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Pre-Delegation Testing Documents Have Been Updated. Click Here to Review the Updates

April 18, 2014   No Comments

Pre-Delegation Testing Documents Have Been Updated. Click Here to Review the Updates

April 18, 2014   No Comments

ICANN Begins Transition To New Website

17 April 2014

Click here to visit the new ICANN website »

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) today announced the beginning of a transition to a new ICANN.org website.

“We had three objectives for the new site: improve transparency of ICANN by making information easier to find, make it effortless for people to join the community and engage in the work, and lastly, to continue to support the established community with new tools,” said Chris Gift, Vice President of Online Community Services.

“The new site is intended to allow those new to the organization to discover ICANN, the work being done and our role in the Internet governance ecosystem, as well as to allow those same people the opportunity to get involved in the ICANN community,” said Gift. “With easier navigation, improved access to information, and new tools we can better support the organization’s policy discussions. These new stakeholders and the established community have a site that is easier to navigate with accessible information and tools to support the organization’s policy discussions.”

Over the coming days, a percentage of ICANN.org users will be redirected to the new site and as the next two weeks progress, the number of users redirected will increase until all users are sent directly to the new site.

“We have thought through the process and we’re being cautious in the way we move forward,” said Chris Gift. “We will increase the amount of traffic to the new site roughly every other day until we are fully crossed over.”

The new website was launched in beta relatively early in its development to encourage the ICANN community to become part of the development process. ICANN‘s development team adopted agile and lean development practices throughout the building stage &ndash where ideas were built then tested by users and their feedback fuelled the next iteration.

Please join Chris Gift and Anil Podduturi, Principal at Neo, on Thursday, 24 April at 18:00 UTC for a demonstration of the new ICANN.org. The public webinar will also include a Q&A session at the end.

###

Public Webinar Details

Date/Time: Thursday, 24 April 2014 at 18:00 – 19:00 UTC

Adobe Connect Link: https://icann.adobeconnect.com/communications/

Telephone Access Numbers: International access numbers may be obtained here: www.adigo.com/icann. When asked to enter a Conference ID, please enter: 87324546#

April 17, 2014   No Comments

ICANN Begins Transition To New Website

17 April 2014

Click here to visit the new ICANN website »

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) today announced the beginning of a transition to a new ICANN.org website.

“We had three objectives for the new site: improve transparency of ICANN by making information easier to find, make it effortless for people to join the community and engage in the work, and lastly, to continue to support the established community with new tools,” said Chris Gift, Vice President of Online Community Services.

“The new site is intended to allow those new to the organization to discover ICANN, the work being done and our role in the Internet governance ecosystem, as well as to allow those same people the opportunity to get involved in the ICANN community,” said Gift. “With easier navigation, improved access to information, and new tools we can better support the organization’s policy discussions. These new stakeholders and the established community have a site that is easier to navigate with accessible information and tools to support the organization’s policy discussions.”

Over the coming days, a percentage of ICANN.org users will be redirected to the new site and as the next two weeks progress, the number of users redirected will increase until all users are sent directly to the new site.

“We have thought through the process and we’re being cautious in the way we move forward,” said Chris Gift. “We will increase the amount of traffic to the new site roughly every other day until we are fully crossed over.”

The new website was launched in beta relatively early in its development to encourage the ICANN community to become part of the development process. ICANN‘s development team adopted agile and lean development practices throughout the building stage &ndash where ideas were built then tested by users and their feedback fuelled the next iteration.

Please join Chris Gift and Anil Podduturi, Principal at Neo, on Thursday, 24 April at 18:00 UTC for a demonstration of the new ICANN.org. The public webinar will also include a Q&A session at the end.

###

Public Webinar Details

Date/Time: Thursday, 24 April 2014 at 18:00 – 19:00 UTC

Adobe Connect Link: https://icann.adobeconnect.com/communications/

Telephone Access Numbers: International access numbers may be obtained here: www.adigo.com/icann. When asked to enter a Conference ID, please enter: 87324546#

April 17, 2014   No Comments

9 New gTLDs Recently Delegated. View them now!

April 16, 2014   No Comments

9 New gTLDs Recently Delegated. View them now!

April 16, 2014   No Comments

9 New gTLDs Recently Delegated. View them now!

April 16, 2014   No Comments

9 New gTLDs Recently Delegated. View them now!

April 16, 2014   No Comments

Preliminary Report | Regular Meeting of the New gTLD Program Committee

4 April 2014

3-4 April 2014

Note: On 10 April 2012, the Board established the New gTLD Program Committee, comprised of all voting members of the Board that are not conflicted with respect to the New gTLD Program. The Committee was granted all of the powers of the Board (subject to the limitations set forth by law, the Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws or ICANN‘s Conflicts of Interest Policy) to exercise Board-level authority for any and all issues that may arise relating to the New gTLD Program. The full scope of the Committee’s authority is set forth in its charter at http://www.icann.org/en/groups/board/new-gTLD.

Formal Minutes are still to be approved by the New gTLD Program Committee. This has not been approved by the New gTLD Program Committee and does not constitute minutes but does provide a preliminary attempt setting forth the unapproved reporting of the resolutions from that meeting. Details on voting and abstentions will be provided in the Minutes, when approved at a future meeting.

