Australia’s domain name governing body .au Domain Administration Limited (auDA) has made changes to .au domain name licencing rules. The new rules will take effect on 12 April 2021.
There will be significant changes to eligibility and allocation rules for some namespaces; the licence terms and conditions for .au domain names, the complaints process and how auDA manages compliance with the rules. We previously reported on changes to .au domain name licencing rules, but now under the new rules, the following changes will apply:
Changes to how brands use and manage .au domain names: the new rules now prohibit the renting or leasing of com.au, net.au, and asn.au domain names and sub-domains; domain name passwords are now required to be changed after transfer; Registrars must provide two days to restore a cancelled domain; further time is given to Registrant to fix minor policy breaches such as incorrect whois information; and the general terms and conditions for .au domain licences have been updated.
com.au and net.au rule changes: the main changes for the com.au and net.au spaces will include using a Australian trade mark to meet the Australian presence test as it relates to corporate entities. Foreign trademarks will no longer be accepted. The meaning of a Trademark is now defined as “a pending trade mark application or a registered trade mark that appears on IP Australia’s trade mark database”.
A more responsive approach to national cyber security: The new rules allow auDA to respond to national security and enforcement bodies, act in the public interest; and reserve names essential for the operation of government and for future use as a second level domain namespace; and respond to activity occurring on sub-domains.
The complaints process under the new licensing rules: under the new licensing rules, auDA now has a four-tiered complaints process – initial complaint; review of a registrar decision; internal review of auDA’s decision; and external review.
org.au rule changes: the two main changes to the rules for org.au eligibility are:
- you must now be a not-for-profit entity. Unincorporated associations not registered with Australian Charities and the Not for Profit Commission are no longer eligible.
- allocation: the rules for what org.au eligible entities can choose, has been broadened.
The objectives of the auDA Rules are to ensure that a licensing system is established which:
- is transparent, responsive, accountable, accessible, and efficient;
- improves the utility of the .au ccTLD for all Australians;
- promotes consumer protection, fair trading and competition;
- provides those protections necessary to maintain the integrity, stability, utility and public confidence in the .au ccTLD;
- expresses licence terms and conditions in objective and not subjective terms;
- implements clear, predictable and reliable complaint processes; and
- preserves the fundamental principles of no proprietary rights in a domain name, first come, first served, and no hierarchy of rights.
When the new rules will apply
For .au domain name licences that expire after 12 April 2021, the current rules will apply until the end of the licence period. The new rules will then apply from when the new licence period commences.
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