ICANN has published a new version of its Registry Agreement for new gTLD operators that waters down the controversial unilateral right to amend provisions.
The Special Amendment process is designed to allow ICANN to change the contract when it’s in the public interest.
DI outlined the changes to the process last week.
While most of the changes we described have in fact made it to the published RA, we were wrong on one count: despite what we reported, ICANN directors with conflicts of interest will not be able to vote.
That means representatives of registries and registrars won’t get a say when the board discusses their contracts.
A couple of other significant changes are apparent:
- Concessions to dot-brand registries. It would now be harder for ICANN to redelegate a dot-brand to another operator if the registry abandons its gTLD. ICANN has never had any intention of doing so, of course, but the relative lack of safeguards have been making dot-brand applicants nervous for years. Now, existing intellectual property rights would be taken into consideration during redelegation decisions.
- More secrecy. There’s a new section on “confidential information”, along with references to it sprinkled throughout, designed to protect trade secrets registries may disclose to ICANN.
ICANN CEO Fadi Chehade is expected to play hard-ball on these changes, according to recent reports.
Because registries get a perpetual right of renewal, and because it’s uncertain how the power balance will hang in policy-making, ICANN believes it would be irresponsible to sign an RA that does not give it the right to step in an protect the public interest in future.