New bill would give private persons the right to apply for domain names


The government has put forward a proposal (HE 125/2004) that, if enacted, would make significant amendments to the Domain Names Act (228/2003), which came into force on September 1 2003 (see President gives Domain Names Act the thumbs-up). The proposal has been submitted to the Finnish Parliament, but no official estimate has yet been given for when the proposed amendments would enter into force.

Under the act Finnish domain names may be granted only to registered Finnish entities and professional individuals, Finnish public corporations and foreign diplomatic organizations. The government proposal would extend the right to register a domain name in the country-code top-level domain '.fi' to private persons over the age of 15.

In addition, the proposal would facilitate the use of private persons' names as domain names. A private person would generally be able to apply for a domain name based on any available common noun, abbreviation or proper name (eg, ''). In the last case it should be noted that private persons would only be entitled to apply for a domain name that corresponds to their own, official name consisting of a first name and last name, or certain variations on this. It would be expressly forbidden to apply for a domain name based on another private person's name.

In cases where there were several legitimate applications for the same domain name, the name would be granted by the Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority on a first come, first served basis. This principle would also apply to competing applications from a natural person and a legal person. For example, a domain name that corresponds to both a trademark and a natural person's name would be granted to whoever applied first.

Kimmo Rekola and Jan Lindberg, Castrén and Snellman, Helsinki

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