NOTE ON ADDITIONAL INFORMATION INCLUDED WITHIN PRELIMINARY REPORT – ON RATIONALES — Where available, a draft Rationale for each of the New gTLD Program Committee’s actions is presented under the associated Resolution. A draft Rationale is not final until approved with the minutes of the New gTLD Program Committee meeting.

A Regular Meeting of the New gTLD Program Committee of the ICANN Board of Directors was held telephonically on 3 April 2014 at 22:00 UTC, and continued to 4 April 2014 at 21:00 UTC.

Committee Chairman Cherine Chalaby promptly called the meeting to order.

In addition to the Chair the following Directors participated in all or part of the meeting: Fadi Chehadé (President and CEO, ICANN), Steve Crocker (Board Chairman), Chris Disspain, Bruno Lanvin, Olga Madruga-Forti, Gonzalo Navarro, George Sadowsky, Mike Silber, and Kuo-Wei Wu.

Jonne Soininen (IETF Liaison) was in attendance as a non-voting liaison to the Committee.

Bill Graham, Heather Dryden, Erika Mann, and Ray Plzak sent apologies.

Secretary: John Jeffrey (General Counsel and Secretary).

ICANN Executives and Staff in attendance for all or part of the meeting: Akram Atallah (President, Global Domains Division); Megan Bishop (Board Support Coordinator); Michelle Bright (Board Support Manager); Samantha Eisner (Senior Counsel); Allen Grogan (Chief Contracting Counsel); Dan Halloran (Deputy General Counsel); Jamie Hedlund (Advisor to the President/CEO); Elizabeth Le (Senior Counsel); Cyrus Namazi (Vice President, DNS Industry Engagement); Erika Randall (Counsel); Amy Stathos (Deputy General Counsel); and Christine Willett (Vice President, gTLD Operations).

This is a Preliminary Report of the Meeting of the New gTLD Program Committee, which took place on 3-4 April 2014.

  1. Main Agenda:
    1. Applications for .vin and .wine/ GAC Communiqué – Singapore

 

  1. Main Agenda:

    1. Applications for .vin and .wine/ GAC Communiqué – Singapore

      The Committee considered new advice from the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) issued in the Singapore Communiqué concerning the applications for .WINE and .VIN. In its advice, the GAC noted that in the final deliberation of NGPC Resolution 2014.03.22.NG01 there appeared to be at least one process violation and procedural error with the resolutions as well as their rationale. The Committee engaged in a discussion of the GAC‘s advice, and reviewed the ICANN Bylaws, including Article XI-A, Section 1, subsection 6 to analyze and consider the GAC‘s suggestion of a possible process violation or procedural error under the Bylaws. The Committee discussed the circumstances under which it would be required to provide the GAC an opportunity to review independent advice. The Committee also deliberated on the authority provided in the New gTLD Program Applicant Guidebook for seeking independent expert analysis on issues raised by new gTLD applications.

      The Committee engaged in a discussion about how to address the GAC‘s advice in the Singapore Communiqué noting that concerned GAC members believe the applicants for .WINE and .VIN and interested parties should be encouraged to continue their negotiations with a view to reach an agreement on the matter. The Committee examined a proposal to defer the contracting process for the applications at issue for a defined period of time to provide additional opportunities for the relevant impacted parties to negotiate. Members of the Committee weighed in on the amount of time that should be granted to allow for further negotiations, and the appropriate scope of ICANN‘s role in encouraging negotiations, if any.

      As part of its discussion, the Committee also considered the recent correspondence received on the .WINE and .VIN strings, and discussed the importance of developing a communications plan to keep the community informed about the actions being taken by the Committee. The Committee also explored whether the GAC‘s advice on .WINE and .VIN raised some broader concerns that should be discussed by the full Board.

      Members of the Committee provided comments on the proposed resolutions and rationale, and the Committee took the following action on 4 April 2014:

      Whereas, on 9 September 2013, in a letter to the ICANN Board, the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) advised the Board that the GAC had finalized its consideration of the strings .WINE and .VIN, that there was no GAC consensus advice on additional safeguards for .WINE and .VIN, and that the applications for .WINE and .VIN should proceed through the normal evaluation process.

      Whereas, on 20 November 2013, the GAC issued its Buenos Aires Communiqué, wherein it suggested that the Board may wish to seek a clear understanding of the legally complex and politically sensitive background on its advice regarding .WINE and .VIN in order to consider the appropriate next steps of delegating the two strings.

      Whereas, the NGPC asked staff to commission an independent legal analysis (“Independent Legal Analysis”) of the legally complex and politically sensitive background on the GAC‘s advice regarding .WINE and .VIN.

      Whereas, on 22 March 2014, in Resolution 2014.03.22.NG01, the NGPC “accept[ed] the GAC advice identified in the GAC Register of Advice as 2013-09-09-wine and vin, and direct[ed] the President and CEO, or his designee, that the applications for .WINE and .VIN should proceed through the normal evaluation process.”

