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Minutes of the GNSO Council Meeting 10 October 2013

Last Updated:

Agenda and Documents
The meeting started at 18:00 UTC.

Meeting Times 18:00 UTC

List of attendees: NCA – Non Voting – Jennifer Wolfe

Contracted Parties House
Registrar Stakeholder Group: Mason Cole, Volker Greimann
Yoav Keren,

 gTLD Registries Stakeholder Group: Jeff Neuman, Jonathan Robinson, Ching Chiao

Nominating Committee Appointee (NCA): Thomas Rickert

Non-Contracted Parties House
Commercial Stakeholder Group (CSG): Wolf-Ulrich Knoben, Zahid Jamil, John Berard, Osvaldo Novoa, Brian Winterfeldt, Petter Rindforth

Non Commercial Stakeholder Group (NCSG): Maria Farrell, Joy Liddicoat –proxy to David Cake in case of connectivity issues, Magaly Pazello, Wolfgang Kleinwächter –absent, apologies, proxy to Maria Farrell, David Cake, Wendy Seltzer

Nominating Committee Appointee (NCA): Lanre Ajayi

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


David Olive - VP Policy Development – absent - apologies
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

MP3 Recording
Adobe Chat Transcript


Item 1: Administrative matters (5 minutes)

1.1 Roll Call

1.2 Statement of interest updates

No statement of Interest updates

1.3 Review/amend agenda
Possible change of place of Item 8.

1.4. Note the status of minutes for the previous Council meeting per the GNSO Operating Procedures
Minutes of the GNSO Council meeting 1 August 2013 posted as approved on 6 September 2013
Minutes of the GNSO Council meeting 5 September 2013 posted as approved on 10 October 2013

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

Jonathan Robinson encouraged Councillors to review the Projects List and Action List.

Action Item:

Specifically with regard to the Standing Committee on GNSO Improvements Implementation, Councillors are encouraged to comment on the list on the form of consensus required for decision making. While this is an outstanding item it is not holding up the work on revising the Charter for this group.

Item 3: Consent agenda

Council approved closing the following projects and removing them from the Project List

  • Fake renewal notices
  • Defensive registrations

Item 4: MOTION - To approve the report of the Whois Survey Working Group (WSWG)

Jonathan Robinson seconded by Thomas Rickert proposed a motion to approve the Whois Survey Working Group (WSWG) Final Report and Recommendations


  1.  On 07 May 2009, the GNSO Council resolved that Policy Staff, with the assistance of technical staff and GNSO Council members as required, should collect and organize a comprehensive set of requirements for the Whois service policy tools;
  2.  On 29 July 2010, Staff published the Inventory of Whois Service Requirements - Final Report;
  3. In July 2011, volunteers drafted a proposed charter for a Whois Survey "Working Group", preferring the term "Working Group" to "Drafting Team" in this case;;
  4. On 30 May 2012, the WSWG published a draft of the Whois Service Requirements Survey for public comment,;
  5. On 13 September 2012, the WSWG released the final Whois Service Requirements Survey to solicit input from community members on the possible technical requirements of a future Whois system,;
  6. On 13 September 2012, ICANN staff compiled and consolidated the survey results and the WSWG completed the WSWG Final Report, (


  1. That the GNSO Council thanks the Whois Survey Working Group (WSWG) and ICANN staff for their efforts in conducting the survey and compiling survey results of possible technical requirements of a future Whois system;
  2. The GNSO Council further approves the recommendations, as defined in the Final Report (, to send the survey results to other applicable efforts regarding Whois and Domain Name Registration Data for their consideration.

The motion carried by voice vote.
All on the call in favour, no votes against, no abstentions.

Concern was expressed that report was based on a small number of respondents and could not be considered statistically representative.

Item 5: MOTION - Motion to approve the further development of a framework for cross community working groups

Jonathan Robinson, seconded by Thomas Rickert proposed a motion for next steps in developing a framework for cross-community Working Groups


  1. in October 2011 the GNSO Council adopted a Resolution approving the formation of a GNSO Drafting Team (DT) to develop a proposed framework under which working groups jointly chartered by other Supporting Organizations and Advisory Committees (SO/ACs) along with the GNSO can effectively function and produce meaningful and timely reports and recommendations on topics that are of interest of such SO/ACs;
  2. pursuant to its Charter the DT proposed a set of Draft Principles for Cross Community Working Groups (CCWGs) that were approved by the GNSO Council in March 2012;
  3. the GNSO Council directed ICANN staff to forward the Draft Principles to the Chairs of the other SO/ACs for their comments on both the principles and the route forward either for the adoption of the Draft Principles or the development of a related set of principles for the operation of CCWGs
  4. in June 2013 the ccNSO provided comments and suggestions regarding the Draft Principles for further consideration by the GNSO Council; and
  5. in full cooperation with other SO/ACs the GNSO Council now wishes to jointly develop an updated set of principles for CCWGs taking into consideration the feedback provided by the ccNSO and in collaboration with other interested SO/ACs so as to create a framework applicable across all SO/ACs for the effective functioning of CCWGs:


