New sTLD RFP Application
Part B. Application Form
Name and Address fields
Company Name Associació puntCAT Company Address 1 Carrer Girona, 63; 2on., 1a. Company Address 2 N/A Company City Barcelona Company State/Province N/A Company Postal Code E-08009 Company Website Address http://www.puntcat.org Company Country Catalonia (European Union)
Sponsoring Organization Information
Sponsoring Organization Name Fundació puntCAT, which would be formed only in case theTLD is delegated Sponsoring Organization Address 1 N/A Sponsoring Organization Address 2 N/A Sponsoring Organization City N/A Sponsoring State/Province N/A Sponsoring Organization Postal Code N/A Sponsoring Organization Country N/A Sponsoring Organization Website Address N/A
Namestrings and Conventions
First sTLD choice: .CAT Naming Conventions: .CAT is proposed as a Sponsored TLD for the Catalan linguistic and cultural community
Registrants will be allowed to register dirctly under the TLD, ie, at the second level. Example: mydomain.cat
Third sTLD choice: .CATALA Naming Conventions: .CATALA is the name of the Catalan language precisely in Catalan language. The problem is that besides being fairly long for a TLD (only .museum is that long), it is a misspelling. It should be .català, ie, the ending a has a "& a grave" character in HTML or, in Unicode, u+00E0).
As there are not TLDs with non-ASCII characters, and we are not proposing to do so at this time, this third-choice string is particularly unappealing.
Sponsoring Organization Structure
Sponsoring Organization Structure SPONSORING ORGANIZATION This application is submitted by Associació puntCAT, an association (non-for-profit, equal-voting membership entity composed of other legal entities, but not of individuals) based in Barcelona. This Association has been incorporated and it is operated in order to vehicle the filing of the application for the delegation of the .cat TLD. At present, Associació puntCAT is composed of 67 members, covering a wide range of sectors and activities linked to the Catalan linguistic and cultural community. Moreover, many entities involved in the said Community are in the process of joining the Association, so it is foreseen a significant growth of its membership. Should ICANN approve this application, the Association would be substituted by a Foundation to be named Fundació puntCAT, and the Association would be dissolved. Such a substitution is due to the clear advantages that using a foundation for sponsoring a TLD would suppose. Indeed, an association is based on formal membership, making quite difficult the access to membership to entities with different legal backgrounds in different jurisdictions (as it will be the case in regards of the Sponsor of the .cat TLD) and it also raises significant difficulties when trying to accept at the same time individual and corporate membership. By contrast, a foundation seems to be a more efficient alternative, as it does not require formal membership. Indeed, according to Spanish and Catalan civil law (which will apply to the Foundation, as it will be based in Barcelona as well), a foundation is just an entity managing a number of assets for the achievement of a concrete goal (the sponsorship of the .cat TLD, in the case of Fundació puntCAT). Therefore, any formal inconvenience derived from access and use of the membership would be avoided by using a foundation. Actually, such a type of entity will allow actual participation in the policy-making process and election of the governing bodies by any member of the defined community without recourse to legal membership procedures. Joining such entity would be based on a mere declaration of will without more cumbersome administrative procedures, such as being accepted by the current members. ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE Once the foundation will be established, its formal structure will be based on the following organs: - Assembly of Trustees: This is going to be the organ charged with the management and representation of the foundation (without prejudice of its capacity to delegate some of its functions to other organs of the foundation). In principle, this organ will be composed at most by 50 members. The assembly will be composed by representatives from different sectors of the Community. In particular, the assembly will be composed by representatives covering: - the academic sector - the media sector, - the corporate sector - the non-for-profit entities sector - individuals holding .cat domain names. Each of the above-mentioned categories will be granted with at least 10 members, to the exception of individuals holding .cat domain names, who will be granted with at least 5 members. Nonetheless, from the moment of establishing the foundation until the moment where the .cat TLD will be fully operative such an assembly will be exceptionally composed by all the members of the current association that will converge into the new foundation. - Executive Committee: The Assembly of Trustees will appoint an Executive Committee, charged with the tasks of managing the foundation, including the supervision of officers and staff. This committee will be composed by two members from the corporate sector of the Community, two members from the non-for-profit entities sector, one member from the academic sector, one member from the media sector and one member representing the individuals holding .cat domain names. - Chief Executive Officer: The Executive Committee will be entitled to appoint a Chief Executive Officer or General Manager, charged with the execution of the decisions adopted by the Executive Committee as well as with the direct supervision of the staff. In addition to the above-mentioned organs, a General Forum and an Ombudsman will be established. Both organs are described further below. MISSION The sole purpose of the Foundation will be to serve as the Sponsoring Organization for the .cat sTLD under delegation from ICANN. It will establish and enforce the .cat policies, and outsource, in principle, its technical operation. This will be the only activity of the Foundation. DEFINITION OF THE COMMUNITY The .cat TLD is intended for the Catalan Linguistic and Cultural Community, ie, for those identifying themselves and/or their activities with the promotion of those areas in the Internet. Please refer below to "Appropriateness of Sponsored TLD Community". STICKING TO THE INTEREST OF THE COMMUNITY The puntCAT Foundation will be by its nature a non-for-profit, non partisan representative of the whole community. Participation to the policy-making procedures and election of the Trustees will be open to all registrants, in a structured way that will prevent any given sector of activity or special interest to prevail in the long run. It is not a pre-existing entity from that community trying to evolve into new fields of activity, but a platform created by the community itself for the sole purpose of collectively managing the .cat TLD. Hereinafter this application will refer to both the existing Association and the successor Foundation collectively as puntCAT. Only when specific reeference to either one or the other entities is required a distinction will be made. "Punt" means "dot" so the name directly refers to its only purpose: becoming the Sponsor Organization for the .cat TLD for the Catalan Linguistic and Cultural Community.