      Whereas, as noted in the Rationale of Resolution 2014.03.22.NG01, the NGPC considered the Independent Legal Analysis as part of its deliberations on the GAC‘s advice, which is published at http://www.icann.org/en/groups/board/documents/analysis-wine-vin-22mar14-en.pdf [PDF, 771 KB].

      Whereas, on 27 March 2014, in the Singapore Communiqué, the GAC noted that “there appears to be at least one process violation and procedural error, including in relation to ByLaws Article XI-A, Section 1 subsection 6″ in the ICANN Board’s final deliberation of Resolution 2014.03.22.NG01 and advised that the ICANN Board reconsider the matter before delegating these strings.

      Whereas, in the Singapore Communiqué, the GAC further advised that “concerned GAC members believe the applicants and interested parties should be encouraged to continue their negotiations with a view to reach an agreement on the matter.”

      Whereas, the NGPC has reviewed and considered the matter set forth in the Singapore Communiqué, specifically the issue raised by the GAC relating to its suggestion of a possible process violation or procedural error under ICANN Bylaws Article XI-A, Section 1, subsection 6.

      Whereas, the NGPC recognizes that some GAC members remain concerned about the .WINE and .VIN applications, and the NGPC recognizes that this is a matter of great importance to these GAC members, as well as to the interested applicants for these top level domains.

      Resolved (2014.04.04.NG01), the NGPC accepts the GAC advice identified in the Singapore Communiqué as it relates to the applications for .WINE and .VIN.

      Resolved (2014.04.04.NG02), upon having considered the matter set forth in the GAC Singapore Communiqué suggesting that there may have been a process violation or procedural error, the NGPC concludes that there has been no process violation or procedural error under the Bylaws.

      Resolved (2014.04.04.NG03), the NGPC directs the President and CEO, or his designee, to not commence the contracting process for the applications for .WINE and .VIN for 60 days from the date of publication of these resolutions in order to provide additional time for the relevant impacted parties to negotiate, which they are encouraged to do.

      Resolved (2014.04.04.NG04), the NGPC recommends that the full Board consider the larger implications of legally complex and politically sensitive issues such as those raised by GAC members, including whether ICANN is the proper venue in which to resolve these issues, or whether there are venues or forums better suited to address concerns such as those raised by GAC members in relation to the .WINE and .VIN applications.

      All members of the Committee present voted in favor of Resolutions 2014.04.04.NG01 – 2014.04.04.NG04. Five members of the Committee were unavailable to vote on the Resolutions. The Resolutions carried.

      Rationale for Resolutions 2014.04.04.NG01 – 2014.04.04.NG04

      The NGPC’s action today, addressing the Governmental Advisory Committee’s (“GAC“) advice in the Singapore Communiqué concerning the .WINE and .VIN applications, is part of the ICANN Board’s role to address advice put to the Board by the GAC. Article XI, Section 2.1 of the ICANN Bylaws http://www.icann.org/en/about/governance/bylaws#XI permits the GAC to “put issues to the Board directly, either by way of comment or prior advice, or by way of specifically recommending action or new policy development or revision to existing policies.” Module 3.1 of the Applicant Guidebook (“AGB”) sets forth the parameters in which GAC Advice will be given under the New gTLD Program. The ICANN Bylaws require the Board to take into account the GAC‘s advice on public policy matters in the formulation and adoption of the policies. If the Board decides to take an action that is not consistent with the GAC advice, it must inform the GAC and state the reasons why it decided not to follow the advice. The Board and the GAC will then try in good faith to find a mutually acceptable solution. If no solution can be found, the Board will state in its final decision why the GAC advice was not followed.

      Factual Background

      The GAC previously issued advice to the Board on the New gTLD Program, and specifically on the .WINE and .VIN applications, through its Beijing Communiqué dated 11 April 2013, its Durban Communiqué dated 18 July 2013, and its Buenos Aires Communiqué dated 20 November 2013. The GAC also issued advice to the ICANN Board in a letter dated 9 September 2013 concerning the .WINE and .VIN applications. In the Buenos Aires Communiqué, the GAC suggested that the Board may “wish to seek a clear understanding of the legally complex and politically sensitive background on this matter in order to consider the appropriate next steps in the process of delegating the two strings. GAC members may wish to write to the Board to further elaborate their views.” (https://gacweb.icann.org/download/attachments/33849634/FINAL_Buenos_Aires_GAC_Communique_20131120.pdf?version=1&modificationDate=1390438464000&api=v2 [PDF, 97 KB].)

      Following the Buenos Aires Communiqué, the NGPC directed staff to commission independent legal analysis as to whether international law or national law in wine-growing regions — France, Italy, Spain, Australia, elsewhere — establish a bar that would entitle governments or administrative agencies to prevent administration of the .WINE and .VIN gTLDs and whether any rights or protections granted to wine-related geographic indications impose a duty on ICANN to provide for protection at the second level if the .WINE or .VIN stings were to be delegated (the “Independent Legal Analysis”).

