Domain names with Danish characters now registrable


DK Hostmaster, the administrator of the country-code top-level domain '.dk', has been accepting since January 1 registrations of '.dk' domain names containing the Danish characters 'æ', 'ø' and 'å', as well as the foreign characters 'ä', 'ö', 'ü' and 'é'.

The possibility of using country-specific characters in domain names had been eagerly awaited by a large number of Danish businesses, individuals and municipalities, which are now able to use their exact names or trademarks (eg, 'kø' instead of ''). The new characters also make it possible to register a large number of important generic domain names in the Danish language, such as 'børsmæ' (meaning 'stockbroker') instead of ''.

In order to avoid cybersquatting and domain name disputes, DK Hostmaster is using a special registration procedure until February 1. Two or more parties that apply to register the same special character domain name before that date (provided they are eligible for such registration) will have to pay DK Hostmaster Dkr4,000 ($670). If more than one party pays this amount, the procedure will be repeated in steps of Dkr4,000, up to a maximum of Dkr12,000 (the amounts are lower if the name applied for is the applicant's personal name). If more than one party pays the maximum amount, DK Hostmaster will choose the registrant by random draw. The losing parties will be refunded the amount paid, whereas the sum paid by the registrant will constitute the fee for the first period of use.

DK Hostmaster has also reserved domain names for public authorities, which have 90 days (from January 1) to register them. The domain names in question are primarily names of cities and municipalities, but names relevant to ministries, government agencies, public universities and branches of the Danish military have also been reserved.

The new domain names are expected to be very popular, therefore, interested parties are advised to register during the introduction period, which closes on February 1. Registered domain names containing special characters will be accessible from February 1. They require a browser or plug-in that supports internationalized domain names.

For a discussion of the introduction of special character domain names in other countries, see Domain names with umlauts can be registered from March 1 2004.

Lasse A Soendergaard Christensen and Christoffer Fode, Gorrissen Federspiel Kierkegaard, Aarhus

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