Appropriateness of Sponsored TLD Community
Appropriateness of Sponsored TLD Community Please provide detail on the community to be served and explain why the defined community to be served is appropriate for the creation of an sTLD. As repeatedly stated in this application form, the .cat sTLD is requested on behalf of the Catalan Linguistic and Cultural Community. It might sound strange to request a TLD for a language (and this is not the case, even if it looks close to it). But then, it also seemed strange to some the idea of Sponsored TLD altogether! Why a sTLD for this type of community? puntCAT submits that this is precisely the type of sTLD we should think of. TLDs, the DNS as such, is used in many ways (and this has changed over time) but its main purpose is still to be unique identifiers of machines/services/people in the Internet. We all know that “services”, “products”, “people” are not exactly the object of the DNS domain name. But we grew used to see it that way. And social realities count. Similarly, and even if all domain names have exactly the same identification value from a technical point of view, “meaning”, both at the second level AND at the top level add critical values to users (domain name holders or not). Meaning, subjective identification, is as an important value as uniqueness and universal resolution of the name from the users point of view (and the various Internationalized Domain Names experiments would even suggests that in some cases, even more important). Users want choice. They want to be able to decide whether they identify themselves to the rest of the Internet with geographic/political criteria (ccTLDs); nature of their activity (commercial; non-commercial); sector of activity (aeronautic industry) type of service (Museum) or even corporate type (Cooperative). No one excludes another. Multiple identifications can be used, as we can visit different districts in a city for different types of activity. Choice and diversity, not mutual exclusion. ICANN decided therefore that it was worthwhile to experiment with a new type of TLDs, so-called “sponsored” TLDs, devoted to and managed by a given Community. This is a community with clear membership, needs and enough interest to apply for one. It is only natural therefore that puntCAT applies for a .cat sTLD. The Internet is a lot of things, but probably the most important is a communication space (and means). Human beings communicate in a variety of forms, but language is the most common, and the Internet is no exception. The vast majority of people will concentrate their communications to and with the services and people using their same language. If there is a real sense of belonging to a given community within the Internet this is precisely because those belonging to the community are communicating in their own language, no matter which one it is. The sense of sharing “commonalities”, of sharing common interests, needs, Internet landscapes is nowhere more evident than within the many different linguistic communities. Even if they are, most often, completely invisible to the predominant English-based Internet, which many assume to be THE only communications space. A clear and deep sense of community, and especially, a clear perception of online community, is far more relevant here. Far more dense and intense than those of the online (and we underline this aspect) communities served by many of the current sTLDs, and many of the proposals being submitted now. So a language community fits within the concept, but why .cat? Because it is a community interested enough to organise itself in order to apply and manage such TLD. It has sufficient size to make that proposal viable, because it has sufficient ideas to make it work, and to make it useful to he community and to the whole of the Internet. The first question puntCAT will be posed is: why Catalan and not English or Rom or Swahili or [insert your favorite language here]. puntCAT does not have an answer, but knows that it is a wrong question. We know our needs, but cannot speak for others. English has not one, but many ccTLDs and gTLDs which are predominantly, if not exclusively, devoted to communication spaces where English is the vehicle. Catalan doesn’t. And it doesn’t have a good substitute, either. Certainly not a DBS feature but one of the most common Net related behaviors for multinational firms is adapting their contents to the languages of different user groups. The universal solution is matching the language versions with domains of the ccTLDs where those languages are spoken (except for the US and English, as this is certainly not required). But Google or Yahoo cannot (yet!) use a google.cat or yahoo.cat for their (existing) Catalan-language versions. Sometimes this is not an issue in the commercial world as the language is associated with a local market. Therefore the ccTLD is suitable. But product and service markets are not all that we can find in the Net. Communities sharing cultures, not necessarily confine themselves to either market lines or political borders. Lots of languages are used across many different Countries. Catalan, for instance, is spoken in three adminsitratives divisions of Spain (and partly in a fourth), another in France and just one in Italy, as well as being the sole official language of a country, Andorra. The political and economic realities of the last 150 years have sent hundreds of thousands of Catalan speakers to all continents. Most languages share similar realities. And many share the feeling that ccTLDs are a different thing, that political (or geographic) entities and linguistic communities are not always the same. Note, for instance, that the Spanish Senate requested, some time ago, a TLD for the Spanish-speaking community (.his, they proposed). They are complementary, certainly not exclusionary. puntCAT knows the community wants it and can sustain it. Catalan, as a language, is not marginal at all in Internet usage terms. A couple of studies (http://www.vilaweb.com/especials/5anys/enquesta.html and http://www.softcatala.org/articles/article26.htm) rank Catalan as, respectively the 19th and 23rd language in terms of online use (the second study is more recent uses a much better methodology). The exact place tells very little, but the relationship with other languages is telling. It is not English, but is certainly not marginal. Catalan is not a marginal language offline either. Taking a single statistic, the number of books published in 2002, Catalan totals 8183, compared to roughly 7000 in Finland, 6000 in Greece of 9000 in Hungary (the statitistic only refers to books edited in Catalan, excluding for these purposes books in Spanish edited by Publishers based in Catalonia, which surpassed that number but should not be counted here in fairness). In relative terms, 0.76 books were published for each 1000 Catalan speakers, the same percentage as Italy or France. We could provide lots of statistics about people, companies, associations, etc. But puntCAT believes that this comparative numbers should suffice at this stage to proof viability. So Catalan-speaking people manage to keep more than acceptable statitistics in those areas, even if we all had the personal advantage of being at least bilingual, if not trilingual (normally with Spanish, less with French, some with Italian, the rest with different languages. Languages might sometimes compete in the territory, but not in cultural terms. Cultural socialization, even more than language, is the flavour we want to give to this TLD. Note that even if none of you (or few...) will know a catalan writer, you certainly know painters such as Salvador Dalí, Joan Miró or Antoni Tàpies, musicians like Pau Casals, Montserrat Caballé or Josep Carreras, architects like Antoni Gaudí, Josep Puig i Cadafalch or Ricardo Bofill. We stop here ;-) There are certainly wrters as remarkable as the artists mentioned here, but language is a bigger barrier in this case. We want the TLD as an identifier for all those using and promoting the Catalan language or Culture. But how can we define the community? How can we know who belongs to that community? Well, puntCAT knows. Because it is promoted buy the most relevant, and will be formed by nearly all, the Catalan language and cultural-related entities. They know their members. They know the criteria. They know they have to contribute to this effort, by helping sorting these questions out. Please refer to all the different registration procedures, Eligibility and Naming Selection services and compliance and dispute-resolution mechanisms. Perhaps someone will be able to point out a mistake one day (ie, someone registered a domain with puntCAT infringing the rules. Perhaps. But we will commit all our resources to prevent this from ever being a problem for any third party. And this is what counts. The next question would be: What happens if all languages and cultures also apply for a TLD? Why this one and not another one? puntCAT doesn’t know. But it is clear that it would be unfair to tell .aero that they cold not go until we had the complete taxonomy of all possible industries, present, past and future. It would be similarly unfair rejecting .museum because perhaps monument sites or oral archives are not prepared or willing or interested in managing a TLD. The final question would certianly be: .cat? Meow!! Yes ;-) But then .net means “clean” in Catalan, and .nu, “naked”. And this can be expanded to exhaustion. Some names are nicer in different parts of the world. That’s a fact, not a bug. puntCAT comes here, with huge support from its community, with a solid proposal, a viable registry and lots of innovative ideas. Give .cat a chance!
