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GAC Working Group to Examine the Protection of Geographic Names in Any Future Expansion of gTLDs
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Status: Active
Date Formed: 09 Aug 2013

The objective of the GAC Working Group to Examine the Protection of Geographic Names in any Future Expansion of gTLDs is to review and consider any necessary improvements to the existing protections by:

  • Examining (and describing) how relevant sections of the GAC Principles Regarding new gTLDs were implemented in practice.
  • Examining (and describing) how relevant sections of the new gTLD Applicant Guidebook were implemented in practice.
  • Clearly explaining why protections for geographic names are necessary as a matter of good public policy.
  • Developing practical options that are aimed at improving protection of geographic names during any future expansion of gTLDs.
  • Developing practical suggestions and rules to lower uncertainties both for the governments, communities and also for the applicants, once using a geographic or community name.
  • Developing best practice rules to avoid misuse of geographic and community names as new gTLDs and at the same time lowering uncertainties for the applicants, trademarks and the business involved.
  • Defining the terms “Public Interest”, “geographic name” and “community interests” or others that may be relevant to the Advice issued by GAC in Durban (2012).
  • Engaging with the Cross Community Working Group in the use of Country/territory Names as TLDs, and any other ICANN bodies or groups dealing with similar issues.
  • Proactively engaging with the GAC, ICANN and the ICANN community to develop support for the agreed best options.

The working group may then make a recommendation to the GAC about appropriate next steps regarding the agreed best options.

Meeting and Records

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Members

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NAME COUNTRY
Olga Cavalli  Argentina 
Annaliese Williams Australia
Parris Burtenshaw Australia
Severine Waterbley Belgium
Jan Vannieuwenhuyse Belgium
Denis Gonzalez Chile
Nicolas Schubert Chile
Guo Lei Cai China
Guo Feng China
Finn Petersen Denmark
Nelson Guillén Bello Dominican Republic
Amparo Arango Echeverri Dominican Republic
Thomas Bennette Commonwealth of Dominica
Mzia Gogilashvili Georgia
Panagotis Papaspiliopoulos Greece
Mauro Milita Holy See
Carlo Maria Polvan Holy See
Peter Major Hungary
Rahul Gosain India
Rita Forsi  Italy 
Kaydian A. Smith Jamaica
Subhash Dhakal Nepal
Elise Linderberg Norway
Nicolas Caballero Paraguay
Yuliya Elanskaya Russian Federation
Vyacheslav Erokhin Russian Federation
Cherif Diallo  Senegal 
François Maurer Switzerland
Jorge Cancio Switzerland
Stephane Bonallaz Switzerland
Olivier Girard Switzerland
Stéphane Bondallaz Switzerland
Nicolas Guyot Switzerland
Ihsan Durdu  Turkey 
Gloria Katuuku Uganda
Oleksandr Ryzhenko Ukraine 
Oleksandr Tsaruk Ukraine
Jose Clastornik Uruguay
Ashley Heineman  United States 
Ryan Carroll United States 
Jesus Rivera Venezuela
Giacomo Mazzone European Broadcasting Union

Documentation

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FILTER DOCUMENTS
Title Date Type
GAC GeoNames WG - Terms of Reference (TOR)
Date: 29 Apr 2019
Type:  
29 Apr 2019   1556551500000
GeoNames WG - Work Plan
Date: 19 May 2016
Type: Work Plans
19 May 2016 Work Plans 1463671740000
GAC Geo Names WG - Working Papers
Date: 06 Mar 2016
Type: Report
06 Mar 2016 Report 1457290320000
About “Public Interest” - GAC Geo Names WG
Date: 06 Feb 2016
Type: Report
06 Feb 2016 Report 1454784900000
The protection of geographic namesin the new gTLDs process - Background Document
Date: 29 Aug 2014
Type: Report
29 Aug 2014 Report 1409326320000

Related Content

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The GAC Geographic Names Working Group focuses on how to improve the protections offered to geographic names in any future expansion of gTLDs.

