GNSO Deletes Implementation Committee teleconference on 8/9 May 2003 - minutes



Registrar - Bruce Tonkin
Registrar -Rob Hall
Registrar - Rick Wesson
Registrar - Brian Cute
ICANN Chief Registrar Liaison - Dan Halloran
Deletes Task Force Chair - Jordyn Buchanan
Deletes Task Force User Rep - Bret Fausett

Ross Rader
Tim Ruiz

Bruce Tonkin asked Jordyn Buchanan if he would like to chair the meeting, he declined, and Bruce Tonkin chaired the meeting.

Bruce Tonkin asked Dan Halloran to summarize the ICANN Staff's concerns contained in a letter sent to Council by Louis Touton on April 11, 2003.

Concern A: The Proposed Mandatory Deletion Policy Does Not Allow for Extenuating Circumstances
Concern B: The Recommendations Concerning Mandatory Disclosures Inappropriately Restrict registrars that do not operate websites
Concern C: Mandatory "Payment" Policies Could Stifle Registrar Business Models
Concern D: Overlap with Whois Recommendations in restoring a domain name.

Dan Halloran went on to mention the 8 hypothetical extenuating circumstances:
It appears that a registrar has no ability to delay deletions past 45 days in extenuating circumstances. Here are a few hypothetical situations intended to highlight the serious problems such an unqualified rule could cause:

Hypothetical #1: Shortly before the 45-day deadline, the registrar discovers that its contact data for the registrant has been altered due to hacking or some other incident in the registrar's systems. The registrar concludes that, as a result of the alteration, a renewal notice was never sent to the proper address for the registrant, so that the registrant has never paid a renewal fee and has never entered into a renewed registration agreement.
Nonetheless, the registrar is required by 3.1.1 and 3.1.2 to delete the registration, resulting in DNS service to the registrant being shut off. The service can only be restored, after some delay, through restoration under the redemption grace period.

Hypothetical #2: The registrant's main office is located in a building that has suffered a disaster due to flood/fire/earthquake/war/terrorism/etc. The renewal notice was sent to that address, but it appears doubtful that the registrant would have been able to complete the renewal process by the deadline. Nonetheless, the registrar is required by 3.1.1 and 3.1.2 to delete the registration, resulting in DNS service being shut off.

Hypothetical #3: A registration is the subject of court proceedings over who is the proper domain-name holder. The court issues an order requiring that the registrar "freeze" the domain registration, to prevent any changes. The registrant does not pay the renewal fee, putting the registrar in the position of either violating the court order or breaching 3.1.1 and 3.1.2 (and therefore its accreditation agreement with ICANN).

Hypothetical #4: A registrar has submitted a "registrar certificate" to a court concerning a domain name that is currently involved in court proceedings. In the registrar certificate, the registrar has submitted the registration to the court's jurisdiction and has promised not to modify, transfer, or delete the registration during the court proceedings. No renewal takes place within 45 days after expiration, so that 3.1.1 and 3.1.2 require the registrar to act contrary to the registrar certificate.

Hypothetical #5: A domain name registered through a registrar is used to support the host names of nameservers that provide secondary nameservice for 20,000 domains held by other customers, which are registered through many different registrars. The registration is not renewed. As a result, nameservice for the 20,000 other domains must be migrated to other hosts. This is not accomplished in 45 days, and as a result 20,000 domains disappear from the Internet.

Hypothetical #6: Shortly after the expiration date of a registration, the registrar is informed that the registrant has filed for bankruptcy. The registrar's legal advisors have cautioned the registrar to refrain from terminating services to the bankrupt registrant without court permission. Recommendations 3.1.1 and 3.1.2, however, require the registrar to delete the registration.

Hypothetical #7: During the 45-day period after expiration, the registrant asserts that it has made a renewal payment to the registrar, but the registrar has been unable to complete its investigation into the payment dispute before the 45-day deadline. The registrar is uncertain whether it must delete the registration in order to comply with 3.1.1 and 3.1.2.

Hypothetical #8: The registrar has a long-standing relationship with a registrant; the registrar knows that one of the registrant's domain registrations that has expired is for an important and heavily used name, and suspects that the registrants' failure to renew was caused by an oversight. The registrar is unable to resolve the issue with the registrant within the 45-day period. As a result, recommendations 3.1.1 and 3.1.2 require the registrar to delete the registration, shutting off nameservice for the domain.