      The Independent Legal Analysis concluded that “[a]s regards the applications for the assignment of the new gTLDs ‘.vin’ and ‘.wine’ filed by the Donuts company, there is no rule of the law of geographical indications, nor any general principle which obliges ICANN to reject the applications or accept the applications under certain specific conditions.” (http://www.icann.org/en/groups/board/documents/analysis-wine-vin-22mar14-en.pdf [PDF, 771 KB] at Pg. 7.)

      On 22 March 2014, the NGPC adopted Resolution 2014.03.22.NG01, whereby it “accept[ed] the GAC advice identified in the GAC Register of Advice as 2013-09-09-wine and vin, and direct[ed] the President and CEO, or his designee, that the applications for .WINE and .VIN should proceed through the normal evaluation process.” (http://www.icann.org/en/groups/board/documents/resolutions-new-gtld-22mar14-en.htm#1.a.) The NGPC noted that it considered the Independent Legal Analysis as part of its deliberations on the GAC‘s advice. (See id.) As part of Resolution 2014.03.22.NG01, the NGPC published the Independent Legal Analysis at http://www.icann.org/en/groups/board/documents/analysis-wine-vin-22mar14-en.pdf [PDF, 771 KB].

      On 27 March 2014, the GAC published its Singapore Communiqué. On the topic of .WINE and .VIN, the GAC stated as follows:

      The GAC notes the NGPC Resolution 2014.03.22.NG01 concerning .wine and .vin as well as its rationale. In the final deliberation of the Board there appears to be at least one process violation and procedural error, including in relation to ByLaws Article XI-A, Section 1 subsection 6 which states:

      6. Opportunity to Comment. The Governmental Advisory Committee, in addition to the Supporting Organizations and other Advisory Committees, shall have an opportunity to comment upon any external advice received prior to any decision by the Board.

      The GAC therefore advises:

      That the Board reconsider the matter before delegating these strings. The GAC needs to consider the above elements more fully. In the meantime concerned GAC members believe the applicants and interested parties should be encouraged to continue their negotiations with a view to reach an agreement on the matter.

      (https://gacweb.icann.org/download/attachments/27132037/Final%20Communique%20-%20Singapore%202014.pdf?version=1&modificationDate=1395925159241&api=v2 [PDF, 448 KB].)

      Discussion and Analysis

      In sum, the NGPC has accepted the GAC advice and has carefully reviewed and evaluated whether there was a procedure or process violation under the Bylaws. The NGPC has determined that there was not because, among other reasons, ICANN did not seek the Independent Legal Analysis as External Expert Advice pursuant to Article XI-A, or any other portion of the Bylaws.

      The GAC‘s advice on the .WINE and .VIN applications was issued pursuant to the GAC-related procedures in Module 3.1 of the Applicant Guidebook and not as External Expert Advice for purposes of the policy development process on new gTLDs, which was concluded in August 2007. Rather, the Independent Legal Analysis was obtained as part of the implementation of the New gTLD Program.

      Under Module 3.1 of the Guidebook, the Board has the discretion to seek independent expert analysis on issues raised in the GAC Advice on new gTLD applications. This provision does not mention a Board consultation with the GAC after independent analysis has been obtained and before a decision is taken. There is no reference in Module 3.1, or elsewhere in the Applicant Guidebook, to Article XI-A, or any of its subsections.

      Further, because the NGPC did not ” … determine[] to take an action that is not consistent with the Governmental Advisory Committee advice, …” the NGPC did not “inform the Committee [of its determination] and state the reasons why it decided to not follow the advice” ((Bylaws, Article XI, Section 2.1.j). Specifically, as noted in the Rationale of Resolution 2014.03.22.NG01, “[t]he action being approved today is to accept the GAC‘s advice to the ICANN Board that there was no GAC consensus advice on additional safeguards for .WINE and .VIN, and the GAC ‘has finalized its consideration of the strings .wine and .vin and further advises that the application should proceed through the normal evaluation process.’” (http://www.icann.org/en/groups/board/documents/resolutions-new-gtld-22mar14-en.htm#1.a.) The NGPC obtained the Independent Legal Analysis, which it has the discretion to do under the Module 3.1 of the Applicant Guidebook, and in part at the suggestion of the GAC. Further, when the GAC suggested that the NGPC may want to seek such advice, the GAC did not ask the NGPC to provide the GAC with that advice (the Independent Legal Analysis) before taking action and accepting the GAC‘s advice on the .WINE and .VIN applications.

      Decision

      The NGPC has taken the GAC‘s suggestion of a potential process violation or procedural error very seriously and recognizes the import of the matters at issue. After careful consideration, the NGPC has concluded that there was no process violation or procedural error under the Bylaws, particularly because the Independent Legal Analysis was not sought as External Expert Advice pursuant to Article X1-A, or any other Bylaws provision. Rather, the Independent Legal Analysis was sought pursuant to Module 3.1 of the Applicant Guidebook, and partly at the GAC‘s suggestion.

      Although NGPC did not find a process violation or procedural error under the Bylaws, consistent with ICANN‘s commitment to transparency, ICANN did attach to Resolution 2014.03.22.NG01 the Independent Legal Analysis concerning .WINE and .VIN. Further, for ease of reference, ICANN will provide a copy of the Independent Legal Analysis directly to the GAC.

