The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and EURid this week announced they are set to intensify their collaboration with a number of initiatives, with the main one being to allow start-ups, in particular, to obtain their trademark and .eu domain name as part of one process.
U.S. tech giants such as Facebook and Amazon could face tougher rules as European Union regulators seek evidence to curb their role as gatekeepers to the internet and access to people, information and services, according to an EU tender seen by Reuters.
New .eu registrations jumped 15% in the first quarter of 2020 over the corresponding quarter in 2019 on the back of a 64% increase in registrations from Portugal and registrations related to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to EURid’s Q1 2020 Progress Report released this week.
[New York Times] When Europe enacted the world’s toughest online privacy law nearly two years ago, it was heralded as a model to crack down on the invasive, data-hungry practices of the world’s largest technology companies.
Now, the law is struggling to fulfill its promise.Continue reading Europe’s Privacy Law Hasn’t Shown Its Teeth, Frustrating Advocates
Following the agreement between EURid and both institutions appointed to rule on Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) proceedings for the .eu top-level domain (the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center and the Czech Arbitration Court), the .eu registry announced last week the fee for a basic .eu ADR procedure will remain discounted until 30 June 2020.
This means that the ADR fee per dispute complaint is as low as â¬100.
If you wish to dispute a .eu, .ÐµÑ or .ÎµÏ domain name registration, and believe that you have a prior right (within the EU or EEA) to that domain name (e.g. you hold a trademark, trade name, company name, family name, and so on) and that the current holder has registered or is using the domain name for speculative or abusive purposes, you may challenge its registration by initiating an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) procedure.
A new set of rules for .eu came into being on 18 April which will be applicable from 13 October 2022, except for the article 20 that introduces eligibility to EU citizens residing in third countries, which should start applying as of six months after entering into force, that is, in October 2019. In the coming weeks EURid will inform all its stakeholders about the exact date when the new eligibility criteria apply.
The new rules have come about following a political agreement between the European Parliament and the Council on 5 December 2018 and are designed to support better quality and more innovative services on .eu.
From 13 October 2022 there will be a legal flexibility for the .eu domain to adapt to rapid market changes and allow modernisation of its governance structure. A new body, bringing together stakeholders from different backgrounds, will advise the Commission on the management of the top-level domain.
Article 20, which comes into being on 19 October 2019, will extend the right to register a .eu domain name to citizens of the European Union and the European Economic Area (EU/EEA) residing outside the EU. This was previously limited to citizens living in countries within the EU and EEA. It will also offer some comfort to some citizens of the EU/EEA who have registered .eu domain names and reside in the UK if Brexit, assuming it happens, is drawn out long enough.
The new Regulation aims to adapt the current rules to the fast-changing domain name industry in order to strengthen the link with the growing Digital Single Market which focusses on European values like multilingualism, privacy protection, and security.
In addition, EURid announced at the end of March the Service Concession Contract between themselves and the European Commission has been extended until 12 October 2022 to be in line with the new .eu Regulation enforcement.
The new Regulation on the implementation and functioning of the .eu TLD name is available here.
The US government continues to be opposed to changes to Whois that they believe will have little benefit for consumer privacy and major benefits for cyber-criminals. The comments were made, again, in a speech by the the NTIA’s Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information, David J. Redl, at a FDA Online Opioid Summit in Washington, D.C. on 2 April.
In his speech, Redl said âthe WHOIS is a resource that, prior to the GDPR, provided public access to domain name registration information, including contact information for the entity or person registering the domain name. This information is a critical tool that helps keep people accountable for what they do and put online. Law enforcement uses WHOIS to shut down criminal enterprises and malicious websites, including those that illegally sell opioids. Cybersecurity researchers use it to track bad actors. And it is a first line in the defense of intellectual property protection, including the misuse of opioid brand names.â
The European Unionâs General Data Protection Regulation has been developed by the European Commission to give individuals more control over their data that businesses hold, including domain name Registries and Registrars. It also applies to businesses outside of the EU that hold data on citizens and residents of the EU. Itâs impact is far-reaching and penalties for breaches are severe â fines of up to â¬20 million or up to 4% of the annual worldwide turnover, whichever is greater.
