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Registrar Negotiating Team Statement On The 2013 RAA

Last night ICANN published an updated version of the registrar accreditation agreement 2013 with additional documents. Though the Registrar negotiation team has been working on this for 18 months in conjuction with ICANN staff they feel that the publishing of the documents was to premature.

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The official Registrar Negotiating Team Statement:

After nearly 18 months of negotiations with ICANN over a new Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA), formal negotiations have concluded. The posting of a “proposed” 2013 RAA by ICANN for public comment signals that ICANN staff believes that negotiations have concluded and the remaining issues will not be resolved.

The Registrars’ NT disagrees. To be clear, this is NOT the outcome that registrars wanted, and they remain ready and willing to continue negotiations.

Prior to the Toronto ICANN meeting (October 2012), all parties acknowledged that they were very close to agreement on all remaining issues. The process appeared to be reaching a favorable conclusion and when ICANN CEO Fadi Chehadé communicated his desire to have RAA negotiations wrapped up by the end of 2012, registrars felt it was an ambitious timeframe, but one worth pursuing for the benefit of all parties.

When negotiations finally resumed in February 2013 much to the surprise of registrars, the few remaining issues were not the only items under discussion. ICANN staff presented a list of 10 brand new items for inclusion in the agreement, under the pretext of enhancing the “public interest.” Furthermore, these new items came along with an arbitrary deadline and decision to link the 2013 RAA to the new gTLD timeline.

Among these new demands was a Registrant Rights and Responsibilities document (R3), a temporary privacy accreditation program and a requirement that registrars accept and implement recommendations of the WHOIS Expert Working Group, which had yet to be formed and whose work is just beginning.

Although registrars were surprised by these new demands, registrars worked in good faith with ICANN to accommodate its intentions. For example, registrars consulted with their members to fine-tune the R3 document to make it easier to understand and readily translatable in other languages.

Some of the other new items for inclusion transcend the RAA and could affect the entirety of the multi-stakeholder model. For example, ICANN insisted on including a proposed Revocation (or “blow up”) Clause that would have given them the ability to unilaterally terminate all registrar accreditations. After major pushback, ICANN staff relented and in its place proposed giving the ICANN Board the ability to unilaterally amend the RAA. This is identical to what ICANN inserted into the proposed new gTLD registry agreement – a clause met with strong opposition not only from the Registry Stakeholder Group but from the broader ICANN community.

The effect of such a clause in the primary agreements between ICANN and its commercial stakeholders would be devastating to the bottom-up, multi-stakeholder model. First, it will effectively mean the end of the GNSO’s PDP, as the Board will become the central arena for all controversial issues, not the community. Second, it creates an imbalance of authority in the ICANN model, with no limits on the scope or frequency of unilateral amendments, and no protections for registrars and more important registrants.

In addition to the new items for inclusion there was a surprise announcement that all new gTLD registries must only use registrars that have signed the 2013 RAA, a transparent effort by ICANN to arbitrarily link the new gTLD program to the outcome of RAA negotiations. This requirement would create separate “classes” or “levels” of registrars, which is unprecedented in the DNS industry. There can and must be only one meaning of “ICANN-Accredited.”

All of the items that have been agreed to over the past 18 months would, by themselves, produce an RAA that is vastly improved over the current 2009 version. If adopted, that RAA would significantly raise performance requirements for every ICANN accredited registrar and bring dramatic improvements to the domain name ecosystem. Nearly all of the Law Enforcement requests that were endorsed by the GAC have been included, as well as the major items that were requested by the GNSO are included in that RAA. That RAA would bring registrant verification. That RAA would bring enhanced compliance tools.

Registrars must emphasize that the key differences between that RAA and the one currently proposed by ICANN are not issues raised by Law Enforcement, GAC or the GNSO but by ICANN staff.

It now moves to the greater ICANN community to review these competing draft RAAs, and registrars look forward to those public discussions. We welcome engagement with all stakeholders on the new 2013 RAA, and what it means for registrars, registrants, and the management of the DNS as a whole.

