New registry for ‘.ae’ domain names established
United Arab Emirates
Legal updates: case law analysis and intelligence
As of August 3 2008, the responsibility for the ‘.ae’ country-code top-level domain (ccTLD) has been transferred to a new entity, the ‘.ae’ Domain Administration (.aeDA).
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) Telecommunications Regulatory Authority decided to establish a regulatory body and registry operator for the ‘.ae’ ccTLD. The aim of the .aeDA is to ensure that the ‘.ae’ ccTLD operates to international best practice; from launch, some changes have been made to achieve this aim. The establishment of the .aeDA was announced at the GITEX technology exhibition in Dubai in late 2007.
With its dual role as both regulatory body and registry operator, the .aeDA has already set out the model that it proposes to follow with regard to the operation of the system. Among other things, it proposes to work only with accredited registrars; there are currently eight accredited registrars working with the .aeDA. This may have an impact on current registrants of ‘.ae’ domain names if their registrar is not accredited by the .aeDA. In such cases, the registrant may be required to change registrars. Therefore, domain name holders with ‘.ae’ domain names in their portfolios should undertake a review to determine whether a change of registrar(s) is required.
The new system also brought about changes to renewal dates for existing ‘.ae’ domain names. Under the new policy, where the renewal date falls after August 3 2008, the domain name will be eligible for renewal 120 calendar days after the commencement of the new registry or on expiry of the existing renewal date, whichever is the greater. Domain name owners should review their portfolios with their registrar in order to confirm the renewal date of their ‘.ae’ registrations.
As with the previous ‘.ae’ system, there are no restrictions regarding the ownership of ‘.ae’ ccTLDs, although there are restrictions for third-level domains (eg, ‘.co.ae’, ‘.gov.ae’, ‘.net.ae’, ‘.sch.ae’, ‘.ac.ae’, ‘.org.ae’ and ‘.mil.ae’). Potential registrants should be aware that there are restrictions on:
- the domain names which may be registered, either for technical or administrative reasons; and
- the domain names which may not be registered in order to preserve the moral and cultural values of the UAE.
For WHOIS searches, the .aeDA has brought in a number of features to prevent data mining. These include a verification password for each WHOIS search, as well as the blacklisting of IP addresses for which more than 20 searches are conducted within one hour. The blacklist will last for a minimum of 24 hours.
The .aeDA will continue to use the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy for dispute resolution relating to ‘.ae’ domain names, with complaints being handled by the World Intellectual Property Organization Arbitration and Mediation Centre.
With the increasing number of businesses establishing a UAE presence each year, the updates and improvements to the ‘.ae’ domain name system are to be commended. Existing registrants are advised to undertake a review of their ‘.ae’ portfolio to confirm, among other things, the renewal date and the eligibility of their current registrar.
Jon Parker, Rouse & Co International, Dubai
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