GNSO Council Teleconference Minutes

Last Updated: 31 August 2009
Date: 
1 September 2005

1 September 2005

Proposed agenda and related documents

List of attendees:
Philip Sheppard - Commercial & Business Users C. - absent - apologies
Marilyn Cade - Commercial & Business Users C.
Grant Forsyth - Commercial & Business Users C
Greg Ruth - ISCPC
Antonio Harris - ISCPC
Tony Holmes - ISCPC
Thomas Keller- Registrars - absent - apologies proxy to Ross Rader/Bruce Tonkin
Ross Rader - Registrars
Bruce Tonkin - Registrars
Ken Stubbs - gTLD registries
Philip Colebrook - gTLD registries
Cary Karp - gTLD registries
Lucy Nichols - Intellectual Property Interests C - absent - apologies - proxy to Niklas Lagergren/Kiyoshi Tsuru
Niklas Lagergren - Intellectual Property Interests C
Kiyoshi Tsuru - Intellectual Property Interests C. - absent
Robin Gross - Non Commercial Users C. - absent
Norbert Klein - Non Commercial Users C. - absent
Alick Wilson - Nominating Committee appointee - absent - apologies - proxy to Bruce Tonkin
Maureen Cubberley - Nominating Committee appointee - absent - apologies
Avri Doria - Nominating Committee appointee

12 Council Members

ICANN Staff
Olof Nordling - Manager, Policy Development Coordination
Maria Farrell - ICANN GNSO Policy Support Officer - absent
Liz Williams - Senior Policy Counselor
Glen de Saint G�ry - GNSO Secretariat


GNSO Council Liaisons
Suzanne Sene - GAC Liaison
Bret Fausett - acting ALAC Liaison - absent

Michael Palage - ICANN Board member

MP3 Recording

Quorum present at 14:05 CET.

Bruce Tonkin chaired this teleconference.
Summary:
The discussion by Council lasted for almost two hours, and was taken very seriously by all councillors with many topics raised and discussed. Councillors were supportive of noting and ensuring the role of Council in leadership in addressing the question of further new gTLDs. Various straw proposals related to how to proceed were presented, and discussed by Councillors. Extensive discussion ensued regarding whether policy presently exists, or is being created through this present work of Council. Concerns were raised by councilors that the evaluation work, previously committed, and partially completed, be resumed and that its input be available to Council as they progress further work on policy. After a thorough discussion, the chair, presented a final statement/proposal for vote by the Council .

Agenda

Marilyn Cade requested a discussion on the status of the work required to complete the evaluation of the existing new gTLDs
Cary Karp suggested adding the distinction between the multiple representation of a pre-existing ASCII TLD string using IDN alternatives, and the creation from scratch of new TLDs which used strings using the IDN format.

Item 1: Outcome of the initial introduction of new TLDs

- Current Policy supports the introduction of new gTLDs in a measured
and responsible manner, subject to evaluation of initial introduction
- choices (a) Undertake a PDP to determine policy on whether to
introduce new tlds
(b) Undertake a review of the current policy and see if this
policy should change based on the evaluation of new TLDs

Marilyn Cade, who was involved in New TLD Evaluation Process Planning Task Force (NTEPPTF) working group and on the President's evaluation committee, commented that the previous round of new gTLDs, had not been completed for either the initial “proof of concept” gTLDs, (e.g. .biz, .info etc) or the recently approved "proof of concept" gTLDs (e.g. .travel .jobs etc). A report, Evaluation of New TLDs, Policy and Legal issues, was published on the introduction of the first proof of concept round, which included .museum,. aero, .biz, .info, .pro, .name, .coop. There were interim steps where the Council and the community supported the extension of the "proof of concept" round to a set of sponsored gTLDs but no evaluation had been done and issues such as the resolution of the more than 3 letter TLDs had not been satisfactorily solved. The list of items to complete needed to be identified in a timely manner and in parallel with the process for introducing new gTLDs. Before introducing new gTLDs, issues such as ensuring that there were effective escrow services, and ensuring a process in place for registry failure should be examined.

Ken Stubbs commented that from a security and stability stand point there should be a formalised methodology for data escrow and the maintenance of stored data for registries and registrars.
Marilyn Cade stated that it was important to ascertain the level of agreement among councillors on whether the GNSO Council had determined a policy for the introduction of new gTLDs and cautioned against a situation where the role of the GNSO Council in policy development could be bypassed.

Bruce Tonkin agreed that from the past material it was ambiguous whether there was a clear policy for introducing new gTLDs beyond the initial introduction and proposed that Council determine a position, as a starting point, to send to the ICANN Board for agreement on moving ahead.
There were two approaches:
- Undertake a policy development process (PDP) to determine policy on whether to introduce new gtlds
- Undertake a policy review (in the same way that the Transfers Policy and WHOIS Data Reminder Policy were being reviewed) reviewing the initial reasons for introducing new gtlds, the evaluation report on new gtlds, and determine whether the policy should be changed taking into account Council's previous decisions, such as a bottom up process, demand driven, objective criteria.