  1. The GNSO Council thanks the DT for its work in developing the proposed Draft Principles and the ccNSO for its very constructive feedback;
  2. The GNSO Council directs ICANN staff to prepare a paper consolidating the ccNSO feedback with the Draft Principles and highlighting areas requiring additional work as well as questions for further discussion;
  3. The GNSO Council intends to invite the ccNSO to provide a co-chair for, and all SO/ACs to appoint at least one representative each to, a new drafting team co-chaired by a representative from the GNSO and the ccNSO, to be tasked with creating a charter for a community working group having the responsibility of developing the updated set of principles for CCWGs;
  4. The GNSO Council requests that the new drafting team be formed no later than the first GNSO Council meeting after the ICANN meeting in Buenos Aires in November; and
  5. The GNSO Council hereby appoints John Berard as the GNSO co-chair of the new drafting team.


6. The GNSO Council requests that the new drafting team utilizes the Draft Principles, the ccNSO feedback and the upcoming staff paper as the basis for its work; and

7. The GNSO Council requests that the new drafting team, subject to the further input of other interested SO/ACs, consider at a minimum the following matters in developing the set of updated principles:

  • Prior experiences relating to previous and current CCWGs (including without limitation the DSSA Working Group, the Joint GAC-ccNSO IDN Working Group and the Joint ccNSO-GNSO IDN Working Group);
  • The need to align the scope of CCWGs to the remit of each SO/AC and the appropriate delineation of the scope of a CCWG charter as a result;
  • The type of issues or topics that might be suitable for CCWG work;
  • How to deal with outputs from a CCWG and decision-making concerning such outputs, particularly in relation to matters where either an SO/AC disagrees with a CCWG or with one another on a CCWG's recommendations, and taking into account the differing rules and operating procedures within each SO/AC; and
  • The closure of a CCWG and, where applicable, periodic future reviews of CCWG recommendations.

The motion carried by voice vote.
All on the call in favour, no votes against, no abstentions.

Action Item

Make use of existing face to face to meeting with Supporting Organisation and Advisory Committee representatives in Buenos Aires to inform them and encourage participation in this effort.

Item 6: MOTION – To approve a charter for the Translation and Transliteration of Contact Information PDP Working Group

Motion deferred to the next Council meeting at the request of Yoav Keren.

Action Item:

Council members that raised concerns in relation to the charter are strongly encouraged to share these with the Council mailing list to allow for further discussion of the issue in all Constituencies and Stakeholder Groups.

Item 7: DISCUSSION – Policy issues surrounding string confusion

Council was interested to know from ICANN staff whether

  1. ICANN has come to a conclusion on how it will deal with the apparent inconsistencies in outcomes relating to plural and singular versions of the same term and the contradictory decisions on identical strings (including when compared to one another and when referenced against original, relevant GNSO policy)
  2. Is there any (legal) advice that the Council should consider when thinking about policy recommendations to remedy the inconsistencies?

Christine Willett commented as follows:           

Staff is engaged in reviewing all of the determinations as they come out to understand the rationale being put forth. The determinations indicate that there are different arguments being made relying upon different expert analysis being offered up as evidence. In some cases the applicants or the objectors had the opportunity to request consolidation of those cases however, the Applicant Guide Book encourages consolidation of cases but it does not require consolidation of objection cases. Some applicants may expressly have chosen not to opt for consolidation. The indication is that experts are reaching different conclusions based on different sets of information.

The Applicant Guide Book does not prohibit what could be considered in terms of confusability as it pertains specifically to string confusion objections. Dispute providers in all of the objection cases, but specifically for string confusion objections, have been provided with the information from the Applicant Guide Book about the probability of user confusion. They were not restricted to visual similarity, as was the original string similarity panel.

Staff is monitoring all determinations and the ICANN Board New gTLD Program Committee (NGPC) had this topic on their agenda for their last meeting on 28 September 2013.

In terms of consistency with policy, the program team is working to execute the implementation of policy as it is described in the Applicant Guide Book (which was already developed when I arrived at ICANN). From a consistency perspective we are seeing different results in the objection determinations and we are continuing to monitor those.

What is the process by which you are operating after a decision comes out?
Individual objections do not go to the Board or to the New gTLD Program Committee for confirmation or review. We are operating at a measured pace as applications proceed through the phases of the program. We recognize that there have been reconsideration requests on the basis of the objection determinations. So as long as staff is aware of any objector or applicant invoking accountability mechanisms such as the reconsideration request we will look at those on a case by case basis before we proceed with applications through to contracting.

