February 4, 1999
The name of this supporting organization shall be "The Domain Name Supporting
Organization" (hereafter, "DNSO"). It shall be established by resolution of the
Board of Directors of ICANN and shall become a functioning part of ICANN.
These Rules provide guidance for the operation and management of the DNSO.
The DNSO is a consensus based policy advisory body within the Internet
Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers ("ICANN"). The DNSO structure is
based on a General Assembly, a Names Council and a set of constituencies. The
objectives for DNSO are as defined in article VI of the ICANN bylaws; that is,
to develop and recommend substantive policies and procedures regarding TLDs,
including operation, assignment and management of the domain name system and
other related subjects.
The proposed DNSO will not be a legal entity in its own right, but will
component of the ICANN corporation. It will be an advisory body rather than a
decision making body, without operational responsibility and with a minimal
budget (which will be funded by ICANN). The DNSO shall have no role in funding
The starting point for discussions within the DNSO will be that current
registries operate under current RFCs. The purpose of the DNSO will be to
provide a fair process, taking into account both historical relationships and
the need for change, to evolve any new rules.
Entities and individuals may participate in DNSO work, and they are
It is expected that ICANN will have individual and corporate and organizational
membership. Any ICANN member with expertise or interest in domain name issues
may join the DNSO General Assembly by submitting a membership application.
2.2 The General Assembly.
The General Assembly is an open body of individuals and corporations
organizations with a knowledge of and an interest in issues pertaining to
achievement of DNSO objectives, who are willing to contribute time, effort and
expertise in DNSO work items, including discussion of work items, work item
proposal and development, draft document preparation, participation in working
groups and steering committees. The General Assembly is an open, consensus
based assembly, process oriented rather than member oriented. General Assembly
conference costs shall be covered by an equitable charge on attendees and
conferences and meetings shall be held online whenever possible.
2.3 The Names Council.
The Names Council is the Steering Committee for the DNSO, elected through
constituencies from the General Assembly as described below and responsible for
facilitation, administration and management of consensus building for each of
the DNSO processes. Consensus based and researched and documented DNSO policy
and standards proposals shall be forwarded to ICANN through Names Council
recommendations. The Names Council shall conduct its business and hold election
for its members in accord with the provisions set forth below.
2.4 One Vote.
Each member of the General Assembly shall be entitled to one vote.
Any member may resign its membership at any time.. Resignation shall
effect immediately unless some other date is specified. The acceptance of a
resignation will not be necessary to make it effective. .
3.0 THE NAMES COUNCIL
3.1 Overview and Purpose.
The Names Council shall facilitate cooperation and consensus on policies
regarding the Domain Names System and related subjects, and, in accordance with
Article VI, Section 3(a)(ii) of the Corporation's Bylaws, the Names Council
shall forward recommendations on such subjects to the Board of ICANN. The Names
Council shall seek input and review of any proposed recommendations from all
Members. The processes of the Names Council shall be open and transparent and
The Names Council shall be selected by means of the following process:
a. Members of the General Assembly shall self-organize into diverse
constituencies. No member shall be a member of more than one constituency. The
initial constituencies shall be recognized by the ICANN Board based on the
1. Constituencies other than the constituency representing registries,
represent at least 5% of the members of the General Assembly.
2. Constituencies shall be open to membership without regard to geographic
3. Constituencies shall adopt open and transparent processes that comply
these Rules and the ICANN Bylaws.
4. Constituencies shall not be formed or recognized insofar as they
on geographic location, religious affiliation, governmental affiliation, or
membership in any particular corporation or organization.
b. Each recognized constituency shall select three (3) members to sit
Names Council, no two of whom may come from the same region (as defined in the
c. In the event that the Names Council so selected does not include
from any particular region, members of the General Assembly resident in such
region shall select an additional Name Council Member from such region.
d. Following recognition of the initial constituencies, additional qualifying
constituencies shall be recognized by the Names Council. Otherwise,
recognition, deletion and merger of constituencies shall be effected by fair
procedures established by the Names Council.
e. Members of the Names Council shall be subject to recall by a two-thirds
of the members of the constituency that selected them.
3.3 Chair of the Names Council.
The Names Council Chair will be selected by the Names Council at or
first meeting in each year after a Names Council election; when selected the
Chair would lose his or her personal vote in the Names Council To ensure fair
voting, Names Council Chair would only have a casting (tie-breaking) vote. The
Chair of the Names Council shall act as the Chair of the General Assembly.
3.4 Conduct of Business.
The Names Council shall meet regularly on a schedule determined by its
but not less than 4 times per year. Unless otherwise provided, a majority vote
of the members attending a Names Council meeting at which a quorum (consisting
of two thirds of the Name Council Members) is present or otherwise enabled to
vote shall be sufficient for the conduct of its business.