      Additional time (60 days) should be allotted before proceeding with the .WINE and .VIN contracting to allow the relevant impacted parties additional time to try to work out their differences.

      Further, the full Board should consider the larger implications of legally complex and politically sensitive issues such as those raised by GAC members, including whether ICANN is the proper venue in which to resolve these issues, or whether there are venues or forums better suited to address concerns such as those raised by GAC members in relation to the .WINE and .VIN applications.

      In taking this action today, the NGPC acknowledges the correspondence received on .WINE and .VIN since the ICANN Singapore meeting, including:

      • Letter dated 19 March 2014 [PDF, 120 KB] from Mr. Martin Schulz, President, The European Parliament
      • Letter dated 26 March 2014 [PDF, 141 KB] from Ms. Linda Corugedo-Steneberg, Director – European Commission, Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology
      • Letter dated 1 April 2014 [PDF, 500 KB] from Mr. Sergio Zingarelli, President – Consorzio Vino Chianti Classico
      • Letter dated 2 April 2014 [PDF, 68 KB] from Ms. Linda Corugedo-Steneberg, Director – European Commission, Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology
      • Letter dated 2 April 2014 [PDF, 1.23 MB] from Mr. Jean-Luc Barbier, General Director – Comité Interprofessional du Vin de Champagne (CIVIC)
      • Letter dated 3 April 2014 [PDF, 226 KB] from Mr. Manuel de Novae Cabral, Presidente – Instituto os Vinhos do Douro e do Porto
      • Letter dated 3 April 2014 [PDF, 739 KB] from Mr. Steven L. Bate, Executive Director – The Long Island Wine Council
      • Letter dated 3 April 2014 [PDF, 924 KB] from Ms. Linda Reiff, President & CEO – Napa Valley Vintners
      • Letter dated 3 April 2014 [PDF, 179 KB] from Mr. César Saldaña, Director General, Consejo Regulador Do Jerez-Xérès-Sherry

      There are no foreseen financial impacts on ICANN and will not negatively impact the systemic security, stability and resiliency of the domain name system.

      This decision is an Organizational Administrative Function that does not require public comment.

    The Chair called the meeting to a close.

Published on 15 April 2014

April 15, 2014   No Comments

Preliminary Report | Regular Meeting of the New gTLD Program Committee

4 April 2014

3-4 April 2014

Note: On 10 April 2012, the Board established the New gTLD Program Committee, comprised of all voting members of the Board that are not conflicted with respect to the New gTLD Program. The Committee was granted all of the powers of the Board (subject to the limitations set forth by law, the Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws or ICANN‘s Conflicts of Interest Policy) to exercise Board-level authority for any and all issues that may arise relating to the New gTLD Program. The full scope of the Committee’s authority is set forth in its charter at http://www.icann.org/en/groups/board/new-gTLD.

Formal Minutes are still to be approved by the New gTLD Program Committee. This has not been approved by the New gTLD Program Committee and does not constitute minutes but does provide a preliminary attempt setting forth the unapproved reporting of the resolutions from that meeting. Details on voting and abstentions will be provided in the Minutes, when approved at a future meeting.

NOTE ON ADDITIONAL INFORMATION INCLUDED WITHIN PRELIMINARY REPORT – ON RATIONALES — Where available, a draft Rationale for each of the New gTLD Program Committee’s actions is presented under the associated Resolution. A draft Rationale is not final until approved with the minutes of the New gTLD Program Committee meeting.

A Regular Meeting of the New gTLD Program Committee of the ICANN Board of Directors was held telephonically on 3 April 2014 at 22:00 UTC, and continued to 4 April 2014 at 21:00 UTC.

Committee Chairman Cherine Chalaby promptly called the meeting to order.

In addition to the Chair the following Directors participated in all or part of the meeting: Fadi Chehadé (President and CEO, ICANN), Steve Crocker (Board Chairman), Chris Disspain, Bruno Lanvin, Olga Madruga-Forti, Gonzalo Navarro, George Sadowsky, Mike Silber, and Kuo-Wei Wu.

Jonne Soininen (IETF Liaison) was in attendance as a non-voting liaison to the Committee.

Bill Graham, Heather Dryden, Erika Mann, and Ray Plzak sent apologies.

Secretary: John Jeffrey (General Counsel and Secretary).

ICANN Executives and Staff in attendance for all or part of the meeting: Akram Atallah (President, Global Domains Division); Megan Bishop (Board Support Coordinator); Michelle Bright (Board Support Manager); Samantha Eisner (Senior Counsel); Allen Grogan (Chief Contracting Counsel); Dan Halloran (Deputy General Counsel); Jamie Hedlund (Advisor to the President/CEO); Elizabeth Le (Senior Counsel); Cyrus Namazi (Vice President, DNS Industry Engagement); Erika Randall (Counsel); Amy Stathos (Deputy General Counsel); and Christine Willett (Vice President, gTLD Operations).

This is a Preliminary Report of the Meeting of the New gTLD Program Committee, which took place on 3-4 April 2014.