As stated in "Organisational Structure" above, the current structure of Associació puntCAT is widely representative of the Community. At this regard, one ofpuntCAT's main concerns is to fully grant representation to all the members of the Community and this is the reason why puntCAT aims at establishing a foundation once the .cat TLD is approved by ICANN, for instance many associations based outside Spain or the European Union have met some difficulties in joining the association. Inclusiveness of the whole community is the key operative issue here. Indeed, the use of such a structure would grant a flexible structure, allowing any member to actively participate in the activities of the foundation, regardless of its concrete legal nature or jurisdiction. In addition, other formal problems (such as appointing a representative in Spain, where the association will be seated) would be avoided. Moreover, it would grant an easy access to all the members of the Community to the policy-making procedures as well as to other issues linked to the management of the .cat TLD. In this sense, it is foreseen to allow participation of all the members of the Community (and not just of those involved in the foundation) by means of a General Forum, as described in "policy Making Procedures and Communications" below. As for the categories of stakeholders to be represented, we have already sketched them in "Structual Organization" above. Let's add here that while at the Assembly of Trustees, the large number of representatives granted to each category will allow internal diversity within each of them. On the other hand, for the more reduced Executive Committee the By-laws (already approved by the Association) will provide further warranties of diverse representation. There, for instance, for the two representatives of the non-for-profit sector it is provded that one of them will represent entities specifically devoted promote Catalan Culture while the other will be ellected from NGOs and other non-for-profit entities devoted to any other purpose. In the same line, the two representatives of the corporate sector will divided between one coming from companies mainly related to Internet services at-large and the other from any other commercial user of the .cat TLD. To provide a general sense of the quantity, quality and diversity of the initial membership, we attach the list of members we provide the list as of March 9, 2004 (please note that we had received many new memberships during this last week, plus dozens of exrpressions of interest). Acció Cultural del País Valencià ACET - Associació Catalana d'Enginyers de Telecomunicacins ACETT - Associació Catalana d'Enginyers Tècnics de Telecomunicacions Amics de la Llengua Catalana Associació Arrels Associació Catalana de la Premsa Comarcal Associació Catalana de Premsa Gratuïta Associació Catalana de Professionals Associació Catalana de Radiodifusió Privada Associació Catalana de Socors Mutus "Montepio de Montserrat" Associació Conèixer CATalunya Associació Cultural Catalana de Queensland Brisbane - Austràlia Associació Cultural Músics per la Llengua Associació d'Antics Alumnes d'Enginyeria i Arquitectura La Salle Associació de Publicacions Periòdiques en Català d'Abast Nacional Associació d'Editors en Llengua Catalana Associació d'Empresaris Productors de Multimèdia (ADEPM-Catalunya) Associació d'Empreses de Noves Tecnologies de Girona Associació d'Escriptors en Llengua Catalana Associació d'Usuaris de Java de Catalunya Associació en Defensa del domini .CT Associació Productors Audiovisuals de Catalunya Associació Professionals Autònoms de Catalunya Associazione Italiana di Studi Catalani Capítol Català de la Internet Society Casa Nostra Baden-Wettingen / Grup Montseny Casal Català de Brussel.les Casal Català de Vancouver Casal de Catalunya de Buenos Aires Casal dels Catalans de Califòrnia Catalan Broadcasting Society Inc - Radiodifusió Catalana - Melbourne - Austràlia - "Catalònia" Grup de Catalans de Sâo Paulo Centre Català de Rosario Centre Català del PEN Club, Associació d'escriptors Centre Cultural Català de Perpinyà-CASAL JAUME Ier Centre Internacional Escarré per a les Minories Ètniques i les Nacions Cercle Tecnològic de Catalunya CLUB D'AMICS DE LA UNESCO DE BARCELONA Col·legi Oficial d'Enginyeria en Informàtica de Catalunya Consorci Local i Comarcal de Comunicació Corporació Catalana de Ràdio i Televisió Enciclopèdia Catalana Federació Catalana de Centres d'Ensenyament Federació de Televisions Municipals de Catalunya Federació d'Entitats de la Catalunya Nord Federació d'Organismes i Entitats de Televisió Local de Catalunya Federació Ràdios Locals de Catalunya Fundació Catalana per a la Recerca (FCR) Fundació Jaume I Fundació Societat i Cultura Gremi d'Editors de Catalunya Institut d'Estudis Catalans Institut d'Estudis Eivissencs Institut d'Estudis Ilerdencs Institut Interuniversitari Joan Lluís Vives Institut Linguapax Instituto Brasileiro de Filosofia e Ciência "Raimundo Lúlio" Intracatalonia La Bressola Nominalia Internet, SL North American Catalan Society Obra Cultural Balear Obra Cultural de l'Alguer Òmnium Cultural Orfeó Català de Mèxic, A.C. Vilaweb Note also that many of these members are in fact the associations or federations of record for their respective field.