3.5 Meeting Forums.
At least once a year, the Names Council shall meet in person at a location
agreed by its members. All other meetings of the Names Council may take place
in person, by telephone, video, internet, any other efficient form of
electronic conferencing, or by a combination of the aforementioned modes of
3.6 Meeting Minutes.
At each meeting, the members of the Names Council shall appoint a scribe
take notes and prepare minutes of the meeting. Subject to the provisions of
Paragraph 3.0 below, the Names Council shall post minutes of its meeting to the
DNSO web site within 2 business days after the meeting has concluded.
3.7 Open Meetings.
Subject to the provisions of Paragraph 3.9 below, all meetings of the
Council shall be open to all DNSO members. Members will be welcome to observe
in-person meetings and, to the extent technically and financially practicable,
listen to all other meetings.
3.8 Names Council - Voting on Record
The Names Council shall record in its minutes the position and expressed
of every Names Council member on every Names Council action.
3.9 Executive Sessions of Names Council.
When necessary and appropriate to protect the confidentiality of any
before it, the Names Council may elect to hold an Executive Session, which
shall be closed to all persons other than Names Council representatives. By
way of example and not by way of limitation, it may be appropriate for the
Names Council to hold Executive Sessions to discuss personnel matters. In any
such case, the general subject matter of such a closed session, and the
rationale for holding the discussion in private, shall be disclosed.
3.10 Names Council Meeting Attendance Requirement.
In order to ensure a continuously active Names Council, elected members
miss either (a) three consecutive Names Council meetings or (b) more than 25%
of the meetings in any single year, shall be dropped from the Names Council in
the absence of extenuating circumstances. In the event that a member is
dropped, the constituency shall choose a new representative.
3.11 Conduct of Names Council Meetings.
Robert's Rules of Order (Revised), or for electronic meetings such similar
rules as shall be selected by the Names Council, shall govern the conduct of
Names Council meetings.
4.0 NOMINATION AND ELECTION OF ICANN BOARD MEMBERS
4.1 Elections Committee.
The Names Council shall appoint an Elections Committee each year, which
consist of a Chair and four or more members of the General Assembly, not more
than half of whom may be sitting members of the Names Council. The Elections
Committee shall oversee the election of the DNSO's representatives on the ICANN
Board of Directors and provide such other assistance as requested by the
4.2 Nomination by Petition.
The Elections Committee Chair shall call for nominations by petition
ICANN Director positions from the General Assembly in an e-mail to all members
and in an announcement posted on the DNSO web site. The announcement will
include procedures for nominations by petition and will be made at least 30
days prior to the mailing or distribution of ballots. A petition nominating a
DNSO member meeting the eligibility requirements and supported by the
identifiable signatures of at least 50 members of the General Assembly shall
automatically place that member's name on the slate of nominees, provided such
petition is received by the Elections Committee Chair within 30 days after the
call for nominations. Such petitions must be submitted with the knowledge and
agreement of the nominee.
4.3 Election Procedures
In the case that more candidates are proposed than there are vacancies
nominations to the Board, the positions will be filled using a method such as
single transferable voting as selected by the Names Council. The DNSO nominees
to the ICANN Board will have staggered terms of office to ensure continuity.
Election to the staggered terms shall follow the method set forth in Section
Any member of the General Assembly in good standing, not serving as
a member of
the Names Council or the Elections Committee and not otherwise disqualified, is
eligible for election to the ICANN Board of Directors.
4.5 Ballots and Voting.
The Elections Committee Chair shall provide the names of the nominees,
biographical overviews, and individual position statements for preparation,
mailing, and tallying of ballots to all members of the General Assembly. The
Elections Committee shall use whatever means it deems appropriate and accurate
to distribute, collect and tally ballots.
The candidate(s) receiving the highest number of votes shall be elected
the DNSO seats on ICANN's Board of Directors. For the initial election, the
person receiving the most votes shall be elected to fulfill the three-year
term, the person receiving the next highest number of votes shall be elected to
fulfill the two-year term, and the person receiving the third highest number of
votes shall be elected to fulfill the one-year term.
4.7 Notification of Election Results.
Immediately upon receiving the election results, the Elections Committee
shall notify all candidates, the DNSO's Officers, Names Council members, the
membership of the DNSO, and the Chair of ICANN's Board of Directors.
4.8 Removal of Board Members.
If, in the opinion of the Names Council, a member of the ICANN Board
the DNSO is no longer capable of fulfilling his or her responsibilities, or is
no longer operating in the best interest of the DNSO, the Names Council may, by
2/3 vote, call a Special Referendum of the Membership asking for removal of
that Board member. Such a Special Referendum may also be called by means of a
petition signed by at least 25% of the members of the General Assembly. If
2/3rds of the General Assembly votes cast favor removal, and that a quorum of
at least ten percent of the membership of the General Assembly have voted, the
Board Member will then be removed.