MeetingDocuments
Preparation for ICANN 58

Best practices document with edits - 29 January 2017.doc

Summary comments Geo Names v2 - 29 January 2017.pdf

ICANN 57 Hyderabad

Thursday 3 November 2016

08:30-09:30

Geo Names WG Slides

GAC Working Group to examine the Protection of Geographic Names in any future expansion of gTLDs Meeting Transcript.pdf

Monday 12 September 2016 at 13:00 UTC

Participants:

Olga Cavalli, Argentina
Finn Petersen, Denmark
Maura Gambassi, Italy
Mzia Gogilashvili, Georgia
Sabine Meyer, Germany
Syed Iftikhar Shah, Pakistan
Vyacheslav Erokhin, Russian Federation
Oleksandr Tsaruk, Ukraine
Mark Carvell, United Kingdom
Ryan Caroll, United States
Giaccomo Mazzone, EBU

Apologies:

Annaliese Williams, Australia
Denis Gonzales, Chile
Rita Forsi, Italy
Milagros Castanon, Peru
Gema Campillos, Spain
Jorge Cancio, Switzerland

GAC Staff:

Fabien Betremieux
Michelle Scott-Tucker
Gulten Tepe
Julia Charvolen

GAC Geo Names best practices document

Call recording

ICANN 56 Helsinki

Monday 27 June 2016

08:15 to 09:15

Geo Names WG Work Plan v2.pdf

GEO names Helsinki Presentation

English transcript  
Translations: العربية II Español II français II Português II Pусский II 中文

Thursday 19 May at 13:00 UTC

Participants:
Olga Cavalli
Oleksandr Tsaruk
Wanwit Ahkuputra
Mzia Gogilashvili
Finn Petersen
Ryan Caroll
Miguel Munoz
Gloria Katuuku
Denis Gonzalez

Staff:
Michelle Scott-Tucker
Olof Nordling
Julia Charvolen

Agenda:

1) Concept of public interest and public good - How to move forward? (See two documents attached)
2) Revision of use of some regional names proposed by Ukraine and Georgia
3) Reactions to Strawoman paper proposed by CCWG on Country and Territory Names (see document attached)
4) News about the new gTLD process (see document attached)
5) Possible development or use of new lists in ISO (Giacomo)
6) Status of request of inclusion of other experts outside GAC in our WG email list (meetings are open)
7) AOB

About Public Interest v2.docx
Brief for WG Meeting May 2016td.doc
Peru - Feedback on the public internet draft document.docx
Summary of Geonames WG Responses to StrawWoman Paper.docx
WG Geo Names Work Plan Updated v4 19 May 2016.docx

Call recording

ICANN 55 Marrakech

Tuesday 8 March 2016
12:30 to 14:00

GAC Geographic Names WG meeting
Work Plan
About Public Interest 
Working Paper

DateParticipantsRecording and DocumentsCall notes and Action Items
28 May 2015

Argentina - Olga Cavalli
Chile - Denis Gonzalez
Germany - Sabine Meyer
Switzerland - François Maurer, Jorge Cancio
Ukraine - Oleksandr Tsaruk
United States - Suzanne Radell

Staff
Olof Nordling
Michelle Scott-Tucker
Julia Charvolen

Recording
20150528_Geographic_Names_Protection_WG.mp3

*******

Background Brief - Public Interest v2mst.pdf

Comments Switzerland Geo Names.pdf

Draft Terms of Reference - GAC Geo Names WG v7.pdf

GAC Geo-names WG - Working Papers.pdf

Notes from Olga Cavalli

The Chair noted that the aim of the WG was to provide input to any future versions of ICANN's Applicant Guidebook, to ensure there was better clarity for applicants around geographic names.

The group considered three papers:

- the 'working paper' background paper

- the draft Terms of Reference

- a draft compilation of definitions and uses of the term 'public interest'

The WG agreed to revise the 'working paper' to include a draft document produced in early 2011 during a GAC meeting, which focussed on geographic names.

The WG agreed to revise the draft Terms of Reference to clarify that any material changes to the WG work-plan will be agreed by the WG. The final sentence of the ToRs will also be further clarified.

The WG noted that reaching an agreed definition of 'public interest' was likely to be a challenge. The WG agreed to add Switzerland's procedural approach to the compilation of public interest definitions and uses. The Chair will also add some additional definitions.

The WG agreed to distribute the above revised documents to the GAC, for consideration during the BA meeting.

The WG agreed that next steps will include:

- further work on defining 'public interest'

- work on defining 'geographic names', in consultation with the County Names CCWG

- checking with GAC colleagues what regulations exist at the national level regarding geographic names.

