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ICANN Resolutions » Board Governance Committee Recommendation Regarding Implementation of Public Interest Commitments for .DOCTOR Registry Agreement

Important note: The Board Resolutions are as reported in the Board Meeting Transcripts, Minutes & Resolutions portion of ICANN's website. Only the words contained in the Resolutions themselves represent the official acts of the Board. The explanatory text provided through this database (including the summary, implementation actions, identification of related resolutions, and additional information) is an interpretation or an explanation that has no official authority and does not represent the purpose behind the Board actions, nor does any explanations or interpretations modify or override the Resolutions themselves. Resolutions can only be modified through further act of the ICANN Board.

Board Governance Committee Recommendation Regarding Implementation of Public Interest Commitments for .DOCTOR Registry Agreement


Resolution of the ICANN Board
Topic: 
Board Governance Committee Recommendation Regarding Implementation of Public Interest Commitments for .DOCTOR Registry Agreement
Summary: 

Recommendation Regarding Implementation of Public Interest Commitments for .DOCTOR Registry Agreement

Category: 
Board
gTLDs
General
Meeting Date: 
Wed, 3 Feb 2016
Resolution Number: 
2016.02.03.16
Resolution Text: 

Whereas, at its 6 May 2015 meeting, the Board Governance Committee (BGC) recommended that "the NGPC again review the proposed implementation of a public interest commitment for the .DOCTOR TLD, and to re-evaluate the NGPC's 12 February 2015 determination."

Whereas, the ICANN Board New gTLD Program Committee (NGPC) was decommissioned on 22 October 2015 and the Board continues to maintain general oversight and governance over the New gTLD Program and provide strategic and substantive guidance on New gTLD-related topics as the current round of the Program comes to a conclusion.

Resolved (2016.02.03.16), the Board reaffirms the NGPC's acceptance of the Governmental Advisory Committee's (GAC) advice [PDF, 97 KB] issued in the Buenos Aires Communiqué (20 November 2013) regarding .DOCTOR, and clarifies that the President and CEO, or his designee(s), is directed to implement the GAC's advice by including in the .DOCTOR Registry Agreement the eight additional Public Interest Commitments associated with highly-regulated TLDs.

Rationale for Resolution: 

In response to a recommendation from the Board Governance Committee (BGC), the Board is taking action at this time to clarify the proposed implementation of public interest commitments for the .DOCTOR TLD. The .DOCTOR TLD was included as one of the Category 1 strings requiring additional safeguards in the Governmental Advisory Committee's (GAC) Beijing Communiqué [PDF, 156 KB] (11 April 2013). ICANN initiated a public comment period (23 April 2013) to solicit input on how the ICANN Board New gTLD Program Committee (NGPC) should address the GAC's safeguard advice in the Beijing Communiqué.

On 29 October 2013, the NGPC sent a letter [PDF, 664 KB] to the GAC about its proposed implementation of the Category 1 Safeguard advice in the Beijing Communiqué. The NGPC proposed to modify the text of the Category 1 Safeguards as appropriate to meet the spirit and intent of the advice in a manner that allowed the requirements to be implemented as Public Interest Commitments (PICs) in Specification 11 of the New gTLD Registry Agreement. The NGPC also proposed to distinguish the list of strings between those that the NGPC considered to be associated with market sectors or industries that have highly-regulated entry requirements in multiple jurisdictions, and those that do not. The Category 1 Safeguards in the PIC would apply to the TLDs based on how the TLD string was categorized (i.e. the highly-regulated TLDs would have eight additional PICs, and the others would have three additional PICs). In the NGPC's October 2013 proposal, .DOCTOR was not proposed to be classified as "highly-regulated".

In the GAC's Buenos Aires Communiqué [PDF, 97 KB] (20 November 2013), the GAC advised the Board "to re-categorize the string .doctor as falling within Category 1 safeguard advice addressing highly regulated sectors, therefore ascribing these domains exclusively to legitimate medical practitioners. The GAC notes the strong implications for consumer protection and consumer trust, and the need for proper medical ethical standards, demanded by the medical field online to be fully respected." The NGPC considered the GAC's Buenos Aires advice, and in the iteration of the Scorecard from 5 February 2014 [PDF, 371 KB], the NGPC (1) adopted the proposed implementation [PDF, 61 KB] of Category 1 Safeguards that was sent to the GAC in October 2013; and (2) accepted the GAC's Buenos Aires advice to "re-categorize the string .doctor as falling within Category 1 safeguard advice addressing highly regulated sectors and ensure that the domains in the .doctor TLD are ascribed exclusively to legitimate medical practitioners."

One of the contending applicants for the .DOCTOR TLD raised some concerns in Reconsideration Request 15-3 about the proposed implementation of the GAC's advice and with respect to what Public Interest Commitments will be required in the .DOCTOR Registry Agreement. At its 6 May 2015 meeting, the Board Governance Committee began discussions about Reconsideration Request 15-3, and postponed making a final determination on the Reconsideration Request. The BGC recommended that "the NGPC again review the proposed implementation of a public interest commitment for the .DOCTOR TLD, and to re-evaluate the NGPC's 12 February 2015 determination." The NGPC has since been decommissioned and the Board continues to maintain general oversight and governance over the New gTLD Program and provide strategic and substantive guidance on New gTLD-related topics as the current round of the Program comes to a conclusion.

