[Gnso-newgtld-wg-wt5] Initial Report next steps and deadline for input - Friday 16 November

Greg Shatan gregshatanipc at gmail.com
Tue Nov 13 20:50:18 UTC 2018

In answer to the Four Questions:

1.  We now have two participants objecting to Rec. 11 because it doesn’t go
far enough (i.e., it doesn’t put non-geographic uses under the rule of
support/non-objection letters) and one participant objecting because it
goes too far (i.e., no uses should be put under the rule of
support/non-objection letters).

I support the recommendation as it stands and believe it should remain.
However, if I had to choose one of the two opposing positions above, I
would choose the “it goes too far” position.  It’s hard to know which (if
any) of the three positions have the most support in the Working Group.  If
none have sufficient support, perhaps it should be deleted.  Another
possibility is to lay out these  3 options for comment (status quo, removal
of the intended use limitation, or removal in its entirety).

2.  I’m not sure who brought this up, but I do recall discussing it.  I
support this concept.  We have been told that the reason to subject
geographic terms to a support/non-objection requirement (or to reserve them
outright) is one of preservation:  It preserves these options so that
someday a public authority or the relevant citizenry (or perhaps, a
“supported” private, for-profit company) can eventually apply for and
operate a gTLD that matches that geographic term.  Then the people,
businesses and public authorities will be able to register and use domain
names in that gTLD.  However, once any one of the potential options is
registered as a gTLD, this reason simply evaporates.  The place has its
gTLD.  There’s no longer any need to reserve all these variations and
translations.  “Unconditionally available” seems self-explanatory — any
entity or person can apply for these variations and translations, no
strings attached.  (Conceivably, it could still be subject to objection
procedures later in the process, but we haven’t really discussed that (or
objections, generally).

3.  I’m not entirely clear what the intent of this is. Is it to avoid GAC
Early Warnings?  Or is it to cast the GAC as a Clearinghouse for
support/non-objection letters?  Or is to create a second level of
permissions needed for some or all geographic terms?  Since the intent is
unclear and the authority for this “permission” is unclear, I would
recommend deleting it.

4.  A “bright-line” rule is one “providing an unambiguous criterion or
guideline” according to Merriam-Webster.  It’s a fairly common term in the
US, particularly in law, legislation and regulation.  The idea is to have a
distinction that is clear and unambiguous; you are on one side of the line
or the other.  But the exact word choice is unimportant.  The term
“bright-line” could be replaced by unambiguous, or simply deleted entirely,
with no significant loss in meaning.

As to substance — we have been looking for rules that would limit or
eliminate disputes, and for ways to make the application process more
predictable.  This would seem to accomplish both objectives.  I believe
we’ve heard mention of the opposite extreme — that objection or non-support
should apply to every term that has a geographic meaning.  Perhaps both of
these extremes are “bonkers.”

But at least this proposal answers the question “What happens to geographic
terms that are not expressly protected under the AGB?”  I don’t really
think it’s “bonkers” — this would mean that the AGB defines the entire
universe of geographic privileges, protections, etc., and that there are no
other processes by which a claimed geo-based privilege or protection could
be asserted.

I support this proposal.  This in many ways would be a more manageable
regime, with a more defined set of options.  As a matter of fact, when it
comes to “permissions” this essentially states the current rule.  When it
comes to objections, this may go further than the current rule, but it does
eliminate the possibility that every term that has a geographic meaning is
potentially open to objection, which tends to have a chilling effect.  In
short it creates a recognizable boundary between terms with geographic
meaning that are subject to a third party process, and those that are not.

If governments seek (or believe they have) the power to object or to
require permission for geographic terms that are not protected by the AGB,
there should be a much greater definition of what these powers are, how
they are applied, what their limits are, etc.  The current situation goes
against predictability, against eliminating disputes, and against freedom
of speech.  As it stands now, every applicant can be targeted by Big
Brother, and they won’t know how, when, or why.  That seems pretty

Best regards,


On Tue, Nov 13, 2018 at 12:35 PM <Jorge.Cancio at bakom.admin.ch> wrote:

