Denmark plans Domain Names Bill

Denmark

The Danish Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation has published a white paper on domain names that includes a draft Domain Names Bill. The paper has been circulated among interested parties, who are requested to send back their comments by October 18.

The paper compares the existing administration of the '.dk' country-code top-level domain (ccTLD) by Danish Internet Forum (DIFO), a private association made up of Danish industry associations with an interest in the internet community, with that of the other Nordic ccTLDs ('.fi', '.no' and '.se'), as well as the United Kingdom's '.co.uk' and the European Union's forthcoming '.eu' domain. The paper (i) makes recommendations as to the administration of the '.dk' ccTLD, and (ii) proposes a complete draft Domain Names Bill. The main recommendations are as follows:

  • A broadly drafted act delegating responsibility to the administrator is preferable to a detailed act.

  • The administrator should be able to establish a use requirement for domain names.

  • An application for registration of a domain name should continue to be registered without prior examination of conflicts with third-party rights such as trademarks.

  • Domain name warehousing (ie, registration of a large number of domain names solely for the purpose of resale or rental for a profit) should be illegal, but with effect from July 1 2010 for domain names registered before the enactment of the bill.

  • A registrant should no longer be completely anonymous in the Whois database, in that at least the name of the registrant should be publicly available (contact details such as address and telephone number may remain anonymous).

  • Adherence to a general duty of 'proper domain name practice' will be required from all domain name registrants. This is comparable to the general duty of adherence to 'proper marketing practices' in the Danish Marketing Practices Act, which regulates unfair competition, and is designed to be a rule that develops over time.

  • A Complaints Board for Domain Names, more independent than the present DIFO board, will be established by law.

If enacted as is, the bill will codify the existing administration of the '.dk' ccTLD rather than bring substantial changes. It is expected to take effect some time next year.

Peter Gustav Olson, Plesner Svane Grønborg, Copenhagen

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