Panelist awards .charity to Famous Four based on PIC

Panelist approves of Famous Four application for .charity while killing Donuts’ rival application.

A Public Interest Commitment for the .charity top level domain has resulted in Famous Four “winning” the contention set for the domain.

The Independent Objector (IO) filed community objections against both Famous Four’s and Donuts’ applications for .charity, along with Famous Four’s application for a Chinese equivalent.

The cases were consolidated, and the IO made the same claims in each case. But panelist Tim Portwood determined that the objections against Famous Four failed while the objection against Donuts prevailed.

After submitting its applications, Famous Four submitted an additional Public Interest Commitment that would restrict registration to charities. So while Portwood determined that Donuts’ application would result in a likelihood of detriment to the “charity community,” he decided that delegating the domain name to Famous Four would not cause this detriment:

The eligibility policy defined by Applicant and inspired by the criteria of the UK Charities Act 2011 which will be included in any registration agreement entered into by Applicant with ICANN together with appropriate safeguards for registry operators respond in the Expert Panel’s view to the Detriment test concerns raised by the IO.

Famous Four thus avoids a costly resolution to the contention set, while Donuts pays the objection fees and loses much of its application fee.


  1. says

    How is the PIC part of Famous Four’s application and was admissable? PICs are material changes that were added after all applications were made public.

    We have been warning against this type if prejudiced decisions since April.

    So can we submit PICs to change our community application to be considered by Panelist for CPE so we can score 14 points since it is in the public interest?

    We warned against these loopholes to both icann and icc but noone listened. Famous Four complains about .sport but now they’re allowed to do this? I don’t see them complaining now.

    We will be filing PICs material changes to our community application too. Since this is acceptable by everyone, the ICC, ICANN and portfolio applicants.

    I am amazed noone is taking about this.

    • says

      It’s true that a lot of after-the-fact submissions are being considered by panels. You can also argue that GAC advice shouldn’t apply, as that was made later (and it’s just advice that hasn’t been accepted yet).

      • says

        We argued these points again and again. No-one listened. Here is the letter we sent:

        Of course ICANN responded to our letter admitting the flaw that there is no such process in the AGB ( and asked us to consult the ICC and Panelist. Both the ICC and Panelist of course had no answer because the Guidelines were flawed and said that ICANN has left them to decide everything without any accountability or repercussions. ICANN said they had no say in ICC decision making and that is why the panelist were not adequately trained.

        So what prevents our Community Application for .MUSIC from filing PICs to change our Application so that the panelist is satisfied with us passing the community threshold? Nothing at all at this point. Do you think we should do this? Why not right? Everyone else is doing it.

        Of course I do not see Famous Four complaining about this decision. They complain about .SPORT but they will remain silent with this one despite the obvious violations of the AGB. I do not see any other portfolio applicant complaining about this either because in their Responses to objections they quoted PICs as well. What a loophole! The saw everyone’s application, listened to GAC advice and customized their PICs. We are expecting PICs to become an issue for the rest of the .music objections because ALL the portfolio applicants were using PICs statements to show that everything is ok. I assure you this is not ok with us and you can guess why.

        So let me see. Amazon changes their position publicly with Response to Category 2 advice to change from exclusive to non-exclusive and ICANN and the ICC and Panelist gives them a pass. This is not in the AGB.

        Now portfolio applicants are allowed to submit PICs as material changes to win Panelist decisions? This is not in the AGB.

        Now of course brands now will be allowed to change their application and get special treatment. This is not in the AGB.

        So I ask you, why is EVERYONE allowed to make material changes “in the public interest” with ICANN giving its blessing (or turning a blind eye) by allowing it despite the cacophony of statements we have been making for the last year which they ignored?

        How do you thinks panning out if we do not get “community” in CPE? Interesting developments don’t you think?

        • says

          Applicants can point to whole ICANN process to say they were both allowed and required to do those changes… so this inevitably leads applicants to file either an IRP or going to courts.

          • says

            Well there is a difference when applicants are using material changes to affect a contention set. In this case, PICs were the reason Donuts is out and Famous Four was awarded the string. An entire contention set was determined by PICs. That is not material?

            As we have been mentioning on NTAG and in public statements this determination confirms that PICs are material changes and according to the AGB ( once there is an interference with a contention set or if it is unfair to a 3rd-party or another applicant then it should not be considered.

            Again we warned ICANN on this and all the portfolio guys knew what they were doing. I think the court issue will be an inevitability depending on how CPE transpires. If it goes the same manner as community objections then I think there is enough evidence there – especially with discovery – that would take out the entire new gTLD process. How do you think a reasonable judge will treat such a process? ICANN’s reputation is depending on this new gTLD Program. It is far from being fair for many and it is easy to pinpoint that ICANN is favoring some types of applicants over others.

  2. says

    One thing curious about the Famous Four PIC is that, unlike community applications with clear registration restrictions, it’s a PIC to develop a registration policy and adopt it prior to operations. So it remains to be seen whether this will be binding enough to have the value the expert panel gave to it.

    Although I’m sure that Donuts would be first in line to file a PIC Dispute if they end up doing something that goes against a bona-fide intent of the PIC…

    • says

      Seeing that Donuts used PICs in the .music/.band objections as a post-application material change loophole to avoid the material detriment of being open (obviously an open .music etc will experience malicious abuse, piracy, intellectual property violations etc that is a given), how can Donuts now file a PIC dispute? We will be all over that if it does happen if Donuts music-themed objections are not upheld because of any form of material change not present in their current applications.

      • says

        I meant we will react accordingly if all the objected-to applicants PICs statements are considered as evidence in other objections, not merely Donuts. It is like playing Russian Roulette. Never know what the next panelist will say. This is what happens when there is lack of training and guidance. ICANN has no excuse because we did express these exact concerns and predicted the outcomes (even at the Public Forum in Argentina). It is a shame because things could have been avoided if exact instructions were given to be followed.

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