There is an ongoing review before specific applications are allowed to proceed on.

There is a distinction between contracting and the execution of an agreement.

All activities and ongoing accountability mechanisms related to either the specific application or the related objections and objector applications for a specific string are taken into account before proceeding to contracting, this being one of the criteria considered before executing agreements.


Could Council could be of assistance in terms of reconciling what are apparently inconsistent decisions?    

If a change or extension of the proceedings in the Applicant Guide Book were envisaged, engagement with the Council could be envisaged.

Council should have a clear understanding of the legal limitations of its policy responses before undertaking any work on the matter.

A suggestion was made to set up a proposal for an appeals mechanism

Action Item:

Follow- up on the letter sent previously.

The GNSO Council, in conjunction with Staff, will initiate some work within the GNSO subject to seeking legal advice from ICANN legal Counsel that this would be potentially usable in the implementation and consistency of the decisions on string similarity.

Furthermore, that this should not be an impediment to the success of the program, but focused on resolving potential problems.

Item 9: Procedure to elect the GNSO Council Chair

Council approved the current version of the same procedure to elect the GNSO Council Chair during the course of the 2013 annual meeting in Buenos Aires.

Without a formal motion, all on the call were in favour of adopting the current version of the same procedure, there were no votes against, and no abstentions.

Action Item:

Secretariat to Inform the Contracted and Non-Contracted Parties Houses of the adoption of the procedure and timeline to elect the GNSO Council chair.

Item 9: UPDATE & DISCUSSION – Protection of IGO-INGO Identifiers in all gTLD Policy Development Process

Thomas Rickert provided Council with an update.
Highlights from the update.
This Policy Development Process (PDP) is unique in various areas. The recommendations are divided into 38 items that look at the question of special protections for different types of organizations in a holistic way and the group has not come to consensus on the charter questions. The aim is to have a motion before Council to vote on the Final Report at the Buenos Aires meeting thus councilors are strongly encouraged to discuss the recommendations in the constituencies and stakeholder groups in preparation for the vote. In addition the Board has made it very clear that they have granted provisional protections pending the outcome of the PDP and there is a probability that the protections now granted provisionally might end up being the protections that are granted finally. This emphasizes the need for the Council to conclude the work quickly so that these protections are not perpetuated by default.
The update to the Council should not prejudice the outcome of the deliberations but Councillors are urged to respond to the public comment period and help to concluding the project successfully by the Buenos Aires meeting in November 2013.

Action Item

All to encourage Constituencies and Stakeholder Groups to provide comments to the public comment forum.

Item 9: UPDATE & DISCUSSION – A PDP for relevant policies on issues not dealt with during the course of developing the 2013 RAA

Discussion indicated that in general Council was satisfied that the draft charter covered the relevant policies on issues not dealt with during the course of developing the 2013 registrar, however some councilors expressed concern with some of the language and suggested that certain changes in the charter be made before the next Council meeting on 31 October 2013.

Action Item

  • Circulate the draft charter to Constituencies and Stakeholder Groups requesting input and proposed amendments well in time for the next Council meeting 31 October 2013 at 11:00 UTC.
  • If sufficient support is obtained for the draft charter, prepare motion to vote on the charter at Council meeting 31 October 2013 at 11:00 UTC. If insufficient support is obtained, a drafting team will be formed to prepare the charter.

Item 11: UPDATE & DISCUSSION – Planning for Buenos Aires

Wolf-Ulrich Knoben the GNSO Council Vice Chair, who has again volunteered to take the lead in developing the GNSO weekend working sessions schedule, provided Council with an update which takes into account the suggestions made at the Durban Wrap-Up session to improve the weekend sessions.

Councillors are encouraged to provide input on a) the prioritization of items, b) possible topics to discuss with the ICANN Board, the CEO Fadi Chehadé, the ccNSO and the GAC as soon as possible so as to provide timely information to these groups and so confirm their participation.

Action Item:

Provide input on the Council mailing list with regard to the draft weekend agenda.

Item 12: INPUT & DISCUSSION – Prospective improvements to the Policy Development Process

In the interest of time, this item was deferred to the next meeting and councilors are encouraged to review the table of prospective PDP Improvements.

Action Item

Council members are encouraged to review and share the tabulated version of the proposed improvements with their respective groups and provide feedback ahead of the next GNSO Council meeting.

In the absence of Any Other Business Jonathan Robinson adjourned the GNSO Council meeting and thanked everyone for their participation.

The meeting was adjourned at 20:00 UTC.

The next GNSO Council meeting will take place on Thursday, 31 October 2013 at 11:00 UTC.
See: Calendar