ICANN 44 a week in review

ICANN 44 Prague was a busy event and produced a lot of news and new information.

Friday June 22 : ICANN announces it’s new CEO and President Fadi Chehadé.

Saturday June 23 : The biggest news this day must have been the fact that ICANN

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suspended the Digital Archery system and later in the week abandoned it completely.
Sunday June 24 : A number of registrars participated in a briefing with the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) regarding the Domain Name Marketplace and the role of registrars in the ecosystem.
Points being discussed with the GAC.

  • Registrar business models
  • the role resellers play
  • the diverse nature of the RrSG (Registrars Stakeholder Group) members

Monday June 25 : The RrSG met directly with representatives from the Law Enforcement community on Monday to provide them an update and to update them on the status of the 12 requests they had previously indicated were important. The RrSG has accepted 10 of the 12 proposals.
Outstanding issues are WHOIS verification and Data Retention.
In the evening ICANN CEO Rod Beckstrom had it’s farewell party which was largely attended.

Tuesday June 26 : Tuesday was a busy day for the Registrars.
RAA (Registrar Accreditation Agreement) discussions
gTLD discussions about the implications for Registrars and it’s Resellers/Customers.
The Executive Committee of the RrSG met with the ICANN Board Tuesday afternoon. Main topics were the new RAA and gTLDs.
A healthy interaction with the ICANN compliance team.
ICANN renews the .com contract with Verisign.

Wednesday June 27: WHOIS replacement workshop. A few observations from this workgroup.

  • No uniform data model that exists for domain name registration data.
  • The WHOIS protocol itself has no standard capacity for handling non-ASCII text.
  • Directory services do not satisfy legitimate needs for access to different granularities of data.

Replacing the current WHOIS system as we know it, is one of the top priorities of ICANN’s priority list.

Participation as a panel member regarding the IRTP Part C Update. This workgroup is gathering information to recommend a control function for domain name owner changes.

No further news on the URS. ICANN has not selected an URS provider yet.

Thursday June 28 : Participation as a panel member regarding the locking of a domain name during an UDRP (Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution)
Most noteable was the public forum. This session lasts around 5 hours and includes a variety of topics. This is a session where anyone and everyone can ask their questions or make comments to the ICANN board.

ICANN 44 Statement from the Registrar Stakeholder Group

The Registrar Stakeholder Group (RrSG) would like to provide this statement regarding the current status of RAA negotiations and the update posted on the ICANN website on June 4, 2012.
The RrSG and its representatives on the Negotiating Team (NT) have been actively involved in discussions with ICANN staff and is pleased to see substantive progress reported to the community in advance of the upcoming ICANN meeting in Prague.

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Among the issues that have been agreed to include improved registrar response and

availability to law enforcement, registrar abuse point of contact, publication of registrar information, establishment of an ICANN accreditation for privacy/proxy service as well as many other important issues which have been identified both by law enforcement and the greater community.

As ICANN points out in the documents recently released, several issues remain outstanding including:

 

  • Whois verification/validation
  • Data retention
  • Future RAA amendments process
  • Registrar obligations to support certain technologies which today are optional
  • Port 43 whois access for thick registries

The RrSG fully agrees that several of the open items require input and discussion from the broader community as they contemplate significant changes to the domain name ecosystem as it exists today, and will impact the expansion of the Internet to new users and new regions of the world. We believe the upcoming meeting in Prague will provide an excellent venue for initiating these discussions and the RrSG looks forward to participating in those conversations.

 

More information about the RAA 2012 can be viewed here.

 

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The new gTLD list.

The new gTLD list.

This week several companies revealed how many applications they filed, and in some cases revealed more information then just the amount of applications.

Google has applied for 50 gTLD’s across 4 categories.

  • Trademarks, like .google

    Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...

    Dot Google

  • TLD’s related to Google’s core business, like .docs
  • TLD’s that will improve user experience, such as .youtube, which can increase the ease with which YouTube channels and genres can be identified
  • TLD’s where Google thinks has interesting and creative potential, such as .lol

Directi applied for 31 gTLD’s that will be heavily contested.
.web, .shop, .bank, .law, .music, .news, .blog, .movie, .baby, .store, .doctor, .hotel, .play, .home .site, .website, .click, .online, .one, .ping, .space, .world, .press, .chat, .city, .deals, .insurance .loans, .app, .host, and .hosting.

