Becky Burr provided background about the formation of the usTLD council. In the earlier days, the usTLD had launched a similar initiative, however, at the time, multi-stakeholder policy-making structures were less common and the project was short lived. The idea of reinstating a Stakeholder Council for .US was put forward in the 2013 .US Rebid. The Council will work to identify different stakeholders’ goals and priorities for the .US namespace and then to develop policies that help address these needs and interests.

Ms. Burr emphasized that the Draft Charter and Guiding Principles & Policies provided to Councilors in advance of the call were meant to serve as strawmen to initiate discussion. The Council would be welcome to consider modifications to these guidelines as a part of its work. It was also stressed that the 14-month Workplan was to be developed by the Council, including issues and projects beyond those proposed by Neustar for initial consideration.

Ms. Burr and Stephanie Duchesneau introduced themselves and described the roles that they would be playing as the secretariat for the Council. Councilors introduced themselves and described their affiliations, as well as their history with and interests in .US.

Several councilors also touched on considerations that they believed should play into Council activities. James Bladel suggested that the Council should look into why there was lower adoption by Americans of .US than other citizenries of their local country-code, and how to drive engagement. Shane Tews echoed this goal saying that the Council should be looking into how to engage Americans around .US at local and regional levels. Linda Kinney stated her interest in balancing the goals of free expression and creating a lawful environment in .US.

Beth Bacon introduced herself and thanked councilors for volunteering their time; Ms. Bacon also described how the NTIA would be acting as an observer to Council calls and other activities.

Ms. Burr initiated a discussion of the high-level goals of the council including representing the needs and interests of the wide range of stakeholders for the usTLD; suggesting enhancements to the space; fostering a stable and lawful environment including ensuring respect for property and security, stability, and resiliency; and fostering a safe and user-friendly experience for users of the usTLD. She suggested targeting youth, in particular, to help build a generation of Internet users who regard .US as their online home.

Ms. Burr and Ms. Duchesneau provided an overview of the Conflicts of Interest Policy, which was circulated to members in advance of the call. It was stressed that Neustar, in its Charter and list of notional councilors, had sought out Councilors with a direct stake and interest in the namespace; financial interests in .US policies and operations were not meant to preclude participation, provided that they were properly disclosed in the form circulated within the call. Ms. Burr also suggested that Council activities should be fully open and transparent including opening up calls and publishing meeting agendas and minutes.

The Council moved into a discussion of possible policies or projects for consideration by the council. Ms. Burr suggested possible carve outs to the prohibition on privacy or proxy registrations where select, trusted membership organizations could provide such services on behalf of their memberships; the American Girl Scouts were raised as an example of an organization that could sponsor registrations to encourage older scouts to register domains and build websites in .US. Consideration of the Nexus Policy and possible modifications thereto, such as for trademark holders with marks registered with the USPTO, were raised as a means to make .US a useable space for foreign users with legitimate commercial interests in the United States. Promotional opportunities for registrars that were willing to sponsor low-cost registrations for target communities presented as a possible initiative.

Consideration of the report of the Kids.us Education Advisory Committee was presented as an early responsibility of the Council. Ms. Duchesneau and Mr. Barrett provided an overview of the goals, composition, and work of the Education Advisory Committee. Ms. Duchesneau described the group’s ultimate recommendation to maintain the suspension of the kids.us namespace but to continue work to foster safe, positive, and educational experiences for kids within .US, taking into account the operating procedures and potential use cases identified by the Kids.us Education Advisory Committee.

The Council was asked to brainstorm other possible policies, projects, and target audiences for council work. Scott Blake Harris suggested that the committee consider the release of two-character labels within .US. Linda Kinney recommended the development of best practices for ccTLD operators. Bryan Britt recommended that the goal of service to the local communities, businesses, and markets be prioritized. Chris Mead and Patrick Post both echoed support for work to engage medium and small businesses; Mr. Post added that a good target would also be importers and exporters. Phil Corwin recommended that the Council consider the effects of the new gTLD program on .US, and whether the program meant increased competition or acted as an opportunity to promote .US as an attractive choice in an environment where .COM was no longer regarded as the default option. Mr. Barrett suggested that local governments were another possible outreach group; in response, Doug Robinsion raised NASCIO’s recommendation that these governments move their web presences to .GOV addresses.

Ms. Burr stated that the council would be electing a Chair and a Vice Chair through online voting and that Ms. Duchesneau would be circulating further details on elections.

Michele Neylon asked whether an email distribution would be set up for the Council. Ms. Duchesneau responded that she would be setting up a distribution. Ms. Burr added that a work space would also be made available to publish council materials.

Action Items

  • Stephanie Duchesneau to circulate meeting minutes and further instructions for Chair and Vice Chair elections to be conducted electronically.
  • Stephanie Duchesneau to create a distribution email for future council discussions.
  • All councilors to complete Declaration of Interest form circulated by Stephanie Duchesneau.
  • Stephanie Duchesneau and Becky Burr to develop a first draft of a 14-month Council Work Plan for input by the group, inclusive of topics raised on the inaugural call and in discussion in forthcoming weeks.

Attendees

Councilors:

  • Bobby Flaim, Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Bryan Britt, Beltlane Web Services
  • Chris Mead, American Chamber of Commerce Executives
  • Doug Robinson, National Association of State Chief Information Officers
  • Elisa Cooper, MarkMonitor
  • James Bladel, GoDaddy
  • Linda Kinney, Motion Picture Association of America
  • Michele Neylon, Blacknight Solutions
  • Patrick Post, National Small Business Association
  • Peter Roman, Department of Justice
  • Philip Corwin, Virtualaw LLC
  • Scott Blake Harris, Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis LLP
  • Shane Tews, American Enterprise Institute
  • Tom Barrett, EnCirca

Neustar Participants:

  • Becky Burr
  • Jeffrey Neuman
  • Stephanie Duchesneau

Department of Commerce Participants

  • Elizabeth Bacon