With this action, the Board clarifies that to implement the GAC advice that the NGPC accepted in February 2014, the following eight Category 1 Safeguards should be included in the .DOCTOR Registry Agreement:

Registry Operators will include a provision in their Registry-Registrar Agreements that requires registrars to include in their Registration Agreements a provision requiring registrants to comply with all applicable laws, including those that relate to privacy, data collection, consumer protection (including in relation to misleading and deceptive conduct), fair lending, debt collection, organic farming, disclosure of data, and financial disclosures.
Registry Operators will include a provision in their Registry-Registrar Agreements that requires registrars at the time of registration to notify registrants of the requirement to comply with all applicable laws.
Registry Operators will include a provision in their Registry-Registrar Agreements that requires registrars to include in their Registration Agreements a provision requiring that registrants who collect and maintain sensitive health and financial data implement reasonable and appropriate security measures commensurate with the offering of those services, as defined by applicable law.
Registry Operators will proactively create a clear pathway for the creation of a working relationship with the relevant regulatory or industry self-regulatory bodies by publicizing a point of contact and inviting such bodies to establish a channel of communication, including for the purpose of facilitating the development of a strategy to mitigate the risks of fraudulent and other illegal activities.
Registry Operators will include a provision in their Registry-Registrar Agreements that requires registrars to include in their Registration Agreements a provision requiring registrants to provide administrative contact information, which must be kept up-to-date, for the notification of complaints or reports of registration abuse, as well as the contact details of the relevant regulatory, or industry self-regulatory, bodies in their main place of business.
Registry Operators will include a provision in their Registry-Registrar Agreements that requires registrars to include in their Registration Agreements a provision requiring a representation that the registrant possesses any necessary authorizations, charters, licenses and/or other related credentials for participation in the sector associated with the TLD.
If a Registry Operator receives a complaint expressing doubt with regard to the authenticity of licenses or credentials, Registry Operators should consult with relevant national supervisory authorities, or their equivalents regarding the authenticity.
Registry Operators will include a provision in their Registry-Registrar Agreements that requires registrars to include in their Registration Agreements a provision requiring registrants to report any material changes to the validity of the registrants' authorizations, charters, licenses and/or other related credentials for participation in the sector associated with the TLD in order to ensure they continue to conform to appropriate regulations and licensing requirements and generally conduct their activities in the interests of the consumers they serve.

By clarifying the implementation details of the NGPC's 5 February 2014 action, the Board notes that other potential registrants of .DOCTOR domains – such as professors, doctors of law and those who perform repairs or have "doctor" in their business name (e.g., "Shoe Doctor," "Computer Doctor") would not be limited by the PICs from being able to register names in the TLDs. Additionally, directories, review sites, commentators and services that provide information about medical and other types of doctors could be permitted. In clarifying the implementation details of the NGPC's 5 February 2014 action, the Board notes that it considered a review of a sample of regulatory schemes in multiple jurisdictions to determine whether the term "doctor" is associated with market sectors that have clear and/or regulated entry requirements in multiple jurisdictions, or is strongly associated with a highly-regulated industry in multiple jurisdictions. The review indicates that the term "doctor" is associated with medical practitioners in many countries, and in this context, has highly-regulated entry requirements (e.g. Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Act, the German Approbationsordnung für Ärzte (Regulation of the Licensing of Doctors), and the Medical Board of Australia). The term "doctor" in various jurisdictions around the world also applies to persons who have earned doctoral degrees. In this context, the term "doctor" is also associated with clear and/or regulated entry requirements in multiple jurisdictions for obtaining such degrees (e.g. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Doctor of Education (EdD) and Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)). The review also shows that the term "doctor" is used in a general sense to refer to a person having expertise in a particular field without reference to formalized licensing requirements as noted above by the examples "Shoe Doctor," "Computer Doctor".

It should be noted, however, that a registry operator may impose additional registration restrictions that may otherwise limit eligible registrants in the TLD. For example, the registry operator may impose registration restrictions that require potential registrants to validate their credentials as licensed medical practitioners in order to register a name in the TLD. Imposing such a restriction would be at the discretion of the registry operator.

In adopting its response to the BGC recommendation, the Board reviewed various materials, including, but not limited to, the following materials and documents:

GAC Beijing Communiqué [PDF, 238 KB] (April 2013); GAC Durban Communiqué [PDF, 103 KB] (July 2013); GAC Buenos Aires Communiqué [PDF, 97 KB] (November 2013); GAC Singapore Communiqué [PDF, 147 KB] (as amended) (March 2014); GAC London Communiqué [PDF, 138 KB] (June 2014); GAC Los Angeles Communiqué [PDF, 127 KB] (October 2014); GAC Singapore Communiqué [PDF, 113 KB] (February 2015); GAC Buenos Aires Communiqué [PDF, 106 KB] (June 2015)
Applicant responses to GAC advice: http://newgtlds.icann.org/en/applicants/gac-advice/
Applicant Guidebook, Module 3: http://newgtlds.icann.org/en/applicants/agb/objection-procedures-04jun12... [PDF, 260 KB]
Reconsideration Request 15-3
Other correspondence related to implementation of the Category 1 Safeguard Advice from the GAC

The adoption of the Board's resolution will have a positive impact on the community because it will provide greater clarity to the GAC, the applicants and the community about the implementation of the Public Interest Commitments applicable to the .DOCTOR TLD. This clarification will also allow the contending applicants for the .DOCTOR TLD to move forward with resolving the contention set.

There are no foreseen fiscal impacts associated with the adoption of this resolution. Approval of the resolution will not impact security, stability or resiliency issues relating to the DNS.

This is an Organizational Administrative function that does not require public comment.