Openness and Tansparency
For puntCAT, granting effective openness and transparency in the development of its activities is one of the key issues related to the launching and management of the .cat TLD. Indeed, given the fact that the Sponsor will not be a closed-membership organization, the involvement of the Community in said activities requires that its members do have full access to any information produced in regards of .cat TLDs, in order to allow them to actively participate in the policies-making procedures as well as other decisions linked to said domain names. Punt CAT considers that such a goal can only be granted by means of the adoption of several instruments that allow the members of the Community being actively involved in the development of puntCAT’s activities. At this respect, By-laws of the Foundation foresee the appointment of an Ombudsman, charged with the task of receiving complaints and observations on how puntCAT develops its functions. Such a figure should not be confused with a Customer Service. On the contrary, it will rather deal with the comments from the members of the Community in respect to the behavior (or the lack thereof) of puntCAT when dealing with their respective circumstances. The Ombudsman shall obviously be independent from puntCAT, behaving as an impartial party when dealing with disputes or complaints filed by members of the Community. Moreover, the Ombudsman may be whether an individual or an entity. In this sense, puntCAT has received several informal offers from entities such as Universities or Newspapers that have adopted similar figures for the development of their activities. At this respect, those entities have offered their experience and knowledge on this issue in order to allow puntCAT an adequate launching of this service. The Ombudsman will elaborate and publish a Yearly Report on the activities of puntCAT, collecting the complaints filed during the corresponding year, describing the most important problems and comments raised by the members of the Community and making the recommendations it considers necessary in order to grant an improvement of the quality of the services rendered by puntCAT. As stated above, this report shall be made available to anyone, by posting it in puntCAT’s web site. In addition, the Ombudsman will deliver a copy of his report to ICANN as a part of the evaluation materials related to puntCAT. As described in other Sections of this form (“Policy-Making Process”, for example) other instruments will be enacted in order to grant full transparency and openness to puntCAT’s activities. At this respect, a Public Forum will be permanently available to any member of the Community for posting his comments or suggestions. In addition, access to the key information and materials related to puntCAT’s activities will be made available to anyone, by posting them in puntCAT’s web site. In this sense, for example, the Secretary of the Assembly will post the minutes of the meetings online. Furthermore, said meeting will be web-casted, so any member of the Community will be able to attend them and follow the discussions. All the documents related to puntCAT shall be drafted in Catalan. Nonetheless, the most relevant ones (such as, for example, the Ombudsman Yearly Report) will also be made available in English, in order to grant their comprehension to anyone, whether belonging to the Community or not. Finally, it is also important to point out that many materials will also be available in “offline” format (such as paper, for example).
Initial Directors, Officers, and Other Staff
All this information is avilable in Part C, Business Plan, question V
Selection of Directors, Officers, Members, Staff
Once established according to the rules already explained for the population of the Assembly of Trustees and selection of the Executive Committee itself, such Committee will appoint a General Manager, under the advise of the Steering Committee. Additional officers will be selected by the Executive Committee, as well, in accordance to the proposal made by the General Manager. Further information on the Executive committee may be found at Part C, Business Plan - Current Operations, Question V. Moreover, initial staff in the administrative and ENS areas will be hired by the Steering Committee, under recommendation of the part-time consultants referred in the precedent section.
Meetings and Communication
In accordance to the By-laws of the Foundation, the Assembly of Trustees will hold at least an annual meeting. Nonetheless, it is certain that beyond this legal requirement said assembly will meet most probably quarterly, at least during the first years of existence of the foundation. The annual meeting of the Asembly of Trsutees will be hold in Barcelona, as it is required to hold it in the place of the legal seat of the foundation. Other meetings will take place in different places, as the Assembly itself decides. Meetings of the Assembly of Trustees will offer participation through videoconference or teleconference or any other technical mean that offers its members the maximal flexibility for attending said meetings. At this regard, one of puntCAT's main goals is to make an extensive use of the most modern online systems for accessing the meetings (by means, for example, of web-casting in real time and granting access to the members of the Community by means of the foundation’s web site). Thus, the use of said technologies would not only allow more flexibility to the trustees but would also grant the members of the Community full access to the discussions held during said meetings, with the corresponding fulfillment of the goal of transparency aimed by puntCAT in regards of its activities. Information about puntCAT's activities will be further distributed thorugh mailing list, RSS feeds and or any other available technical way for disseminating information. It is planned also to publish a quarterly newsletter for more conventional dissemination. At the end of each meeting, the Secretary of the Assembly of Trustees will prepare the corresponding minutes, being posted at the web site of puntCAT once elaborated. Said minutes will be public, so anyone will be able to access their contents. The Executive Committee will meet monthly and meetings will be held by means of videoconference, teleconference or any other similar technique that allows remote communication between the members of said committee. Finally, the permanent online (mailing list) based forum will hold an annual meeting. Such meetings will be held in conjunction with Internet-related events in different locations. Remote participation will be indeed offered. For more details, please see "Policy Making Processes" below.
In accordance with what it has been stated in "Organizational Structure" above, the Association filing this candidature is just a vehicle for preparing and managing such a filing. In consequence, no economic activity has been achieved by Associació puntCAT other than paying the fees to ICANN and to its own advisors in order to prepare such application (these funds have been kindly donated by some founding Members). Moreover, no staff has been recruited either. The management of the association is provided pro bono by the members of its Executive Committee, and the application process itself, but the specific Steering Committee referred to above. On the other hand, in respect of the Foundation to be established in case of approval of the .cat TLD, it is foreseen that the initial assets it shall be granted with by its trustees will amount between 150,000 and 250,000 Euros. Please refer to Part C. "Business Plan" for details on number and timing of staff addition. During the application period the Steering Committee will be assisted by Eric Brunner-Williams as part-time consultant acting as CTO and Amadeu Abril i Abril as part-time Policy Advisor. Again refer to "Business Plan" for further details on their respective roles.
