ICANN bans '.info' country domain name registration


Following complaints by legitimate domain name speculators and national governments, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has decided to impose a temporary ban on registrations of country names in the new '.info' domain. The prohibition will run for approximately six months. ICANN has also told Afilias, the company that operates the '.info' domain registry, to cancel country domain name registrations that were made during its 'sunrise' pre-registration period.

ICANN's decision comes on the heels of a joint investigation with Afilias that found that as many as 25% of the domain names registered during the sunrise period were based on faulty or fraudulent trademark claims. Afilias stated at the end of August that it will begin challenging faulty sunrise registrations in December. The delay is designed to give private parties first opportunity to challenge the registrations through a special sunrise registration dispute resolution procedure. However, the procedure requires challengers to pay a fee and cover the challenged party's fee if the challenge is unsuccessful. As a result, many generic domain names that were registered during the sunrise period, such as 'finance.info', are unlikely to be challenged by private parties.

The temporary ban on the registration of '.info' country domain names was implemented by a vote of 11-7, following acrimonious debate.

ICANN will revisit the issue of country names in the '.info' domain at its open meeting in Ghana in March 2002.

Douglas Wood and Linda Goldstein, Hall Dickler Kent Goldstein & Wood, New York

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