Domain Management

Domain Management / Recently Commented

Should Domain Names be Considered 'Contracts for Service' or 'Property Rights'?

The legal status of domain names is one of the most hotly debated topics with regards to evolving property rights and how they should be applied to technological and intellectual property 'innovations' in cyberspace. At present, there are two opposing factions on this topic: On one hand, there are those who maintain that domain names should be considered as contracts for services, which originate from the contractual agreement between the registrant and the registrar. more

Google Engineer Ben McIlwain on Why HSTS Could Be a Perfect Fit for .Brands Security

The Google-run .app TLD was always destined to draw attention and scrutiny, from the moment it fetched a then-record ICANN auction price of $25 million. Since it reached General Availability in May it has gained more than 250,000 registrations making it one of the world's most successful TLDs. However perhaps more interesting was Google's choice to add the .app TLD and its widely used .google extension to the HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS) Top-Level Domain preload list, offering an unprecedented level of security for all domains under .google and .app. more

Leveraging Traffic Statistics to Manage Corporate Domain Portfolios

Corporate domain name portfolios often consist of domain names that do not resolve to relevant content. In fact, it's not uncommon for less than half of corporate domains to point to live content. Sure there are domains such as those that point to "sucks" sites or those registered anonymously for future use that purposely do not resolve, but those are the exception to the rule. more

WHOIS Users Facing Serious Challenges Caused by Post-GDPR Fragmentation

On May 25, 2018, the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into effect, meaning that European data protection authorities (DPAs) can begin enforcing the regulation against non-compliant parties. In preparation, the ICANN Board passed a Temporary Specification for gTLD Registration Data - essentially a temporary policy amendment to its registrar and registry contracts to facilitate GDPR compliance while also preserving certain aspects of the WHOIS system of domain name registration data. more

ICANN vs Epag/Tucows: German Court Rules Against ICANN

German courts seem to be pretty fast, so instead of having to wait weeks or months to see how they'd rule, we've already got the answer. The German court in Bonn has ruled that EPAG (Tucows) is not obliged to collect extra contacts beyond the domain name registrant. The decision, naturally, is in German, but there is a translation into English that we can use to understand how the court arrived at this decision. more

ICANN vs EPAG/Tucows: Tucows Releases Statement on What They're Doing and Why

As I noted over the weekend, ICANN has instigated legal action against EPAG, an ICANN accredited registrar based in Germany that is part of the Tucows group. ICANN claims that the case is to "preserve WHOIS data", but Tucows asserts in their statement that the ICANN approach is flawed. It's not a frivolous statement, but one they've backed with fairly detailed rationale - and this is just their public statement and not a formal legal filing. more

ICANN Files Legal Action Against Domain Registrar for Refusal to Collect WHOIS Data

Germany-based ICANN-accredited registrar EPAG owned by Tucows has informed ICANN that it plans to stop collecting Whois contact information from its customers as it violates the GDPR rules. more

ICANN Releases Temporary WHOIS Specification Plan for GDPR Compliance With Deadline Two Weeks Away

ICANN has released temporary specifications for gTLD registration data in order to establish temporary requirements needed for the organization and gTLD registry operators to continue to comply with existing ICANN contractual requirements and community-developed policies. more

The Fight Is on to Save Access to WHOIS: A Call to Action for Brand Owners

Late last week, ICANN published the guidance from the Article 29 Working Party (WP29) that we have been waiting for. Predictably, WP29 took a privacy maximalist approach to the question of how Europe's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) applies to WHOIS, a tool widely used by cybersecurity professionals, businesses, intellectual property owners, consumer protection agencies and others to facilitate a safer and more secure internet.  more

GDPR and WHOIS - Winners and Losers

I think we are all hoping that when ICANN meets with the DPAs (Digital Protection Authorities) a clear path forward will be illuminated. We are all hoping that the DPAs will provide definitive guidance regarding ICANN's interim model and that some special allowance will be made so that registrars and registries are provided with additional time to implement a GDPR-compliant WHOIS solution. more

European Commission Killing Off Thousands of EU Domains Due to Brexit

After the Brexit vote, I wrote that there could be an impact on EU registrants based in the UK. Over the past year, the UK government has been engaged in negotiations with the EU to navigate the application of Article 50 and the UK's exit from the European Union. While there has been a lot of focus on issues like the customs union and the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, the eventual departure of the UK from the EU will have a tangible impact on the European digital economy. more

Leveraging Trademark Data to Drive Domain Name Strategy

For years, corporate domain name portfolio managers have struggled with determining whether or not their portfolios were the "right" size. Managers of mature domain name portfolios have often felt that their portfolios were bloated, containing domains that were no longer needed. Conversely, domain managers of newer portfolios have sometimes known that gaps existed. Regardless, the question remains -- just how many domains should a corporate portfolio contain? more

Accreditation & Access Model For Non-Public Whois Data

In the current debate over the balance between privacy and Internet safety and security, one of the unanswered questions is: "How will those responsible for protecting the public interest gain access to the non-public data in the WHOIS databases post General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)?" In an attempt to prevent WHOIS data from going "dark," several community members have been working for the past weeks to create a model that could be used to accredit users and enable access to the non-public WHOIS data. more

GDPR and What Comes Next: The Parade of Horribles

The compliance deadline for the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is nearly upon us, the unveiling of a proposed model to bring WHOIS into compliance is said to come from ICANN next week, and everyone is scrambling to understand all that's involved. Implementation of a revised WHOIS model is clearly on the horizon, but what comes after may be the real story! Specifically, if WHOIS information becomes more than nominally restricted, what's the consequence to the data controllers (ICANN and the contracted parties) who implement this revised model? more

What's So Outrageous Asking High Prices for Domain Names?

Panels appointed to hear and decide disputes under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) have long recognized that three letter domains are valuable assets. How investors value their domains depends in part on market conditions. Ordinarily (and for good reason) Panels do not wade into pricing because it is not a factor on its own in determining bad faith. more