Indemnification from Liability
The Foundation will be based upon Spanish and Catalan Law, as it shall be established in Barcelona. Consequently, the liability regime foreseen by the Catalan Foundations Act will apply. In accordance to said Act, the maximal extent of liability for foundations is the amount corresponding to the assets it manages. Thus, once said assets are no longer available, the foundation must be terminated. Moreover, in principle, liability for the trustees and officers is excluded. Nevertheless, such a responsibility will be given in case they have behaved in bad faith or by negligence. For insurance plans, please refer to Part C of this Application Form.
Proposed Extent of Policy-Making Authority
The Sponsoring Organisation for the .cat TLD, puntCAT, for and on behalf of the Catalan linguistic and cultural community seeks delegation of the following policies: - Establishment, Maintenance and Modification of the TLD naming policies as they reflect the identification of the community served by puntCAT. - Nature of the Eligibility and Name Selection services to be performed in order to ensure Charter-compliant procedures. - Design and management of the Charter Compliance Procedure. - Design of the Charter Reconsideration Policy - Establishement of a .CAT Code of Conduct. - Establishment of a Mediation Procedure. - Accreditation, in conjunction with ICANN, of additional dispute resolution providers for .cat-specific dispute resolution policies. - Selection of the Registry Operator and other outsourcing service providers. - Pricing for its services to the registrars (registration+ENS; renewals; transfers; Redemption Grace Period; Defensive Registrations; etc.) - Additional requirements to ICANN-accredited registrars to be included in the Registry-Registrar Agreement, but only on those areas where specific provisions are absolutely needed, such as incorporating the Charter policies and procedures into the Registration Agreement, to provide those specific provisions in the Agreement in Catalan (without prejudice of doing so in other languages; puntCAT would provide the Catalan versions of the required documents to the registrars). - Establishment and update of a list of Reserved domain names (as it is now common practice, one and two letters strings, names of Internet related services and protocols both in English and in Catalan; and symilar categories; we will consult GAC the convenience of reserving the name of countries at the second level). - Establishment and update of a list of Community-assigned domain names (please refer below to "Add New Value to the Internet Name Space" for examples of this concept). - Finaly, puntCAT understands the convenience of a common Who is policy but it would like requesting some special provisions for .cat TLDs. On one hand, the addition of some fields like one form-declaration of intent of use. On the other hand, puntCAT is greatly concerned about the convenience and even the legality of some current policies such bulk Whois license, mandatory publication of certain types of personal data and indiscriminated access through Port 43. puntCAt does explicitly request a delegation of policy in this area, provided that special provision for this TLD could be negotiated with ICANN. Even if delegation for those areas is requested, puntCAT commits to notify any such substantive modification in advance to ICANN's policy structures (such as the GNSO) and request their comments and evaluations. For all those areas where delegation will not occur in full form, puntCAT will striclty abide to ICANN policies and procedures.
puntCAT aims at involving the Community when developing the policies it will apply to the .cat TLD. Thus, it shall create a policy-making procedure that balances the participation of the members of the Community with the consultation to the experts that may offer optimal policies for the management of this TLD. At this respect, puntCAT will appoint a Policy Officer, who will be in charge of assisting and drafting all relevant initial and further modified policies. Moreover, an Advisory Council on this topic will be appointed. Such a council will be composed by experts, not necessarily from the .cat Community, belonging to the Internet industry and it will advise puntCAT in the adoption of new policies or the amendment of the existing ones. Thus, the adoption of a new policy as well as the amendment of an existing one will necessarily follow the procedure that is further described. First of all, the Policy Offer will draft a Statement of Issues related to a given policy at its own initiative, at the initiative of the CEO or at the initiative of any of the legal organs of puntCAT. Once such a document is drafted, it will be simultaneously filed before the Executive Committee, the Assembly of Trustees and the Advisory Council. In addition, the document will also be posted in the Public Forum’s web site (and distributed through the mailing list, RSS feed etc), in order to allow the members of the Community to file all the documents they may have within a three-weeks period. Once such a period has expired, the staff will prepare a report containing a summary of the comments received from the members of the Community and it will communicate it to the Executive Committee and the Advisory Council. Additionally, said report shall be posted at the Public Forum’s web site (and to the other communication means), so any member of the Community may access it. After reviewing the Statement of Issues and the Public Comments Report, the Advisory Council will issue a Policy Recommendation that will be notified to ICANN’s GNSO, Policy Development officer, and to puntCAT’S Executive Committee. Moreover, the Policy Recommendation will be posted at the Public Forum’s web site, allowing the members of the Community to file comments during a new three-weeks period. As soon as this period has expired, the staff will elaborate a new report on the comments sent by the members of the Community and it will communicate it to the Executive Committee. If ICANN raises no objection, the Executive Committee will adopt the Policy Recommendation by majority-vote, being immediately posted as a new applicable policy. This policy will be revised by the Assembly of Trustees in case three members of the Executive Committee, 25 % of the members of the Assembly or 50 .cat domain names registrants request so. In this case, the policy shall be adopted in case it is approved by a majority of votes of the members of the assembly from at least four of the five categories included within. In case ICANN objects the adoption of the new policy, the corresponding standard procedures shall be applied in order to solve the issue.
