22 March 2011

Legal Issues Relating to Suspension of .UK Domain Names

In December I mentioned Nominet had begun a policy review jointly with the UK-wide Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), concerning Dealing with Domain Names Used in Connection with Criminal Activity.

Extract from a page of the background report 'Dealing with Domain Names Used in Connection with Criminal Activity - Background Report on Views Expressed' showing the large number of references

Since the announcement in December, Nominet has received over 200 written responses to the brief and also met with some groups to hear their views and concerns. Last month, Nominet invited stakeholders to take part in the issue group and the list of participants has now been announced. Their first meeting will be on the 4th April 2011.

To aid the discussion, Nominet appointed an independent expert to review the responses received to date, summarise them and also set the issue in the appropriate legal context. The background report has been published, and Nominet are seeking feedback on its completeness before the end of next week (31 March). Section 3 lists 13 suggested questions for the issue group to focus on.

The reason I mention this topic again, is because the 19-page background report is really an excellent read, and although not legal advice (of course!), it does give a good insight into some of the most important legal issues of operating a web site in the UK e.g. the diverse range of organisations in the supply chain (or "value chain" as it is referred to in the report), contractual obligations of registrars, extraterritorial effects, and useful reminders about the implications of the Digital Economy Act 2010 and the Terrorism Act 2000.

The report also includes good nuggets of information such has how various agencies interact with Nominet, and that Nominet has "locked" 2,667 domains to date. If you do just two things today, check domains are registered under your own organisation's name and ensure all the details provided to Nominet, and other registries, have been recorded accurately.

Update 24th March 2011: The link to the background report has been altered, following the discovery by Nominet of an error in the original text.

Posted on: 22 March 2011 at 08:13 hrs

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