IEDR says dot-IE domain liberalisation process is a win for Irish businesses

30 Nov 2017

The Cliffs of Moher, one of Ireland’s famous landmarks. Image: mikroman6

The IEDR has gotten the go-ahead for domain liberalisation following a successful public consultation.

The IE Domain Registry (IEDR) announced today (30 November) that it is to enact dot-IE liberalisation following the conclusion of a policy development process, which included a successful public consultation.

At present, to register a dot-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.

‘Valid claim to the name’ requirement scrapped

The IEDR’s change to the process retains the requirement for the registrants to prove they are connected to Ireland, but drops the need to have a valid claim to the domain name. From now on, any individual or business with a provable connection to Ireland will be able to register any dot-IE domain name on a first come, first served basis from March 2018.

Previously, the ‘claim to a name’ requirement had proved difficult for Irish start-ups in particular. Many new businesses are not registered with the CRO, may be VAT-exempt and have no physical premises, meaning they also have no official documentation proving their business’s existence nor a claim to the business name.

The IEDR’s removal of this claim requirement means that registering a dot-IE domain will be easier and faster for citizens, clubs, communities and businesses alike to build their online identity.

Mirroring previous developments

Last year, in a similar policy development process, there was a consensus to remove the exclusive right of local authorities to Irish place names or geographic identities, allowing local clubs, residents associations and other community organisations to register a dot-IE address with their local place name. About 111 geographic names have been registered since that policy change was introduced.

David Curtin, chief executive of the 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 dot-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.”

Public concerns are being addressed by the IEDR

IEDR’s policy advisory committee working group has examined the comments received during the public consultation process, most notably those regarding concerns around the need for efficient dispute resolution and prevention of cybersquatting.

Curtin commented on the cybersquatting issue, and explained how the IEDR would deal with the issues flagged by the public: “It is important to distinguish between a cyber-squatter, 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, dot-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 dot-IE domain, thereby making it unavailable for others.”

“In instances where dot-IE domain applicants believe another party has improperly registered a dot-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.”

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects