auDA set to launch liberalized domain name system

Australia

auDA, the managing body of the country-code top-level domain '.au', has announced that it will launch a new, liberalized domain name system on July 1.

Currently, Melbourne IT has a monopoly on the '.com.au' registration market. However, the new system has been designed to introduce competition into the market by increasing the number of registrars, and hopefully encourage the gradual reduction of retail prices for names. It is thought that 10 accredited registrars (including Melbourne IT) will initially take over the provision of registration services, with the possibility of even more in the future, and registrants will be free to change registrars.

AusRegistry will continue to be the only registry for domain names ending in '.com.au', '.id.au', '.net.au', '.org.au' and '.asn.au', but auDA will seek tenders for the provision of registry services by another body if new second-level domains are opened up (eg, '.biz.au').

Other key features of the new system include the following:

  • A new dispute resolution process (auDRP) will be introduced, which is a slightly modified version of ICANN's Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy. It will provide a cheap and fast alternative to litigation for the resolution of domain name disputes.

  • The 'one name, one entity' rule will be abolished, thus allowing entities to have numerous domain names in the '.au' domain.

  • A registrant will no longer need a business or company name to obtain a domain name. It will be sufficient to have a trademark (or an application for a trademark) that has a close and substantial connection to the domain name sought.

  • The 'derivation' rule will be changed to include a "close and substantial connection" between the domain name sought and the registrant.

  • The third level of 'id.au' will be opened up to allow the registration of individuals' names (eg, '[email protected]') and the creation of personalized websites. auDA is also considering removing the restriction on registering geographic names.

Georgina Ogden and John Corker, Clayton Utz, Sydney

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