19 August 2015

Olga Cavalli, Argentina
Denis Gonzalez, Chile
Julia Wolman, Denmark
Oleksandr Tsaruk, Ukraine
Jorge Cancio, Switzerland

Apologies
Sabine Meyer, Germany
Suzanne Radell, USA
Olof Nordling, support staff

Staff
Julia Charvolen
Tom Dale

Recording

20150819_Geographic_Names_Protection_WG.mp3

********

Background Brief - Public Interest v2mst.pdf

Draft ToR - GAC Geo Names WG v7.pdf

GAC Geo-names WG - Working Papers.pdf

GEO names buenos aires june 2015.ppt

Notes from Olga Cavalli

1- Define a work plan and a time that should include:

- Inject information gathered from our WG into the new gtld first round revision process of the first round and the GNSO PDP process related with a new round of gTLDs.

- Include in the document concrete experiences of use of geographic names in new gtlds (document have some examples and we could add others as well)

- About public interest: difficult to define. WG should reinforce in the document the importance of outreach to the whole community in possible impact of the use of geographic and community names in future rounds of new gltds, perhaps defining procedures for affected parties in how to participate or object. (the importance of outreach is already included in the document but should be hightlighted).

- Interact with WG about community applications.

- Seek advice in order to understand how a set of best practices could be "enforceable" and not only aspirational or desired.

- Share information with this WG about activities done from the CCWG on use of country and territory names as tlds.

2- Organize biweekly calls, of no more than one hour each, towards the meeting in Dublin.

2 September

Participants
Olga Cavalli, Argentina
Nicolas Caballero, Paraguay
Oleksandr Tsaruk, Ukraine

Apologies
Julia Wolman, Denmark
Mark Carvell, United Kingdom
Suzanne Radell, USA
Jorge Cancio, Switzerland
Olof Nordling, support staff

Staff
Julia Charvolen
Tom Dale

Recording

20150902_Geographic_Names.mp3

********

WG Geo Names Work Plan.doc

Notes from Olga Cavalli

We agreed in the proposed work plan (attached), if those that were not in the call have comments or suggestions please send them by Friday this week.

The general idea is to enhance our backgroun document by early October, with the following inputs and activities.

As next steps we will:

1- contact GNSO and ICANN Staff to inject our ideas and outcomes to the process of new rounds of new gtlds. - Olga and others that want to join me

2- Giacomo: can you please explore your idea of contacting ISO about a geo-names list?

3- Gather information about good and bad experiences of the use of geo names and community names as tlds in the first round.

Olga will prepare a list and will share with the group. Giacomo Mark could you please provide input about community applications?

4- CCWG use of country and territory names as gtlds: there was agreement during the last ICANN meeting in the GAC that there should be more interaction with this WG. So it is my understanding that other colleages may join me in these CCWG calls.

Please let me know who could join me as I am the only one participating for the moment and sometimes the call collapses with other activities.

5- Public Interest: Olga will draft a text with focus on geographic and community names and will share with the group for comments and feedback.

Related Pages

Terms of Reference

To follow are the Terms of Reference for an internal working group of ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC). 

The focus of the working group is to examine how to improve the protections offered to geographic names in any future expansion of gTLDs.

Background

The GAC Principles Regarding New gTLDs[1] state:

2.1 That new gTLDs should respect: a) The provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which seek to affirm "fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women".   b) The sensitivities regarding terms with national, cultural, geographic and religious significance.

2.2 ICANN should avoid country, territory or place names, and country, territory or regional language or people descriptions, unless in agreement with the relevant governments or public authorities.

These concerns were captured in ICANN’s Applicant Guidebook[2] which defines geographic names as:

  • Capital city names
  • City names where applicants declare that they intend to use the gTLD for purposes associated with the city name
  • Sub-national place names such as those listed in the ISO 3166-2
  • Regional names appearing on the list of UNESCO regions
  • Regional names on the UN’s “Composition of macro geographical (continental) regions, geographical sub-regions, selected economic and other groupings.”

Although these definitions include some 5000 names, they do not cover all the possible geographic names in the world. 

Therefore ICANN’s Applicant Guidebook also notes that: "In the event of any doubt, it is in the applicant’s interest to consult with relevant governments and public authorities and enlist their support or non-objection prior to submission of the application, in order to preclude possible objections and pre-address any ambiguities concerning the string and applicable requirements."

As result of the first round of new gTLDs, and after the reveal day in June 2012, during the ICANN meeting in Durban the GAC expressed concerns about the geographic names issue in the GAC Durban Communiqué[3], under the heading GAC Advice to the Board:

7. Geographic Names and Community Applications

a. Geographic Names

i. The GAC recommends that ICANN collaborate with the GAC in refining, for future rounds, the Applicant Guidebook with regard to the protection of terms with national, cultural, geographic and religious significance, in accordance with the 2007 GAC Principles on New gTLDs.

b. Community Applications

i. The GAC reiterates its advice from the Beijing Communiqué regarding preferential treatment for all applications which have demonstrable community support, while noting community concerns over the high costs for pursuing a Community Objection process as well as over the high threshold for passing Community Priority Evaluation.

ii. Therefore the GAC advises the ICANN Board to: a. Consider to take better account of community views, and improve outcomes for communities, within the existing framework, independent of whether those communities have utilized ICANN’s formal community processes to date.

