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[council] Final report of .org Task Force

Fellow councillors:
FYI, here is the Task Force report which we will vote on during
Thursday's teleconference. The text has been thrashed out
pretty thoroughly by constituency representatives. 
Cheers, MM


v 5.4 (January 10, 2002)

The .org registry should be operated for the benefit of the worldwide
community of organizations, groups, and individuals engaged in 
noncommercial communication via the Internet. Responsibility for .org 
administration should be delegated to a non-profit organization that has 
widespread support from and acts on behalf of that community.

The notions of sponsorship and restriction, as applied elsewhere in the 
gTLD process, do not provide an adequate framework for the .org 
divestiture. Some clear statement of administrative and marketing 
practices will be necessary but this must not result in an exclusive 
boundary being set around the community of eligible registrants. The 
manner in which the normative guidelines are labeled is not a primary 
consideration, but the framework should include all the points below.

1. Characteristics of the Organization to Administer .org

1a. The initial delegation of the .org TLD should be to a non-profit 
organization that is noncommercial in orientation and the initial board of 
which includes substantial representation of noncommercial .org 
registrants. We recognize that noncommercial registrants do not have 
uniform views about policy and management, and that no single 
organization can fully encompass the diversity of global civil society. 
Nevertheless, applicant organizations should be able to demonstrate 
international support and participation from a significant number of 
noncommercial .org registrants. The organization's policies and practices 
should strive to be responsive to and supportive of the noncommercial 
Internet user community, and reflect as much of its diversity as possible. 
While the initial delegation should be to an organization that meets the 
criteria described above, the ongoing governance arrangements should be 
open to any .org registrant.

1b. Applicants for operation of the .org registry should be recognized non-
profit entities (understood to include corporations, associations, 
partnerships or cooperatives as those terms are defined in the legal 
jurisdiction in which the organization is established). Subcontracting of 
operational functions to for-profit providers is permitted.

1c. Applicants are encouraged to propose governance structures for the 
.org TLD that provide all .org registrants with the opportunity to directly 
participate in either the selection of officers, or the election of policy-
making council members, or both. The bylaws should provide explicitly for 
an open, transparent and participatory process by which .org operating 
policies are initiated, reviewed and revised in a manner which reflects the 
interests of .org domain name holders and is consistent with the terms of 
its registry agreement with ICANN.

1d. In order to permit the largest number of qualified non-profit 
organizations to compete for award of the .org TLD contract, the Board 
should require no more than the equivalent of USD$200,000 in 
demonstrated financial resources from applicants.

2. Policy Guidelines for Applicants to Administer .org

2a. Definition of the .org community
Each applicant organization should include in its application a definition of 
the relevant community for which names in the .org TLD are intended, 
detailing the types of registrants who constitute the target market for 
.org and proposing marketing and branding practices oriented toward that 

The definition of the relevant community should be much broader than 
simply formal non-profit organizations. It must also include individuals and 
groups seeking an outlet for noncommercial expression and information 
exchange, unincorporated cultural, educational and political organizations, 
and business partnerships with non-profits and community groups for 
social initiatives.

2b. No eligibility requirements
Dot org will continue to be operated without eligibility requirements. With a 
definition of the served community and appropriate marketing practices in 
place, the organization and the registrars should rely entirely on end-user 
choice to determine who registers in .org.

Specifically, applicants:
* Must not propose to evict existing registrants who do not conform to its 
target community. Current registrants must not have their registrations 
cancelled nor should they be denied the opportunity to renew their names 
or transfer them to others.

* Must not attempt to impose any new prior restrictions on people or 
organizations attempting to register names, or propose any new dispute 
initiation procedures that could result in the cancellation of domain 
delegations. The UDRP would apply as per section 5 below, however.

2c. Surplus funds
Applicants should specify how they plan to disburse any surplus funds. 
Use of surplus funds for purposes not directly related to dot org registry 
operation is permitted, provided that the registry operation itself is 
adequately sustained and that the additional purposes bear some 
relationship to Internet use, administration and policy. For example, 
applicants are encouraged to propose methods of supporting and assisting 
non-commercial participants in the ICANN process. Uses intended only to 
subsidize other activities of the organization or its subsidiaries, activities 
that are not subject to oversight and management by the .org 
governance arrangements, should not be considered.

2d. Registrars
All ICANN-accredited registrars should be eligible to register names in .org. 
However, applicants are encouraged to propose methods of managing the 
relationship between the registry and registrars that encourage 
differentiation of the domain.

2e. Definition of marketing practices
Differentiation of the domain is a key policy objective in the transition, and 
new marketing practices are the primary tool for achieving that objective. 
Applicants should propose specific marketing policies and practices 
designed to differentiate the domain, promote and attract registrations 
from the defined community, and minimize defensive and duplicative 

3. The Verisign endowment

Applicants should meet all requirements needed to qualify for the $5 million 
endowment from Verisign. Applications should describe how they propose 
to utilize the endowment and the timing of its use.

4. The Registry Operator

Any entity chosen by the TLD delegee to operate the .org registry 
(including itself) must function efficiently and reliably and show its 
commitment to a high quality of service for all .org users worldwide, 
including a commitment to making registration, assistance and other 
services available to ICANN-accredited registrars in different time zones 
and different languages. The ".org" registry should match or improve on 
the performance specifications of the current ".org" registry. The registry 
fee charged to accredited registrars should be as low as feasible 
consistent with the maintenance of good quality service. The registry-
registrar protocol should either remain the same as the current ".org" 
registry, or it should match the new international standard for registry-
registrar protocols being developed in the Internet Engineering Task 

5. ICANN Policies

The .org administration must adhere to policies defined through ICANN 
processes, such as policies regarding registrar accreditation, shared 
registry access, the uniform dispute resolution policy, and access to 
registration contact data via WHOIS. 

6. Follow up

ICANN should invite applications from qualifying non-profit organizations 
to assume responsibility for operation of the .org registry with a deadline 
no later than 30 June 2002, so that an evaluation, selection and 
agreement process may be completed well in advance of the 31 December 
expiration of the current agreement with Verisign.

ICANN will provide an opportunity for the Names Council to review the 
request for proposals (RFP) prepared by the ICANN staff prior to its public 
dissemination, and will adjust the RFP as needed in consultation with the 
Task Force to ensure compliance with the policy. Application fees should 
be as low as possible consistent with the objective of discouraging 
frivolous applications.

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