âUnfortunately, when GDPR went into effect, those companies responsible for providing WHOIS stopped publishing much of the data because they feared it would make them vulnerable to the massive fines GDPR imposes for privacy violations. The U.S. governmentâs position on this is clear: the loss of a public WHOIS without a predictable and timely mechanism to access redacted information has little benefit for consumer privacy, and major benefits for cyber-criminals.â
But Redl says there has been some progress on this issue within ICANN. âFirst, ICANN put in place last year a temporary policy that clarified that WHOIS data should continue to be collected and reasonable access should be provided. This kicked off an intensive global multistakeholder discussion about how to develop a long-term solution. NTIA continues to actively push U.S. interests in these discussions. In March, policy recommendations were finalised and submitted to the ICANN Board for approval.â
Redl says he wants âto congratulate the people who have worked on developing these policy recommendations for how to handle the processing of WHOIS information in a manner that is compliant with GDPR. This was the first step we needed to ensure that the WHOIS system is preserved.â
âHowever, it must be noted, issues remain. Yet to be addressed is development of a technical solution, and policies associated with disclosure and access to non-public WHOIS information. Now it is time to deliberately and swiftly create a system that allow for third parties with legitimate interests, like law enforcement, IP rights holders, and cybersecurity researchers to access non-public data critical to fulfilling their missions. NTIA is expecting this second phase of the discussion to kick off in earnest in the coming weeks, and to achieve substantial progress in advance of ICANNâs meeting in Montreal in November.
Redl concluded by saying the âNTIA remains a staunch defender of the free and open Internet. Thatâs not going to change. But we also arenât going to turn a blind eye to the real issues that are raised by this freedom and openness.â
âWe reject the notion that a free and open Internet must tacitly condone illegal activity. We believe thereâs a path to solving these issues without turning our backs on innovation and prosperity. And that path begins with honest discussions and debates, with compromise and collaboration. So if you have concerns or solutions youâd like to offer, I invite you to talk to NTIA. We welcome all thoughtful approaches to building the Internet of the future.â
The Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) is extending the deadline for submitting expressions of interest (EOIs) to chair Phase 2 of the Expedited Policy Development Process (EPDP) on the Temporary Specification for gTLD Registration Data to Monday, 8 April 2019. Learn more about the background by reading the announcement here.
Following the initial discussions of the EPDP Team during ICANN64 (March 2019) in Kobe, Japan, the GNSO Council leadership would like to provide some further details in relation to the expected workload and pace for Phase 2:
- The topics to be addressed in Phase 2 have been mapped out on the EPDP Team Phase 2 Mind Map.
- Following the appointment of the EPDP Team Chair, the EPDP Team is expected to commence with 90-minute weekly meetings (potentially on Tuesday or Thursday at 14:00 UTC) but with the possibility to increase the frequency. Additional meeting(s) may be purposed for either another weekly plenary session that would focus on a different stream of work or small team(s) meetings.
- Although there is agreement on the importance and urgency of addressing the topics in Phase 2, there is also general agreement that it is not sustainable to continue on the same pace and intensity of work as for Phase 1.
- Additional resources, such as mediation support, are expected to be made available to support the EPDP Team Chair, in addition to the support that is already being provided by policy staff. Candidates are encouraged to include in their EOI if there is any type of support or resource that is considered essential in supporting the EPDP Team Chair in his/her role.
- In light of this new information, the deadline for expressions of interest has been extended to Monday, 8 April 2019
On 17 May 2018, the ICANN Board approved the Temporary Specification for gTLD Registration Data. The Board took this action to establish temporary requirements for how ICANN and its contracted parties would continue to comply with existing ICANN contractual requirements and community-developed policies related to WHOIS, while also complying with the European Unionâs General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The Temporary Specification has been adopted under the procedure for Temporary Policies outlined in the Registry Agreement (RA) and Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA). Following adoption of the Temporary Specification, the Board âshall immediately implement the Consensus Policy development process set forth in ICANNâs Bylaws.â This Consensus Policy development process on the Temporary Specification would need to be carried out within a one-year period. Additionally, the scope includes discussion of a System for Standardized Access to Non-Public Registration Data. However, the discussion of a Standardized Access System will occur only after the EPDP Team has comprehensively answered a series of âgating questionsâ and non-objection by the GNSO Council.
ICANNâs mission is to help ensure a stable, secure, and unified global Internet. To reach another person on the Internet, you need to type an address â a name or a number â into your computer or other device. That address must be unique so computers know where to find each other. ICANN helps coordinate and support these unique identifiers across the world. ICANN was formed in 1998 as a not-for-profit public-benefit corporation with a community of participants from all over the world.
This ICANN announcement was sourced from:
There were 171,667 new .eu and .ею domain name registrations in the fourth quarter of 2018, but despite this growth, total domains under management decreased from 3,747,879 as of 31 October to 3,684,750 at 31 December according to EURid's Q4 2018 Progress Report released last week.
Portugal, Norway and Cyprus, as in the third quarter of 2018, were again the countries with the highest growth with 13.2%, 9.1% and 4.9% respectively for the fourth quarter (11.0%, 9.9% and 10.1% respectively for Q3), according to the report [pdf].
