[Gnso-newgtld-wg-wt5] Concerns on the WT5 Terms of Reference and proposed expansion of the scope of geo-names to include other concepts as well

Martin Sutton martin at brandregistrygroup.org
Wed Nov 29 18:56:52 UTC 2017

Hi Robin,

Thank you for sending through your comments.  We will combine your comments on the ToR with those provided on the call and subsequent submissions from WT5 members, so we can review on next week’s call.

Regarding the risk approach, I over-simplified the slides in order to focus attention on drawing out the risks as a primary goal before leading us into assessing the risks.  At that stage we must look at whether the risks themselves warrant any specific controls (beyond the monitoring and enforcement mechanisms for a live registry) and how these could impact any positive elements of enabling new gTLDs relating to geographic terms. This is an important aspect of the process and needs to balance the risks we are concerned about with the level of controls applied.  Back to my physics days, every action has an equal and opposite reaction - so as we move the dial of controls, we do need to appreciate the impact of such changes with the aim of achieving an acceptable balance.  I should have made that clearer and I note that some of the comments in the chat I have subsequently read picked up on this point as well.

Kind regards,


Martin Sutton
Executive Director
Brand Registry Group
martin at brandregistrygroup.org<mailto:martin at brandregistrygroup.org>

On 29 Nov 2017, at 17:48, Robin Gross <robin at ipjustice.org<mailto:robin at ipjustice.org>> wrote:

I didn’t have audio on last night’s WT5 call, so thought I’d send my comments directly to the list today about the proposed Terms of Reference revealed yesterday.

Paragraph 1: It is not appropriate to include an “approval" model as something this group will make recommendations on, that presumptively moves away from the model that the GNSO and Board created in the last round, which intentionally and explicitly did not require a permission-based model for names.  It is simply inappropriate for this fundamental policy change to be slipped-in to the Terms of Reference before we begin our work.  We would be ill-advised to “put the cart before the horse”, but this bracketed language does exactly that.

Paragraph 2: Regulating "names with a cultural significance" and "names with economic significance" are outside the scope of this PDP.  This is a PDP regarding geo-names, so adding-on two additional types of names into the ToR is an inappropriate expansion of the scope of this group’s mandate.   Let’s focus on defining what “geo-names” are, rather than including other concepts into the ToR -- that are geo-names.  This PDP was set-up to work on geo-names, the chartering organizations agreed to participate under the understanding that it would be limited to geo-names, so we need to stick to our mandate and our agreement in setting up the WT.

While I support giving significant consideration to risks in our analysis, let's flesh this concept out more and also include benefits in the analysis, rather than being singularly focused on risks.  We are in danger of having a wholly “negative” analysis that won’t consider “positives” as well.  We may wish to recognize that some risks are worth taking and consider some element of a risk-to-benefit analysis in order to be more complete in our own evaluation.  Our analysis should recognize that some issues create risks to one part of ICANN community while simultaneously creating benefits to other parts of the ICANN community — we need to consider how we will handle such mixed outcomes and viewpoints in our analysis.   So I think this can be a highly useful approach, but needs to be fleshed out, balanced, and nuanced a bit further in light of the complexities.


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