ICANN Resolutions » Renewal of .PRO Registry Agreement
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Proposed renewal .PRO Registry Agreement [PDF, 586 KB] is approved by the Board
Whereas, ICANN commenced a public comment period from 28 May 2015 to 7 July 2015 on a proposed renewal Registry Agreement for the .PRO TLD. .
Whereas, the proposed .PRO renewal Registry Agreement includes modified provisions to bring the .PRO Registry Agreement into line with the form of the New gTLD Registry Agreement.
Whereas, the public comment forum on the proposed renewal Registry Agreement closed on 7 July 2015, with ICANN receiving fourteen (14) comments, both by individuals and organizations/groups. A summary and analysis of the comments were provided to the Board.
Whereas, the renewal registry agreement was updated to include existing provisions concerning third-level domain registrations.
Resolved (2015.09.28.06), the proposed renewal .PRO Registry Agreement [PDF, 586 KB] 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.
Why the Board is addressing the issue now?
ICANN and Registry Services Corporation (the "Registry Operator") entered into a Registry Agreement on 22 April 2010 for operation of the .PRO top-level domain. The current .PRO Registry Agreement expires on 20 October 2015. The proposed renewal Registry Agreement (the "Renewal Registry Agreement" or "Agreement") was posted for public comment between 28 May 2015 and 7 July 2015. At this time, the Board is approving the Renewal Registry Agreement for the continued operation of .PRO TLD by the Registry Operator.
What is the proposal being considered?
The Renewal Registry Agreement approved by the Board includes modified provisions to make the Agreement in line with the form of the New gTLD Registry Agreement. The modifications include: updating technical specifications; requiring the inclusion of certain GAC safeguards as public interest commitments (which are subject to enforcement by the Public Interest Commitment Dispute Resolution Procedure); requiring the use of registrars under the 2013 Registrar Accreditation Agreement after a certain threshold is reached; and removing the maximum price cap on fees the registry is able to charge registrars.
Specifically, The existing Registration Restrictions in Appendix 11 of the .PRO Agreement are proposed to be replaced with the set of standard public interest commitments applicable to all new gTLDs. However, the proposed renewal registry agreement has been updated to include provisions regarding the registration of third-level domain names. Also, GAC Category 1 Safeguards 1 through 3 are added to Specification 11. The Renewal Registry Agreement also eliminates the cap on the service fees that the registry is able to registrars for domain names, and reflects previous approvals concerning reserved names.
Which stakeholders or others were consulted?
ICANN conducted a public comment period on the proposed .PRO renewal Registry Agreement from 28 May 2015 through 7 July 2015, following which time the comments were summarized and analyzed. Additionally, ICANN engaged in bilateral negotiations with the Registry Operator to agree to the package of terms to be included in the Renewal Registry Agreement posted for public comment.
What concerns or issues were raised by the community?
Fourteen (14) members of the community participated in the public comment period. Members of the community raised two key concerns in their comments:
Transition of legacy TLDs to the form of the New gTLD Registry Agreement: Some public comments expressed concern regarding ICANN's process to use the new gTLD registry agreement as the starting point for renewal RAs for legacy gTLDs. These commenters suggest that taking such a position has the effect of transforming the New gTLD Post-Delegation Dispute Resolution Procedures (e.g., the Trademark Post-Delegation Dispute Resolution Procedure and the Public Interest Commitments Dispute Resolution Procedure) and the Uniform Rapid Suspension (URS) into de facto Consensus Policies without following the procedures laid out in ICANN's Bylaws for their creation. On the other hand, other comments supported ICANN's seeking consistency across registry agreements and noted that transitioning to the new form of agreement is part of permissible bilateral negotiations.
Inclusion of Uniform Rapid Suspension (URS) and Trademark Dispute Resolution Procedure (PDDRP) in legacy TLD renewals without going through a Policy Development Process (PDP): most of the comments received expressed their objection to the inclusion of the URS to the proposed renewal of .PRO Registry Agreement, claiming that the URS can become a consensus policy only after a full policy development process (PDP) engaged in by the entire ICANN community of stakeholders. These commenters also suggested that imposing URS on a legacy gTLD via the contracting process is an unacceptable staff intervention into the policymaking process. On the other hand, some comments expressed their support of inclusion of the URS in the Renewal Registry Agreement, stating that registries are free to go above and beyond the minimum rights protections and do not require a PDP.
