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Final Report and Recommendations of the GNSO Council's Transfers Task Force
Exhibit C: Standardized Definitions
30 November 2002
As updated 12 February 2003


Final Report and Recommendations of the GNSO Council's Transfers Task Force
Exhibit C: Standardized Definitions
12 February 2003

A Glossary of Terms and Acronyms

AuthInfo: See Authorization Information Codes.

Authorization Information Codes: Authorization information is associated with domain objects to facilitate transfer operations. This information is stored as a series of codes and assigned when a domain object is created. The codes can be updated by both Registrars and customers. Password-based authorization is typical, but other mechanisms are allowed for by the protocols that support the transfers.

Contact: Contacts are individuals or entities associated with domain name records. Typically, third parties with specific inquiries or concerns will use contact records to determine who should act upon specific issues related to a domain name record. There are typically three of these contact types associated with a domain name record, the Administrative contact, the Billing contact and the Technical contact.

Contact, Administrative: The administrative contact is an individual, role or organization authorized to interact with the Registry or Registrar on behalf of the Domain Holder. The administrative contact should be able to answer non-technical questions about the domain name's registration and the Domain Holder. In all cases, the Administrative Contact is viewed as the authoritative point of contact for the domain name, second only to the Domain Holder.

Contact, Billing: The billing contact is the individual, role or organization designated to receive the invoice for domain name registration and re-registration fees.

Contact, Technical: The technical contact is the individual, role or organization that is responsible for the technical operations of the delegated zone. This contact likely maintains the domain name server(s) for the domain. The technical contact should be able to answer technical questions about the domain name, the delegated zone and work with technically oriented people in other zones to solve technical problems that affect the domain name and/or zone.

DNS: See "Domain Name System".

Domain Holder: The individual or organization that registers a specific domain name. This individual or organization holds the right to use that specific domain name for a specified period of time, provided certain conditions are met and the registration fees are paid. This person or organization is the "legal entity" bound by the terms of the relevant service agreement with the Registry operator for the TLD in question.

Domain Name System: The domain name system is a distributed database arranged hierarchically. Its purpose is to provide a layer of abstraction between other Internet services (web, email, etc .) and the numeric addresses (IP addresses) used to uniquely identify any given machine on the Internet.

EPP: See "Extensible Provisioning Protocol"

Exclusive Registration System: A domain name registration system in which Registry services are limited to a single Registrar. Exclusive Registration Systems may be either loosely coupled (in which case the separation between Registry and Registrar systems is readily evident), or tightly coupled (in which case the separation between Registry and Registrar systems is obscure).

Extensible Provisioning Protocol: an IETF standard for Internet domain name registration between domain name Registrars and domain name registries. This protocol provides a means of interaction between a Registrar's applications and Registry applications. Based on a standard XML schema.

FOA: See "Standardized Form of Authorization".

GTLD: See "Top Level Domain, Generic".

Glue Record: A Glue Record is an A record that is created as part of a delegation.

ICANN: Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. A non-profit organization founded to assume responsibility for IP address space assignment, protocol parameter assignment, domain name system management and root server system management.

IANA: Internet Assigned Numbers Authority. The prior organization that was tasked with responsibility for IP address space assignment, protocol parameter assignment, domain name system management and root server system management. Now limited to performing the technical delegation of TLDs under ICANN.

InterNIC: The InterNIC, a registered service mark of the U.S. Department of Commerce, is a concept for an integrated network information center that was developed by several companies, including Network Solutions, in cooperation with the U.S. Government. Until recently, the term InterNIC is being used in conjunction with a neutral, stand alone web page (located at http://www.internic.net) that has been established to provide the public with information regarding Internet domain name registration. ICANN has recently undertaken an agreement with the United States Department of Commerce to undertake operation of the effort. The InterNIC was originally created by NSF to provide specific Internet services; directory & database services (by AT&T), registration services (by Network Solutions) and information services (by General Atomics/CERFnet).

Inter-Registrar Domain Name Transfers: [IRDX] In a domain name transfer, the Registrant changes the service that provides the front-end domain name service. The service provided to Registrant requires that the Gaining Registrar make a formal request to the Losing Registrar to make the Gaining Registrar the official service providing domain name service for that name. The request that passes between the Registrars is the Inter-Registrar Domain Name Transfer.