TLDH applied for 92 TLD’s :

.abogado, .app, .art, .baby, .beauty, .beer, .blog, .book, .casa (Spanish for .home), .cloud, .cooking, .country, .coupon, .cpa, .cricket, .data, .dds, .deals, .design, .dog, .eco, .fashion, .fishing, .fit, .flowers, .free, .garden, .gay, .green, .guide, .home, .horse, .hotel, .immo, .inc, .latino, .law, .lawyer, .llc, .love, .luxe, .pizza, .property, .realestate, .restaurant, .review, .rodeo, .roma, .sale, .school, .science, .site, .soccer, .spa, .store, .style, .surf, .tech, .video, .vip, .vodka, .website, .wedding, .work, .yoga, .zulu, 网址 , 购物

 

The Public Interest Registry (.ORG) applied for .NGO and .ONG.

CloudNames went for .cloud and .global.

Starting Dot announced they applied for .archi, .bio, .design, .immo and .ski.

Based on the current information from ICANN it is expected that a total of 1700+ gTLD’s will be revealed on June 13th.
ICANN expects the first new gTLD’s to launch early 2013.
It’s estimated that ICANN can batch 500 gTLD’s each year.

Delays?
Currently there are a few issues that could delay ICANN’s gTLD time table.
The batching process is still disputed in it’s current setup. In it’s current form, all the gTLD applicants are allowed thru Digital Archery to apply for the first batch. Industry experts argue that contested gTLD’s ( .WEB for example) should not enter the first batch.
The Trademark Clearninghouse has some lose ends, though it is expected to be up and running in October later this year.
Currently no URS provider has been selected by ICANN.

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Currently 889 gTLD applicants.

According to a post from ICANN there are currently 889 users registered in the TLD Application System (TAS). Each user can apply for 50 TLD’s. 50×889 = 44450. A staggering number that surely will not be met. Industry experts expect around 2000 applications.

Tremendous anticipation, planning, and work drove toward 12 January, 2012, the day ICANN began accepting applications for new gTLDs.

Organizations who choose to apply to operate a top-level domain have merely begun a journey that will most likely carry them into 2013. If you’re curious about the next phases of ICANN’s New gTLD Program, here are highlights of what to expect.

 

In early May, approximately two weeks after the new gTLD application window closes, ICANN will publish a list of the applications and who has applied for which domain name. Until then, ICANN will not comment publicly about any specific application, the total number of applications received, or who has submitted applications.

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WIPO handled slightly more UDRP cases compared to 2010.

WIPO handled slightly more UDRP cases compared to 2010.

Though the amount of UDRP cases is just slightly higher compared to 2010 the amount of domains involved was up by 9.4%. A smillar trend is noticed by ccTLD registries who use their own ADR procedure to resolve  domain name disputed.

Since ICANN appointed WIPO as one of the parties to handle domain disputes back in 1999, WIPO handled more then 22.5000 UDRP cases and this number will only increase according to WIPO with the launch of the new gTLD‘s at the end of this year. How high this increase will be is unknown at the moment. First of all we don’t known how many gTLD’s will be released and it is unknown how effective the Trademark Clearinghouse will be when it is introduced by ICANN in October this year.

To read the entire report you can visit this link here.

The observant reader will notice that Denmark filed a massive amount of UDRD’s last year compared to the rest of the world (204). This is due to the LEGO company who filed alone 161 complaints, and is fiercely defending it’s trademarks.

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Roadmap to a New Domain Name Registration Data Access Protocol (WHOIS)

As mentioned earlier this month ICANN is moving towards a new WHOIS eco system.

