auDA releases Draft Recommendations on '.au' domain name policy

The Australian Domain Name Administrator (auDA) has released its Draft Recommendations as part of its review of the policy framework for '.au' domain names. The recommendations were prepared by auDA's 2007 Names Policy Panel. The panel recommends that the '.au' domain should not be opened to direct registrations and that the following policy changes should be made for open second-level domains (eg, '', '', '', '' and ''):

  • '.au' domain name licence conditions should permit auDA to suspend a domain name without notice upon request of an Australian regulatory or law enforcement agency;
  • auDA should possibly relaunch '' as a 'catch-all' second-level domain for users which do not fit within the current second-level domain taxonomy;
  • Verification of registrant details by registrars should continue to be required;
  • The registrant's warranty statement should be strengthened to ensure that true and accurate eligibility details are provided at the time of registration;
  • From 2010 (when the new registry licence commences), registrants should be allowed to license domain names for one, two or three-year periods; and
  • The domain monetization clarification policy should be strengthened to improve protection for brand names.

The panel has not yet reached a consensus view on whether registrants should be permitted to sell their '.au' second-level domain names. However, there is agreement that any transfer process should be subject to normal policy rules and streamlined for administrative efficiency. The panel has put forward three alternative mechanisms for domain name transfer:

  • private transaction;
  • open secondary market; and
  • centralized secondary market.

The period for public submissions on the Draft Recommendations closed on October 19 2007.

Duncan Giles, Freehills, Sydney

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