New regulation on '.tr' domain names comes into force

Turkey

The Information and Communication Technologies Authority has issued a Communiqué on Internet Domain Names, which aims to regulate procedures and principles for institutions acting as registry agencies and for domain names registrations within the scope of the Internet Domain Names Regulations released in 2010. The communiqué was published in the Official Gazette and recently entered into force.

In accordance with the communiqué, domain names registered by NIC.TR (the ‘.tr’ Domain Names Administration), as well as new registrations, will be transferred to TRABIS (the ‘.tr’ Network Information System) when the latter becomes operational. New domain name applications will be made online with the registry agencies that have obtained the relevant certificate by fulfilling the pre-conditions set forth by TRABIS and passing the test phase. The registry agencies will manage and process the application, renewal, withdrawal, sale, assignment and disclaimer procedures for domain name registrations.

The most noteworthy change brought by the communiqué is that the sale, assignment, disclaimer and registration of those domain names for which applicants are currently required to provide documents of their rights over the domain name at issue will follow the procedures applicable to domain names for which such documentation is not required.

Further, according to Article 2 of the communiqué, domain name registrations cannot be sold onto a third party for a period of three years. They can be assigned, but only in case of:

  • death, enforced disappearance or presumption of enforced disappearance;
  • merger or takeover of the legal entity;
  • transfer of the trademark/patent holder’s personal or legal rights; or
  • transfer of the personal or legal rights of the literary and artistic works’ registered owner.  

Under the communiqué, domain name registrations may be sold after three years once TRABIS has come into operation. After TRABIS has become operational, the assignment of the domain name registrations will become effective once the assignee has demonstrated that: 

  • it is the legal heir of the original registrant in case of death, enforced disappearance or presumption of enforced disappearance;
  • there has been a merger or takeover of the legal entity;
  • there has been a transfer of the trademark/patent holder’s personal or legal rights;
  • there has been a transfer of the personal or legal rights of the literary and artistic works’ registered owner.

While, according to the 2010 regulation, a domain name may be accessible immediately after it has been disclaimed, according to the communiqué, TRABIS will freeze a disclaimed domain name registration for two months; a disclaimed domain name will become available again if the domain name owner does not renew it during the two-month period.   

However, as mentioned above, the most significant change is that, when TRABIS comes into operation, it will be possible to register domain names for which documentation is currently required - namely, ‘.com.tr’, ‘.net.tr’ and ‘.org.tr’ domain names - without the need to provide any documentation. Parties applying to register such domain names must do so one month before the new procedure comes into force and will be subject to a preliminary assessment by TRABIS. As domain names for which no documentation is needed are registered on a ‘first come, first served’ basis, the auction procedure will be implemented if there is more than one application for the same domain name.

The changes introduced by the communiqué, which follow the 2010 regulation, will become effective once TRABIS is operational. Only then will it be possible to appreciate the consequences of the main change brought by the communiqué; the submission of documentation is currently required for certain domain names in order to minimise the number of domain name disputes and malicious registrations, so it will be interesting to see what happens when this requirement is removed.

Ceylin Beyli and Elfiye Kudaki, CBL Law Office, Istanbul

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