ICANN Board to Meet With GAC Next Month in Brussels

MARINA DEL REY, Calif. — ICANN plans on meeting with its independent Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) regarding new gTLD names in late February.

The meeting comes ahead of the general ICANN meeting in San Francisco, where board members could determine the fate of ICM Registry's .XXX sTLD, or sponsored top-level domain, proposal if GAC were to give it approval.

ICANN did not say whether the topic of .XXX would come up at February's meeting with GAC in Brussels.

The Internet regulatory entity has been trying to publish an applicant guidebook that would serve as the framework for interested groups to manage gTLDs, or generic top-level domains.

There are currently 21 gTLDs but if and when the applicant guidebook is green lighted, the groups will be able to propose new extensions and apply for permission to manage them. ICANN says there also are 273 country-based TLDs, or ccTLDs.

Development of a program to increase the number of gTLDs has been in the works for years and the latest draft of the guidebook was published in November.

"Each version has been revised as a result of comments received via the respective public comment fora," ICANN said. "The ICANN meeting in Cartagena provided the platform for discussion of the latest version and provided an opportunity for the board to hear first hand the community's views."

ICANN had been giving GAC a chance to decide on such key issues as trademark protection, malicious conduct, root-zone scaling, economic impact, geographic names and morality-based objections for gTLDs.

ICANN officials said that the "meeting is not intended to address the requirements/steps outlined in the bylaws mandated board-GAC consultation process" and that they are requesting that GAC members arrive at a resolution or identify what differences remain.

The meeting is slated for Feb. 28-March 1 in Brussels at the Square Brussels Meeting Centre, Mont des Arts at Kunstberg.

ICANN's general meeting is slated for March 13-18 in San Francisco at the St. Francis Hotel near Union Square.