Council members expressed their views:
Ross Rader asked whether a review would uncover more information than had already been gathered,
Ken Stubbs commented that the landscape had changed since 2000, agreed that there was a need to create new gTLDs and there should be a policy addressing IDNs.
Avri Doria agreed that there was a decision to move forward in a measured and responsible manner, subject to evaluation of the initial introduction but that the policy had not been defined. Avri basically agreed in working in parallel to finish the review in a timely manner so new policies could be reviewed in the light of the analysis.
Tony Holmes suggested a PDP to move forward and agreed that the landscape had changed since the initial work which focused on a particular set of new gTLDs but had left no long term policy in place. It was preferable to update previous work on whether new gTLDs should be introduced rather than starting over.
Niklas Lagergren's view was that a PDP was necessary to determine whether new gTLDs should be introduced.
Tony Harris commented that it not a question of whether there should be new gtlds, there were procedures in place for introducing new gTLDs , but going about the introduction in the right way was important so that granted approval could not be blocked at a later stage.
Cary Karp enquired whether ICANN's statements to the US Government in connection with the MOU on the intention to introduce new gTLDs should be taken into account.
Marilyn Cade responded that the MOU called for a strategy and that previous decisions, procedures and practices should be taken into account in creating a policy, but it could not be assumed that a policy already existed.
Ross Rader commented that the Names Council resolution passed in April 2000
"that the future introduction of additional top-level domains be done only after careful evaluation of the initial introduction" was very clear that there would be some sort of future introduction done after the evaluation.
Marilyn Cade stated that addressing IDNs was a significant priority. Taking into account the evaluation, whether to introduce more ASCII gTLDs should be addressed, but other work should be done in parallel to advance the policy development process related to the introduction of new gTLDs that use IDN based strings.
Marilyn supported a PDP with accelerated terms of reference that would take into account reports generated by the ICANN staff and input directed by Council.
Bruce Tonkin summarised that there was general support for a PDP which would examine whether more gTLDs should be introduced, the criteria, the allocation methods assuming that there was a practical limit to how many could be introduced at once and the contractual conditions imposed on registry operators,, that is, what was important in the agreements.
The evaluation work should continue, be updated and the parts of the evaluation not yet completed should be identified.

Item 2: Policy development tasks - managed via a PDP

2.1 Objective Criteria for accepting new TLD applications
- use criteria used for .net tender, and initial introduction of new tlds as a starting
point
- consider whether to place limits on the strings that can be used at
the top level

2.2 Allocation method if there are more applications than can be managed
in a single round
- options may include first-come/first-served, ballot system, auction,
or combination

2.3 Key conditions in ICANN agreement with registry operator
- use current key conditions in registry agreements as a starting point
(e.g must use ICANN accredited registrars, must treat registrars
equitably etc)

Bruce Tonkin, referring to a previous question from Marilyn Cade on the role of the GNSO Council in policy development tasks related to introducing new gTLDs, noted that one of the issues was whether the ICANN community trusted the GNSO to run the new gTLD process, namely:
- did the community think that the GNSO would receive enough varied input to fully consider the different points of view
- could the GNSO manage the process in a timely manner.

It would thus be important for the GNSO to carefully manage the expectations of the ICANN community with respect to any process proposed by the GNSO.

Bruce Tonkin
suggested a PDP as a single project, starting with background work, updating previous papers, having sufficient time to collect constituency statements and public input.
Ross Rader supported a PDP approach based on previous work already completed. In addition Ross noted that the "working group C" reports should be included in New TLDS, past decisions and documents.
Bruce Tonkin suggested staff support to collect the status in the different categories, such as, the criteria and the conditions that a TLD needed to meet, from the existing dot net and org tenders, and the registry agreements for the sponsored and unsponsored tlds.
Cary Karp supported a single integrated study however the issue of IDN on the top level was one of extreme urgency for the ccTLD community as well, though a different set of issues would be driving their interests, and the two discussions should run parallel, thus the IDN issue would be external to the GNSO sphere of control.
The concern was expressed that the ccTLDs were moving their interest on IDNs on the assumption that it was solely a country code concern.