  1. Main Agenda:
    1. Applications for .vin and .wine/ GAC Communiqué – Singapore

 

  1. Main Agenda:

    1. Applications for .vin and .wine/ GAC Communiqué – Singapore

      The Committee considered new advice from the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) issued in the Singapore Communiqué concerning the applications for .WINE and .VIN. In its advice, the GAC noted that in the final deliberation of NGPC Resolution 2014.03.22.NG01 there appeared to be at least one process violation and procedural error with the resolutions as well as their rationale. The Committee engaged in a discussion of the GAC‘s advice, and reviewed the ICANN Bylaws, including Article XI-A, Section 1, subsection 6 to analyze and consider the GAC‘s suggestion of a possible process violation or procedural error under the Bylaws. The Committee discussed the circumstances under which it would be required to provide the GAC an opportunity to review independent advice. The Committee also deliberated on the authority provided in the New gTLD Program Applicant Guidebook for seeking independent expert analysis on issues raised by new gTLD applications.

      The Committee engaged in a discussion about how to address the GAC‘s advice in the Singapore Communiqué noting that concerned GAC members believe the applicants for .WINE and .VIN and interested parties should be encouraged to continue their negotiations with a view to reach an agreement on the matter. The Committee examined a proposal to defer the contracting process for the applications at issue for a defined period of time to provide additional opportunities for the relevant impacted parties to negotiate. Members of the Committee weighed in on the amount of time that should be granted to allow for further negotiations, and the appropriate scope of ICANN‘s role in encouraging negotiations, if any.

      As part of its discussion, the Committee also considered the recent correspondence received on the .WINE and .VIN strings, and discussed the importance of developing a communications plan to keep the community informed about the actions being taken by the Committee. The Committee also explored whether the GAC‘s advice on .WINE and .VIN raised some broader concerns that should be discussed by the full Board.

      Members of the Committee provided comments on the proposed resolutions and rationale, and the Committee took the following action on 4 April 2014:

      Whereas, on 9 September 2013, in a letter to the ICANN Board, the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) advised the Board that the GAC had finalized its consideration of the strings .WINE and .VIN, that there was no GAC consensus advice on additional safeguards for .WINE and .VIN, and that the applications for .WINE and .VIN should proceed through the normal evaluation process.

      Whereas, on 20 November 2013, the GAC issued its Buenos Aires Communiqué, wherein it suggested that the Board may wish to seek a clear understanding of the legally complex and politically sensitive background on its advice regarding .WINE and .VIN in order to consider the appropriate next steps of delegating the two strings.

      Whereas, the NGPC asked staff to commission an independent legal analysis (“Independent Legal Analysis”) of the legally complex and politically sensitive background on the GAC‘s advice regarding .WINE and .VIN.

      Whereas, on 22 March 2014, in Resolution 2014.03.22.NG01, the NGPC “accept[ed] the GAC advice identified in the GAC Register of Advice as 2013-09-09-wine and vin, and direct[ed] the President and CEO, or his designee, that the applications for .WINE and .VIN should proceed through the normal evaluation process.”

      Whereas, as noted in the Rationale of Resolution 2014.03.22.NG01, the NGPC considered the Independent Legal Analysis as part of its deliberations on the GAC‘s advice, which is published at http://www.icann.org/en/groups/board/documents/analysis-wine-vin-22mar14-en.pdf [PDF, 771 KB].

      Whereas, on 27 March 2014, in the Singapore Communiqué, the GAC noted that “there appears to be at least one process violation and procedural error, including in relation to ByLaws Article XI-A, Section 1 subsection 6″ in the ICANN Board’s final deliberation of Resolution 2014.03.22.NG01 and advised that the ICANN Board reconsider the matter before delegating these strings.

      Whereas, in the Singapore Communiqué, the GAC further advised that “concerned GAC members believe the applicants and interested parties should be encouraged to continue their negotiations with a view to reach an agreement on the matter.”

      Whereas, the NGPC has reviewed and considered the matter set forth in the Singapore Communiqué, specifically the issue raised by the GAC relating to its suggestion of a possible process violation or procedural error under ICANN Bylaws Article XI-A, Section 1, subsection 6.

      Whereas, the NGPC recognizes that some GAC members remain concerned about the .WINE and .VIN applications, and the NGPC recognizes that this is a matter of great importance to these GAC members, as well as to the interested applicants for these top level domains.

      Resolved (2014.04.04.NG01), the NGPC accepts the GAC advice identified in the Singapore Communiqué as it relates to the applications for .WINE and .VIN.

      Resolved (2014.04.04.NG02), upon having considered the matter set forth in the GAC Singapore Communiqué suggesting that there may have been a process violation or procedural error, the NGPC concludes that there has been no process violation or procedural error under the Bylaws.

      Resolved (2014.04.04.NG03), the NGPC directs the President and CEO, or his designee, to not commence the contracting process for the applications for .WINE and .VIN for 60 days from the date of publication of these resolutions in order to provide additional time for the relevant impacted parties to negotiate, which they are encouraged to do.

      Resolved (2014.04.04.NG04), the NGPC recommends that the full Board consider the larger implications of legally complex and politically sensitive issues such as those raised by GAC members, including whether ICANN is the proper venue in which to resolve these issues, or whether there are venues or forums better suited to address concerns such as those raised by GAC members in relation to the .WINE and .VIN applications.

