ICANN opened up a new Comment Period to solicit views on what to do about the recent advice from the Government Advisory Committee (“GAC”). The GAC provided a number of suggestions regarding “safeguards” to the New gTLD system via its Beijing Communique which was released at the Beijing ICANN meeting on April 11, 2013.
The GAC specifically suggested that ICANN reconsider allowing plural forms of strings to be added as gTLDs and, perhaps most controversially, proposed that ICANN not proceed with further examination of certain strings such as .islam, .amazon, .patagonia, .wine and a number of others.
The GAC suggestions are not binding upon ICANN, pursuant to ICANN’s by-laws, but the GAC is essentially the multi-national voice of governments and ICANN must take its suggestions seriously – and if its not going to adopt such suggestions ICANN should do so in a way, at the very least, where the GAC feels as if it was heard and its opinions considered. It will be interesting to see how many of the “objected” to strings respond to the GAC comments and if they can make compelling reasons to overcome the GAC’s objections.
Further, ICANN has not yet responded to the GAC’s request for a written report about how an applicant should be allowed to alter its applied for string in the face of a GAC objection.