Roadmap to a New Domain Name Registration Data Access Protocol (WHOIS)

As mentioned earlier this month ICANN is moving towards a new WHOIS eco system.

ICANN is pleased to announce the posting of the draft
roadmap to implement ICANN’s Security and Stability Advisory Committee’s Report on Domain Name WHOIS Terminology and Structure (SAC 051). To make or view comments click here. The SSAC report specifically targets, among other things, the “internationalization” of the WHOIS protocol, reflecting concern about the inability of the current WHOIS protocol to consistently handle non-ASCII data. Additionally, SAC 051 recommends terminology to be used to clarify discussions where traditionally the terms Whois or WHOIS have been used. This roadmap explores the coordination of the technical and policy discussions necessary to implement the recommendations outlined in SAC 051: SSAC Report on Domain Name WHOIS Terminology and Structure.

A public workshop will be held during the ICANN meeting in Costa Rica next month March. This workshop will provide ICANN extra time to consult with experts and the community regarding a new WHOIS eco system and setup the road map to an updated Domain Name Registration Data Access Protocol.

Domain Name Registration Data Access Protocol ?
According to the road map, the proposal is to adopt a new terminology to ensure a well-defined and coherent taxonomy that can be used in both the technical and policy discussions where precision is needed.

  • For example :
    Domain Name Registration Data (DNRD). The data that domain name registrants provide when registering a domain name and that registrars or registries collects.
    • Domain Name Registration Data Access Protocol (DNRD-AP). The components of a (standard) communications exchange—queries and responses—that specify the access to DNRD.
    • Doman Name Registration Data Directory Service (DNRD-DS). The service(s) offered by domain name registries and registrars to implement the DNRD-AP and to provide access to DNRD-DSD.

It is expected that the report will be finalized prior to the ICANN meeting in June 2012.

For those who are interested to read more regarding the “roadmap” please visit this link.

WIPO appointed as exlusive provider for UDRP’s regarding gTLD’s

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has embarked on a programme of allowing new generic top-level domains on the internet (like .com), an initiative that has worried trademark holders and international organisations.


ICANN has recently appointed WIPO as ” the exclusive provider of dispute resolution services for trademark based ‘pre-delegation’ Legal Rights Objections under ICANN’s New gTLD Program”. ”

WIPO will be handling objections to proposed strings filed by Trademark and other rights holders and is part of the Trademark Rights Protection Mechanism for new gTLD’s.

About WIPO.

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is one of the 17 specialized agencies of the United Nations. WIPO was created in 1967 “to encourage creative activity, to promote the protection of intellectual property throughout the world”

Currently ICANN has assigned WIPO and NAF (The National Arbitration Forum) as the only dispute resolution providers for the current generic TLD’s.

For more information regarding the the legal rights/objections under ICANN’s new gTLD program visit the following link here.

Afnic to release IDN domain names.

Afnic has published their IDN specifications last Friday. This is the last step before the sunrise period with the ‘grandfathering’ rule that starts the third of May. This move will extend the number of characters which can used to create a domain name to 67, versus  the 37 now. The new IDN rules apply to all the extensions under control of Afnic (.fr, .re, .tf, .wf, .pm and .yt).

The entity filing an IDN must hold an ASCII-equivalent domain name for the transaction to be accepted. However, if the ASCII equivalent has not yet been filed, it will be possible for the holder to create it at any time, even during the sunrise period.

You can only apply for a IDN in the extension you already have. For example, the holder of can apply for café.fr and won’t be  eligible for café.re or any other extension under control of Afnic.

Technical Specifications

The implementation of IDN domain names will follow the IDNA2008 standard. The biggest differences between IDNA2008 and IDNA2003 is the way the German Eszett (ß) will be handled and the face that nameprep step or canonicalization has been removed in IDNA2008.

The opening schedule is as follows (the exact times will be announced later):

•    3 May 2012: Launch of the IDN sunrise period with the “Grandfathering” rule.
•    3 July 2012: Opening with IDN attribution according to the “first come, first served” rule.

Futher information about Afnic opening up to IDN can be found here


Cybersquatters face serious sentences in the Philippines.

The senate in the Philippines approved a new law wich classifies cybersquatting as act of crime. Squatters could face six to 12 years in jail if found guilty under the new Senate Bill.

Min and Max

Six years is the minimum term with a maximum of twelve years.
There is however an alternative punishment of a 500,000 peso fine (roughly $12,000)
According to the new Philippine law cybersquatting is :

The acquisition of a domain name over the internet in bad faith to profit, mislead, destroy reputation, and deprive others from registering the same, if such a domain name is:
i. Similar, identical, or confusingly similar to an existing trademark registered with the appropriate government agency at the time of the domain name registration
ii. Identical or in any way similar with the name of a person other than the registrant, in case of a personal name; and
iii. Acquired without right or with intellectual property interests in it

This definition is smillar to the widely used Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy.

WHOIS verification rules coming this year ?

WHOIS verification rules coming this year ?

It appears that ICANN wants to ensure that Mickey Mouse is no longer present as the registrant of domain names.

“Registrars could be obliged to verify their customers’ identities when they sell domain names under new rules proposed for later this year, according to ICANN president Rod Beckstrom in a letter to Lawrence Strickling of the NTIA”

Currently the new Registrar Accreditions Agreements are being renegotiated by ICANN and the registrar community after recent discussions with the Governmental Advisory Committee.
ICANN expects that the RAA will incorporate – for the first time – Registrar commitments to verify WHOIS data. ICANN is actively considering incentives for Registrars to adopt the anticipated amendments to the RAA prior to the rollout of the first TLD in 2013.
How ICANN will implement a WHOIS verification system is currently unknown.

Whois verification

Whois verification, which is often found at the top of the wish-lists of intellectual property and law enforcement communities have led to heavily debated discussions within the ICANN community.
Civil rights advocates believe that checking registrant identities will infringe on rights to privacy and free speech. While the Law Enforcement Agencies plead that the current WHOIS eco system leads to cyber crime.
It is expected that some recommendation from the WHOIS Policy Review Team will be used.
This team released their final draft last december and can be downloaded here.

One of the biggest changes in this recommendation is the change from a “thin” WHOIS to a “thick” WHOIS eco system. Verisign, the TLD operator for .COM/.NET who currently uses a “thin” WHOIS has said in a statement that they are neutral regarding any WHOIS decision.
It’s expected that at the end of March 2012 we will have more solid information on what will happen with the current WHOIS eco system. But the expectation is that the days of Mickey Mouse as a domain name registrant are numbered.