Overview 3 – The GNSO, NCSG, and NCUC

Our part of the Internet governance world is the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO). The GNSO makes the rules for the registries, registrars, and registrants who operate in generic top-level domains (gTLDs). They are the top-level domains not associated with a special country code, but more generally known and used, e.g., .com, .org, .lawyer, .hotel, and .search, among others.

1. In the gTLD world, we operate under a regime of “policy by contract”:
Registries (who run the databases for assigning, routing, and tracking domain names in all gTLDs, including .com, .org, .audio, .mom and .car), sign a Registry Agreement with ICANN to run these gTLDs.

2. Registrars (who sell domain names in the gTLDs, e.g. NCUC.org) to the public sign Registrar Accreditation Agreements with ICANN.

3. Registrants (who buy and use second level domain names, e.g. NCSG.org) sign domain name registration agreements with their Registrars that bind them to the rules created by ICANN.

Registries, registrars, and registrants agree by contract to follow the rules and policies created by ICANN, and these policies can be changed, deleted, revised, and removed.

Accordingly, the Generic Names Supporting Organization is divided into two “Houses” for voting purposes, much like the British Parliament or US Congress:

* One for the Registration Industry – Registries and Registrars – called the Contracted Parties House (for the contracts they sign with ICANN)
* One for the ‘user community’ – of commercial and noncommercial users – called the Non-Contracted Parties House (reflecting the fact that we don’t sign contracts directly with ICANN).

We are part of the Non-Contracted Parties House. Here’s our structure:

– Noncommercial Users Constituency (NCUC)
– Not-for-Profit Operational Concerns Constituency (NPOC)

– Commercial & Business Users Constituency (BC)
– Intellectual Property Constituency (IPC)
– Internet Service & Connection Providers Constituency (ISPCP)

The following Stakeholder Group/Constituency has its own Chair:

Nocommercial stakeholder Group – Farzaneh Badii
Noncommercial Users Constituency – Renata Aquino Ribeiro
Not-for-Profit Operational Concerns Constituency – Joan Kerr
Commercial & Business Users Constituency – Claudia Selli
Intellectual Property Constituency – Brian Winterfeldt
Internet Service & Connection Providers Constituency – Wolf-ulrich Knoben

Each Stakeholder Group elects its own representatives to the GNSO Council, where representatives for the GNSO gather to manage and oversee the policy-making processes for generic top-level domains. Our current NCSG Councillors, who serve for two year terms, are:

Stephanie Perrin – Canada
Martin Silva Valent – Argentina
Rafik Dammak – Tunisia / Japan
Tatiana Tropina – Russia
Ayden Férdeline – Germany
Arsène Tungali – Republic of Congo

Note: These names were accurate as of 01 May 2018, but may have changed since time of publication.

As we would say in ICANN lingo: The NCUC plays a vital part in the GNSO’s bottom-up, multistakeholder policymaking process by voting for representatives to the GNSO Council and serving on the policy development working groups. We’ll talk about working groups in the next segment.