Based on a plain reading of the recommendations of 3.1.1 and 3.1.2, in many if not all of these hypothetical cases the registrar would apparently be required to delete names, even though contrary to technical prudence or even other legal requirements. While it may make sense to prescribe a uniform time frame for registrar deletion of expired names, the hypothetical situations described above point to the difficulty of making hard and fast rules without allowing for exceptions in extenuating circumstances.

Bruce Tonkin said that there were two situations:
The issue now is extenuating circumstances.
There are two approaches:
a. List of explicit exclusions
b. Leave it open but some control is needed and how should this be done.

Jordyn Buchanan representing the Deletes Task Force replied that there was no clear language or particular guidance for the extenuating circumstance clause. Court orders and Universal Dispute Resolution Policy claims were itemized. It was suggested that extenuating circumstances be dealt with in a report by the Registrar to ICANN or the Registrar asking for ICANN's approval.

Bret Fausett suggested not requiring ICANN to do anything but to place a number of caps based on the number of exemptions a registrar could have based on names under management.

Bruce Tonkin, in summary of the discussion, said that a threshold seemed reasonable. The baseline being that normal behaviour should be established and then the threshold should be determined. Suggestions could be made during the implementation stage as to what Registrars would think the threshold should be.

Dan Halloran expressed concern about how it would be enforced while Rob Hall expressed concern about public misunderstanding

Rob Hall expressed concern about 45 days being too long before deleting a name, and suggested a sliding scale of minimum names for the threshold. He also suggested formulating appropriate wording in this connection.
In addition he expressed concern about giving ICANN work to investigate each extentuating circumstance.

Bruce Tonkin suggested a quarterly report or at intervals, and Dan Halloran suggested reporting on the Registrar's list.
Rick Wesson commented that the reporting to ICANN should be machine readable and should become publicly available. There was disagreement on the last point, publicly available.

Bruce Tonkin summarized saying that there should be a white list of available extenuating circumstances, combined with the need to keep records of any extenuating circumstances.

Interpretation was needed on:
<Domain name must be deleted within 45 days of the expiration of the registration agreement between the registrar and the registrant, unless the agreement is renewed>
whether this meant anniversary date or expiration date.
Jordyn Buchanan stated that the task force should be consulted on this and that the language should perhaps be clarified to refer to case where the registration agreement between the registrar and the registrant is terminated (rather than the expiry of the current agreemet). Brian Cute offered to consult with his lawyers on this point.
Brian Cute asked who would be identifying the list of extenuating circumstances?
Bruce Tonkin said that he would start it off identifying the most common ones also drawing from Dan Halloran's list, and inviting others to add to the list.

Bruce Tonkin raised the section on the UDRP as being overly descriptive and suggested that it could perhaps be dealt with as an extenuating circumstance.He asked if the issue was that registrars were deleting domain names before the UDRP process was over?
Jordyn Buchanan explained that the task force felt it was a financial burden for registrars to carry domain names during the UDRP process, due to the auto-renew fee charged by the registry.
Bruce Tonkin suggested that under the UDRP process, a domain name should not be deleted and it should be left to the Registrar's particular business model to deal with it.
The registrar should be allowed the option to carry the domain name if the Registrar wants to bear the costs.
The issue was sometimes seeking payment before renewing the domain name.
Bruce Tonkin offered to revise the wording.

Regarding the last point on:
<The Redemption Grace Period will apply to names deleted due to a complaint on WHOIS accuracy,>
it should be considered as part of the review after the WHOIS policy recommendations have been implemented.
Rob Hall asked for clarification on: These requirements retroactively apply to all existing domain name registrations beginning 180 days after the adoption of the policy and suggested that the anniversary date be used.

Bruce Tonkin asked Dan Halloran to clarify the wording with regard to the display of information, saying that "if you have a website," rather than implying there must be a website.

Bruce Tonkin offered to draft a document following the discussion and requested e-mail input from those who had offered to revise wording.

Bruce Tonkin
thanked all the participants for their attendance and comments that had been sent to the list.

Teleconference ended at 1:20 UTC, 9:20 Melbourne time

Next teleconference:
Wednesday 14 May 22:00 UTC, Thursday 15 May , 08:00 Melbourne time.
see: http://www.dnso.org/meetings.html
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