GAC Issues Another Communiqué

ICANN new generic Top Level Domains logoICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee issued another communiqué at last week’s meeting in Durban, South Africa.

Like its predecessors, the Durban Communiqué was controversial when it comes to new gTLDs, in particular.

The communiqué contained recommendations not to proceed beyond initial evaluations for applications for .spa, .yun, .guangzhou and .shenzhen (the latter two IDNs in Chinese), was unable to come to a decision on applications for .vin and .wine, did not object to applications for .date and .persiangulf and noted concerns from the Indian government over applications for .indians and .ram.

On the protection IGO acronyms, the GAC said they were interested in working with IGOs and the NGPC “on a complementary cost-neutral mechanism that would” help protect IGOs and notify them of any attempt to register a domain name in a new gTLD that matches the acronym of the IGO and allow for a third party to review any such registration request. The protection of Red Cross/Red Crescent acronyms would fall under the same protection mechanism.

The GAC also requested that ICANN work with them on “the protection of terms with national, cultural, geographic and religious significance” as well as requesting ICANN “to take better account of community views, and improve outcomes for communities, within the existing framework, independent of whether those communities have utilized ICANN’s formal community processes to date.”

On dotless domains, the GAC expressed concerns about security and stability of the DNS if they were to be allowed and has requested ICANN to provide them with a written briefing dealing with these concerns.

And lastly, the GAC “noted that there are provisions in the Registry Agreement and Registrar Accreditation Agreement that may conflict with applicable law in certain countries, in particular privacy and data retention, collection and processing law. The importance of having adequate procedures to avoid these conflicts was highlighted.”

So what does it all mean at the end of the recent ICANN meeting? Domain Incite has looked at some of the issues, with one report noting “intellectual property interests got a wake-up call at ICANN 47 in Durban this week, when it became clear that they can no longer rely upon the Governmental Advisory Committee as a natural ally.”

“The GAC’s decision to file a formal consensus objection against Amazon’s application for the .amazon gTLD prompted a line of IP lawyers to queue up at the Public Forum mic to rage against the GAC machine.”

The report notes that the US government was a stumbling block for the .amazon application, but in the end “decided to keep quiet and allow other governments to agree” meaning “the ICANN board of directors will now be presented with a ‘strong presumption’ that .amazon should be rejected.”

The Domain Incite report goes on to ask if the GAC moved the goal posts, as Amazon claimed they “carefully reviewed the Applicant Guidebook” and “followed the rules” but now the goal posts were being moved with rules being retroactively modified.

Another issue addressed by Domain Incite was is the GAC breaking the law.