2015-10-02

ICANN Renews .CAT, .PRO, .TRAVEL, RAs with URS Included

UPDATE 6 Feb 2016: ICANN Board DENIES Reconsideration Requests 15-19 (the ICANN Business Constituency & the ICANN Noncommercial Stakeholder Group (NCSG)) and 15-20 (The Internet Commerce Association), and ICANN Board adopts the BGC's Recommendation on Reconsideration Requests 15-19 and 15-20 (pdf).[--end of UPDATE--]

On September 28, 2015, the ICANN Board approved renewal of the .TRAVEL, .CAT, and .PRO Registry Agreements with Specification 7, Rights Protection Mechanisms, included, which means the Uniform Rapid Suspension system (“URS”) adopted by ICANN for new gTLDs is now applicable to all three of these "legacy" gTLDs (generic top-level domains). This issue had caused some controversy as it was applying new gTLDs' policy to legacy gTLDs without going through a Policy Development Process (PDP). The ICANN Board's analysis and reasoning in approving the inclusion of the URS for these three legacy gTLDs stated that this does not set a precedent for other legacy gTLDs (e.g., .COM, .NET, .ORG):
"[This] is not a move to make the URS mandatory for any legacy TLDs, and it would be inappropriate to do so. In the case of .TRAVEL, [.CAT and .PRO] inclusion of the URS was developed as part of the proposal in bilateral negotiations between the Registry Operator and ICANN." (excerpt from ICANN Board Resolution, emphasis added)
The full analysis and reasoning of the Board:

"The Board carefully considered the public comments received for Renewal Registry Agreement, along with the summary and analysis of those comments. The Board also considered the terms agreed to by the Registry Operator as part of the bilateral negotiations with ICANN. While the Board acknowledges the concerns expressed by some community members regarding the inclusion of the URS in the Renewal Registry Agreement, the Board notes that the inclusion of the URS in the Renewal Registry Agreement is based on the bilateral negotiations between ICANN and the Registry Operator, where Registry Operator expressed their interest to renew their registry agreement based on the new gTLD Registry Agreement.

"The Board notes that the URS was recommended by the Implementation Recommendation Team (IRT) as a mandatory rights protection mechanism (RPM) for all new gTLDs. The GNSO was asked to provide its view on whether certain proposed rights protection mechanisms (which included the URS) were consistent with the GNSO's proposed policy on the introduction of New gTLDs and were the appropriate and effective option for achieving the GNSO's stated principles and objectives. The STI considered this matter and concluded that "Use of the URS should be a required RPM for all New gTLDs." That is, the GNSO stated that the URS was not inconsistent with any of its existing policy recommendations.

"Although the URS was developed and refined through the process described here, including public review and discussion in the GNSO, it has not been adopted as a consensus policy and ICANN has no ability to make it mandatory for any TLDs other than new gTLD applicants who applied during the 2012 New gTLD round.

"Accordingly, the Board's approval of the Renewal Registry Agreement is not a move to make the URS mandatory for any legacy TLDs, and it would be inappropriate to do so. In the case of .TRAVEL [.CAT and .PRO], inclusion of the URS was developed as part of the proposal in bilateral negotiations between the Registry Operator and ICANN.

"Additionally, the Board considered the comments regarding transitioning legacy gTLDs to the new form of the registry agreement. The Board notes that existing registry agreement calls for presumptive renewal of the agreement at its expiration so long as certain requirements are met. The renewal agreement is subject to the negotiation of renewal terms reasonably acceptable to ICANN and the Registry Operator. The renewal terms approved by the Board are the result of the bilateral negotiations called for in the current registry agreement, and transitioning to the new form of the registry agreement would not violate established GNSO policy. As described below, the new form of the registry agreement provides some operational advantages, in addition to benefits to registrants and the Internet community including public interest commitments, requiring the use of registrars under the 2013 RAA, and the ability for ICANN to designate an emergency interim registry operator in the event that emergency thresholds for critical registry services is reached." (emphasis added)

John Poole, Editor of Domain Mondo, was among those who submitted comments opposing inclusion of the URS into the Registry Agreements of these legacy gTLDs--See Most Comments OPPOSE ICANN Extending URS Policy to dotTRAVEL and Comments Overwhelmingly Oppose URS for CAT and PRO gTLDs.

Domain Mondo and its Editor thank the ICANN Board of Directors for their careful review and consideration of all public comments, and specifically thank the Board for stating its approval of the three Renewal Registry Agreements is "not a move to make the URS mandatory for any legacy TLDs, and it would be inappropriate to do so," and further stating: it [URS] "has not been adopted as a consensus policy and ICANN has no ability to make it mandatory for any TLDs other than new gTLD applicants who applied during the 2012 New gTLD round."




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