ICANN Resolutions » Renewal of .MUSEUM Registry Agreement
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Whereas, ICANN commenced a public comment period from 24 August 2017 through 3 October 2017 on the proposed Renewal Registry Agreement for the .MUSEUM top-level domain (TLD), receiving comments from four organizations as well as a reply from the .MUSEUM Registry Operator. A summary and analysis of the comments were provided to the Board.
Whereas, the .MUSEUM Renewal Registry Agreement includes new provisions consistent with the comparable terms of the New gTLD Registry Agreement.
Whereas, the Board has determined that no further revisions to the proposed .MUSEUM Renewal Registry Agreement are necessary after taking the comments into account.
Resolved (2018.02.04.08), the proposed .MUSEUM Renewal Registry Agreement is approved and the President and CEO, or his designee(s), is authorized to take such actions as appropriate to finalize and execute the Agreement as approved.
Why is the Board addressing the issue now?
ICANN and MuseDoma entered into a Registry Agreement on 17 October 2001 for operation of the .MUSEUM top-level domain (TLD). The current .MUSEUM Registry Agreement expires on 2 March 2018. The proposed Renewal Registry Agreement was posted for public comment between 24 August 2017 and 3 October 2017. At this time, the Board is approving the proposed .MUSEUM Renewal Registry Agreement for the continued operation of the .MUSEUM TLD by MuseDoma.
What is the proposal being considered?
The proposed .MUSEUM Renewal Registry Agreement, approved by the Board, is based on the current .MUSEUM Registry Agreement with modifications agreed upon by ICANN and MuseDoma and includes certain provisions from the base New gTLD Registry Agreement.
Which stakeholders or others were consulted?
ICANN organization conducted a public comment period on the proposed .MUSEUM Renewal Registry Agreement from 24 August 2017 through 3 October 2017. Additionally, ICANN engaged in negotiations with the Registry Operator to agree to the terms to be included in the proposed .MUSEUM Renewal Registry Agreement that was posted for public comment.
What concerns or issues were raised by the community?
The public comment forum on the proposed .MUSEUM Renewal Registry Agreement closed on 3 October 2017, with ICANN organization receiving five (5) comments. The comments can be summarized in the three main categories listed below.
Inclusion of new gTLD rights protection mechanisms and safeguards in legacy gTLDs: Two commenters expressed support for the inclusion of certain rights protection mechanisms, such as Uniform Rapid Suspension and Trademark Post-Delegation Dispute Resolution Procedure, and the inclusion of the Public Interest Commitments (i.e., safeguards) contained in the New gTLD Registry Agreement such as the requirement to use registrars under the 2013 Registrar Accreditation Agreement. Conversely, two commenters expressed concern over the inclusion of New gTLD rights protection mechanisms in legacy agreements. They suggested that these provisions should not be added as a result of contract negotiations, but should be addressed through the policy development process ("PDP"). Further, the recommendation is for the Board to "declare a moratorium on the imposition of new gTLD RPMs on legacy TLDs 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 transition of .MUSEUM from a "Sponsored" TLD to a "Community" TLD: Two commenters expressed concern regarding the updated eligibility requirements for .MUSEUM as outlined in Specification 12 versus the requirements new gTLD community applicants are required to have in their registration policies. To these commenters, there is an alleged lack of consistency with regard to the concept of a "community" TLD and how it is applied.
Negotiation process for the proposed renewal of the .MUSEUM Registry Agreement and legacy gTLD registry agreement negotiations in general: Two commenters questioned whether the negotiation process for renewing and amending legacy registry agreements is sufficiently transparent and how the renewal agreement was arrived at.
In response to the comments expressed about .MUSEUM transitioning from a "sponsored" TLD to a "community" TLD, MuseDoma, the Registry Operator for .MUSEUM, issued a written posted response, stating the Registry Operator will "implement mechanisms for enforcement" of their registration policies. Further, MuseDoma explained in its response:
"The Registry will proceed to post-validation on the basis of eligibility criteria, through a targeted random validation process or upon request of a third party. Validation will include checks about the registered domain name actual use. Documentation or proof will be required from the registrant; eligibility will often most easily be demonstrated by membership in ICOM or another professional museum association.
The purpose of the enforcement mechanisms is to protect the credibility of the .museum TLD for its worldwide public. In particular, to uphold the community-based purpose of the .museum TLD and help prevent misuse or malicious behavior."
What significant materials did the Board review?