 

Objectives

The objective of the GAC Working Group to Examine the Protection of Geographic Names in any Future Expansion of gTLDs is to review and consider any necessary improvements to the existing protections by:

  • Examining (and describing) how relevant sections of the GAC Principles Regarding new gTLDs were implemented in practice.
  • Examining (and describing) how relevant sections of the new gTLD Applicant Guidebook were implemented in practice.
  • Clearly explaining why protections for geographic names are necessary as a matter of good public policy.
  • Developing practical options that are aimed at improving protection of geographic names during any future expansion of gTLDs.
  • Developing practical suggestions and rules to lower uncertainties both for the governments, communities and also for the applicants, once using a geographic or community name.
  • Developing best practice rules to avoid misuse of geographic and community names as new gTLDs and at the same time lowering uncertainties for the applicants, trademarks and the business involved.
  • Defining the terms “Public Interest”, “geographic name” and “community interests” or others that may be relevant to the Advice issued by GAC in Durban (2012).
  • Engaging with the Cross Community Working Group in the use of Country/territory Names as TLDs, and any other ICANN bodies or groups dealing with similar issues.
  • Proactively engaging with the GAC, ICANN and the ICANN community to develop support for the agreed best options.

The working group may then make a recommendation to the GAC about appropriate next steps regarding the agreed best options.

 

Working Group Members

The GAC’s Working Group to Examine the Protection of Geographic Names in any Future Expansion of gTLDs will be will be chaired by:

  • Dr Olga Cavalli (Argentina).

All GAC representatives and observers are welcome to join the Working Group to Examine the Protection of Geographic Names in any Future Expansion of gTLDs.  Working group participants are expected to be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge or expertise about aspects of the objectives of the working group; and
  • Commit to actively participate in the activities of the working group on an ongoing basis.

All participants will be listed in the working group’s online workspace, within the members-only section of the GAC website.

The working group will be assisted and supported by the ACIG GAC Secretariat and the ICANN GAC Support team.

 

Deliverables and Timeframes

As a first step the working group should establish and adopt an initial work plan and an associated schedule (timeline).  

One of the likely deliverables will be to contribute (in due time) to the definition of the rules of future rounds of gTLDs, in order to be sure that principles issued from this work can be fully integrated into any new guidelines and regulations issued by ICANN.

The work plan should include the timing and methods for informing the GAC of progress made by the working group.  As a minimum, the Chair of the working group shall update the GAC about the activities of the working group, and its progress towards meeting its objectives (including any challenges), at each face-to-face GAC meeting.  The initial work plan and schedule should be published on the web page of the working group. The Chair will be responsible for maintaining and updating the work plan and schedule and for informing the working group and the GAC Leadership Team of changes made to the work plan and schedule.  

At the discretion of the Chair an email list may be established to aid the work of the group.  Details of how to subscribe to the email list will be published on the web page of the working group.

 

Process for the development of a Position Paper or Statement

The working group, at its own discretion, may publish an Interim (or draft) Paper, which will contain a review and analysis of the topics it considers relevant, or a draft Statement.  The schedule for drafting and decision-making relating to a Position Paper or Statement should be included in the work plan.  In developing a working group Position Paper or Statement the working group shall seek to act by consensus. The consensus view of the members of the working group shall be articulated in the paper.  If full consensus cannot be reached, the Chair will seek to express the range of views of the WG's members. 

Such a paper will be circulated to the GAC for comment, and may be published with a view to seeking input from the wider ICANN community and/or relevant stakeholders outside the community.

Any such Interim Paper or Statement must clearly state that it is produced by an internal GAC Working Group and does not represent a consensus GAC view.

After revising an interim Position Paper or Statement, the working group may seek formal GAC endorsement or support for the document.  In the event that the GAC does not support or endorse a Position Paper or Statement, the working group may, at its discretion, reconsider and/or revise the Position Paper or Statement.

When a GAC working group engages in work that is clearly related to ongoing work in other parts of the ICANN community, it should give greater thought to the status or standing of an “interim” GAC paper that does not represent consensus GAC views.