In the event of removal of one or more DNSO elected members of the ICANN
the Names Council will appoint one or more members (who is/are not also
currently serving on the Names Council), as a temporary measure. A 2/3rds vote
of the Names Council shall be necessary for such appointment. The Names Council
will then immediately seek nominations from the General Assembly or a
replacement to serve out the remainder of the removed Board member's term. No
Board member who has been removed will be eligible for nomination. A Special
Election of the Membership shall be held as soon as practicable from the
nominees submitted to the Names Council.
5.0 RESEARCH PROCESS
5.1 Reports and Recommendations.
When requested by ICANN or upon its own initiative, the DNSO, through
Council, shall submit to ICANN a Report and Recommendation which shall contain
the policy recommendations of the DNSO. The process for initiating
consideration of a specific issue may be begun at the request of any three
members of the Names Council or by means of a petition signed by at least 5% of
the members of the General Assembly. Reports and Recommendations made by the
DNSO to ICANN shall be made by the process set forth in this Section 5.
5.2 Research Committees.
For each matter upon which the DNSO begins consideration with respect
recommendation to ICANN, there shall be a Research Committee which will
consider the relevant issues, research the ramifications of particular actions
or inaction, review the comments and criticisms received by interested
individuals and experts, hold hearings on the issues before it (unless there is
a consensus among the members of the Research Committee that such hearings are
not necessary), attempt to reach consensus on the correct resolution of the
issue, and draft and revise any Report and Recommendation.
5.3 Composition of Research Committees.
Each Research Committee shall be composed of General Assembly members
at least two members of the Names Council not from the same constituency and
members of the General Assembly. In selecting members of a Research Committee,
the Names Council shall be guided by the need to ensure regional diversity and
the desire for professional and business experience, technical expertise, and
insights from affected parties on the matters presented.
5.4 Expansion of Research Committee Membership.
If, at any time, the members of any Research Committee feels that they
additional expertise or counsel on the issues before them, they may, in their
discretion and by a majority vote of the committee's members, expand their
membership by adding new committee members from the General Assembly or from
outside the DNSO with the requisite experience or background.
5.5 Issue Statement.
After its members are appointed, each Research Committee shall meet
the issue(s) with which it has been presented, prepare a timetable for the
drafting of, and comments and revisions to, the Report and Recommendation, and
draft an Issue Statement. The Issue Statement shall fairly frame the issue(s)
on which the Report and Recommendation shall be made to ICANN, and whenever
practicable, provide an overview of various positions and possible outcomes.
The Research Committee shall promptly post its proposed timetable and Issue
Statement to the DNSO website and invite comments from the General Assembly.
5.6 Comment Period and Open Meeting.
The Research Committee shall review all comments submitted in response
Issue Statement and shall schedule an Open Meeting of the General Assembly at
which interested persons can make additional statements and discuss the issues
presented with the Research Committee. Notice of the Open Hearing shall be
posted on the DNSO web site at least 30 days in advance, and the Research
Committee shall endeavor, to the extent feasible and practicable, to permit
participation by telephone or videoconference. The Research Committee may hold
additional Open Meetings, if warranted.
5.7 First Request for Comments.
The Research Committee shall review all comments submitted in response
Issue Statement and consider the statements made and discussions held at the
Open Hearing and shall draft a Report and Recommendation containing the
tentative conclusions of the Research Committee, along with a detailed
statement of reasons why it has reached its tentative conclusion. This draft
Report and Recommendation shall be posted to the DNSO website in the form of a
"First Request for Comments."
5.8 Fair Hearing Petition.
If, after the First Request for Comments is published, any person, corporation,
or organization (the "Petitioner") feels that the proposal outlined by the
Research Committee either (i) places an unfair burden on the Petitioner's
personal, business, or organizational interests, or (ii) is not in the best
interests of the domain name system, the Petitioner may request a Fair Hearing.
Each Petition for a Fair Hearing shall include (i) a detailed statement of the
harm that would be caused if the proposal contained in the Request for Comments
was adopted as policy; (ii) a specific reference to the language in the Request
for Comments that would lead to the alleged harm; (iii) a specific proposal for
new or modified language that would alleviate or minimize the alleged harm; and
(iv) a statement of the Petitioner's professional or business interests that
would be impacted in any way by the adoption of its proposed language. The
Research Committee may either adopt the Petitioner's suggested language or hold
a Fair Hearing.
