Questions to and Answers from Applicant for .mus, .muse, .musea, and others

ICANN Questions:

ICANN is in the process of reviewing Museum Domain Management Association's TLD Application. As outlined in the October 23, 2000 TLD Application Review Update which appears at http://www.icann.org/tlds/tld-review-update-23oct00.htm, ICANN may "gather the additional information [it] require[s] by posing specific questions to applicants in e-mail and requesting a written response."

Keeping in mind the goal to evaluate applications to operate or sponsor new TLDs in as open and transparent a manner as possible, both the questions posed by ICANN and the Applicant's responses will be publicly disclosed on the ICANN website.

Accordingly, ICANN requests your reponses to the following questions:

1. In the Executive Summary of the application, you state "[t]he Getty's interests in establishing the .museum TLD are shared by museums the world over and through its involvement with the MDMA, the Getty substantiates its support of ICOM's initiative for establishing the .museum TLD." Furthermore, pursuant to Section E12 of the application, you estimate "that 40,000 institutions, organizations and entities may qualify" for a .museum domain name. Identify and describe in detail how and why the J. Paul Getty Trust is uniquely positioned to represent the diverse needs of the international museum community.

2. Pursuant to the MDMA bylaws, the J. Paul Getty Trust will have the ability to select two of the six directors of the company. Identify and describe in detail why the J. Paul Getty Trust, and not some other museum sharing the same "interests in establishing the .museum TLD" will maintain election control of one third of the MDMA board of directors.

Museum Domain Management Association Responses:

1. and 2. The Museum Domain Management Association ("MDMA" or "MuseDoma") was created by the International Council of Museums ("ICOM") with the assistance of the J. Paul Getty Trust ("Getty" or "Trust") to apply for and to operate the .museum TLD on behalf of the international museum community.

When the gTLD application process was announced, the Getty contacted ICOM to find out if it was going to pursue the .museum TLD. The Getty, as other organizations within the museum community, was aware of ICOM's long history of involvement with this issue. Many museums asked ICOM if there would be an application filed. The tight application deadline and the financial requirements for participation, however, made it difficult, if not impossible, for ICOM to prepare and submit an application while concurrently coordinating further input from the museum community. When it became apparent that ICOM would require assistance in order to comply with the formal and financial aspects of the gTLD application process, ICOM and the Getty created a complementary relationship for this project. The Getty supports ICOM's long history of involvement in establishing an authentic and verifiable location in cyberspace that is dedicated to museums. As the two organizations had previously collaborated on a variety of projects for the benefit of the museum community, the present association was reasonable and obvious, and is expected to be perceived as such by the community. Furthermore, the Getty was able to make staff and financial resources immediately available to provide the support needed for this type of project.

The J. Paul Getty Trust should not be equated with the J. Paul Getty Museum. The Trust operates the latter body and is, therefore, well aware of the issues and concerns shared by all museums. In addition to the Museum, the Trust operates the Getty Conservation Institute, the Getty Research Institute and the Getty Grant Program. Each of these operating programs works with other museums and cultural institutions worldwide which, in turn, may be involved with ICOM.

Through these programs, Getty curators and scholars, scientists and program administrators, are in constant contact with representatives of the museum community worldwide. As a MuseDoma Founder Member, the Getty has two positions on the MDMA's Board of Directors. The rationale for this decision is based on the intention of the founders to keep the association clearly directed and financially secure during the early years of activity. Because it is impossible to predict when MuseDoma will be able to operate independent of the financial, administrative, staffing and other subsidies provided by the Getty, the founders felt it best not to establish a "sunset" provision concerning the Getty's participation. Notwithstanding the above, it is quite probable that the Getty will surrender its mandatory Board positions at the appropriate time when revenue, staffing, and operations can be determined with some certainty. The Getty currently plans to remain an active supporter of the .museum gTLD and may run for elected Board seats even after any sunset of its mandatory seats.

It is notable that a more open Board structure will be a natural result of ICANN's decision to permit the creation of the .museum gTLD. MuseDoma was created as an association with an open membership policy. When the MDMA's membership expands beyond its two founding bodies, there will be six voting members on its Board. After the first Board election, the Getty will hold a minority position, with two-thirds of the Board positions held by people who were elected either directly by the MDMA members, or indirectly, through election to positions within ICOM, and then appointment by ICOM to the MDMA Board. It should be noted here that ICOM has two (2) permanent positions on the MDMA Board of Directors and there is no intention that ICOM's right to these seats will sunset.

From the global museum community's perspective, the most important issue should be control of the criteria that will be used to determine qualification for registration within the .museum TLD. As proposed, the qualifying criterion is left entirely to ICOM because the MDMA has adopted the ICOM definition of museum for this purpose. This definition was established by ICOM before its decision to pursue the .museum TLD, and independent of the Getty. ICOM will retain independent control of this definition. It is codified in a dynamic consensual document representing over a half century of on-going dialog within the global museum community, and between it and the external communities that it serves. The opportunities provided by MuseDoma for adding the Internet community's voice to this process, both formally and substantively, are manifest.

Hence, the registration policies of the Museum Domain Management Association do, and will continue to, represent the diverse needs of the international museum community regardless of the Board position of the Getty or any other members.

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