Ministry resolves struggle for '.co'

Colombia

The Ministry of Communications has issued a resolution that entitles the government to retain control of the country-code top-level domain and ends the debate about whether '.co' may be commercialized as an alternative to '.com'.

The resolution states that:

  • the '.co' domain is a public resource, which should be administered, developed and maintained by the government through the Ministry of Communications;

  • the domain may only be used for the purpose of identifying Colombia on the Web;

  • the government may administer the domain itself or may appoint a third party to do so;

  • the appointment of new administrators for the domain requires prior authorization by the Ministry of Communications; and

  • the administration regime requires further development.

The popularity and, now, relative scarcity of '.com' domain names has meant that the Colombian '.co' domain has acquired significant value. In 2000 international investors suggested to the '.co' administrator possible alternatives for its global commercialization (see Colombia could pose challenge to the '.com' web address).

However, in an opinion issued on December 11 last year, the Council of State stated that '.co' is of public interest and belongs to the Colombian people, and should remain in the hands of the Ministry of Communications (see '.co' indicates Colombia, not company, says government).

Sergio Michelsen and Manuel F Quinche, Brigard & Urrutia Abogados, Bogotá

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