> Hi all
> I broadly support Christopher‘s points.
> regards from the IGF in Paris
> Jorge
> ________________________________
> Von: Alexander Schubert <alexander at schubert.berlin>
> Datum: 13. November 2018 um 18:34:20 MEZ
> Bis: gnso-newgtld-wg-wt5 at icann.org <gnso-newgtld-wg-wt5 at icann.org>
> Betreff: Re: [Gnso-newgtld-wg-wt5] Initial Report next steps and deadline
> for input - Friday 16 November
> Hi,
> I want to second Christopher here:
> The “Bright Line” rule (p. 75): I do not support this proposal.
> I also do not support the “bright line” rule.
> The rule does LITERALLY make no sense at all. Why would we eliminate the
> opportunity to object? On what basis? That’s entirely bonkers – and the GAC
> should keep an eye on this one: this is the attempt to silence countries on
> both; the Governmental and the civil society level. No. Just: NO! The right
> to object is a fundamental civil liberty right and there can’t be ANY
> policy limiting it in ANY way. This is how dictatorships silence
> opposition. Not at ICANN.
> Thanks,
> Alexander.berlin
> From: Gnso-newgtld-wg-wt5 [mailto:gnso-newgtld-wg-wt5-bounces at icann.org]
> On Behalf Of lists at christopherwilkinson.eu Wilkinson
> Sent: Tuesday, November 13, 2018 7:18 PM
> To: Emily Barabas <emily.barabas at icann.org>; gnso-newgtld-wg-wt5 at icann.org
> Subject: Re: [Gnso-newgtld-wg-wt5] Initial Report next steps and deadline
> for input - Friday 16 November
> Dear Emily Barabas and WT5 members :
> Thankyou for the message of 8 November. I have a few comments on the four
> questions posed :
> 1. Recommendation 11: I do not support deleting the recommendation.
> However, I request that it be amended to remove the distinction between
> geo-use and non-geo-use thus requiring prior non-objection for all
> non-capital city names.
> 2. 'unconditional availability' language: I do not support this proposal.
> (Actually I have no recollection of it having been discussed by the WT):
> (a) I expect that the ICANN community will discover that in multilingual
> countries, there is usually no formal hierarchy of language versions of the
> same geo-name. Thus all versions of a name – at least in official and local
> languages and scripts – would have to be treated equally. There is likely
> to be no basis in local law or practice for awarding any priority to any
> one language version of a particular name.
> (b) There is scope for 'gaming' the proposal. I leave that to your
> imaginations!
> This proposal is not a good idea.
> 3. '…applicants must apply to the GAC': I would defer to the GAC members
> of WT5 on this point. I suggest that it would be more appropriate to say
> that 'applicants should apply to the GAC member concerned….' It is not
> necessary to presume on a GAC consensus in such cases.
> 4. The “Bright Line” rule (p. 75): I do not support this proposal. ICANN
> and the Community have no grounds for determining which geo-names are
> 'explicitly and expressly' (sic) protected, and which are not. I think it
> would depend very much on who you ask! Would ICANN's outreach include going
> round the world telling folk that the names of the places where they live
> are not protected?
> In other respects I shall post any additional comments to the Public
> Consultation.
> Best regards
> Christopher Wilkinson
> PS:  I shall miss tomorrow's call,  travelling. With apologies.
> El 8 de noviembre de 2018 a las 20:09 Emily Barabas <
> emily.barabas at icann.org<mailto:emily.barabas at icann.org>> escribió:
> Dear Work Track 5 members,
> Thanks to all who have submitted comments about the draft Initial Report
> on the mailing list and those who were able to join the call yesterday to
> go through some of the comments received that may require further
> discussion. Please find attached a revised draft of the report
> incorporating feedback received on the call. As a reminder, the target date
> for publishing the Initial Report is 20 November. In view of this timeline,
> the Work Track leadership team kindly requests that members submit any
> final feedback on the Initial Report no later than Friday 16 November. You
> can either insert comments in a copy of the attached document and send to
> the WT5 mailing list or send your comments in the body of an email to the
> WT5 list, identifying the page and line number of the text you are
> referencing.
> Below you will find some of the questions/concerns raised in comments by
> members that still may need additional input. The leadership team is
> sending these on the mailing list to make sure that all members have a
> chance to provide feedback, even if they were not able to join the call.
> ·         On page 17 (recommendations section of the report) two WT
> members commented that they felt it was premature to include any
> preliminary recommendation in the Initial Report on the topic of
> non-capital city names. Do you support removing preliminary recommendation
> 11 on treatment of non-capital city names? Or do you favor leaving the
> recommendation in the report, noting that it can be changed for the Final
> Report based on community input and further discussion in the Work Track?
> Regardless of whether the recommendation is kept or removed, there are two
> questions for community input on this topic (e10 and e11) included in the
> Initial Report, so the group can expect additional community feedback
> through public comment to support further deliberations.
> ·         On page 40 (deliberations section of the report) the text
> mentions the following proposal put forward by a Work Track member: “Once a
> gTLD is registered with an intended use that is geographic in nature, all
> other variations and translations of this term are unconditionally
> available for registration.” Another Work Track member requested
> clarification on the meaning of “unconditionally available” and also
> requested clarification about which entities might be able to apply for
> these variations and translations under the proposal. Can the author of
> this proposal provide any additional clarification?
> ·         On page 41 (deliberations section of the report) the text
> mentions the following proposal put forward by a Work Track member:
> “Applicants for geographic names must apply to the GAC to receive
> permission to submit an application for the string.” Another Work Track
> member requested clarification about the scope and meaning of this
> proposal, including how it would interact with other requirements. Can the
> author of this proposal provide any additional clarification?
> ·         On page 76 (deliberations section of the report) the text
> mentions the following proposal put forward by a Work Track member: “Apply
> a "bright-line" rule that any geographic term that is not explicitly and
> expressly protected is unprotected. No objection or non-consent can be used
> to stop its registration.” Other Work Track members raised concern that the
> term “bright line” rule may not be widely used and understood, and further
> requested clarification on the scope of this rule and the basis for
> protection. Can the author of this proposal provide any additional
> clarification?
> Note that Work Track members are welcome to comment on any other parts of
> the draft in addition to the items listed above.
> Kind regards,
> Emily
> Emily Barabas | Policy Manager
> ICANN | Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers
> Email: emily.barabas at icann.org<mailto:emily.barabas at icann.org> | Phone:
> +31 (0)6 84507976
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