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ICANN Board Resolutions May Enable New gTLDs to Potentially Launch in Fall

In an attempt to appease the Governmental Advisory Committee, ICANN's New gTLD Program Committee directed ICANN staff to amend the Registry Agreement so that all New gTLD Registries will be required to include a provision in its Registry-Registrar Agreement that requires Registrars to include in their Registration Agreement a provision prohibiting Registered Name Holders from distributing malware, abusively operating botnets, phishing, piracy, trademark or copyright infringement, fraudulent or deceptive practices, counterfeiting or otherwise engaging in activity contrary to applicable law, and providing (consistent with applicable law and any related procedures) consequences for such activities including suspension of the domain name.

The New gTLD Program Committee also directed ICANN staff to include language in the agreement requiring Registries to periodically conduct technical analysis to assess whether domains in the TLD are being used to perpetrate security threats, such as pharming, phishing, malware, and botnets.

Additionally, restricted Registries will be contractually required to operate in a transparent manner consistent with general principles of openness and non‐discrimination by establishing, publishing and adhering to clear registration policies. Moreover, language stating that "Generic String" TLDs may not impose eligibility criteria for registering names in the TLD that limit registrations exclusively to a single person or entity and/or that person's or entity's "Affiliates" was also added to the contract. As a result of this new proposed language, "Closed Generics" are on-hold.

The New gTLD Program Committee, did not move to make any changes to address potential consumer confusion resulting from allowing singular and plural versions of the same string.

While it's easy enough to add these provisions to the Registry Agreement, it's unclear what exactly will be expected of New gTLD Registries, and how ICANN Compliance will ensure that these new requirements are satisfied.

These proposed changes to the Registry Agreement will surely be one of the hot topics discussed at the ICANN meeting in Durban later this month — and as always, MarkMonitor will be hosting our post-ICANN webinar to provide an update on all of the week's highlights.

By Elisa Cooper, Head of Marketing, GoDaddy Corporate Domains

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