ICANN Policy Issue: Introduction of New Generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs)

Another important issue that the ICANN’s GNSO Policy Council is currently addressing is the introduction of new generic top-level domain names (gTLDs).

IP Justice supports the introduction of new gTLDs and is concerned about the chilling effect on freedom of expression raised by the current Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) Recommendations and also the GNSO Policy Council’s Recommendations.

GAC Principles would limit new gTLDs to only those words that are not offensive, are not trademarked, and have no religious, sexual or political meaning.

Another major problem with the current GAC proposal is that it would give any group of countries a veto over any new gTLD string application. Under the proposed policy, if an institution such as the Catholic Church complained about an application for a domain name (such as .abortion), the application would not be granted.

In other words, ICANN’s proposed policy for new gTLDs could be a recipe for censorship and an invasion of national sovereignty, since the intolerances of other cultures will be imposed on all societies.

ICANN’s Non-Commercial Users Constituency (NCUC) submitted a constituency impact statement on the New TLD Committee’s Recommendations that expressed concerns about ICANN evaluating string applications for non-technical issues, like "morality".

NCUC also opposes the creation of a public opposition period that would allow competitors, critics, and others to prevent the registration of a new domain. NCUC also remains concerned about the role of ICANN staff and outside expert panels to adjudicate the rights of individuals to use language on the Internet.

In early June 2007, ICANN’s Non-Commercial Users Constituency (NCUC) proposed 5 amendments to the gnso’s draft recommendations to protect free expression and innovation in domain name policy at ICANN. NCUC’s proposals are intended to keep the Internet core neutral of national, regional, religious, moral, and cultural policy conflicts. ICANN should refrain from trying to set global public policy rules that mandate "sensitivities" and "morality" and focus on its technical mission of assigning names and numbers.

ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) also developed new gtld policy recommendations

The GNSO Policy Council sent the recommendations to the ICANN Board of Directors in the Fall of 2007.  The ICANN Board voted at its meeting in February 2008 in New Delhi to accept the non-controversial recommendations while sending the controversial or un-implementable recommendations back to the GNSO for further work.  The GNSO awaits the Board’s lists and instructions.

What You Can Do:

Key Documents in GTLD Policy Development Process: * GNSO New GTLD Committee Draft Final Report (8 August 2007): Part A: final policy recommendations and dissenting statements Part B: supporting documents and constituency statements

IP Justice Statements and Media Releases on New GTLD Policy Development:

Non-Commercial Users Constituency (NCUC) Statements:

NCUC Proposals to Amend New GTLD Policy Recommendations: ICANN’s Non-Commercial Users Constituency (NCUC) proposed amendments to the draft policy recommendations to try to protect free expression and innovation in domain name policy. The New GTLD Committee did not accept any of NCUC’s proposals. * NCUC Proposals of June 2007 * NCUC Proposals of Feb. 2007 Legal Briefing Papers on New GTLD Policy Development:

Other Statements:

ICANN GNSO Council on New GTLD Policy Development:

Below: GNSO Policy Council Meeting in Brazil 2006.