IRDX: See "Inter-Registrar Domain Name Transfers".

ISO-3166-1: A document maintained by the International Standards Organization that gives coded representations of more than 230 names of countries or areas independent from countries. This document contains two-letter (Alpha-2-code), a three-letter code (Alpha-3-code) and a three-digit numeric code (Numeric-3-code) for every entry in its list of country names. This has been typically the document that IANA uses to create ccTLD entries in the root-zone system.

NACK: See "non-acknowledgement of transfer request".

Nameserver: A computer running software that authoritatively looks up the numeric equivalent (IP Address) of a record in a zone file, usually for the purpose of allowing remote client access to remote server resources over a network.

Namespace: All combinations of Domain Names and Top Level Domains, registered and otherwise, existing below the Root System.

NIC: Network Information Center.

NIC Handle: A NIC Handle is an identifier in use by some Registrars and registries that is assigned to various records in the domain name database. Globally, they do not have a common format or application. Further, they are not globally unique.

Non-acknowledgement of Transfer Request [ NACK ]: In the process on transferring a domain name, the Registrar from whom the domain is being transferred must approve or reject the transfer. In the protocol that supports this process the request to approve or reject at transfer request must contain a message with the word "Approve" and a value of yes or no. In the case where the transfer request is denied by the Registrar from whom the domain is being transferred, we say that the transfer request was NACKed (denied).

Object: A generic term used to describe entities that are created, updated, deleted, and otherwise managed by a generic Registry-Registrar protocol. This includes nameserver objects, contact objects and other similar entities.

Registrant: See "Domain Holder".

Registrar: A person or entity that, via contract with Domain Holders and a Registry, provides front-end domain name registration services to Registrants, providing a public interface to Registry services.

Registrar, Accredited: A Registrar that has been certified as meeting certain minimal criteria to act as a Registrar for a specific TLD. This term is almost solely used when referring to Registrars that have been certified by ICANN. ccTLD Registries also accredit Registrars, and though they may use differing terms, the concepts are largely the same.

Registrar, Gaining: In a domain name transfer, the Registrant changes the service that provides the front-end domain name service. The Gaining Registrar is the institution or organization that becomes the new Registrar for the Registrant.

Registrar Lock Feature: The Registrar lock feature is a feature in inter-Registrar communications that prevents unwanted Registrar transfers and DNS object changes. The lock feature is aimed at providing Registrars with a method to prevent DNS object transfers and changes that have not been approved by the Registrant.

Registrar, Losing: In a domain name transfer, the Registrant changes the service that provides the front-end domain name service. The Losing Registrar is the institution or organization that used to be the Registrar and who is "losing" the service contract for registration services to the Gaining Registrar.

Registrar, Sponsoring: The Registrar responsible for the submission of the domain name to the Registry.

Registrar Operator: A term used to denote the entity providing the technical services to a Registrar in support of their registration services. Also referred to as a "Registrar Outsourcer" or "Registrar Provider".

Registration Authority: The policy making body for any given TLD. Examples include the Canadian Internet Registration Authority, Nominet and MuseDoma.

Registry: A Registry is the person(s) or entity(ies) responsible for providing Registry services. Registry services include customer database administration, zone file publication, DNS operation, marketing and policy determination in accordance with the general principles outlined in RFC 1591 [5]. A Registry may outsource some, all, or none of these services.

Registry, EPP-based: A Registry that uses EPP (see "Extensible Provisioning Protocol") as the mechanism communicating with the Registrar.

Registry, RPP-based: A Registry that uses RPP (see "RPP") as the mechanism for communicating with the Registrar.

Registry, Thick: A Registry in which all of the information associated with registered entities, including both technical information (information needed to produce zone files) and social information (information needed to implement operational, business, or legal practices), is stored within the Registry repository.

Registry, Thin: A Registry in which some element of the social information associated with registered entities is distributed between a shared Registry and the Registrars served by the Registry.

Registry Operator: Usually synonymous with the term Registry, however a Registry Operator may also be an organization or individual acting operating the Registry under an outsourced technical services management contract.

