Locking of a Domain Name Subject to UDRP Proceedings

The Generic Names Supporting Organization Working Group tasked with addressing the issue of locking of a domain name subject to Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) Proceedings has published its Initial Report for public comment.

The “locking” of a domain name registration associated with UDRP proceedings is not something that is literally required by the UDRP as written, but is a practice that has developed around it. As a result, there is no uniform approach, which has resulted in confusion and misunderstandings. To address this issue, the GNSO Council decided to initiate a Policy Development Process on 15 December 2011.

I wonder how many years a UDRP reform would take if a simple procedure as locking and unlocking a domain has taken ICANN 1.5 years just to publish an initial report.

The Policy Development Process (PDP) Working Group has published its Initial Report and is soliciting community input on the preliminary recommendations contained in the report. Following review of the public comments received, the Working Group will continue its deliberations and finalize its report for submission to the GNSO Council.

In its Initial Report [PDF, 883 KB], the PDP Working Group presents eleven preliminary recommendations, which are expected to usefully clarify and standardize how a domain name is locked and unlocked during the course of a UDRP Proceeding for all parties involved. Amongst others, these recommendations include:

  • A definition of ‘locking’ in the context of a UDRP Proceeding – the term “lock” means preventing any changes of registrar and registrant [without impairing the resolution of the domain name (Preliminary recommendation #1)
  • Proposed modification of the UDRP rules to no longer require that the complainant sends a copy of the complaint to the respondent to avoid cyberflight (Preliminary recommendation #2)
  • Requirement for the registrar to ‘lock’ the domain name registration within 2 business days following a request for verification from the UDRP Provider (Preliminary recommendation #3)
  • Clarifying how to deal with changes to contact information and/or lifting of proxy / privacy services (Preliminary recommendation #7 and #8)
  • Clarifying the process for the unlocking of a domain name registration following the conclusion of a UDRP proceeding (Preliminary recommendation #9)

In addition to these recommendations, the WG has put forward two possible options in its report to clarify the process in case a settlement is reached and is requesting community input on these two options or possible alternatives.

It is important to emphasize that most of these preliminary recommendations codify existing practices in line with the UDRP and are not expected to require any changes to the existing policy. However, should these recommendations be adopted in their current form, minor changes may need to be made to the UDRP rules and/or UDRP Provider supplemental rules.

Those interested in providing input are strongly encouraged to especially review section 5 and 6 of the Initial Report in order to obtain a further understanding concerning the WG‘s thinking and rationale with regards to these recommendations as well as further details with respect to the preliminary recommendations. In addition to input on the preliminary recommendations, the WG is also interested to receive further feedback on the expected impact should these recommendations be adopted.

The WG would like to encourage all interested parties to submit their comments and suggestions so these can be considered as the WG continues its deliberations in view of finalizing its report and recommendations in the next phase of the policy development process.

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About Konstantinos Zournas

Konstantinos studied Computer Engineering and Computer Science in London and lives in Athens, Greece. He works on domain names, websites and software development. Has been online since 1995 & domaining since 2002.

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