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Internationalized Domain Names (IDN) in .museum - Policies and terms of use

1. General conditions and definitions

All of the terms and conditions in the Eligibility Requirements, Naming Conventions and Acceptable Use Policy for the .museum Top-Level Domain, as stated at http://about.museum/policy/, apply to the registration of names containing IDN characters. The term "IDN character" is used here to designate any character included in a .museum name other than the twenty-six Latin letters <a-z>, the ten digits <0-9> and the hyphen <->. A character in the basic letter/digit/hyphen repertoire is an "LDH character" and a name consisting exclusively of LDH characters is an LDH name. An internationalized domain name is any name that contains one or more IDN characters. The corresponding distinction is made between an LDH label and an IDN label.

Any reference made in the basic policy document to separately stated IDN policies, refers to the terms and conditions set forth below. These policies are established and maintained by the Museum Domain Management Association (MuseDoma) pursuant to its Sponsorship Agreement with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), and conform to the ICANN Guidelines for the Implementation of Internationalized Domain Names Version 2.1.

Every internationalized domain name registered in .museum, and every application of any policy described in this document, must be in full conformity with the technical requirements stated in RFC 3454, RFC 3490, RFC 3491, and RFC 3492.

2. Supported scripts and languages

The IDN characters that may be included in .museum names are listed at http://about.museum/idn/language.html. The character tables appearing there may be collated on the basis of script as described in the Unicode Standard Annex #24: Script Names at http://www.unicode.org/reports/tr24. Tables may also be based on individual languages or language groups, and may be further aggregated in terms of their use in clearly defined geopolitical regions or transnational cultural contexts. Specific policies may be separately applied to scripts, languages, and language groups.

The range of characters available in .museum is deliberately large to encourage the fullest possible participation of the worldwide museum community. However, each request for a name containing IDN characters is subject to review during an Eligibility and Name Selection (ENS) process as described in Section 5 below. The listing of a code point does not mean that a requested name in which it appears will automatically be allowed for registration.

The LDH sequence <museum> will of necessity appear as the top-level label in every .museum name. This label is therefore excluded from consideration in the application of policies based on script or language. The corresponding attributes of a name are determined by the characters appearing in its other labels.

3. Equivalent character variants

Alphabetic characters that may be seen as orthographic equivalents such as <ö> and <ø>, and LDH representations of IDN characters such as <ue> or <u> to represent <ü>, or <e> to represent <é>, are treated as separate and distinct from each other when used in .museum names. The registration of one form confers no rights to another form. Prospective name holders are free to define their own equivalents and to aggregate them as desired through multiple registration, subject to approval of each form during the ENS process.

In scripts or languages where this form of equivalence is inapplicable, and where appropriate character variant tables are included in the IANA Repository of IDN TLD Practices or otherwise defined in prevalent top-level domain (TLD) practice, corresponding tables and policies will be applied to the registration of names in .museum according to terms that will be stated in detail upon the introduction of any script or language requiring such treatment.

Special conditions apply where there is clear risk that the display forms of characters with different code points can be confused, for example, in a name including a label consisting exclusively of the Cyrillic small letters IE, ER, and A  <ера>  and a name similarly containing a sequence of the Latin small letters E, P, and A  <epa>. In a case such as this, the registration of a name using the one sequence of code points will normally exclude a separate entity from registering a name differing solely by the use of the other sequence. However, if the holder of either form actively wishes to use both and is otherwise eligible to do so, each will require explicit registration. Further restrictions may be applied to the registration of names that can result in comparable confusion, for example, where the only differentiation is provided by diacritical marks that appear nearly identically.

A displayed sequence of IDN characters that cannot be visually distinguished from a displayed sequence of LDH characters will only be accepted for registration using the LDH code points unless the name has other distinctive language attributes. Factors such as the context of the name's intended use or the language nexus of the name holder may be invoked for consideration during the ENS process. Where there is a need or desire to avoid inappropriate association with a specific script or language, the neutral designation "LDH" may be used as the script or language designator in the registration of a name that is restricted to LDH characters.

