[Gnso-newgtld-wg-wt5] The WT5 meeting in San Juan - CW comments

Greg Shatan gregshatanipc at gmail.com
Mon Mar 26 05:54:22 UTC 2018

With regard to point 3 ("Geographical names are not Generic in the usual
semantic or, indeed, ICANN sense. Nearly all of those names are specific to
places, cultures, regions, communities and their local economies. The fact
that GNSO has taken the lead in the PDP WT5, does not diminish in any way
the specific characteristics of geo-names."):

We should avoid getting drawn into a policy conflict disguised as a
semantic argument.  The term "generic" as used in "generic TLDs" has long
since departed from any "semantic" meaning of generic.  Even as far back as
2001, RFC 3071 recognized that "generic" was ambiguous when applied to
gTLDs, whic could be "generic" as in "purpose neutral" or "unbranded and
open for use in any way" or "generic" as in "purpose-specific" or "related
to a particular genus of registrants."  As a result of the 2012 New gTLD
round, we now have hundreds of gTLDs that are .Brands.  Brands are
conceptually and semantically the opposite of generic.  We have dozens of
TLDs being used as "geo-names."  We also have many that are "purpose
specific" and many that are open to use by all without any type of "genus"
implied or expressed.  I'm sure there are other types and distinctions to
be made, but ultimately these are all gTLDs.

The same word or string can have multiple meanings.  In numerous cases, the
same string could be delegated and used as a generic, purpose-specific,
.Brand or geo-name gTLD, depending on the applicant's plans. We need to be
conservative with the idea that a string or word is inherently one thing or
another.  For instance, "tours" could be a .brand, a geo-name, a
purpose-specific gTLD or even a purpose-neutral gTLD.

The GNSO's role here is not one where it has "taken the lead" as a
free-floating "fact" but one where it has that responsibility as a matter
of ICANN policy.  In that vein, this is not "PDP WT5"; this is a "work
track" within a GNSO Policy Development Process Working Group.  The GNSO is
a task-based entity, with that task being to manage the process of
developing the policy recommendations for gTLDs.  Anyone can participate in
that process.  It is irrelevant whether they are a member of (or a
stakeholder represented by) any GNSO Stakeholder Group or Constituency.

That is not to say this is the only possible way in which ICANN could have
been or could be constituted.  Before there was a GNSO and a ccNSO, there
was a DNSO, which "advise[d] the ICANN Board on policy issues relating to
the domain name system (DNS) -- the system of names commonly used to
identify Internet locations and resources."  Some body could decide to
re-imagine this structure yet -- reconsider what is a gTLD and what is a
ccTLD (perhaps based on use and purpose than on the ISO 3166 two-letter
list), and whether other categories should be recognized aside from these
two.  But this body is not that body.  And this body has enough
complexities and distractions to complicate and delay our work without
getting into existential debates -- especially those that are firmly
outside our remit.

It might be interesting to establish an unchartered discussion group to
have those existential debates.  However, it is the farthest thing from
interesting (not to mention, productive) to turn this Work Track into that
discussion group.  I strongly encourage us not to get drawn down that
rabbit-hole, which is in fact a rabbit-warren with a multitude of holes.


On Sun, Mar 25, 2018 at 3:14 PM, Javier Rua <javrua at gmail.com> wrote:

> Thanks Christopher.
> Javier Rúa-Jovet
> +1-787-396-6511 <(787)%20396-6511>
> twitter: @javrua
> skype: javier.rua1
> https://www.linkedin.com/in/javrua
> On Mar 25, 2018, at 3:12 PM, "lists at christopherwilkinson.eu" <
> lists at christopherwilkinson.eu> wrote:
> Dear WT5 Participants:
> Further to the Wt5 meeting in San Juan on 14 March, this is just to recall
> the main points that I made during that discussion.
> 1. For the new gTLD PDP to move forward with a reasonable delay, we need a
> new geo-TLD policy now. It would not be a good idea to wait for, or to
> out-source to other external entities, although in due course, external
> contributions may become relevant.
> 2.    I suggested that WT5 would save time by discontinuing discussion
> about ISO 3166. That is an international standard for codes and names
> representing countries and their subdivisions. As such, it is a well
> codified sub-set of the generality of geographical names. The bottom line
> is that within the scope of ISO 3166, ICANN is bound to respect the
> international standard.
> 3.    It is also not advisable to pursue the idea that the 2012 Applicant
> Guide Book (AGB) definition of geo-names is a relevant ‘default’. That text
> failed to address several classes of names that are of significant interest
> to user communities, a lacunae which gave rise to several disagreements and
> delays last time around. That should be corrected for the next round, as
> unambiguously as possible, in the interests of transparency and
> predictability for the individual users in the locations concerned.
> In that context, I regret that the WT5 Terms of Reference do not address
> those issues explicitly. They will now have to be addressed by WT5.
> 3. Geographical names are not Generic in the usual semantic or, indeed,
> ICANN sense. Nearly all of those names are specific to places, cultures,
> regions, communities and their local economies.
> The fact that GNSO has taken the lead in the PDP WT5, does not diminish in
> any way the specific characteristics of geo-names.
> The approach to geographical names requires a tailored approach to the
> evaluation and implementation of such applications, to which I shall return
> in due course as the WT5 agenda evolves.
> Regards
> Christopher Wilkinson
> PS:     Resending, because the original message was sent from a non-WT5
> registered  address. Apologies for any duplication.
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