RRP: The Registry Registrar protocol: a set of specifications for a TCP-based, 7-bit US-ASCII text protocol that permits multiple Registrars to provide second level Internet domain name registration services in the top level domains (TLDs) administered by a TLD Registry. Unlike EPP, RRP is specified using Augmented Backus-Nauer Form (ABNF).

SLD: An "SLD" is a second-level domain of the DNS.

SLD, Functional: A reasonable equivalent to an SLD in a namespace where second level domains are not permitted for policy reasons. An example of a Functional SLD would be foo.com.au. While .com is the actual SLD, .au policy does not permit the widespread registration of second level domains, thereby creating a proliferation of Functional SLDs (in this case .foo) in the .au namespace.

SLD Holder: See "Domain Holder".

SLD Sponsor: See "Registrar, Sponsoring".

Shared Registration System: A domain name registration system in which Registry services are shared among multiple independent Registrars. Shared Registration Systems require a loose coupling between Registrars and a Registry.

Standardized Form of Authorization: [FOA] When a Gaining Registrar is in the process of executing a domain name transfer it must provide the registered domain name holder with a means of verification. The documentation that verifies the transaction is called the "Standardized Form of Authorization" (FOA) The acronym stems from legacy applications but has been preserved for the sake of continuity and ease-of-understanding.

TLD: Top Level Domain. A generic term used to describe both gTLDs and ccTLDs that exist under the top-level root of the domain name hierarchy.

Top Level Domain: See "TLD".

Top Level Domain, Country Code: A TLD that corresponds to an entry in the ISO-3166-1 list. .UK, .GG, .JE are also ccTLDs despite the lack of a corresponding entry in the ISO-3166-1 list.

Top Level Domain, Generic: A TLD created to act as a globally relevant resource. Examples of these include .COM, .NET, .ORG, .INFO, .BIZ and .AERO amongst others.

Transfer Authorization Record: Gaining Registrars are required to maintain reliable evidence of express authorization by the Registrant or Administrative Contact of record. This transfer authorization record is in a standard format and may include information from the individual or entity that has apparent authority to execute the transfer request.

Whois: a TCP transaction based query/response server, that providing netwide directory service to network users. The Whois Protocol was originally defined in RFC 954. The initial domain name related application layer implementations were centralized systems run by SRC-NIC and then later InterNIC/Network Solutions. The SRI-NIC and InterNIC implementations are more formally referred to as "NICNAME/Whois" services. Whois is not purely a domain name or IP address directory service, but has been deployed for a wide variety of uses, both public and private. Other variants of this service include RWhois and the newer Verisign Referral LDAP Whois service. Whois can refer to the protocol defined in RFC 954 or the generic application service described above.

Whois, Bulk: A data retrieval mechanism required by ICANN that specifies that all ICANN accredited Registrars must make their Whois dataset available as a single machine readable file. Put another way, Bulk Whois is the entire Registrar Whois dataset available for retrieval via FTP, HTTP or some other mechanism. Thick Registries also may provide a similar service in allowing entities to retrieve the Registry Whois dataset.

Whois, Command-line: A Whois query executed from the command line of an operating system such as Linux or MS-DOS.

Whois Record: The information or payload returned to the client as a result of a Whois query.

Whois, Referral: RWhois (Referral Whois) extends and enhances the Whois concept in a hierarchical and scaleable fashion. In accordance with this, RWhois focuses primarily on the distribution of "network objects", or the data representing Internet resources or people, and uses the inherently hierarchical nature of these network objects (domain names, Internet Protocol (IP) networks, email addresses) to more accurately discover the requested information.[6]

Whois, Registrar: Whois services made available by specific Registrars for the domain names that they sponsor at the Registry.

Whois, Registry: Whois services made available by specific registries for the domain names that they are authoritative for. Registry Whois often do not provide the comprehensive contact information that Registrar Whois services do, but they usually contain contact information for the Sponsoring Registrar. Note that the payload provided to the client by the Registry is not standardized between Registries and may vary based on the model employed by the Registry.

Whois, Web based: A World Wide Web interface to Registrar or Registry Whois services.

Zone: A portion of the total domain namespace that is represented by the data stored on a particular nameserver. The nameserver has authority over the zone or the particular portion of the domain namespace described by that data.

Zone File: A file that contains data describing a portion of the domain name space. Zone files contain the information needed to resolve domain names to Internet Protocol (IP) numbers.


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