Internationally, national governments have taken action to address a variety of Internet policy concerns. There are numerous national laws and rules that apply to online user conduct. Also, governments establish in-house coordinating groups for Internet policy. These government regulations consequentially, end up affecting domains.
Many technical, operational, and administrative choices relating to the Domain Name System (DNS) have substantial effects on Internet-related policy concerns like intellectual property, privacy, Internet freedom, e-commerce, and cybersecurity.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a non-profit public benefit corporation, oversees and runs the DNS. The U.S. government first owned and controlled the major elements of network architecture that support the domain name system. The Department of Defense developed the internet from a network infrastructure built mainly through private contractors.
Domain names are “web addresses,” “dot coms,” or “url addresses.” A domain name is typically a unique name that identifies each machine on the Internet. In other words, these are short, memorable names used to access websites on the internet.
These names correspond to distinctive “Internet Protocol (IP) addresses.” IP addresses are numbers on the internet that act as addresses and give users access to websites on the internet. The Domain Name System (DNS) converted these names into the IP numbers required for information transmission across networks. The DNS functions by finding a systematic way to access the Internet.
Choosing a domain name has grown in importance as a strategic business move. A business registers a domain name to make it easier for Internet users to find its website. Before registering domain names, it’s important to consider local government rules and regulations, especially the ones affecting domains and trademarks.
Types of Domain Names
There are two primary categories of domain names: first, county code top-level domains (ccTLDs), and second, generic top-level domains (gTLDs).
For instance, “truehost.ac.ke” refers to the @truehost website. This website’s commercial (co) domain is registered in Kenya (ke). The “top-level domain” (ke) (TLD) is the country code, while the “co” stands for “commercial,” the second-level domain (SLD). The SLDs, which are unique, identify the website’s owner (brand name) and can also be provided either under ccTLD or gTLD. The universal resource locator (URL) would be http://www.truehost.co.ke/.
Other top-level domains include generic-restricted top-level domains, sponsored top-level domains (sTLD), reserved top-level domains, and reserved second-level domains.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is responsible for the technical oversight of the domain name system. However, a number of Internet registrars accredited by ICANN manage registrations for the generic top-level domains (gTLDs). Additionally, one can use a “Whois” search, to determine whether a domain name has already been registered.
General Government Regulations Affecting Domains
1) You can only use letters, numbers, and hyphens in domain names. Other characters are not allowed.
2) You cannot use hyphens in the domain name’s beginning or end.
3) You cannot use a domain that is already in use.
4) Domain names are not case-sensitive.
5) You should not register a domain name that potentially infringes on another company’s trademark unless you can demonstrate your legal right to do so.
6) For all domain names, the minimum length is three characters plus the extension.
7) The maximum length is 64 characters for uk, com, org, and net domains. The character restriction for all other domain extensions is 63 characters (not including the extension).
Specific Government Regulations Affecting Domains
There are rules and restrictions that you need to be aware of when registering a new domain name. These vary depending on the domain type and the country associated with the domain name influences them. Different countries have more or slightly different regulations set by their local government that end up affecting domains registration.
United States of America
It is the US government’s responsibility to resolve concerns including cybersecurity and cybercrime, online gambling, internet privacy, and online intellectual property protection.
To obtain a .gov domain, an organization must be a part of the public sector or government in the United States, among other US general domain requirements. To read more about the registration and use of domains at the united states ccTLD registry click here.
To register a domain, a person must be either an EU citizen or a resident of an EU country. A list of EU member countries is available on the European Union website. You can find more details here on the requirements that apply to .eu domain names.
Domains ending in co.uk, me.uk, and org.uk are ideal for all UK usage, from individuals to nonprofit organizations. ltd.uk and plc.uk domains restrict to private and public limited companies, respectively.
Government bodies can register gov.uk domains and further and higher education institutions can register ac.uk domain names through Janet/jisc, the UK’s education, and research network.
Although the Nigerian Cybercrimes Act (the “Act”) provides for the punishment of cybersquatting and other computer-related offenses, it does not establish a regulatory body tasked with putting the Act’s provisions into effect.
Despite this significant gap in the Act, some regulatory bodies are indirectly in charge of regulating the domain name system in Nigeria. The NITDA Act founded the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), to build a framework for the planning, research, development, assessment, and regulation of information technology activities in Nigeria.
Nigeria doesn’t have any explicit laws or rules governing online business. However, there are laws and rules that apply to e-commerce.
The Kenya Information and Communications Act, 1998 mandates the authority to create a framework for the management and administration of the dot KE ccTLD domain name space. For instance, the Domain Name Dispute Resolution Regulations, 2010, mandate that anybody managing a sub-domain in the Kenyan ccTLD receives a license from the Authority. This calls for the creation of pertinent principles for the administration and management of the namespace.
The dot KE Domain Name(ccTLD) is a two-letter code (.KE) that distinguishes Kenya on the Internet. Internet users can create a Kenyan online persona by purchasing a dot KE domain name. The Dot KE Subdomains, also known as the second level Dot KE domain names, are located below the Dot KE domain name and content, among other two-letter codes, the following: go (government),.co (commercial),.ed (education), or (organization).