5.9 Implementation Preview
In addition to filing a Fair Hearing Petition, any member of the Registry
constituency which may be required to implement a proposed policy pursuant to a
contract with ICANN may ask, after the First Request for Comments is issued,
that such proposed policy recommendation undergo an implementation preview from
the registries. The Names Council shall establish an implementation preview
process that will determine whether a substantial plurality (3/4ths) of those
registries which vote support such implementation or are or will be
contractually committed to do so. Policies that do not meet this criteria shall
not be forwarded to ICANN by the DNSO or adopted by ICANN. Registries
participating in the implementation preview shall collaborate to submit a
timely report on their actions and views, including a record of the vote of
each registry, to the Names Council.
5.10 Fair Hearing.
A Fair Hearing required by Sections 5.8 or 5.11 shall allow the Research
Committee and the Petitioner, its representatives and supporters to discuss and
debate the issues raised in the Fair Hearing Petition. Fair Hearings shall be
open to all DNSO members. The purpose of the Fair Hearing shall be to seek
consensus on the issues raised. After a Fair Hearing has been held, the
Research Committee shall report on the DNSO web site whether consensus was
reached, and if so, what was agreed by those present. Fair Hearings shall be
open in the same manner as Names Council meetings.
5.11 Further Review of Changes
Whenever a proposal has been changed as a result of the preceding processes,
any changes resulting from such processes shall be republished on the DNSO
website and subject to review under the prior provisions of this section.
5.12 Report to the Names Council.
After reviewing all comments submitted in response to a proposal, the
Committee shall prepare a Report and Recommendation for the Names Council.
This Report and Recommendation will be posted promptly to the DNSO web site.
5.13 Names Council Action.
After a Report and Recommendation is submitted to it, the Names Council
reach a judgment as to whether there is a likelihood of consensus in the
General Assembly in support of the proposal. In such case, the Names Council
shall submit a Report and Recommendation to the General Assembly membership for
ratification; if this is done, the Report and Recommendation shall be forwarded
to the Elections Committee Chair, who shall arrange for a ratification vote. A
Report and Recommendation shall be deemed ratified by the DNSO General Assembly
if two-thirds of those casting ballots vote in favor of the Report and
Recommendation. Each Report and Recommendation ratified by the General Assembly
shall be forwarded by the Names Council to the ICANN Board and shall include
the full research record.
6.0. ACCESS TO INFORMATION
6.1 Minutes and Reports.
The DNSO shall publish, at least annually, a report describing its activities.
Draft minutes of all DNSO meetings shall be published no later than 48 hours.
The Names Council at its next regular meeting will formally approve minutes.
All minutes, meetings, materials, and communications of the DNSO (and any
committees thereof) shall be made publicly available immediately following
approval by the Names Council.
6.2 DNSO Web Site.
The Names Council shall post on the public World Wide Web Site:
(a) Periodically a calendar of scheduled meetings for the upcoming year, and
(b) in advance of each DNSO meeting or policy-recommendation proceeding,
notice of the fact and time that such meeting or proceeding will be held and,
to the extent known an agenda for the meeting. If reasonably practicable the
Names Council shall post notices of special meetings of the DNSO and of the
Names Council at least fourteen (14) days prior to the meetings.
6.3 On-line Participation
To ensure international and diverse participation, the proceedings of
and the Names Council, as well as all Committees of the DNSO, including voting,
shall to the fullest extent possible, be conducted on-line. The DNSO shall
establish appropriate mailing lists to directly notify members of its actions.
7.0 CONFLICT OF INTEREST
Any action by the Names Council in which a Names Council member is personally
and directly interested, shall be valid, provided (i) the fact of such interest
is previously disclosed or known to the Names Council, and (ii) the Names
Council shall nevertheless authorize, approve and ratify such action at a
meeting of the Names Council by a vote of a majority of the members present,
such interested member or members to be counted in determining whether a quorum
is present, but not to be counted in calculating the majority of such quorum
necessary to carry such vote.
The ICANN shall indemnify all Names Council members and those working
of the DNSO of ICANN for acts within their respective authorities to the full
extent permitted by the Not-For-Profit Corporation Law of the State of
These DNSO Rules shall be adopted by the ICANN as part of its By-laws
A. Term of office of Names Council Members.
Names Council representatives shall be elected by their constituencies
terms of office shall be staggered for continuity. The term of office shall
normally be of three years.
One third of the membership of the initial Names Council must retire
year in office, and another one-third of the membership after a second year.
The rotation of members selected by particular constituencies shall be
determined by the number of votes received. The person receiving the most votes
shall be elected to fulfill the three-year term, the person receiving the next
highest number of votes shall be elected to fulfill the two-year term, and the
person receiving the third highest number of votes shall be elected to fulfill
the one-year term.