A. Add new value to the Internet name space
It is a fact that any addition of a new TLD to the DNS enhances diversity. In the case of the .cat TLD proposal the main value it provides is precisely diversity regarding the type of community; diversity regarding the services provided; diversity regarding the eligibility mechanisms. On the contrary, puntCAT submits that the use of the majority of the foreseen registrations will be the traditional one: a plain Internet identifier. We do not propose to map complete directories of services, or map applications to the DNS. Thus, in this other regard it is more traditional. A TLD as we know them. Diversity Let’s make an analogy with biology. The recurring tendency is to decrease biodiversity. Each year many species, both vegetal and animal, disappear. This in itself is a loss. Each one brings some biological experience that adds value to life and evolution. Humanity is increasingly aware of the risks of such a process and is slowly starting to take measures to reverse the cycle. Therefore, biodiversity is perceived as a value in itself. It is also a fact that languages are experiencing a similar trend. The globalization of all aspects of our lives and the increasing strength of dominant languages is putting strong pressure on the rest of them. The communicative spaces in most languages is shrinking under this pressure. On the Internet, the pressure of the dominant language is even bigger. Promotion of use of other languages to a level that will them viable communication tools is not only a concern for small or nearly disappearing languages but also to some of the strongest like Spanish or French. In this context, the .cat TLD proposal is a humble contribution in the direction of giving dignity of use and equal chances to less favored languages. It is certainly not a solution and it is certainly a desperate situation either. It would be an encouraging sign sent to all sort of communities around the world that cultural diversity has its space on the Internet. As we show in different parts of this application form and will be able to provide more details during the evaluation process, this is a proposal arising from a communication space sharing a culture and a language which strongly supports it. Bear in mind that puntCAT is just a vehicle for this application process. Even so, we have already 67 members and dozens of others going through the membership process. It is not an existing association that brings its members here. Many of our members have on their own hundreds, if not thousands, of members, but this a special purposed initiatives for this very process. They have devoted the time, the energy and the money (which, by the way, seems to be an artificial filter to cut off lots of well-thought proposals) and will keep doing so. The Community, the one that puntCAT represents, is excited about pioneering a new type of sponsored TLD: diversity in the cultural and linguistic space. The choice of .cat as the character string for the TLD has been overwhemingly supported by the Community. CAT is in fact the abbreviation they all use for different purposes. Among the three funding members of the association, the Catalan Chapter of Internet Society is known as ISOC-CAT. The Catalan Studies Institute is IECAT and so on: the Catalan Terminology Consortium is known as TERMCAT, if someone launches an economic information site it is MERCAT, etc. The second and third strings provided by this application form fall well behind in our Community’s preferences. Apart from the above-mentioned values, .cat TLD proposes an experiment with internationalized domain names. Catalan language has only 11 non-ASCII characters and those would be offered for registration. The innovation would consist in that each registrant of an IDN string would also get the closest equivalent ASCII string. For instance, puntCAT will provide the complete equivalence table during the evaluation period. The reason for doing this is that it is not completely clear yet that IDNs resolve universally, as it still depends on the implementation and the browser. It is only for the web, but not for e-mail or other Internet-related services. PUNICODE relies on UNICODE but UNICODE is much less stable than what IETF and ICANN seem to think. Future migrations to other encodings or even complete abandon of the current path can still happen. This is why puntCAT proposes so-called “Reversible IDN Registrations” (indeed if the ASCII equivalent is not available, no IDN could be registered and both strings would follow the same registry life). Another service our Community has proposed and puntCAT will experiment is Community.Assigned Domain Names, i.e. names used as a shared resource for cultural purposes. Let’s give a couple of examples: first, some universities and publishing companies are offering to sponsor the following experiment: the names of the major Catalan literary works will be used for publishing there the integral work (if it is already in the public domain). Another example from the cultural side this time comes from gastronomy… an integral part of Catalan culture J puntCAT will launch a series of “wiki-wiki receipts” where all .cat TLD registrants will be able to contribute their own variances of typical Catalan dishes. A third service that at this time has not been approved by our Community is the “Dictionary DNS”, this is reserving all the common words in Catalan language and building specific sites with definitions, examples of literary works, ethimology and so on. But, as we said, this does not seem the direction our Community will follow. puntCAT being a non-for-profit entity whose sole purpose is managing a TLD for the Catalan linguistic and cultural community cannot generate profits or use financial surpluses in unrelated goals. Therefore, any such financial availability would be devoted to promotion of its core goal: promoting the Catalan communication space on the Internet. Projects that would obtain support in that event would be, for instance, development of open source, cross-platform, dictionaries and language correction tools or automated translation services.
B. Protect the rights of others
Protecting the Rights of Others Abusive registrations within sTLDs are far less likely than within gTLDs. For one thing, the very nature of a sTLD is to establish criteria as to who can register a domain and who cannot. The very existence of such “border controls”, so to speak, make abusive registrations less attractive, as the speculative value of the domain is diminished by those controls, and because the much lower ability to confuse anyone in a community-specific domain. To put this in context, the conflicts with third parties within the three current sTLDs has been non-existent, to our knowledge. In any case, no single Decision under their respective Charter Dispute Resolution Policy (or Eligibility DRP at that) seems to have been issued. Indeed, Name value as well as the specific focusing to a given community diminishes the attractiveness of abusive registrations of sTLDs. Even so, we propose a wide array of effective safeguards in order to protect third-party rights. They are based on the following policies and practices: - Eligibility-Compliant Registration Procedure - Charter Compliance Policy (See below, C) - Charter Eligibility Dispute Resolution Policy - Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) - Compliance Reconsideration Policy - Mediation procedure (See below under D for the last four mechanisms) In addition to the above-mentioned standing procedures, two specific mechanisms for the initial Start-up period would be provided: - Special provisions for Start-up Period - Defensive Registrations procedure Eligibility-Compliant Registration Procedure This Procedure is designed to ensure that non-compliant applicants (non-members of the relevant Community) cannot register domain names with this TLD. In order to achieve such a goal, puntCAT will check each application in order to ensure the fulfillment of a series of criteria, both with automated and manual processes. Only when the relevant criteria are met, the Sponsor will activate the domain name in order for it to be operative. This is what in the context of this application is referred to as Eligibility and Name Selection services (ENS). The Registration Procedure will require two main elements (besides, indeed, the canonical registration data, regarding name, different contacts, nameservers, etc.). Declaration and Intent of Use On one hand, the Registration Agreement will contain a declaration form where the Applicant shall expressly declare its identity and belonging to the Community as well as a statement on how the domain name will be used. As explained below, failure to provide true information by the Applicant will be considered as a cause of cancellation of the domain name, as it could be a use diverse from the one declared. Such declarations will be stored and publicly available. Domain name holders will be able to update/modify them. Identification as member of the Community On the other hand, the Sponsor shall verify the identity of the applicant and the compliance of the eligibility requirements prior to the activation of the domain name by three different means: 1. Requesting the corresponding documentation. For certain categories of users, well-established lists do exist (be that professional or public registries; professional guilds or membership of certain associations or Federations). The categories puntCAT has already identified include: - Universities or other academic entities that promote the Catalan language and/or culture. For instance, by means of specific departments, Chairs, Degrees, or courses. - Publishing companies that publish works in the Catalan language or relating to the Catalan culture. - Media/communication entities that use the Catalan language. - Public or private entities whose aim is promoting the Catalan culture. A list of required documentation for each of the above-mentioned categories (and others which are currently being elaborated within the Associació puntCAT) will be prepared and posted. Examples would be being a member of the Catalan Publishing Association or a member of the Guild of Writers in Catalan language (the Catalan section of the PEN Club, for example), or the Association of Catalan Cultural Centers in any of the different regions where they exist. The space allocated in this application form is not enough to provide all the possible examples. As pointed out, previously puntCAT will individually check each application before activating the requested domain name. Please note that belonging to the above-mentioned categories is not enough at this stage. The prospective registrant will need to identify effective inclusion in one of those lists used by the Sponsor for ENS purposes. In case it is not, the applicant will need to go to use any of the other two mechanisms described below. It should also be noted that in fact many of these lists/registries are maintained by entities which are already members of the Associació puntCAT (and many others will come shortly on board), so obtaining them and performing the relevant checks will not be a big challenge for the Sponsor. 