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:
The proposed .PRO renewal Registry Agreement and its Appendices
Updated, clean proposed renewal registry agreement with redlines to reflect included provisions regarding the registration of third-level domain names
Summary and analysis of public comments [PDF, 496 KB]
IRT Report: https://archive.icann.org/en/topics/new-gtlds/irt-final-report-trademark... [PDF, 299 KB]
STI Report: https://www.icann.org/news/announcement-2-2009-12-17-en
Current .PRO Registry Agreement
Base Registry Agreement – Updated 09 January 2014 [PDF, 651 KB]
GNSO Working Session 21 June 2015 at ICANN53 in Buenos Aires (GDD Update to the GNSO:
What factors has the Board found to be significant?
The Board carefully considered the public comments received for Renewal Registry Agreement, along with the summary and analysis of those comments. The Board also considered the terms agreed to by the Registry Operator as part of the bilateral negotiations with ICANN. 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 bilateral 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 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 .PRO, inclusion of the URS was developed as part of the proposal in bilateral negotiations between the Registry Operator and ICANN.
Additionally, the Board considered the comments regarding transitioning legacy gTLDs to the new form of the registry agreement. The Board notes that existing registry agreement calls for presumptive renewal of the agreement at its expiration so long as certain requirements are met. The renewal agreement is subject to the negotiation of renewal terms reasonably acceptable to ICANN and the Registry Operator. The renewal terms approved by the Board are the result of the bilateral negotiations called for in the current registry agreement, and transitioning to the new form of the registry agreement would not violate established GNSO policy. As described below, the new form of the registry agreement provides some operational advantages, in addition to benefits to registrants and the Internet community including public interest commitments, requiring the use of registrars under the 2013 RAA, and the ability for ICANN to designate an emergency interim registry operator in the event that emergency thresholds for critical registry services is reached.
Are there positive or negative community impacts?
As part of the renewal process, ICANN conducted a review of Registry Operator's recent performance under the current .PRO Registry Agreement. The Registry Operator was found to have substantially met its contractual requirements.
The Board's approval of the Renewal Registry Agreement also offers positive technical and operational benefits. Pursuant to Renewal Registry Agreement, in the event that any of the emergency thresholds for registry functions is reached, Registry Operator agrees that ICANN may designate an emergency interim registry operator of the registry for the TLD, which would mitigate the risks to the stability and security of the Domain Name System. Also, technical onboarding of the Registry Operator to comply with the provisions in the new gTLD agreement will allow the Registry to use uniform and automated processes, which will facilitate operation of the TLD. The Renewal Registry Agreement also includes safeguards in the form of public interest commitments in Specification 11 including GAC Category 1 Safeguards 1 through 3.
There will also be positive impacts on registrars and registrants. Transition to the new gTLD Registry Agreement will provide consistency across all registries leading to a more predictable environment for end-users and also the fact that the proposed renewal Registry Agreement requires that the Registry Operator uses ICANN accredited registrars that are party to the 2013 Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA) only will provide more benefits to registrars and registrants.
Protection of Rights holders: The new gTLD agreement will allow Registry Operator to adopt additional rights protection mechanisms to protect rights holders.
Are there fiscal impacts or ramifications on ICANN (strategic plan, operating plan, budget); the community; and/or the public?
There is no significant fiscal impact expected if ICANN approves the proposed .PRO renewal Registry Agreement.
Are there any security, stability or resiliency issues relating to the DNS?
There are no expected security, stability, or resiliency issues related to the DNS if ICANN approves the proposed .PRO renewal Registry Agreement. The proposed renewal Registry Agreement in fact includes terms intended to allow for swifter action in the event of certain threats to the security or stability of the DNS. As part of ICANN's organizational administrative function, ICANN posted the draft renewal Registry Agreement for public comment on 28 May 2015.