The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) issued a third breach notice against Net 4 India Limited (Net 4 India) for its repeated and ongoing failures to comply with the Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA). ICANN said it did so “To protect the rights and interests of domain name registrants”.
This notice, as with the first two issued by ICANN against Net 4 India over the past two months, addresses numerous RAA violations detected through the processing of complaints submitted to ICANN Contractual Compliance. When a registrar fails to allow registrants to renew, transfer, and manage their domain names, ICANN will not hesitate to take whatever actions are necessary, up to and including termination of the registrar, to protect registrants’ rights and interests.
“We are committed to using all available means to protect the rights and interests of domain name registrants, including terminating agreements with parties that fail to cure breaches and fail to deliver on their contractual commitments,” said Jamie Hedlund, Senior Vice President, ICANN Contractual Compliance. “ICANN org will continue to monitor issues related to Net 4 India and will continue to respond by email and telephone to registrants seeking guidance and information.”
Net 4 India is in insolvency proceedings in India, but is still required to continue to meet its obligations under the RAA. Over the last several months, Net 4 India has failed to cure numerous breaches of the RAA, and has failed to respond in a timely manner to registrant requests to transfer, renew, and/or update domain name registrations. As a result, in addition to the third notice issued today, ICANN issued two breach notices in December 2020 (addressed below).
Net 4 India has asked the insolvency court to prevent ICANN from terminating the RAA for Net 4 India’s failure to cure the numerous breaches. While maintaining its challenges to jurisdiction, ICANN explained to the court why Net 4 India’s request should not be granted. ICANN provided the court with extensive information regarding Net 4 India’s breaches, and the significant harm Net 4 India’s actions are causing to hundreds, if not thousands, of registrants.
On 25 January 2021, the insolvency court issued an order that acknowledged ICANN’s input and specifically noted that the court was concerned with ensuring that the breaches were remedied so that the public interest and ICANN’s interests are not harmed. The court then ordered Net 4 India, among other things, to provide services in a timely fashion to registrants pursuant to the RAA. In addition, without determining whether the court has jurisdiction over ICANN, the court requested (but did not order) that ICANN not terminate the RAA for three months while the insolvency proceedings continue, so long as Net 4 India complies with the RAA. ICANN is evaluating this request in light of Net 4 India’s conduct and the harm it continues to inflict on registrants.
ICANN Contractual Compliance will continue to enforce the RAA with Net 4 India, including through today’s issuance of a third breach notice within less than a two-month period. The third breach notice does not encompass all complaints that are currently in process as many continue to be within the informal resolution phase and dozens from the first two breach notices remain uncured.
Background on Notices of Breach and Potential Next Steps
The ICANN organization (ICANN org) issued prior breach notices on 10 December 2020 and 24 December 2020. To date, Net 4 India has failed to cure all the breaches noted. Failing to cure a breach notice within 21 days of its issuance is grounds for termination of the RAA. In addition, having been in fundamental and material breach three times within a 12-month period is a separate ground for termination of the RAA. All notices of breach, suspension, termination, and non-renewal are published here.
So Net 4 India will probably be terminated as a registrar by ICANN in 21 days.
If ICANN terminates Net 4 India’s RAA, ICANN will invoke the De-Accredited Registrar Transition Procedure, which would allow ICANN org to transfer domain names currently under the management of Net 4 India to an ICANN-accredited registrar in good standing. Once a gaining registrar is identified and confirmed, it would then be listed on the Bulk Transfers page.
Additional Information for Registrants
Registrants encountering issues regarding renewal, transfer, or management of domain name registrations can submit complaints to ICANN Contractual Compliance using the relevant forms at https://www.icann.org/compliance/complaint. Registrants are encouraged to provide all information and evidence relevant to their complaints with their initial submission so ICANN is able to expeditiously launch an investigation into the matter. Additional information related to ICANN support for registrants and those impacted by Net 4 India is available here.
There are certain areas where ICANN does not have the contractual authority or the technical ability to help registrants. These include renewing domain names, generating AuthInfo codes, or unlocking domain names.