2. Proof of actual use of Catalan language in online communications. Entities or professionals who already use the Catalan language to communicate with their users and customers will be able to point to those existing services as a proof of their eligibility. As of now, running web pages or a mailing list would be accepted, but not showing simple mail exchanges. 3. Proof by Reference But there is still a long part of the community who does not fit within the previous criteria, but who clearly would qualify as a member of the Catalan linguistic and cultural community. Take any of the individuals representing the current 67 members of Associació puntCAT, for instance. We belong to that Community, and we want to use the proposed TLD as (one of) our Internet identifiers. “Community” is precisely the operative word here, and the third criteria is precisely proof of belonging to a Community by reference of other members of that social network, of that Community. In those cases, besides the always-required Declaration and Intent of Use referred to above, the applicant would need to provide a number of references of actual members of the Community (and already .cat registrants themselves). The reference will come in form of email address. Our ENS system will generate an automatic email requesting confirmation, and the domain would not be activated until such time the confirmation arrives. In case of the reference being one entity in the category listed at #1. above, one single mail would suffice. In this case, for instance, a University using Catalan as one of its teaching courses could, if so they wish, reference (sponsor) its professors and researchers. Or a newspaper, its subscribers. In case the applicant cannot get introduced to the rest of the Community (namely, to the Sponsoring Organization, puntCAT) by those members of the categories at #1. above, (those on established lists and registries) then three names (and mail addresses) of three different current registrants would be required. We have discussed and designed with CORE, our Registry Operator, a system for handling this procedure. Indeed, references and mail addresses would be kept by the Sponsor, but not made public under any circumstance other than challenges under the CEDRP discussed below, and only to the panelist. The current members of the Association, as well as those who will join in the near future, are committed to cooperate with such a procedure. This is what social networking, and communities are about, and there is no-best proof of belonging to one than precisely being identified by other members. Obviously, all registration procedures will be based on "first come, first served" criteria, provided that the eligibility requirements are met (checking sufficient right, instead of establishing better right). We will only provide for a limited-time prior right of entry to certain categories during the initial launch of the TLD.
C. Assurance of charter-compliant registrations and avoidance of abusive registration practices
Charter Compliance Guaranteeing that the .cat names are only registered by members of the Community is one of the main concerns of puntCAT, and one of the main duties of a Sponsoring Organization. Thus, a Charter Compliance Policy shall be adopted in order to grant that all the registrants of domain names do fulfill the requirements set out by the Charter. In accordance to this Policy, puntCAT will verify whether the declaration made by the registrant when registering the domain name at issue contains inaccurate or false information about the registrant's identity or he/she/it does not actually fulfill the requirements set out by the Charter. In case puntCAT does find out that the registrant does not comply with Charter, it shall not register the domain name and, if it is already registered, it shall be cancelled. Moreover, in accordance with this policy, puntCAT will verify the conformity of the use given to the domain name by its registrant vis-à-vis the Intent of Use declared at the moment of the registration (or modified thereafter). Should said use be different to the one publicly stated, the domain name will be put on registry hold (no resolution). In order to verify the information provided by the registrant when applying for the domain name, puntCAT shall be entitled to request supplementary information from the registrant. Said verifications will be made daily and on a random basis by puntCAT or as a consequence of the filing of a complaint by a member of the Community. The complaint form will be available on the registry site, and the procedure will be at no cost to the complainant. puntCAT provides this service at its own cost as it is clearly critical for the rest of the Internet users that no sTLD becomes a de facto, disguised, open and generic TLD. In order to finance both this service and the initial registration checks, the .cat registrants will pay an initial registration fee plus an ENS fee (in our current proposal, twice as much as the price of registration) when first registering the domain. On successive years, the renewal fee would not be accompanied of that ENS fee. Apart from the above-described standing procedures, we will provide two further specific set of provisions related to the TLD launching period. Special provisions for the Start-up period puntCAT will implement a Start-up Period to allow certain members of the Community to register domain names corresponding to their registered trademarks, commercial names, entity names or well-established names before the general launching of the .cat TLD. Such a Start up Period shall be divided in two phases. During a first phase (three months), the registration of domain names will be available for those members of the Community included in pre-existing available registries that are professionally linked to the promotion of the Catalan culture or language. These entities are the same as in group #1. above (Universities and academic institutions, publishing companies and writers, media; as well as public or private entities whose main aim is promoting the Catalan language and/or culture). Once the first phase is over, a second one will be open (two months) to all categories but individuals (where the likelihood of conflicts is statistically much higher). In both phases, the Registry will verify the identity of the applicant and the evidences filed in order to prove its belonging to the Community. From that point on, the registration will be open to all qualifying registrants. puntCAT would reserve the right to delay the opening for one further month in case the (very unlikely) accumulation of conflicts (complaints) arising from the registrations required some extra time to be sorted out. Defensive Registrations This procedure has been offered by other TLDs in their initial phase. It is designed to provide for specific protection to registered-trademark holders. puntCAT does not believe that such a mechanism is required for a sTLD, as the main protection against trademark dilution steams precisely from the strict character of the eligibility criteria, and, in addition, from the Compliance Procedure, which will allow easy and fast challenges to non-compliant registrations at no cost. Nevertheless, puntCAT will implement a special Defensive Registrations window to allow registered trademark holders who do not comply with the eligibility criteria and do not belong to the Sponsored Community to submit a request to block the domain names consisting on its trademark (literal and exact content). Registered trademark holders shall provide with documental evidence of such registration in any jurisdiction and pay the corresponding fee (which is indeed higher than the regular registration fee). Such a Defensive Registration (excluding a matching registration) will be valid for one year (renewable). Furthermore, if later on the titleholder of a defensive registration becomes eligible under the .cat Charter, and wants to register the domain, it could be activated by applying through one of the registration procedures described above. As stated above, in addition to the registration procedures, puntCAT will develop and apply several policies in order to grant the protection of third-parties' rights. Said policies are described in detail in Part D (Charter Eligibility Dispute Resolution Policy, UDRP, Compliance Reconsideration Policy and the Mediation Procedure).
