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Minutes of the GNSO Council meeting 10 April 2014

Last Updated:

Agenda and Documents

The meeting started at 14:02 UTC.

List of attendees: NCA – Non Voting – Jennifer Wolfe
Contracted Parties House
Registrar Stakeholder Group: James Bladel, Volker Greimann, Yoav Keren – absent, proxy to James Bladel
gTLD Registries Stakeholder Group: Jonathan Robinson, Ching Chiao, Bret Fausett
Nominating Committee Appointee (NCA): Thomas Rickert
Non-Contracted Parties House
Commercial Stakeholder Group (CSG): Mikey O'Connor – absent, apologies, Osvaldo Novoa, Gabriella Szlak, John Berard, Brian Winterfeldt, Petter Rindforth
Non Commercial Stakeholder Group (NCSG): Klaus Stoll, Maria Farrell, David Cake, absent, apologies proxy to Avri Doria,  Avri Doria, Amr Elsadr, Magaly Pazello
Nominating Committee Appointee (NCA): Daniel Reed

GNSO Council Liaisons/Observers:
Alan Greenberg – ALAC Liaison
Patrick Myles – ccNSO Observer – absent, apologies

David Olive – VP Policy Development 
Marika Konings – Senior Policy Director
Rob Hoggarth – Senior Policy Director
Mary Wong – Senior Policy Director
Julie Hedlund – Policy Director
Berry Cobb – Policy consultant
Lars Hoffmann – Policy Analyst
Glen de Saint Géry – GNSO Secretariat
Cory Schruth – Systems Engineer

Martin Sutton – President Brand Registry Group & Fraud Risk Manager at HSBC.

MP3 Recording
Adobe Chat Transcript

Item 1: Administrative matters

1.1 Roll Call
1.2 Statement of interest updates
No updates
1.3 Review/amend agenda
The agenda was approved.

1.4. The Minutes of the GNSO Council meetings on 27 February 2014 and 26 March 2014 still to be posted.

Item 2: Opening Remarks / Review of Projects & Action List

Council members are encouraged to review the Projects List and Action List before each Council meeting.

Arising from the Action List:

London Meeting
Volker Greimann will take the lead on planning the GNSO Council sessions for the ICANN meeting in London.
Marika Konings will share the survey link with the Council.
Councillors are encouraged to respond to the survey so that the input can be used to respond to the needs of the Council and community to improve the meetings.
Councillors are encouraged to provide input to the Council mailing list to develop the agenda with items they wish to add, remove or revise.

Multi-stakeholder Innovation Panel public comment period
Councillors are encouraged to comment on the draft response to the Multi-stakeholder Innovation Panel public comment period.
Council was reminded that the focus is on the Multi-stakeholder Innovation Panel's (MSI) work because it seems to potentially impact the Council's work directly.
It can be noted in the response that there is an apparent inconsistency in that there is a public comment period open on the draft Strategic Plan, whilst it was the understanding that the work of the Strategy Panels was being undertaken in order to inform the development of the Strategic Plan.

Item 3: Consent agenda

No items on the consent agenda
Jonathan Robinson reminded the Council that the original purpose of this meeting was the prospect of having a requirement to confirm the Non-Contracted Parties' House Board seat 14 election but there is no such requirement to have a meeting per se to confirm that the appointment. Confirmation is an administrative act on the part of the chair to inform the ICANN Secretary who has been elected (by the relevant house) to fill that position.

Item 4: DISCUSSION – GNSO Council advice regarding Specification 13 of the new gTLD registry agreement

Jonathan Robinson provided Council with a background to the topic. The GNSO developed a policy to introduce new gTLDs, which gave rise to the Applicant Guidebook on which basis applications for new gTLDs were submitted. This resulted in the production of a base Registry agreement to which Specification 13 is a proposed variation which was developed and put out for public comment. Among the public comments, there was an adverse comment (which was recently withdrawn) from a group of Registrars. The New gTLD Program Committee therefore informed the Council that, A, they had decided to implement Specification 13 but "Implementation of this additional clause is being delayed for a time in respect of the GNSO policy development process by providing the GNSO Council an opportunity to advise ICANN as to whether the GNSO Council believes that this additional clause is inconsistent with the letter and intent of GNSO Policy Recommendation 19 on the Introduction of New Generic Top-­-Level Domains. In case additional time for review is necessary beyond the 45 days, please advise the NGPC along with an explanation as to why this additional time is required."

Martin Sutton, President of the Brand Registry Group (BRG) and Fraud Risk Manager at HSBC (responsible for leading the application for dotHSBC within HSBC), but here speaking for the BRG, provided Council with the following background information, in addition to the information provided prior in an FAQ on Specification 13.
Since the beginning of the new gTLD application process "dotBrands" has been fraught with uncertainty. However as the process advanced a number of like-minded applicants, the Brand Registry Group (BRG), together approached ICANN and constructed a suitable variation to the Base Contract and specific to dotBrands that would help minimize individual negotiations and allow dotBrands to move swiftly through the contracting phase. Specification 13 is the result of this process. DotBrands are a unique model brought to the table by 1/3 of the new gTLD applicants and the key aspects for a dotBrand is the fact that the domain names will be owned and controlled by the registry operator and so there is no market for domains and therefore no conventional distribution channels required.
This provision is important to dotBrand registries because it is part of their ability to control and secure all of the processes and actors that will play a part in running the registries and so benefit the users.

