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ICANN Resolutions » Further Consideration of the .AMAZON Applications

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.

Further Consideration of the .AMAZON Applications


Resolution of the ICANN Board
Meeting Date: 
Sun, 16 Sep 2018
Resolution Number: 
2018.09.16.12 – 2018.09.16.14
Resolution Text: 

Whereas, in 2012, Amazon EU S.à r.l. ("the Amazon corporation") applied for .AMAZON and two Internationalized Domain Name (IDN) versions of the word 'Amazon' ("the .AMAZON applications"). The .AMAZON applications were the subject of Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) Early Warnings filed by the governments of Brazil and Peru (with the endorsement of Bolivia, Ecuador and Guyana), which put the Amazon corporation on notice that these governments had a public policy concern about the applied-for strings.

Whereas, in July 2013, in the Durban Communiqué, the .AMAZON applications were the subject of consensus GAC Advice that stated that the .AMAZON applications should not proceed. On 14 May 2014, the New gTLD Program Committee accepted that advice and directed ICANN org to not proceed with the .AMAZON applications.

Whereas, in October 2015, the Amazon corporation submitted a proposal to the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO) member states in an attempt to come to a solution that could benefit both parties. This proposal was rejected.

Whereas, in July 2017, the Amazon corporation prevailed in an Independent Review Process (IRP) filed in 2016. The IRP declaration recommended that the Board "promptly re-evaluate Amazon's applications" and "make an objective and independent judgment regarding whether there are, in fact, well-founded, merits-based public policy reasons for denying Amazon's applications."

Whereas, on 29 October 2017, the Board asked the GAC for additional information regarding the GAC's advice on the .AMAZON applications. In its November 2017 Abu Dhabi Communiqué, the GAC advised the Board to "[c]ontinue facilitating negotiations between the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization's (ACTO) member states and the Amazon corporation with a view to reaching a mutually acceptable solution to allow for the use of .amazon as a top level domain name."

Whereas, on 4 February 2018, the ICANN Board accepted the GAC advice and directed the ICANN org President and CEO "to facilitate negotiations between the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization's (ACTO) member states and the Amazon corporation."

Whereas, the Amazon corporation presented the GAC and ACTO with a new proposal in October 2017. After the Amazon corporation submitted a further updated proposal in February 2018, the ACTO member states issued a statement 5 September 2018, declaring that "…[t]he Amazon countries have concluded that the proposal does not constitute an adequate basis to safeguard their immanent rights relating to the delegation of the '.amazon' TLD." The ACTO member states also stated the delegation of .AMAZON "requires consent of the Amazon countries" and that they "have the right to participate in the governance of the '.amazon' TLD."

Whereas, the ACTO member states affirmed in October 2017 "…that the name Amazon, in any language, is part of the cultural heritage and identity of the Amazon countries, and that its use as a first level domain name, unless otherwise agreed by the Amazon countries, shall be reserved for the promotion of the interests and rights of the Amazon peoples and their inclusion in the information society."

Whereas, the Board is sensitive to and appreciates the ACTO member states work to serve the public interest of the Amazon region, including the promotion and protection of the Amazon region's natural and cultural heritage.

Resolved (2018.09.16.12), ICANN's President and CEO is directed to support the development of a solution for delegation of the strings represented in the .AMAZON applications that includes sharing the use of those top-level domains with the ACTO member states to support the cultural heritage of the countries in the Amazonian region.

Resolved (2018.09.16.13), the Board directs the ICANN President and CEO or his designee(s), if possible, to provide a proposal to the Board, on the .AMAZON applications to allow the Board to take a decision on the delegation of the strings represented in the .AMAZON applications.

Resolved (2018.09.16.14), the ICANN President and CEO or his designee(s), is directed to provide regular and detailed updates to the Board on the status of the .AMAZON applications.

Rationale for Resolution: 

This action supports the ICANN Board's consideration of the outcome of the Independent Review Process (IRP) filed by the Amazon corporation, as well as consideration of advice from the Governmental Advisory Committee as it relates to the .AMAZON applications. The Board is taking this action today to further the possibility of delegation of the .AMAZON applications as contemplated in the declaration of the IRP Panel, while recognizing the public policy issues raised through GAC advice on these applications.

The Board takes this action today to support further work that could result in a solution that would allow the .AMAZON applications to move forward in a manner that would align with GAC advice and inputs on this topic.

Background

The Amazon corporation applied for .AMAZON and two Internationalized Domain Name (IDN) versions of the word 'Amazon' ("the .AMAZON applications"). In response to the .AMAZON applications, the governments of Brazil and Peru, with the endorsement of Bolivia, Ecuador and Guyana, submitted an Early Warning through the GAC, in accordance with the Applicant Guidebook, in which the concerned governments stated that: "[g]ranting exclusive rights to this specific gTLD to a private company would prevent the use of this domain for the purposes of public interest related to the protection, promotion and awareness raising on issues related to the Amazon biome. It would also hinder the possibility of use of this domain to congregate web pages related to the population inhabiting that geographical region." (Early Warning, available at https://gacweb.icann.org/display/gacweb/GAC+Early+Warnings?preview=/2713... [PDF, 79 KB].)

After indicating in the Beijing Communiqué (April 2013) that the .AMAZON Applications required further GAC consideration, the GAC provided consensus advice (GAC Advice) to the ICANN Board in the Durban Communiqué (18 July 2013) that the Amazon Applications should not proceed (https://gacweb.icann.org/display/GACADV/2013-07-18-Obj-Amazon).