The Kenya Network Information Center (KENIC), a Public Private Partnership (PPP), is currently in charge of managing the Dot KE Domain Name Registry services. On behalf of the Kenyan government, the Authority is the trustee for the Dot KE ccTLD.
Dot KE ccTLD registrars provide the services for registering Dot KE Subdomain names. A license from the Authority is now necessary for Dot KE ccTLD subdomain Registrars to be accredited by the Dot KE Domain Registry Services Provider.
In exercise of the powers conferred by section 83R of the Kenya information and communications Act, 1998, the minister for information and communications, in consultation with the communications commission of Kenya, makes the electronic certification and domain name administration regulations.
The country code Top Level Domain designated for India is .IN (ccTLD). It is acknowledged that its widespread adoption by Indian citizens. It’s also adopted by citizens of other countries, government agencies, non-profits, and corporations. This aid in creating their Indian identity in the online world by utilizing a brief and distinctive domain name.
All .CA registrations must have a Canadian presence, according to CIRA, the registry for the top-level domain. To this aim, only people or organizations with a presence in Canada should register .CA domain names.
You must be a citizen, a permanent resident, or an organization having ties to Canada to register a .CA domain name. Organizational ties include corporations, partnerships, educational institutions, or government bodies.
The Dot-Ca domain name space is regulated by the government. The analysis examines the Canadian .ca TLD in an effort to fill the gap. It also inspects the current and potential future regulatory framework of the Canadian government.
The .za Domain Name Authority (Zadna) is in charge of managing the .za domain name space. The Zadna establishment is under the ECT Act. All Republic citizens and permanent residents could join the Authority. Upon application and payment of a small fee, they should register as members.
To provide a similar identification for the South African government on the Internet, their websites must use a standard domain name syntax (URL).
You should observe these conventions:
1. The top-level domain must always be .gov.
2. The country-code top-level domain must always be .za.
3. The second-level domain names should include a name or acronym that summarizes the department’s core objective, such as gcis.
The State Information Technology Agency (SITA) is in charge of registering domain names for the South African government. Visit the URL http://dnsadmin.gov.za to register online.
The administrative structure and day-to-day operations of the internet’s.au domain are under the control of the not-for-profit .au Domain Administration (auDA). The Australian Government has endorsed auDA as the proper organization to manage the .au domain on behalf of Australian internet users. The .au domain is Australia’s country code top-level domain (ccTLD).
Domain names are licensed on a first-come, first-serve basis. A businesses working on behalf of the Australian Domain Name Authority (auDA) does the licensing. You are not immediately eligible for the domain name license just because you have a trademark application or registration.
If the requested namespace is not already registered as a domain name.
It is not a reserved name
It complies with the namespace domain names’ syntactic requirements.
A person can’t submit an application to register a name that is confusingly similar to a namespace in the.au ccTLD.
Popular Questions on the Government Regulations Affecting Domains
What is a restricted domain example?
NYC, the TLD for New York City, is an illustration of a restricted gTLD. This is because it requires a legitimate New York City address from anyone or anything looking to register.
What are the restrictions on domain names?
To create domains (0-9) you can only use letters and digits from the ASCII character set, such as (a-z) (A-Z). It’s not advisable to use hyphens unless they are enclosed by other characters. You cannot use them at the start or end of a domain. It’s advised to avoid spaces and other special characters (such as “#*%”).
Are domain names regulated?
The terms and conditions of a registrar bind the registrant of a domain name. This includes adhering to a certain code of conduct. Also, indemnifying the registrar and registry against any legal or civil action taken as a result of the use of the domain name.
How does the law protect domain names?
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will accept domain names as part of registrations for trademarks and service marks. You can only register a domain, however, if it serves to identify the specific source of the goods or services for sale, just like any other mark.
Who regulates domain registrars?
ICANN, the body in charge of accrediting businesses as domain name registrars, oversees and regulates the domain name market. Network Solutions, Inc. was the only accredited domain name registrar earlier, but now there are many more.
Can someone sue you for a domain name?
Regardless of whether you use ICANN’s dispute resolution mechanism, filing a lawsuit is always an option. If a person registers your domain name you can sue them. If you are successful, the court will order that person to transfer the domain name to you. They may also grant you monetary damages.
Who actually owns domain names?
Nobody “owns” a domain name until it is registered. In actuality, no one really owns any domain names. Instead, you can lease for a while and you will need to renew or extend it in order to use it indefinitely.
Can a domain name violate a trademark?
It is possible for someone to engage in domain name trademark infringement. This happens when a person or company registers someone else’s trademarked domain name.
The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), controls the top of the DNS tree. It does this by managing the information in the root nameservers. Also, it is in charge of managing domain names under a hierarchical system.
The local government for each country regulates the country-level domain names. Different governments have put in place regulations that end up directly or indirectly affecting domains. The links in this article lead to all the documentation on different countries’ governments’ regulations and effects on domains.