auDA Names Policy Panel issues final recommendations


The Australian Domain Name Administrator (auDA) board has accepted the final report of the 2007 Names Policy Panel.

auDA established the panel in order to:

  • review the policy framework underlying the allocation and use of domain names in the '.au' domain space; and

  • provide recommendations to the auDA board about what changes (if any) should be made to the policy framework.

Having considered the issues and relevant submissions, the panel issued the following recommendations:

  • The '.au' domain name should not be opened up to direct registrations at this time. It has never been possible to register a domain name directly under '.au' (eg, ''). The '.au' domain is structured into a number of second-level domains and applicants must register their domain name as a third-level domain (eg, '').

  • The '.au' domain name licence conditions should allow auDA to suspend a domain name without notice at the request of an Australian regulatory or law enforcement agency. A number of regulatory and law enforcement agencies have jurisdiction over different types of illegal online activities (eg, spam and child pornography) and the panel agreed that it is the responsibility of those agencies - and not of auDA - to determine whether a domain name should be cancelled for illegal use.

  • The eligibility criteria for existing second-level domains should remain unchanged. However, auDA should consider re-launching '' as a catch-all second-level domain for users which do not fit within the current second-level domain taxonomy.

  • Registrars should continue to be required to verify registrant details at the time of registration (by automated check if possible, or otherwise by manual check). The panel considered that manual verification of registrant eligibility details at the time of registration is still desirable in order to preserve the accuracy and integrity of the '.au' registry database.

  • The registrant warranty statement should be strengthened in relation to providing true and accurate eligibility details at the time of registration. Unfortunately, the panel did not offer any comment or guidance as to how the warranty might be strengthened or redrafted.

  • Registrants should be able to license domain names for one, two or three-year periods, but implementation should be delayed until the new registry licence commences in 2010.

  • The close and substantial connection rule should remain unchanged, but the clarification policy relating to domain monetization should be strengthened to provide additional protection to brand names. The panel noted that there are some gaps in the current policy relating to the protection of brand names where they are included in compound domain names (eg, ''). However, the panel again offered no comment or guidance as to how the policy might be strengthened or redrafted.

  • The transfers policy should be relaxed to allow a registrant to transfer its domain name licence to another eligible entity for any reason and auDA should conduct a two-year review of the new transfers policy. The resale of '.au' domain names was the most contentious issue for the panel. The common ground was that:

    • all transfers should be subject to normal policy rules - that is, regardless of the reason why a domain name licence is transferred, the prospective new registrant must satisfy the applicable eligibility criteria as if it were registering the domain name for the first time; and

    • the transfer process should be streamlined to reduce the administrative burden and cost on registrars and registrants.

Julian Gyngell, Julian Gyngell, Wahroonga

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