Annually, the countries with the top growth to the end of December were Cyprus (46.0%), Portugal (35.6%) and Romania (34.0%).
Leading the countries with the biggest declines was the United Kingdom largely if not entirely due to Brexit and eligibility uncertainty with a 24.1% decline for year and 11.8% for the quarter taking total registrations for the UK to 240,887, down from 317,286 at the end of December 2017.
Another reason for the decline is EURid’s ramped up efforts towards tackling domain name abuse within .eu, deleting over 36,000 suspended domain names in October alone.
The top ten countries for .eu registrations were Germany with 989,432 registrations, down 0.6% for the quarter, followed by Netherlands (474,697 and down 5.5%), France (330,323 and down 1.9%), Italy (267,465 and up 1.1%), Poland (265,571 and up 1.1%), UK (240,887 and down 11.8%), Czech Republic (156,868 and up 0.7%), Austria (153,939 and down 4.8%), Belgium (141,343 and up 0.9%) and Spain (116,985 and up 1.0%).
The average renewal rate for the 2 top level domains was 77%, up 3% since Q3.
A major development in the fourth quarter was the unveiling of the 2018 .eu Web Awards winners. Overall, the nomination and voting period for the 5th iteration of the .eu Web Awards tallied over 130 nominees with more than 9,500 votes. The finalists attended the gala on 21 November 2018, where the winners were announced.
Another meaningful development from the quarter was EURid’s continued participation in CodeWeek. Aiming to make a beneficial impact on today’s youth, EURid built upon last year’s efforts with even more workshops and interactive sessions for children to take part in, all in an effort to teach them the fundamentals of coding and programming.
The full report is available from:
In the second of our series asking industry figures and companies to comment on their highlights and lowlights of 2018, looking ahead to 2019, the EU’s GDPR as well as the future of domain names, Katrin Ohlmer, CEO and founder of DOTZON GmbH, gives her views.
DOTZON is an international management consulting dedicated to digital identities. Since 2005 they’ve worked with companies, cities and organisations for the concept, application and operation of their own top-level domains. DOTZON helps their clients protect, establish and strengthen the digital identities of brands and companies. Since 2017 they’ve published the annual Digital City Brands study and since 2018 the Digital Company Brands study.
Domain Pulse: What were the highlights, lowlights and challenges of 2018 in the domain name industry for you?
A growing interest in domain names as such, both from the business and consumer side. We’ve noticed an increased interest by various stakeholder groups on Internet Governance topics, which might lead to a shift in the Internet Governance Stakeholder Map in the next few years.
Stolen data sets, as in the cases of Marriott, LinkedIn and others do not give consumers the security they need. Also, the whole domain industry could still improve in terms of customer experience and customer-centric marketing and communications. In 2019, we would like ICANN to focus again on their mission “to ensure the stable and secure operation of the Internet’s unique identifier systems”.
For sure all the new processes around GDPR, especially the closed public WHOIS.
DP: GDPR – good, bad and/or indifferent to you and the wider industry and why?
KO: Good for me as an individual since spam is extremely limited nowadays. Indifferent for a registry operator as no personal data is available to gain insights about their customer base in order to market the TLD. Bad for trademark owners who used to be able to contact registrants easily and negotiate a solution for a domain name without going to court.
DP: What are you looking forward to in 2019?
KO: I’m looking forward to seeing new creative use cases of .BRANDS following the ones we saw in 2018 like www.doc.new by Google and www.berlin.audi or www.weare.audi.
DP: What challenges and opportunities do you see for the year ahead?
KO: The challenge for the ICANN community will be two-fold: On the one hand, we will have to agree on how to handle the GDPR topic in the future. On the other hand, we will have to finalise the last steps in the review process of the last gTLD round and collect input for improvements for a new gTLD round, where we play an active role. I’m looking forward to seeing the results for both of these activities in 2019.
DP: 2019 will mark 5 years since the first new gTLDs came online. How do you view them now?
KO: Millions of domains under the new gTLDs have been registered and hundreds of thousands of great domains are in use. This is great news! But: Although there are many attractive new top-level domains, they are still a minority in the market, whether as brand, geo or generic TLDs. The market is only slowly adapting to this wider variety. However, it can be observed that the diversity is slowly but constantly increasing. We therefore expect an uptake in the long run.
DP: Are domain names as relevant now for consumers – business, government and individuals – as they have been in the past?
KO: The awareness of domain names among consumers has certainly decreased. At the same time more and more businesses go online and need a website. We therefore see a continuing demand in domains, which we can foster by delivering easy-to-use products whose features meet demands.
If you’d like to participate in this Domain Pulse series with industry figures, please contact David Goldstein at Domain Pulse by email to david[at]goldsteinreport.com.