IE Domain Registry (IEDR), the company responsible for managing and maintaining Ireland’s national domain, is to begin the process of .ie liberalisation following the conclusion of the policy development process, which included a successful public consultation, it announced today.
Currently, to register a .ie domain name, an individual or business must prove that they have a valid claim to the desired name and a real, tangible connection to the island of Ireland.
IEDR’s change to the registration process retains the requirement for registrants to prove their connection to Ireland but drops the need to prove a valid claim to the name. Going forward, any individual or business with a provable connection to Ireland will be able to register any available .ie domain name on a first-come, first-served basis.
For example, for Irish businesses, particularly new start-ups, the claim to a name requirement has proven a difficult administrative obstacle. Many new businesses are not registered with the CRO, maybe VAT-exempt, and have no physical premises, meaning they also have no official documentation proving their business’s existence nor their claim to the business name.
By removing this claim requirement, IEDR says that registering a .ie address will be easier and faster, and will further open up the .ie domain namespace to enable citizens, clubs, communities, and businesses to build their online identity.
Last year, in a similar policy development process, there was consensus to remove the exclusive right of local authorities to Irish place names/geographic names, allowing local clubs, residents associations and other community organisations to register a .ie address with their local place name. Some 111 geographic names have been registered since that policy change was introduced.
Commenting, David Curtin, Chief Executive of IEDR, said: “IEDR is pleased with the multi-stakeholder approach in achieving consensus for this change. Judging by the quality of the responses received during the public consultation phase, the policy change has received careful consideration.
“By simplifying the .ie registration process, it will be easier to get a preferred website address or email address which will have a clear, identifiably Irish connection. More people, organisations, communities and businesses across Ireland, and those around the world with Irish heritage or Irish operations will be able to reach out to the wider internet community, communicate with their customers, and buy and sell online with e-commerce.”
IEDR’s PAC (Policy Advisory Committee) Working Group has carefully considered the comments received during the public consultation process, in particular, those regarding concerns around the potential for ‘cybersquatting’, and the need for efficient dispute resolution.
Mr Curtin said: “It is important to distinguish between a cybersquatter, who intentionally registers a domain in bad faith, and a party that is simply the first to validly register a particular domain.
“In the latter case, .ie domains are registered on a first-come, first-served basis. All registrants must still meet IEDR’s terms and conditions for registration, and prove their link to Ireland. For individuals, this may include photo identification, like a passport, and proof of address. This information is then checked manually by IEDR. Ultimately, the only way to completely ensure that no one registers a domain name that is another party’s protected right is for that party to register their .ie domain, thereby making it unavailable for others.
“In instances where .ie domain applicants believe another party has improperly registered a .ie address or is using it for criminal or other illegal purposes, there are a number of mechanisms available for dispute resolution. These include the formal Dispute Resolution Process independently operated by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), and supported by the legal registrant Terms of Service and the registration policies.
“These matters have been considered at great length by the PAC, and as such, it is currently considering an additional mechanism for a new ‘alternative dispute resolution process’ to handle disputes in a simpler, speedier manner.”
With approval from the PAC, key .ie stakeholders, the Board and now the public, the new policy change is expected to come into force within four months, by March 2018. Once live, parties registering a .ie address will no longer need to prove ‘a claim to the name’.
An analysis of the public consultation responses is available online at https://www.iedr.ie/liberalisation/