ICANN Resolutions » New gTLD Applications for .AMAZON
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.
Whereas, in 2012, Amazon EU S.à r.l. (Amazon corporation) applied for .AMAZON and two Internationalized Domain Name (IDN) versions of the word 'Amazon' (.AMAZON applications). The .AMAZON applications were the subject of GAC Early Warnings submitted 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, 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 President and CEO "to facilitate negotiations between the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization's (ACTO) member states and the Amazon corporation."
Whereas, in October 2017, the Amazon corporation presented the GAC and ACTO with a new proposal. After the Amazon corporation submitted a further updated proposal in February 2018, the ACTO member states issued a statement on 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, on 16 September 2018, the ICANN Board directed the President and CEO "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" and "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 (2018.10.25.18), the Board directs the President and CEO, or his designee(s), to remove the "Will Not Proceed" status and resume processing of the .AMAZON applications according to the policies and procedures governing the 2012 round of the New gTLD Program. This includes the publication of the Public Interest Commitments, as proposed by the Amazon Corporation, according to the established procedures of the New gTLD program.
Resolved (2018.10.25.19), the Board directs the President and CEO, or his designee(s), to provide regular updates to the Board on the status of the .AMAZON applications.
Building from its September 2018 resolution, the ICANN Board is taking this action to further support the Board's consideration of the outcome of the Independent Review Process (IRP) initiated by the Amazon corporation against ICANN, as well as consideration of advice from the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) as it relates to the .AMAZON applications.
In light of all that has come before, including the results of the .AMAZON IRP and subsequent GAC advice, the Board considers that the GAC's consensus advice of the Abu Dhabi Communiqué which advises the ICANN Board to "continue facilitating negotiations between the [ACTO] member states and the Amazon corporation"1 to supersede previous GAC advice provided in the Durban Communique that the applications should "not proceed beyond Initial Evaluation".2 Accordingly, the Board directed the ICANN org to facilitate a dialogue between the Amazon corporation and ACTO member states to reach a mutually agreeable solution.
The Board is taking this action today to move forward with 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. As the ICANN org has informed the Board that the parties have identified a path forward, the Board takes this action today to allow the .AMAZON applications to move forward in a manner that would align with GAC advice and inputs on this topic.
Following the resolution by the Board (acting via the New gTLD Program Committee) to accept the GAC Advice that the .AMAZON applications should not move forward, the ICANN org updated the .AMAZON applications to a "Will Not Proceed" status. 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 the Amazon Corporation and concerned ACTO member states. However, this proposal was rejected by the ACTO member states. Subsequently, in March 2016, the Amazon corporation began an Independent Review Process (IRP) against ICANN. 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.
Previous 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, which led to the IRP initiated by the Amazon corporation against ICANN in March 2016. Following resolution of the IRP, the Amazon corporation presented to the GAC a new proposal for a "practical compromise" in October 2017 at ICANN60 in Abu Dhabi. In February 2018, following dialogue facilitated by the ICANN org between the Amazon corporation and ACTO member states, the Amazon corporation proposed four main courses of action that included: helping with the global visibility of the Amazonia region and its peoples as well as to protect their cultural heritage; helping to prevent the misuse of domain names associated with the Amazonia region and its peoples; creating a Steering Committee to oversee implementation of the agreement; and, engaging 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 TLDs center on the ability for countries and individuals in the Amazon region to use the domain names for public interest purposes. In October 2017, following the IRP Panel Final Declaration on the .AMAZON applications, 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."
On 5 September 2018, following an 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 did mention, however, that they were willing "to engage with the ICANN Board…with a view to safeguarding their rights as sovereign states."
On 12 October 2018, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Colombia issued a letter to ICANN noting concerns with the Amazon corporation proposal and reiterated the position of the ACTO members states, as noted above.
Current Proposal from the Amazon Corporation
Since the Board's September 2018 resolution, the Amazon corporation, in effort to show its appreciation for the concerns of the ACTO member states regarding the use and governance of the .AMAZON TLDs, has submitted proposed Public Interest Commitments (PICs) that could be inserted into Specification 11 of its Registry Agreement with ICANN. As part of the Registry Agreements, these PICs would be enforceable through standard Contractual Compliance mechanisms, as well as through the PIC Dispute Resolution Procedure (PICDRP).3 Should an ACTO member state believe that the Amazon corporation (as Registry Operator) is not complying with one of the PICs in one of its Registry Agreements, the ACTO member state would be able submit a complaint via the Contractual Compliance or the PICDRP. ICANN would then begin the review process, and, if found to be noncompliant, the Amazon corporation would need to take measures to remediate the issue.4
Items considered by the Board
In taking this action, the Board considered:
The GAC Early Warning regarding the .AMAZON applications of 20 November 2012.
The GAC Advice from the GAC Durban Communiqué regarding the .AMAZON applications.
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.
The Amazon corporation proposed Public Interest Commitments (PICs) of September 2018
Colombian Government's Letter of 12 October 2018
This action is anticipated to have a small resource impact on the ICANN org based upon the resources needed to meet the Board's direction. 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 introducing and promoting competition while recognizing governments' provision of public policy advice.
This action will not impact the security, stability and resiliency of the domain name system.