D. Assurance of adequate dispute-resolution mechanisms
puntCAT does foresee the adoption of four policies focused on the resolution of any dispute that may arise from the registration and ownership of the domain names. Said policies are the Charter Eligibility Dispute Resolution Policy, and UDRP, now standard across gTLDs and sTLDs, plus a specific Compliance Reconsideration Policy and a Mediation procedure. 1. Charter Eligibility Dispute Resolution Policy This policy is designed to allow any third party to challenge a registration which is allegedly made in violation of the Eligibility Charter. We want to underline that in fact the Registry assumes itself the burden of what is commonly deemed to be the subject-matter of the CERDP through the Charter Compliance Procedure described above. As already stated, the Sponsor will not only run ex officio, random checks, but also commit to dealing with all third-party complaints, and at no cost to the challenger. Even so, for the seek of cross-sTLD coherence of the namespace, we will certainly adhere to the CEDRP. Main features of such Policy are: - Any third party will be entitled to file a complaint based on this policy before any of the accredited Dispute Resolution Provider, in accordance to the rules that may be adopted regarding this policy, even if she has previously filed a complaint under the Sponsor’s own Charter Compliance Procedure. - Any domain name registered in infringement of this policy shall be cancelled upon decision of the panel appointed by policy's solutions provider. We request from ICANN a specific modification of the CEDRP for .cat in the sense that when a challenger prevails and the name is canceled, the challenger will, in case of being eligible for such name under the Charter, have 21 days to proceed though the registration process for the challenged name. In case of not succeeding in completing the registration for any reason, including lack of eligibility, then the name would be deleted and made available. 2. Compliance Reconsideration Policy (CRP) We propose to create the CRP as a mechanism for appealing against a decision issued by puntCAT pursuant to the Charter Compliance Policy, described above, ie, when the Sponsor would put a domain name on hold or delete it because of failure to comply with the complete eligibility requirements The main features of this proposed Policy will be: - Any registrant whose domain name has been deleted or put on Registry-hold by puntCAT through the Charter Compliance Procedure (either following a third-party complaint, or ex officio by the Sponsor) or whose registration has been initially refused is entitled to challenge such decision before any accredited Dispute Resolution Provider. - If the panel finds that the registrant was in compliance with the Charter, an order will be issued to the sponsor so as to restore the functionality of the domain name in question (The announcement of a Challenge will have the effect of keeping registrations provisionally on hold, even if they were rejected prima facie under ENS scrutiny by puntCAT). 3. Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy All registrants under .cat will abide to the UDRP as approved by ICANN, through the usual provisions included in the Registrant Agreement, and the Registry-Registrar Agreement. Accredited registrars shall commit themselves to fulfill the above-mentioned policies, as well as to expressly accept them by their registrant (by means of including them in the corresponding registration agreements). Both CEDRP and UDRP will be managed by those dispute resolution providers accredited by ICANN. As for CRP, we propose the specific accreditation of IQUA, Internet Quality Agency (http://www.iqua.net). IQUA is an initiative of some independent regulatory authorities for broadcasting and electronic communications, with the participation of many different actors from both the public and private sector in order to promote self-regulation as a means of improving the quality of Internet experience, both from technical service, service and content perspectives. They promote quality seals, codes of conduct and alternative dispute resolution. Even if their scope is global, some of their founding members are independent broadcasting authorities from different areas of the Catalan linguistic domain (while others are from different parts of Spain; and private members come from a wide spectrum of places and professional fields). We have been working with IQUA in order to implement such a CRP but also a Code of Conduct for .cat domain-name holders and, as stated below, a Mediation procedure. 4. Mediation Finally, we will also propose a Mediation procedure, also managed by IQUA, related to the conflicts among members of the Community regarding their respective expectations towards the registration of the same domain name. We consider that many conflicts among members of the Community could be solved if such a Mediation procedure was available. Indeed, belonging to a same community could be a key issue for solving said conflicts as a common set of rules of conduct would establish the basic criteria for finding a solution for this type of conflicts.
E. Provision of ICANN-policy compliant WHOIS service
PuntCat will provide a Whois service fully compliant with ICANN polices and up to the highest technical standards. For the details regarding the concrete operation of the whois and the allocation of resources, please refer to Part E of this application (Technical Proposal). Designing a new Whois service is a difficult task today. The ICANN community is currently in midst of a though reformulation process, involving the Whois purpose and the applicable policies. As already stated in this application (extent of policy delegation), puntCat would like to submit several contributions to this debate. For instance, the addition of special-purpose fields covering the Intent of Use. More importantly, puntCat expresses reservations about uncontrolled access to port 43 Whois, and bulk Whois licensing. puntCat is also concerned with regard to publication of personal data of registrant beyond what is strictly necessary. Puntcat will actively and constructively contribute to this debate and abide by ICANN policies or recommendation within the limit of applicable law.
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