Highlights from the discussion:

  • Concern was expressed that it is setting a possible precedent that ICANN accreditation is not a flat business category for future rounds or future business models in that providers can pick and choose, which registrars they will or will not operate with. In the Specification 13 context it may be appropriate, but in some contexts it may not be appropriate. However it is encouraging that the New gTLD program committee involved the Council.
  •  It was pointed out that, taking heed of the feedback to the comments on Specification 13, the number of exclusive registrars to a dotBrand was actually restricted.
  • It was emphasized that the substantive part of the issue was secondary to the process since the original recommendation 19 can be considered a GNSO policy recommendation, and the Council does not have the power to revise original policy recommendations and therefore an outcome of a PDP process without going back to the original stakeholders that submitted that recommendation.
  • It was further pointed out that at the time the policy recommendations were made in 2007 there was no explicit recognition of different models coming to the marketplace.
  • The Registries Stakeholder Group discussed the issue. No consensus or conclusion has been made.
  • Some of the sponsored TLDs (sTLD) that have a more restricted business model and did choose to work with selected registrars.
  • Specification 13 may open door for possible abuse.
  • About 350 dotBrands may choose to go with Specification 13.
  • The Intellectual Property constituency and the Business Constituency expressed the view that Specification 13 does not apply in the case of policy guidance that the Council had previously offered and are in favour of letting the Board know that they approve the resolution.
  • The question that needs to be answered is that if the general response from all of the parts of the GNSO is that specification 13 is consistent with the policy advice and is it a reasonable interpretation of the policy advice, then it is a reasonable extension and no further work is required on the issue. If it is not consistent and the consensus is it is not consistent, then there is a real problem.
  • Council needs to take a vote on this and the 45 day timeline allows for a vote during the next Council meeting on 8 May 2014.
  • The procedural way to address this might be to consider this as a matter of implementation oversight. The Policy Development Process (PDP) life cycle allows the GNSO to do this.
  • It would be expedient to invite former members of the Council, who were around the table when the original policy recommendations were crafted, to provide their views.

In conclusion, Councilors should go back to their stakeholder groups and constituencies and ask them for a position on this question and possibly even with a solution or suggestion of how to proceed in case this does not get approved.
The original question asked by new gTLD program committee, needs a "yes" or "no" response. If yes, are there any other points that could be made. If no, what alternative process can be suggested.

Action Item:

  • Jonathan Robinson and Thomas Rickert to work together to formulate the questions to put to all the groups that will then individually discuss them, as well as discuss alternatives/solutions that could be offered to the Board in case there is a conflict with existing policy recommendations.
  • Thomas Rickert will reach out to the original working group members and Councilors to find out more about the original discussions that led to the policy recommendations that were adopted.
  • Prepare a motion to be voted on which needs to be submitted to the Council by 28 April for consideration at the 8 May 2014 meeting.

Item 5: DISCUSSION – Internet Governance Issues

Jonathan Robinson noted that the transition of stewardship of the IANA function from the US government is now firmly on the GNSO's agenda and the Council must determine its role and function with respect to this.
In the discussion it was pointed out that two GNSO seats proposed for the recently proposed Steering Group is insufficient representation of all the GNSO stakeholders, however, as many seats as the GNSO think it needs is what other groups should be allowed to or may expect to have. The selection of the steering group members cannot be a Staff exercise.
The cross community Working Group on Internet Governance was not set up to deal with the transition and there is a recognition that the community originated work on the NTIA transition is likely to occur outside of the existing cross-community Working Group.
There is a need to integrate work across the different Supporting Organisations and Advisory Committees and to involve the structures beyond the ICANN community. The key question is responding to both the structure and content of the Steering Group proposal, and distinguishing the Internet Governance issue from the mission and purpose of the GNSO.

Action Item:

Jonathan Robinson committed to talking to and co-ordinating with the Supporting Organisations and Advisory Committees and keeping the Council informed of developments.

Item 6: Any Other Business

6.1 Submission of Council input to the call for Public Comment on ICANN Strategy Panels – Draft Reports

John Berard was not in agreement with the process and commented that he repeats the statement he made in Singapore that it was not the Council's role to offer primary comment when in fact the stakeholder groups and constituencies that comprised of GNSO have not yet offered comment. It would be more appropriate, for the Council to offer comment in the reply period by focusing on those areas of agreement among the constituencies and stakeholder groups.

Maria Farrell suggested looking for a way in which .."we just as a group of people that are very deeply engaged in this, use our opinions or our insights without claiming any special status with them because we happen to be on the Council."

6.2 Submission of Council input to the call for Public Comment on ICANN Future Meetings Strategy

Maria Farrell, helped by James Bladel, volunteered to take the lead on the response to the future meeting strategy public comments.

6.3 Consideration of a co-chair for the CWG on country names and territories as TLDs. To date two volunteers have come forward, Ching Chiao and Heather Forrest

Suggest that the two names, Ching Chiao and Heather Forrest are put forward as co-chairs and the eventual decision will be with the Working Group.
Jonathan Robinson adjourned the GNSO Council meeting and thanked everyone for their participation.

The meeting was adjourned at 15:35 UTC.

The next GNSO Council meeting will take place on Thursday, 8 May 2014 at 15:00 UTC.

See: Calendar