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Irish Government To Kill IE ccTLD?

Michele Neylon

While I was in LA last week John sent me details of the Communications Regulation (Amendment) Bill 2007.

While there are some potentially positive aspects in the Bill some of the Bill's contents are, for lack of better word, simply crazy.

32.-(5) The regulations shall provide that persons who have registered '.ie' domain names before the regulations came into operation are taken to have registered those names under the regulations.

That is simply wrong.

How can they possibly expect that to hold up in court?

How can they expect anyone to take the .ie ccTLD seriously if they can retroactively apply the bill to the 70k+ IE domains already registered?

They also seem to think that issues surrounding registration disputes are a matter for government:

(6) A person who contravenes subsection (2), or contravenes a regulation made under this section, is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding €5,000.

So that puts it in the realm of civil courts… lovely..

The Bill's provisions for the management of the IE namespace do offer some hope of industry involvement, but the bulk of the text does not strike me as particularly positive.

If the government is concerned about the present and future of the IE namespace they may have been better advised to look at emulating other ccTLDs. By making explicit provisions for fines and other elements within the context of the Bill it sounds like they have no intention of allowing any freedom of governance.

This is worrying.

By Michele Neylon, MD of Blacknight Solutions. More blog posts from Michele Neylon can also be read here.

Related topics: DNS, Domain Names, Internet Governance, Policy & Regulation, Top-Level Domains, Whois

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Re: Irish Government To Kill IE ccTLD? Ed Phillips  –  Feb 26, 2007 1:54 PM PST

It is not clear from your article whether the Irish Government is putting these powers in place as an emergency reserve (in case IEDR, the .ie registry, goes into meltdown for some reason in the future) or whether they actually intend to do something now (because they think .ie is being run badly now). One is more important than the other - several countries have reserve powers to take over their ccTLD if needed - if only because Governments tend to use their ccTLD for their own email and websites.

As for: "How do they hope to make that stand up in court?" - well, primary legislation tends to stand up well in court, unless it contravenes some more fundamental law (e.g. a constitution etc.).

As for "summary conviction" - in England & Wales this is lawyer-speak for criminal convictions in the magistrates court, not the civil courts. I presume that the same is true in Irish law.

Re: Irish Government To Kill IE ccTLD? Adam Beecher  –  Feb 26, 2007 3:49 PM PST

The registry is being run quite well right now, with lower prices year on year as well as better reseller-registry relationships and tools, but it's been run horrendously in the past and I'd guess they're making sure they're prepared for a reoccurence. You could hardly blame them, but trying to apply legislation retroactively is generally bad practice, and as far as I'm aware something that doesn't stand up very well in Irish courts.

Re: Irish Government To Kill IE ccTLD? Michele Neylon  –  Feb 26, 2007 3:54 PM PST

dahamsta - that was my thinking as well.

While I can appreciate that a national government would wish to have some oversight on the ccTLD there are some aspects of the legislation that go beyond mere oversight, which is one of the aspects of it that worries me.

Ed - It's not clear what the government's motivation was in drafting the bill. As dahamsta mentioned, there were issues in the past, however the current management has made many positive changes.


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