New regulations liberalize '.cn' registrations

China

The Ministry of Information Technology has promulgated a set of new regulations - the Management Method of China Internet Domain Names - which will ease registration restrictions for '.cn' domain names and make the whole process faster. The new regulations will come into effect at the end of this month.

While domain names that are considered detrimental to the public interest remain unregistrable, the new regime is more liberal. The existing 'local presence' restriction (whereby only local entities within China are eligible to apply for '.cn' names) and the prohibition of the assignment of '.cn' domain names are repealed. This not only allows more country-code top-level domain names to be registered at a faster rate, but also makes it easier for registrants to change.

The new regulations also contain provisions governing the control and supervision of local domain name registration service providers by the Ministry of Information Technology. The China Internet Network Information Centre, which is responsible for administering the '.cn' domain, is empowered to appoint neutral bodies for resolving domain name disputes.

The detailed provisions relating to the mechanisms and procedures of domain name registration, dispute resolution, recognition and change of domain name registration service provider shall be supplemented by new implementing rules, which are expected to be promulgated soon.

Thomas Tsang, Wilkinson & Grist, Hong Kong

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