Item 3: Internationalised Domain Name (IDN) pilot

Bruce Tonkin stated that standards for IDNs had arisen since the initial introduction of new TLDs and there were two possible approaches:
(i) that IDNs be treated the same way as any other TLD and built into the process
(ii) that the introduction of IDN strings in the root be treated separately to the process of continuing to roll out new ASCII based gtlds
- that ICANN initiate a limited introduction of IDNs in the root as a pilot project in collaboration with input from the ccNSO and GNSO
- an implementation committee could be established to propose a pilot program with criteria to be evaluated
- this proposal would be subject to public review

Cary Karp commented that there should be a distinction between a TLD which existed in ASCII and the operator of that TLD being able to argue the need for additional representations of the same string using other character sets (IDNs), and a new TLD which would be an IDN. Some of the difficult issues to resolve would be whether the registry operator would be the same and the presumption of incumbent rights to multiple representations of the string.
Ross Rader commented that as with gTLD policy, it was unclear if the current scope of IANA delegations to a registry manager included registrations outside the ASCII character set. Explicit policy need be identified or created in order to make this explicit.
Bruce Tonkin asked whether the issue could be dealt with a part of a pilot study or whether a policy should be created from the beginning.
Marilyn Cade cautioned that there was a risk that policy would occur by past process and procedure rather than by a policy development process.
Avri Doria supported following the proper process for the Council to create the new TLDs, but supported a pilot study in the introduction of the new IDN TLDs.
Bruce Tonkin expressed concern about moving rapidly into IDNs and if a pilot project was undertaken a policy development process should be followed to clearly define the parameters of the pilot project.
Ross Rader commented that in order for the GNSO Council to proceed with these two work items on a parallel track, the new IDN gTLD work must be predicated on the assumption that new gTLDs are warranted. If the outcome of the new gTLD process is that new gTLDS are not warranted, then the new IDN gTLD work should cease.
Marilyn Cade did not support pilot projects and reminded the group that ICANN had a limited role in the IDN issue while Tony Holmes commented that if ICANN did not take up its responsibility for IDNs there would be fragmentation. The ITU was becoming increasingly involved with a reviewing study group to examine what coordination was needed with the IETF and ICANN to support the work on IDNs.

Bruce Tonkin summarised saying that a controlled policy development process was needed to clearly define policy on the introduction of IDNs.

Bruce Tonkin clarified that the outcome of the GNSO teleconference would be conveyed, as a response that had been requested via the CEO, Dr. Paul Twomey, to the ICANN Board. The Council concurred with Bruce Tonkin’s proposal that the output of the Council meeting should be conveyed to the board, by the Council in the near future and concurrence sought in how the Council plans to proceed.

Before proceeding further on actual work, the discussion with the Board, to advise them of Council’s decisions, and to seek their support will need to take place and should be expeditiously scheduled through discussions with the ICANN staff/Board chair, and Council chair.

In the final agreed to proposal, Bruce Tonkin proposed seeking a high level decision that the GNSO Council would develop two policy development processes with the probable need to engage outside experts to assist in the two separate processes. One process is clearly led by the GNSO Council and the second is likely to be a joint initiative with the ccNSO Council , and other parties, as appropriate.

GNSO Policy initiative regarding further new gTLDs:
1. A policy development process which would look at the issues including at a minimum:
- whether to introduce further gTLDs,
- the criteria for approving applications for new TLDs
- the allocation method, assuming that there was a limit to how many gTLDs could be introduced at once.
- the key contractual conditions for those TLDs which might include conditions such as: escrow policies, obligation to use an ICANN accredited registrar etc.

2. The establishment of a shared policy development process to be undertaken in collaboration with the ccNSO [and other relevant parties as expert advisors] for the introduction of IDNs at the root level. Three areas will need to be addressed: the question of the present gTLD strings presented as non ASCII characters, non ASCII second level names, and new gTLDs as non ASCII strings.

3. The expectation that the evaluation of the previous round of new gTLDs, which is not complete for either the initial “proof of concept” gTLDs, or the recent "proof of concept" gTLDs, would continue and the remaining work would be completed and made available in a timely manner to inform the Council’s further policy work.

4. The GNSO will be seeking a budget to obtain expert advice to assist in these policy development initiatives.

Bruce Tonkin
called for a vote supporting this approach and Council members present unanimously supported this proposal and approach by a voice vote.

Some of the relevant points made in the Council’s discussion:
Marilyn Cade supported the approach with the caveat that the proposal of work include additional resources, in the nature of expert advice which will augment the policy support provided by policy staff.
Cary Karp cautioned in responding with regard to developments the IDN components relating to the cc development. It should be emphasised that it was not only issues specific to the gTLD situation and thus a clear platform would be required as reference to provide advice to the entire situation as it would unfold across the TLD space in IDNs in a global situation.
Ross Rader requested that a compilation of existing and past work on IDNs, similar to that which was done on new gTLDs should be undertaken by ICANN staff.

Suzanne Sene, liaison from GAC, noted that the GAC has been requested by ICANN staff to comment on a series of questions in a staff document. The general view of some members of Council was that this work by GAC would be premature since the Council has now undertaken to manage the policy and strategy processes related to the introduction of new gTLDs and the relevant staff document has been turned into a background and supporting document.

Bruce Tonkin declared the GNSO meeting closed and thanked everybody for participating.
The meeting ended: 16: 00 CET.

  • Next GNSO Council Teleconference Thursday 9 September 2005 at 12:00 UTC.
    Topic: GNSO Review Terms of Reference
    see: Calendar