Opinion of the Governmental Advisory Committee on New Generic Top Level Domains
(16 November 2000)

Opinion of the Governmental Advisory Committee
on New Generic Top Level Domains

16 November 2000

Marina del Rey, California USA

1. General Principles

1.1 The successful establishment of new gTLDs by ICANN will be a significant and major step in introducing diversity and choice in the DNS and to meet the requirements of the expansion of the global Internet.

1.2 A primary mission of ICANN is to maintain the stability of the DNS, thereby justifying a progressive and measured approach to the creation of new gTLDs. Creating a limited number of new gTLDs would be consistent with this objective at this time. The new gTLDs should enhance the diversity of the DNS, and benefit from published registration policies. Such policies should contribute to the transparency and coherence of the DNS, at the same time as restricting the risk of speculation, confusion of the final users and infringement of existing trademark rights. Such policies should be ratified by ICANN after appropriate consultation with the global Internet community.

1.3 The GAC has previously stated in its Operating Principles that: "The Internet naming and addressing system is a public resource that must be managed in the interests of the global Internet community". The GAC considers that this means that new gTLDs should be operated as shared access Registries in the public interest, world-wide and that ICANN should be particularly attentive to ensuring that adequate competition is introduced at all possible levels in the DNS registration market.

1.4 One of ICANN’s main objectives in creating new gTLDs is to offer users, world-wide, alternative, independently managed, competitive choices in the DNS that reflect the geographic and linguistic diversity of the global Internet community. In its evaluation of these proposals, ICANN should give careful consideration to the possible economic effects of the existing business affiliations and operational assignments of the applicants for new gTLDs.

1.5 The GAC notes that competition policy applies to gTLD Registries. ICANN should ensure that the new gTLD’s policies provide adequate safeguards to protect the interests of users. Such safeguards may include consideration of structural separation of Registry and Registrar functions, not-for-profit or cost-recovery models, transparency in Registry pricing, or other mechanisms.

2. Agreements between ICANN and new gTLDs

2.1 The GAC considers that ICANN’s agreements with the selected Registry sponsors and operators should include the following provisions:

a.requirements to maintain accurate and up-to-date registration data, including a publicly available WHOIS database;

b.conditions for the efficient and effective resolutions of disputes arising from domain name registrations in a manner consistent with ICANN’s UDRP process

c.requirements for non-discriminatory, transparent policies for registrations;

d.in the case of new gTLDs which have restricted registration policies, commitments to:

i.consult with and encourage participation of the relevant constituencies at the international level in the establishment of the gTLD’s policies;

ii.provide for representation of other entities worldwide representing elements of the same constituency.

2.2 The GAC notes that where Registry sponsors are international intergovernmental organisations, any agreement with such bodies may require approval of their Members.


3. Other Public policy considerations

3.1 The GAC reaffirms its position stated in "Principles for the Delegation and Administration of Country Code Top Level Domains" (as stated in the Cairo Communique), concerning the creation of new generic TLDs.

3.2 The GAC strongly supports the work being done by the IETF and other parties to promote multilingual access to the domain name system. The GAC encourages ICANN to advance this work to reach an agreed set of technical standards among the different parties as quickly as possible consistent with maintaining stability of the Internet. Participation in this important work by new gTLDs is encouraged.

3.3 The GAC recommends that ICANN, to the extent of its powers, provide relevant governments and distinct economies as recognised in international fora with an opportunity to participate in the development of policy in relation to the implementation of multilingual DNS access to domain names using non-ASCII character sets or letters which apply to a relevant country’s culture.

3.4 In formulating its DNS policies, ICANN should take into account applicable laws and international conventions (for example with respect to protection of personal data and intellectual property rights) and relevant work currently underway in international intergovernmental organizations such as the ITU and WIPO.

3.5 The GAC discussed geographical, geopolitical, and ethnic concepts in relation to new gTLDs. These discussions will continue in subsequent meetings of the GAC.

3.6 The GAC notes that WIPO Member States have asked WIPO to consider and make recommendations on issues related to bad faith, abusive, misleading or unfair use of personal names, International Non-proprietary Names (INNs) for Pharmaceutical Substances, names of international intergovernmental organizations, geographical indications, indications of source or geographical terms, and tradenames.

3.6.1 WIPO’s report may lead to the development of policies in these areas. In these circumstances, the registration policies for new gTLDs, as approved by ICANN, could make reference to the WIPO 2nd Domain Names Process and provide for ready adoption of any ICANN policies resulting from this process. Accordingly, should registration policies initially implemented by new gTLDs allow for registrations of names in any of these categories, registrants should be made aware that the adoption of such policies may have potential impact on registrations.


4. Processes

4.1 Recognising the need to act promptly to create new gTLDs, the GAC nevertheless stresses that before completing the work necessary to implement the selected applications, ICANN take into account relevant additional advice from interested parties, including the international dimension.

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