Justification will be required for the replacement of a character at one code point with a graphically similar character at another code point, which will then only be permitted if no possibility for confusion with any other name in, or likely to appear in, .museum would result. The diacritical embellishment of a character for decorative visual effect, or the use of graphic symbols, will not be permitted under any circumstances. The replacement of a letter by a digit with the intent to have the latter appear or be read as the former, or where there is unintentional risk of this happening, is also categorically disallowed.

4. Declaration of script

Every request for a .museum name containing IDN characters must include a declaration of the script to which those characters belong. A single label may only include characters from a single script. Exceptions to this may be permitted for languages with established orthographies that require the simultaneous use of multiple scripts (for example, Japanese). Details specific to each such language will be provided in a separate character table.

In such cases, the name containing IDN characters may be declared as having a language association, without separate declaration of each component script. Wherever possible, the character table for a specified language will support the generally accepted character array for that language. This includes characters used for representing names derived both from the native vocabulary and from the established vocabulary of foreign origin. The availability of characters serving as punctuation marks is, however, extremely limited even in situations where they are regarded as essential to a language's adequate representation. Tables are based on generally accepted contemporary orthographic practice but support may be added for historical or variant orthographies if they are demonstrated to be contextually appropriate. Abbreviations, initialisms, acronyms, and other non-lexical character sequences may also be used as IDN labels if otherwise in conformity with the .museum naming conventions.

A language that is alternately written in multiple scripts may be represented using any of them. Special warrant will, however, be required for using different scripts in the same name. Where different scripts are permitted to appear in separate labels, the script of each label must be declared separately. The assessment of requests for names with cross-language components or other linguistic attributes that are not covered by explicit IDN policies will be a component of the ENS dialogue.

5. Clarification of requests

Any clarification that may be needed to establish warrant for the use of IDN characters in a .museum name, the manner in which those characters are used, their association with the script or language for which they are declared, or anything else that may be necessary to process an IDN request, is part of the ENS dialogue as it is applied in the consideration of all requests for names in .museum. This dialogue is conducted mindful of the need to minimize the potential for confusion resulting from the appearance of IDN characters in .museum names, and generally stated policy detail is instantiated during its course.

6. Requests for addition of scripts or languages

Support for the IDN representation of a script or language in .museum may be introduced at the request of an entity within the museum community eligible to hold names in .museum, or at MuseDoma's initiative in anticipation of such need. Harnessing IDN as a means for increasing the visibility of indigenous or small languages is as clear a goal as is expanding the range of available metropolitan languages. Priority consideration is given to the use of IDN in action calling attention to threatened natural and cultural heritage, and in bolstering languages associated with it.

If the request is for the introduction of a script or language in which user support is not available for the holders of .museum names, the speech community within which the request originates will be expected to identify an agency that is able to facilitate further communication with that community. As a general rule, this will be a museum or professional museums association that regularly conducts business in the requested language and is willing to participate in a distributed network of IDN support facilities.

A requested script or language may otherwise be introduced with limited support pending the articulation of complete policy detail if it can reasonably be expected that full support can be implemented at a future date without need for reversing any of the policies adopted for the script or language's limited introduction. In particular, there must be no possibility of need ever arising for a prescriptive character variants table, or for any other restrictions to be placed on the use of the initially permitted characters.

The holder of a name containing IDN characters permitted on the basis of introductory policies must agree to changing or relinquishing the name if it is rendered unacceptable as fully supported policies for the associated script or language are established.

7. Additional policies

Support for a script may be withdrawn if need for it no longer appears to exist and a reasonable period has passed subsequent to the expiration of the last registration of any name using it.

8. Remarks

It is likely that the holder of a .museum name using IDN characters will also register names in a ccTLD associated with the indicated language. Coincidental variance in the policies and procedures established by the two registries may cause avoidable confusion. In order to minimize the likelihood of this happening, .museum IDN policies are deliberately being coordinated with available and appropriate ccTLD policy. The tracking of native language documentation in explanation of IDN as provided by ccTLD operators furthers the rapid dissemination of information about IDN throughout the museum community.

Whenever the needs of the museum community require policy support that cannot easily be transferred from the ccTLD realm, the development of those policies will be based on museum perceptions of IDN utility.


Latest update: 2009-01-15