Changes to domain name framework announced

United Arab Emirates

The UAE Network Information Centre, the sole registration authority for '.ae' domain names, has introduced major changes to the legal framework for domain name registration and dispute resolution. Local courts will have a bigger role in settling disputes relating to '.ae' domain names, with arbitration at the Arbitration Centre of the World Intellectual Property Organization as an alternative.

The new registration rules provide that commercial entities that would normally have registered '.co.ae' addresses will now be assigned '.ae' addresses. Existing '.co.ae' domain name holders have the option of retaining these or replacing them with the shorter version free of charge.

In addition, the new rules provide for two new second-level domains: '.name.ae' and '.pro.ae'. These are added to the existing '.ac.ae', '.gov.ae', '.net.ae', '.org.ae' and '.sch.ae'.

Finally, domain name registration fees have been reduced by as much as 60% in some cases to encourage registrations.

Margaret Campbell, Rouse & Co International, Dubai

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