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Alternate ccTLD Best Practices Draft

(Revised 5 March 2000)

Alternative Draft Using RFC 1591 as the starting point

Version 2.0 Revised March 5, 2000

Best Practices for the Delegation and Management of Country-Code Top Level Domains

This document is under development and will undergo review by interested parties. Please send your comments to

The following individuals have commented on this draft and have agreed to participate in the ongoing draft review committee: Josh Elliott, former administrator, IANA; Nii Quaynor, .GH, AFTLD founding member; Oscar Robles, .MX, LAC TLD founding member; Antony Van Couvering, President, IATLD; Peter DeBlanc, .VI, NATLD founding member; J. William Semich, .NU, APTLD executive committee member


The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) is the overall authority for day-to-day administration of the Internet Domain Name System (DNS). The IANA function is currently located administratively within the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). IANA staff carry out administrative responsibilities for the assignment of IP Addresses, Autonomous System Numbers, Top Level Domains (TLDs), and other unique parameters of the DNS and its protocols. This document describes the role of IANA and the role of managers of country-code Top Level Domains (ccTLD Managers) in the administration of the DNS with respect to the operation of ccTLDs.

Status of ICANN/IANA with respect to ccTLDs.

ICANN/IANA is the International organization charged with supervising the Internet Domain Name System based as far as possible on constituent consensus with respect to policies affecting and affected by the DNS. ICANN’s ultimate accountability is for the reliable performance of the Internet and the broadest dissemination of Internet knowledge, technology and development. ICANN will supervise the operations of the ccTLD Managers and will serve as the dispute resolution forum for complaints against a ccTLD Manager or by a ccTLD Manager with respect to any actions deemed by the ccTLD Manager to affect adversely its operation of the domain.

Status of ccTLD Managers.

A ccTLD Manager is a trustee for the delegated domain, and has a duty to serve the community of the Nation it represents as well as the global Internet community. Concerns about "rights" and "ownership" of domains are inappropriate. It is appropriate to be concerned about "responsibilities" and "service" to the community.

Responsibility of Managers.

The ccTLD manager is charged with operation or supervision of the operation of the DNS service for the domain, including assignment of domain names, delegation of subdomains, maintenance of the zone files for the domain, and operation of nameservers.

Standards of Performance

A. Technical

i) The ccTLD manager must carry out its tasks in a satisfactory manner with technical competence and with equipment reflecting at least the state of the art prevailing in the DNS system globally.

ii) At a minimum the ccTLD manager must provide primary and secondary nameservers with 24 hour Internet Protocol (IP) connectivity to the Internet, 365 days per year.

iii) The database must be operated with

accuracy, robustness, resilience and reliability.

iv) The ccTLD manager must keep the IANA advised of any changes to the information concerning the domain that is maintained in the IANA’s register database, and must respond to requests for information from the IANA relating to the status and technical operations of the domain in a timely manner.

v) The IANA must have access to all zones on a continuing basis so that the domain can be easily checked for operational status and database accuracy.

vi) The information contained in the registry must be secured against damage or loss using the best technology in prevailing use for such purposes.

B. Operational Policies

i) Fair Treatment. The ccTLD manager must be equitable and fair to all groups in the domain that request domain names. Specifically, the same rules must be applied to all requests and they must be processed in a non-discriminatory fashion. The policies and procedures for the use of the domain must be available for public inspection. Generally these are posted on web pages or made available for file transfer. While variations in policies and procedures from country to country are expected due to local customs and cultural values, they must be documented and available to interested parties. Requests from for-profit and non-profit companies and organizations are to be treated on an equal basis, and no discrimination may be made between customers or classes of customers based on race, gender, national or ethnic origin, creed, physical disability, or political affiliation. No bias shall be shown regarding requests that may come from customers of some other business related to the TLD manager. For example, no preferential service for customers of a particular data network provider. There can be no stipulation that a particular application, protocol, or product be used.

ii) Domain Name Dispute Resolution. The ccTLD Manager must establish and publish rules providing for independent resolution of domain name disputes consistent with international intellectual property dispute resolution conventions and otherwise providing for swift, definitive, and non-discriminatory resolution of disputes. Such rules may provide for initial action in the best judgment of the ccTLD Manager exercised in good faith, but such action must be subject to the independent dispute resolution process. To the extent that the IANA or ICANN determines a preferred method of resolving domain name disputes, the ccTLD Manager will conform its practices to such method.

iii) Registrant Agreements; Privacy. The ccTLD Manager must develop contractual relationships with all registrants in which the privacy of private registrants is protected from public access, but the true names and contact information of registrants involved in any commercial activities shall be made available to the public in a convenient and expeditious fashion. The contracts with registrants must provide that the registry be provided with true and current identification data even for non-commercial sites to permit contacts with the name holder by the ccTLD Manager.

iv) Restrictions of Domain Names or Content. Recognizing that a ccTLD Manager does not control or process the information transmitted over the Internet, it must also be recognized that a largely unsupervised communications medium will inevitably result from time to time in expressions offensive to many people. Wherever practical and consistent with its obligation to facilitate the free flow of ideas and information on the Internet, ccTLD Managers should develop sensitive practices to minimize such expressions in domain names, particularly where such expressions would be offensive to significant groups in the relevant Country. If the ccTLD Manager receives complaints of criminal activity being conducted on a website registered with the ccTLD, the Manager shall cooperate with appropriate law enforcement officials to share contact information about the operator of the website, provided that a ccTLD Manager need not share such information if the complaint fundamentally deals with political expression.

v) Financial Operations. It is the obligation of the ccTLD Manager to foster the use of the domain. Because of the many options for domain name registrants, the marketplace will in large measure determine the pricing levels for services of ccTLDs. Nevertheless, the ccTLD Manager must price its services at such levels as to promote and not limit the use of the domain name and to be competitive generally with the market. The ccTLD Manager must not in effect hoard the domain by excessive pricing relative to the market or otherwise act in monopolistic fashion. A demonstration of financial abuse of registrants will be deemed misconduct by a ccTLD Manager and may result in the initiation of the redelegation procedure outlined below.