ICANN is pleased to announce the posting of the draft
roadmap to implement ICANN’s Security and Stability Advisory Committee’s Report on Domain Name WHOIS Terminology and Structure (SAC 051). To make or view comments click here. The SSAC report specifically targets, among other things, the “internationalization” of the WHOIS protocol, reflecting concern about the inability of the current WHOIS protocol to consistently handle non-ASCII data. Additionally, SAC 051 recommends terminology to be used to clarify discussions where traditionally the terms Whois or WHOIS have been used. This roadmap explores the coordination of the technical and policy discussions necessary to implement the recommendations outlined in SAC 051: SSAC Report on Domain Name WHOIS Terminology and Structure.

A public workshop will be held during the ICANN meeting in Costa Rica next month March. This workshop will provide ICANN extra time to consult with experts and the community regarding a new WHOIS eco system and setup the road map to an updated Domain Name Registration Data Access Protocol.

Domain Name Registration Data Access Protocol ?
According to the road map, the proposal is to adopt a new terminology to ensure a well-defined and coherent taxonomy that can be used in both the technical and policy discussions where precision is needed.

  • For example :
    Domain Name Registration Data (DNRD). The data that domain name registrants provide when registering a domain name and that registrars or registries collects.
    • Domain Name Registration Data Access Protocol (DNRD-AP). The components of a (standard) communications exchange—queries and responses—that specify the access to DNRD.
    • Doman Name Registration Data Directory Service (DNRD-DS). The service(s) offered by domain name registries and registrars to implement the DNRD-AP and to provide access to DNRD-DSD.

It is expected that the report will be finalized prior to the ICANN meeting in June 2012.

For those who are interested to read more regarding the “roadmap” please visit this link.

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Cybersquatters face serious sentences in the Philippines.

The senate in the Philippines approved a new law wich classifies cybersquatting as act of crime. Squatters could face six to 12 years in jail if found guilty under the new Senate Bill.

Min and Max

Six years is the minimum term with a maximum of twelve years.
There is however an alternative punishment of a 500,000 peso fine (roughly $12,000)
According to the new Philippine law cybersquatting is :

The acquisition of a domain name over the internet in bad faith to profit, mislead, destroy reputation, and deprive others from registering the same, if such a domain name is:
i. Similar, identical, or confusingly similar to an existing trademark registered with the appropriate government agency at the time of the domain name registration
ii. Identical or in any way similar with the name of a person other than the registrant, in case of a personal name; and
iii. Acquired without right or with intellectual property interests in it

This definition is smillar to the widely used Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy.

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WHOIS verification rules coming this year ?

WHOIS verification rules coming this year ?

It appears that ICANN wants to ensure that Mickey Mouse is no longer present as the registrant of domain names.

“Registrars could be obliged to verify their customers’ identities when they sell domain names under new rules proposed for later this year, according to ICANN president Rod Beckstrom in a letter to Lawrence Strickling of the NTIA”

Currently the new Registrar Accreditions Agreements are being renegotiated by ICANN and the registrar community after recent discussions with the Governmental Advisory Committee.
ICANN expects that the RAA will incorporate – for the first time – Registrar commitments to verify WHOIS data. ICANN is actively considering incentives for Registrars to adopt the anticipated amendments to the RAA prior to the rollout of the first TLD in 2013.
How ICANN will implement a WHOIS verification system is currently unknown.

Whois verification

Whois verification, which is often found at the top of the wish-lists of intellectual property and law enforcement communities have led to heavily debated discussions within the ICANN community.
Civil rights advocates believe that checking registrant identities will infringe on rights to privacy and free speech. While the Law Enforcement Agencies plead that the current WHOIS eco system leads to cyber crime.
It is expected that some recommendation from the WHOIS Policy Review Team will be used.
This team released their final draft last december and can be downloaded here.

One of the biggest changes in this recommendation is the change from a “thin” WHOIS to a “thick” WHOIS eco system. Verisign, the TLD operator for .COM/.NET who currently uses a “thin” WHOIS has said in a statement that they are neutral regarding any WHOIS decision.
It’s expected that at the end of March 2012 we will have more solid information on what will happen with the current WHOIS eco system. But the expectation is that the days of Mickey Mouse as a domain name registrant are numbered.