prohibit illegal activities in the second-level domains they sell – activities such as distributing malware, phishing, trademark or copyright infringement, and other activities contrary to applicable law.

The registry operator will also be required to assess periodically whether domains in the TLD are being used to perpetrate security threats. Registry operators will be required to collect this data, generate reports, and provide them to ICANN upon request.

 

Singular and Plural Strings

The GAC recommended that ICANN reconsider its decision not to place singular and plural versions of the same term into contention sets.

What the Board said:

We’re going to carry on as planned.

The Board determined that no changes are needed to prevent user confusion, so applications for singular and plural version of extensions (think .NEW and .NEWS) will be allowed to move forward and to coexist if approved.

Therefore, no additional contention sets will be created as a result of GAC Advice.

 

Consumer Protection, Sensitive Strings, and Regulated Markets

The GAC recommended that strings linked to regulated or professional sectors should operate in a way that is consistent with applicable laws.

What the Board said:

Hold that thought.

No resolution has been passed addressing the Category 1 Safeguard Advice relating to consumer protection, sensitive strings, and strings linked to regulated markets. The Board will discuss this item at its July 2 meeting.

 

Restricted Registration Policies

The GAC recommended that, for strings representing a generic term, exclusive registry access should serve a public interest goal.

What the Board said:

If you’re going to let other people register in your generic gTLD, you can continue on the path through evaluation and launch without delay. For gTLD applicants who plan to keep their .EXTENSION for their own use (“closed” generic gTLD applicants), we need to consider this further before you can move on.

The Board adopted the proposed Public Interest Commitment (PIC) Specification (for Category 2 Safeguard Advice) for applicants not seeking to impose exclusive registry access. This will allow applicants for open access gTLD applications to proceed to contracting.

The Board advised ICANN staff to defer contracting with applicants seeking to restrict registry access for generic strings for their own use or for use by qualified affiliates.

The term “generic string” is defined in the proposed PIC Specification to mean “a string consisting of a word or term that denominates or describes a general class of goods, services, groups, organizations, or things, as opposed to distinguishing a specific brand of goods, services, groups, organizations or things from those of others.”

 

Next week, we will analyze the implications of these rulings.

Josh Bourne

Josh Bourne

Managing Partner at FairWinds Partners
A Managing Partner for the business, Josh draws on his experience with brands and blogs on business solutions for the domain name space.
Josh Bourne
ICANN Board Responds to GAC Advice

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