GAC draft gTLD Beijing: advice on controversial or sensitive strings and applications

GAC draft gTLD agenda for Beijing and advice to the ICANN Board on controversial or sensitive strings and applications

As the New gTLD Program moves forward, the GAC is making preparations for delivering further advice on new gTLDs.  This advice constitutes a key element of the overall process as outlined in the Applicant Guidebook (AG).

As anticipated, GAC Member Early Warnings were issued on November 20, 2012, and applicants and GAC Members have been exchanging information with the aim of reaching an understanding or agreement on concerns raised, wherever possible.

In terms of the next phase, described in module 3.1 of the AG, the GAC as a whole will be discussing its advice on new gTLDs.  These sessions are organized into two parts:

Part I  Safeguard advice on the basis of categories of strings

The GAC discussions will proceed on the basis of advice to safeguard categories of strings that raise concerns, or potential concerns, for governments.  There are currently nine draft categories of strings proposed for the GAC’s Beijing agenda.  Six were identified in the GAC Toronto Communique:

  • Consumer protection
  • Strings that are linked to regulated market sectors, such as the financial, health and charity sectors
  • Competition issues
  • Strings that have broad or multiple uses or meanings, and where one entity is seeking exclusive use
  • Religious terms where the applicant has no, or limited, support from the relevant religious organisations or the religious community.
  • Minimising the need for defensive registrations
  • Protection of geographic names
  • Intellectual property rights particularly in relation to strings aimed at the distribution of music, video and other digital material

Three additional categories have now been proposed for consideration:

  • Support for applications submitted by global authorities
  • Corporate Identifier gTLDs
  • Strings that represent inherent government functions and/or activities

As the GAC looks at these nine categories, and how they would apply to strings and applications falling under these categories, the number of safeguard categories or titles of the categories could change.

Part II  GAC advice/objections on specific applications

Twenty specific applications have been brought forward by a GAC Member or Members for consideration by the GAC.  The GAC Member(s) putting forward these applications have linked them to the following categories:

Community name where the applicant does not have support from the community or the government: 1
Consumer protection: 2
Name of an Intergovernmental Organisation (IGO): 1
Protection of geographic names: 9
Religious terms: 2
Strings applied for that represent inherent government functions and/or activities: 3
Support for applications submitted by global authorities: 2

The Operating Principles of the GAC outline the consensus-based approach of the Committee and will serve as a key reference for the GAC in its deliberations.

The GAC looks forward to the upcoming meetings and holding exchanges with the ICANN Board and community on these and other important matters.

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