C. Service to the Community.

i) Promotion of the Internet. It is the obligation of the ccTLD Manager to foster the use of the Internet in the geographical location associated with the ccTLD's ISO-3166-1 code for which the domain is named. The Manager should take a leadership role in promoting awareness of the Internet, access to the Internet, and use of the Internet within the Country. The ccTLD Manager must show over time that it has developed a regular consultative process with various elements of society including the government, the education interests, the health care interests, the cultural and other noncommercial interests, the business interests, and other sectors of the society which may be affected by and may profit by the use of the Internet.

ii) Investment. As community service is an essential and central element in the mandate of a ccTLD, the IANA may review the performance of the ccTLD Manager in this area closely and on a regular basis to determine how the ccTLD Manager has engaged with the local community to stimulate broad usage of the Internet through educational programs, technical assistance, programs to enhance Internet access opportunities for residents, identification of innovative benefits to the local community through the Internet, or other activities as the ccTLD Manager may from time to time identify as serving the interests of the local community with respect to the Internet. As part of its operating agreement with ICANN, the ccTLD Manager will include a plan consistent with its financial capabilities for fulfilling its obligations to the local community, including a consultative process interfacing with important elements of the local society both public and private.

D. Resolutions of Disputes over Management of ccTLDs.

It shall be the policy of ICANN to insist that significant parties to a dispute over the management of a ccTLD engage in good faith attempts to consult with each other in constructive ways to resolve disputes relating to the management of the ccTLD, including independent third party mediation where appropriate. Upon a showing that such good faith attempts have been undertaken but without satisfactory resolution of the dispute, ICANN will invoke the dispute resolution mechanism described here.

i. Disputes relating to the management of ccTLDs which cannot be resolved in a reasonable time by the parties to the dispute shall be resolved by ICANN acting by and through the Internet Domain Name Board (IDNB). The IDNB shall consist of no fewer than seven members to be appointed by ICANN from time to time to resolve a dispute. The members shall consist of [ccTLD managers, technical experts, nominees of the Names Council????] A vote of at least 2/3rds of the members shall be necessary to take actions.

ii. The IDNB shall adopt procedures which guarantee an open and fair process for all parties, including open hearings with the right to have meaningful review in advance of all evidence to be presented in the proceedings, to present evidence in writing and through witnesses, and to confront witnesses presenting evidence adverse to a party.

iii. The goal of dispute resolution shall be to have the parties better understand the legitimate desires, intentions, and activities of the other parties and to have parties agree to adjust their policies and practices where necessary to accommodate reasonable interests of the other parties. It is not to be the role of the IDNB solely to find for one side or the other, but rather to educate all the parties as to the best practices in the Internet Community and to the methods of conforming to such best practices in the circumstances of the particular ccTLD. If the IDNB finds that a complaint about a ccTLD Manager is justified, the primary goal is to bring that ccTLD into compliance with norms of ccTLD Management generally accepted in the Internet Community. The ultimate sanction of redelegation shall only be considered after exhausting alternative avenues to bringing the ccTLD into compliance with those norms.

iv. In the event that a ccTLD Manager is charged with persistent violations of acceptable ccTLD Management practices after prior findings by the IDNB of such mismanagement and failure or refusal by the ccTLD Manager to correct the mismanagement, the IDNB may consider revoking the delegation and redelegating the domain to another manager. Before ordering revocation and redelegation, the IDNB shall hold hearings with the same procedural safeguards as pertain to other dispute resolution proceedings. After such hearings, the IDNB may by a 2/3rds vote elect to revoke the delegation or to order such restrictions and conditions as the Board deems appropriate and just in the circumstances and after such vote the IDN Board shall forward its recommendation to the ICANN Board of Directors for action as appropriate.

E. Procedure for Delegation of A New Manager. In the event that a redelegation is imposed by IANA as a result of misconduct by the incumbent ccTLD Manager pursuant to the foregoing procedures, or in those cases where a ccTLD Manager has not yet been assigned, IANA will announce a process for selecting a new Manager for the domain. To be qualified, an applicant must show that it has at least an administrative contact in the relevant country, that it is technically qualified, that it has the financial backing to manage the domain as required by these Practices, that it has the ability, the vision, and the capacity to serve the interests of the Global Internet, and that it is as well or better qualified to serve the interests of the local community as any other qualified applicant. As the representative of the International Internet Community, IANA will select the Manager based on its best judgment of which applicant can best serve the Global Internet and the local community represented by the ccTLD. In this judgment IANA shall seek out and consider seriously the views of the local political government to the extent that such can be consistently ascertained.

Management Agreements. It shall be the practice of IANA to require as a condition to granting or maintaining a delegation to a ccTLD Manager that the Manager enter into a written agreement with ICANN by which the Manager undertakes to conduct itself in the management of the ccTLD in accordance with the principles set forth in this document, and in the documents known as RFC 1591 and ICP-1. Such Agreement may contain provisions requiring an assessment by ICANN of reasonable fees based on ability to pay to underwrite the operations of ICANN as the supervisor of the DNS.

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