ICA Files ICANN Comment on Proposed .Museum RA Renewal

Philip CorwinICA, ICANN, Law & Policy, URS

On October 3, 2017 the ICA filed a comment letter with ICANN regarding the proposed revisions to the renewal Registry Agreement (RA) for the .Museum gTLD.

As with other legacy gTLDs that have renewed over the past two years, the new RA proposes to adopt Uniform Rapid Suspension (URS). ICA once again protests this de facto creation of Consensus Policy through closed door bilateral negotiations rather than through the GNSO’s open and inclusive Policy Development Process (PDP).

The RA would also convert .Museum from a Sponsored  to a Community top level domain, but defines its “community” in a manner that is inconsistent with relevant ICANN policy and that is so loose that it essentially converts .Museum into an open gTLD where anyone may register. This is exactly the type of improper incentive that can induce a registry operator to “voluntarily” adopt the URS.

The letter’s Executive Summary states:

• ICA is concerned that Global Domain Division (GDD) has proposed a renewal agreement that proposes community status which is inconsistent with the present definition of “community” applied to other gTLDs; has engaged in a process that fails to observe the very safeguards it has stated must be followed for the expansion of classes of eligible registrants for a community gTLD; and continues to undermine the GNSO’s authority to recommend the substance of Consensus Policy by imposing adoption of URS through the RA renewal process.
• The 2016 launch of the PDP Review of All Rights Protection Mechanisms in All gTLDs, which is tasked with recommending whether new gTLD RPMs should become Consensus Policy for legacy gTLDs under its GNSO Council-approved Charter, makes it particularly inappropriate for GDD staff to continue seeking that de facto policy result in non-transparent, bilateral RA negotiations that contravene the policymaking process set forth in the Bylaws.
• GDD staff should demonstrate their clear commitment to ICANN’s bottom-up policymaking process by ceasing and desisting from seeking top-down imposition of new gTLD RPMs in legacy gTLD RA negotiations until the RPM Review WG has completed its work reviewing those RPMs and its final recommendations – including whether those RPMs should become Consensus Policy — have been acted upon by the GNSO Council and ICANN Board.
• In the absence of such GDD self-restraint, the ICANN Board should declare an immediate moratorium on the imposition of new gTLD RPMs on legacy gTLDs through RA renewal negotiations until the above referenced PDP has been concluded, the GNSO Council has acted upon its recommendations, and any implementation and transition issues have been addressed.
• The vastly expanded community of eligible registrants for the .Museum gTLD is inconsistent with the “community” definition adopted for the new gTLD program. Promulgating an inconsistent concept of gTLD community could create conflicts with the ongoing work of the Subsequent Procedures WG.
• The opaque process utilized for the expansion of eligible .Museum registrants is at odds with the transparent process being developed within ICANN, that GDD has stated must be utilized by other community gTLDs seeking to add new classes of eligible registrants. The renewal proposal shows no evidence that members of the existing .Museum sponsored community have been consulted on the proposed class expansion.

The full letter can be viewed at https://www.internetcommerce.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/ICA-Museum_RA_revision-comment-Final-100317.pdf