      All members of the Committee present voted in favor of Resolutions 2014.04.04.NG01 – 2014.04.04.NG04. Five members of the Committee were unavailable to vote on the Resolutions. The Resolutions carried.

      Rationale for Resolutions 2014.04.04.NG01 – 2014.04.04.NG04

      The NGPC’s action today, addressing the Governmental Advisory Committee’s (“GAC“) advice in the Singapore Communiqué concerning the .WINE and .VIN applications, is part of the ICANN Board’s role to address advice put to the Board by the GAC. Article XI, Section 2.1 of the ICANN Bylaws http://www.icann.org/en/about/governance/bylaws#XI permits the GAC to “put issues to the Board directly, either by way of comment or prior advice, or by way of specifically recommending action or new policy development or revision to existing policies.” Module 3.1 of the Applicant Guidebook (“AGB”) sets forth the parameters in which GAC Advice will be given under the New gTLD Program. The ICANN Bylaws require the Board to take into account the GAC‘s advice on public policy matters in the formulation and adoption of the policies. If the Board decides to take an action that is not consistent with the GAC advice, it must inform the GAC and state the reasons why it decided not to follow the advice. The Board and the GAC will then try in good faith to find a mutually acceptable solution. If no solution can be found, the Board will state in its final decision why the GAC advice was not followed.

      Factual Background

      The GAC previously issued advice to the Board on the New gTLD Program, and specifically on the .WINE and .VIN applications, through its Beijing Communiqué dated 11 April 2013, its Durban Communiqué dated 18 July 2013, and its Buenos Aires Communiqué dated 20 November 2013. The GAC also issued advice to the ICANN Board in a letter dated 9 September 2013 concerning the .WINE and .VIN applications. In the Buenos Aires Communiqué, the GAC suggested that the Board may “wish to seek a clear understanding of the legally complex and politically sensitive background on this matter in order to consider the appropriate next steps in the process of delegating the two strings. GAC members may wish to write to the Board to further elaborate their views.” (https://gacweb.icann.org/download/attachments/33849634/FINAL_Buenos_Aires_GAC_Communique_20131120.pdf?version=1&modificationDate=1390438464000&api=v2 [PDF, 97 KB].)

      Following the Buenos Aires Communiqué, the NGPC directed staff to commission independent legal analysis as to whether international law or national law in wine-growing regions — France, Italy, Spain, Australia, elsewhere — establish a bar that would entitle governments or administrative agencies to prevent administration of the .WINE and .VIN gTLDs and whether any rights or protections granted to wine-related geographic indications impose a duty on ICANN to provide for protection at the second level if the .WINE or .VIN stings were to be delegated (the “Independent Legal Analysis”).

      The Independent Legal Analysis concluded that “[a]s regards the applications for the assignment of the new gTLDs ‘.vin’ and ‘.wine’ filed by the Donuts company, there is no rule of the law of geographical indications, nor any general principle which obliges ICANN to reject the applications or accept the applications under certain specific conditions.” (http://www.icann.org/en/groups/board/documents/analysis-wine-vin-22mar14-en.pdf [PDF, 771 KB] at Pg. 7.)

      On 22 March 2014, the NGPC adopted Resolution 2014.03.22.NG01, whereby it “accept[ed] the GAC advice identified in the GAC Register of Advice as 2013-09-09-wine and vin, and direct[ed] the President and CEO, or his designee, that the applications for .WINE and .VIN should proceed through the normal evaluation process.” (http://www.icann.org/en/groups/board/documents/resolutions-new-gtld-22mar14-en.htm#1.a.) The NGPC noted that it considered the Independent Legal Analysis as part of its deliberations on the GAC‘s advice. (See id.) As part of Resolution 2014.03.22.NG01, the NGPC published the Independent Legal Analysis at http://www.icann.org/en/groups/board/documents/analysis-wine-vin-22mar14-en.pdf [PDF, 771 KB].

      On 27 March 2014, the GAC published its Singapore Communiqué. On the topic of .WINE and .VIN, the GAC stated as follows:

      The GAC notes the NGPC Resolution 2014.03.22.NG01 concerning .wine and .vin as well as its rationale. In the final deliberation of the Board there appears to be at least one process violation and procedural error, including in relation to ByLaws Article XI-A, Section 1 subsection 6 which states:

      6. Opportunity to Comment. The Governmental Advisory Committee, in addition to the Supporting Organizations and other Advisory Committees, shall have an opportunity to comment upon any external advice received prior to any decision by the Board.

      The GAC therefore advises:

      That the Board reconsider the matter before delegating these strings. The GAC needs to consider the above elements more fully. In the meantime concerned GAC members believe the applicants and interested parties should be encouraged to continue their negotiations with a view to reach an agreement on the matter.

      (https://gacweb.icann.org/download/attachments/27132037/Final%20Communique%20-%20Singapore%202014.pdf?version=1&modificationDate=1395925159241&api=v2 [PDF, 448 KB].)

