auDA gives dispute resolution policy and Code of Practice the OK


auDA, the Australian domain name administrator, has introduced a new dispute resolution policy that applies to country-code top-level domain names registered under and governed by its domain name regime. It has also formally endorsed a domain name sellers' Code of Practice.

The auDRP is modelled on ICANN's Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP), which applies to most generic top-level domains. The Australian policy is designed to provide a cheap and fast alternative to litigation for the resolution of disputes between the registrant of a '.au' domain name and a party with competing rights to the name. It only applies to domain names registered after June 30 2002, but as auDA-registered names must be renewed every two years, all domain names will ultimately become subject to the policy.

Complaints about domain names must be submitted to an auDA-approved dispute resolution service provider, which will then appoint a panel to determine the dispute pursuant to the auDRP rules. The policy sets out in detail the types of dispute it covers, and what circumstances will evidence bad-faith registration or use of, or legitimate interest in, a domain name. It seems likely that as with UDRP decisions, an informal system of precedent for auDRP panels will evolve.

In related news, auDA has endorsed the country-code top-level domain name suppliers Code of Practice. The code is mandatory for all auDA-accredited registrars and their appointed resellers, and is intended to promote the interests of the '.au' domain name industry by, among other things:

  • supporting fair and open competition;

  • establishing minimum standards for dealings between industry participants; and

  • ensuring that registrants receive accurate, complete and timely information concerning domain name registrations, renewals and solicitations.

For background on the code, see auDA seeks public comment on domain industry code of practice.

Andrew Byrne (graduate) and Andrew Wiseman (partner), Allens Arthur Robinson, Sydney

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