As part of its deliberations, the Board reviewed various materials, including, but not limited to, the following materials and documents:
Proposed .MUSEUM Renewal Registry Agreement
Redline showing changes compared to the current .MUSEUM Registry Agreement
Current .MUSEUM Registry Agreement
New gTLD Agreement – 31 July 2017
Public Comment Summary and Analysis
What factors has the Board found to be significant?
The Board carefully considered the public comments received for the .MUSEUM Renewal Registry Agreement, along with the summary and analysis of those comments. The Board also considered the terms agreed upon by the Registry Operator as part of the bilateral negotiations with ICANN org.
While the Board acknowledges the concerns expressed by some community members regarding the inclusion of the URS in the Renewal Registry Agreement, the Board notes that the inclusion of the URS in the Renewal Registry Agreement is based on the negotiations between ICANN and the Registry Operator, where Registry Operator expressed their interest to renew their registry agreement based on the new gTLD Registry Agreement.
The Board notes that the URS was recommended by the Implementation Recommendation Team (IRT) as a mandatory rights protection mechanism (RPM) for all new gTLDs. The GNSO was asked to provide its view on whether certain proposed rights protection mechanisms (which included the URS) were consistent with the GNSO's proposed policy on the introduction of New gTLDs and were the appropriate and effective option for achieving the GNSO's stated principles and objectives. The Special Trademark Issues Review Team (STI) considered this matter and concluded that "Use of the URS should be a required RPM for all New gTLDs." That is, the GNSO stated that the URS was not inconsistent with any of its existing policy recommendations.
Although the URS was developed and refined through the process described here, including public review and discussion in the GNSO, it has not been adopted as a consensus policy and ICANN has no ability to make it mandatory for any TLDs other than new gTLD applicants who applied during the 2012 New gTLD round.
Accordingly, the Board's approval of the Renewal Registry Agreement is not a move to make the URS mandatory for any legacy TLDs, and it would be inappropriate to do so. In the case of .MUSEUM, inclusion of the URS was developed as part of the proposal in negotiations between the Registry Operator and ICANN.
Additionally, the Board considered the comments regarding the eligibility requirements for .MUSEUM as outlined in Specification 12 versus the requirements new community gTLD applicants are required to have in their registration policies. The Board notes that the registry is taking the required steps to ensure the registration policies are consistent with the other "Community" TLDs by implementing restrictions on what persons or entities may register .MUSEUM domain names, restrictions on how .MUSEUM domain names may be used, and mechanisms to enforce eligibility and instituting post-validation procedures to protect the credibility of the .MUSEUM TLD. While the Board acknowledges the concern raised regarding ICANN org's position to permit .MUSEUM to update the registration eligibility requirements while moving from a "sponsored" TLD to a "community" TLD, the Board recognizes the opportunity for .MUSEUM to define the eligibility requirements during the registry agreement renewal process as other community TLDs did during the application process. As such, the registry operator is committed to maintaining the eligibility requirements as other community TLDs must do or until a reconsideration of Specification 12 and the eligibility requirements are agreed to by the community.
Are there positive or negative community impacts?
The Board's approval of the .MUSEUM Renewal Registry Agreement offers positive technical and operational benefits. For example, the .MUSEUM Renewal Registry Agreement mandates the use of accredited registrars that are subject to the 2013 Registrar Accreditation Agreement which provides numerous benefits to registrars and registrants, and also includes other enhancements from the New gTLD Registry Agreement. Taking this action is in the public interest as it contributes to the commitment of ICANN organization to strengthen the security, stability, and resiliency of the DNS.
Are there fiscal impacts or ramifications on ICANN organization (e.g. strategic plan, operating plan, budget), the community, and/or the public?
There is no significant fiscal impact expected from the .MUSEUM Renewal Registry Agreement.
Are there any security, stability or resiliency issues relating to the DNS?
The .MUSEUM Renewal Registry Agreement is not expected to create any security, stability, or resiliency issues related to the DNS. The .MUSEUM Renewal Registry Agreement includes terms intended to allow for swifter action in the event of certain threats to the security or stability of the DNS, as well as other technical benefits expected to provide consistency across all registries leading to a more predictable environment for end-users.
This decision is in the public interest and within ICANN's mission, as ICANN's role in the coordination of the DNS includes contracting with TLD Registry Operators, and this action considered the public's inputs in exercising this coordination role.
This is an Organizational Administrative Function for which public comment was received.