      Discussion and Analysis

      In sum, the NGPC has accepted the GAC advice and has carefully reviewed and evaluated whether there was a procedure or process violation under the Bylaws. The NGPC has determined that there was not because, among other reasons, ICANN did not seek the Independent Legal Analysis as External Expert Advice pursuant to Article XI-A, or any other portion of the Bylaws.

      The GAC‘s advice on the .WINE and .VIN applications was issued pursuant to the GAC-related procedures in Module 3.1 of the Applicant Guidebook and not as External Expert Advice for purposes of the policy development process on new gTLDs, which was concluded in August 2007. Rather, the Independent Legal Analysis was obtained as part of the implementation of the New gTLD Program.

      Under Module 3.1 of the Guidebook, the Board has the discretion to seek independent expert analysis on issues raised in the GAC Advice on new gTLD applications. This provision does not mention a Board consultation with the GAC after independent analysis has been obtained and before a decision is taken. There is no reference in Module 3.1, or elsewhere in the Applicant Guidebook, to Article XI-A, or any of its subsections.

      Further, because the NGPC did not ” … determine[] to take an action that is not consistent with the Governmental Advisory Committee advice, …” the NGPC did not “inform the Committee [of its determination] and state the reasons why it decided to not follow the advice” ((Bylaws, Article XI, Section 2.1.j). Specifically, as noted in the Rationale of Resolution 2014.03.22.NG01, “[t]he action being approved today is to accept the GAC‘s advice to the ICANN Board that there was no GAC consensus advice on additional safeguards for .WINE and .VIN, and the GAC ‘has finalized its consideration of the strings .wine and .vin and further advises that the application should proceed through the normal evaluation process.’” (http://www.icann.org/en/groups/board/documents/resolutions-new-gtld-22mar14-en.htm#1.a.) The NGPC obtained the Independent Legal Analysis, which it has the discretion to do under the Module 3.1 of the Applicant Guidebook, and in part at the suggestion of the GAC. Further, when the GAC suggested that the NGPC may want to seek such advice, the GAC did not ask the NGPC to provide the GAC with that advice (the Independent Legal Analysis) before taking action and accepting the GAC‘s advice on the .WINE and .VIN applications.

      Decision

      The NGPC has taken the GAC‘s suggestion of a potential process violation or procedural error very seriously and recognizes the import of the matters at issue. After careful consideration, the NGPC has concluded that there was no process violation or procedural error under the Bylaws, particularly because the Independent Legal Analysis was not sought as External Expert Advice pursuant to Article X1-A, or any other Bylaws provision. Rather, the Independent Legal Analysis was sought pursuant to Module 3.1 of the Applicant Guidebook, and partly at the GAC‘s suggestion.

      Although NGPC did not find a process violation or procedural error under the Bylaws, consistent with ICANN‘s commitment to transparency, ICANN did attach to Resolution 2014.03.22.NG01 the Independent Legal Analysis concerning .WINE and .VIN. Further, for ease of reference, ICANN will provide a copy of the Independent Legal Analysis directly to the GAC.

      Additional time (60 days) should be allotted before proceeding with the .WINE and .VIN contracting to allow the relevant impacted parties additional time to try to work out their differences.

      Further, the full Board should consider the larger implications of legally complex and politically sensitive issues such as those raised by GAC members, including whether ICANN is the proper venue in which to resolve these issues, or whether there are venues or forums better suited to address concerns such as those raised by GAC members in relation to the .WINE and .VIN applications.

      In taking this action today, the NGPC acknowledges the correspondence received on .WINE and .VIN since the ICANN Singapore meeting, including:

      • Letter dated 19 March 2014 [PDF, 120 KB] from Mr. Martin Schulz, President, The European Parliament
      • Letter dated 26 March 2014 [PDF, 141 KB] from Ms. Linda Corugedo-Steneberg, Director – European Commission, Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology
      • Letter dated 1 April 2014 [PDF, 500 KB] from Mr. Sergio Zingarelli, President – Consorzio Vino Chianti Classico
      • Letter dated 2 April 2014 [PDF, 68 KB] from Ms. Linda Corugedo-Steneberg, Director – European Commission, Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology
      • Letter dated 2 April 2014 [PDF, 1.23 MB] from Mr. Jean-Luc Barbier, General Director – Comité Interprofessional du Vin de Champagne (CIVIC)
      • Letter dated 3 April 2014 [PDF, 226 KB] from Mr. Manuel de Novae Cabral, Presidente – Instituto os Vinhos do Douro e do Porto
      • Letter dated 3 April 2014 [PDF, 739 KB] from Mr. Steven L. Bate, Executive Director – The Long Island Wine Council
      • Letter dated 3 April 2014 [PDF, 924 KB] from Ms. Linda Reiff, President & CEO – Napa Valley Vintners
      • Letter dated 3 April 2014 [PDF, 179 KB] from Mr. César Saldaña, Director General, Consejo Regulador Do Jerez-Xérès-Sherry

      There are no foreseen financial impacts on ICANN and will not negatively impact the systemic security, stability and resiliency of the domain name system.

      This decision is an Organizational Administrative Function that does not require public comment.

    The Chair called the meeting to a close.

Published on 15 April 2014

April 15, 2014   No Comments