On 14 May 2014, the Board (acting through the NGPC) accepted the GAC Advice and directed ICANN not to proceed with the Amazon Applications. (Resolution 2014.05.14.NG03, available at https://www.icann.org/resources/board-material/resolutions-new-gtld-2014....)

In October 2015, the Amazon corporation submitted a proposal to the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO) member states in an attempt to come to a solution that could benefit both parties. However, this proposal was rejected by the ACTO member states. Subsequently, the Amazon corporation began an Independent Review Process (IRP) in March 2016. The IRP ended in July 2017 with the IRP Panel finding in favor of the Amazon corporation. Following the outcome of the IRP, and acting on additional GAC advice, the ICANN Board tasked the ICANN org with supporting the Amazon corporation and ACTO member states in negotiating a solution.

In October 2017, at ICANN60 in Abu Dhabi, the Amazon corporation presented to the GAC and ACTO member states a new proposal for a "practical compromise". In February 2018, based on further negotiations facilitated by the ICANN org, the Amazon corporation submitted a further updated proposal. On 5 September 2018, following review of the proposal by the ACTO Working Group, at a meeting of the Amazon Cooperation Council, the ACTO member states issued a statement declaring that "…[t]he Amazon countries have concluded that the proposal does not constitute an adequate basis to safeguard their immanent rights relating to the delegation of the '.amazon' TLD."

The Amazon Corporation Proposals

Since October 2015, the Amazon corporation has submitted various proposals to the ACTO member states in an effort to reach a mutually agreeable solution. The initial, October 2015 proposal was rejected by the ACTO member states, leading to the eventual IRP filed by the Amazon corporation. Following resolution of the IRP, in which the IRP Panel found in favor of the Amazon corporation, at the ICANN60 Abu Dhabi meeting, the Amazon corporation presented to the GAC a new proposal for a "practical compromise." In February 2018, following negotiations facilitated by the ICANN org between the Amazon corporation and ACTO member states, the Amazon corporation submitted a further updated proposal. According to this proposal, the Amazon corporation proposed four main courses of action:

Help with the global visibility of the Amazonia region and its people as well as to protect their cultural heritage, by:
establishing a mutually agreed upon second level domain to allow for visibility into the Amazon region. The Amazon corporation would bear the cost of the website up to $1,000,000 and for the duration of four years;
Help to prevent the misuse of domain names associated with the Amazonia region and its peoples, by:
agreeing to reserve a substantial number of second level domains in English, Spanish and Portuguese;
Create a Steering Committee to oversee implementation of the agreement
Engage in goodwill efforts by providing the ACTO member states credits for use of Amazon corporation services and products up to $5,000,000.
Additionally, the Amazon corporation proposed helping the ACTO member states create an informational program to help publicize the benefits of the agreement.

ACTO Concerns and Response to Amazon Proposals

The ACTO member states concerns regarding the use of the .AMAZON TLD revolve around the ability for countries and individuals in the Amazon region to use the domain names for public interest purposes. In an Early Warning issued by the countries Brazil and Peru in November 2012, the two countries declared that:

"Granting exclusive rights to this specific gTLD to a private company would prevent the use of this domain for the purposes of public interest related to the protection, promotion and awareness raising on issues related to the Amazon biome. It would also hinder the possibility of use of this domain to congregate web pages related to the population inhabiting that geographical region."

In October 2017, following the IRP Panel Final Declaration on .AMAZON, the ACTO member states issued a statement, reaffirming:

"…that the name Amazon, in any language, is part of the cultural heritage and identity of the Amazon countries, and that its use as a first level domain name, unless otherwise agreed by the Amazon countries, shall be reserved for the promotion of the interests and rights of the Amazon peoples and their inclusion in the information society."

Finally, on 5 September 2018, following the updated proposal submitted by the Amazon corporation in February 2018, including after clarifications sought by the ACTO member states in understanding the proposal, the ACTO member states sent a letter to the Board stating that, with regard to the delegation of .AMAZON, that this "requires consent of the Amazon countries" and that they "have the right to participate in the governance of the '.amazon' TLD. Additionally, the ACTO member states declare that "the proposal does not constitute an adequate basis to safeguard their immanent rights relating to the delegation of the '.amazon' TLD."

The member states do mention, however, that they are willing "to engage with the ICANN Board…with a view to safeguarding their rights as sovereign states."

Items considered by the Board

In taking this action, the Board considered:

The Amazon corporation's Proposals of 6 October 2015 and 7 February 2018;
The IRP Panel Declaration in .AMAZON Independent Review Process;
The Amazon corporation's October 2017 proposal to the GAC and ACTO member states;
The NGPC's 14 May 2014 action on the .AMAZON applications and the Board's 29 October 2017 and 4 February 2018 actions on the .AMAZON applications;
ACTO's 5 September 2018 letter and related annexes.
Impacts

This action is anticipated to have a small resource impact on ICANN org based upon the resources needed to meet the Board's direction. However, the use of resources towards finding an agreeable solution is preferable to addressing the potential impacts of continued impasse as it relates to delegation of the .AMAZON applications. This action is in support of ICANN's mission, in that it furthers the New gTLD Program and anticipated expansion of the DNS. It is also in the public interest in its balancing the core values of increasing competition in the DNS while recognizing governments' provision of public policy advice.

This is an administrative function that does not require public comment.