.au Domain Administration Ltd (.auDA) is the organisation that governs all Australian domain names, such as .com.au, .net.au and .org.au. Among other things, .auDA are looking to loosen domain name requirements. Currently, only businesses, organisations and induviduals can register domain names, but they must match or be an abbreviation of their name.

.auDA have employed an independent advisory committee to assess the impact of releasing “.au” (e.g. example.au instead of example.com.au) and allowing all Australians “free-reign” of the namespace. They have posed the following questions to the public:

.au Structure

  1. Should the .au domain namespace be a ‘general purpose’ domain for all Australians allowing use for any purpose?
  2. Should the .net.au namespace be closed to new registrations? If so, should existing .net.au registrants be permitted to continue to renew their domain name indefinitely?
  3. What should happen to the .asn.au namespace? Should it be closed to new registrations or retained as a dedicated namespace for associations?
  4. Should the State and Territory namespaces be used for other purposes? If yes, why and what are the purposes for which domain names should be registered under these namespaces?

Reserved Names

  1. Should auDA continue to maintain a public reserved list? Should the public reserved list be published? What process or steps should auDA take before deleting a restricted or prohibited name?
  2. Should auDA be able to reserve names in the public interest? How should the public interest be defined? What names should be reserved in the .au domain namespace. Should the public interest test replace the Prohibition on Misspellings Policy?
  3. Should the currently reserved names be reserved for future namespaces?
  4. Should there be a requirement for auDA to publish a list of names that are reserved for use by the registry and names that pose a risk to the operational stability and utility of the .au domain? Should there be any exceptions to the publication of domain names?

Eligibility and allocation rules

  1. How should the Australian presence requirements be defined? Should trademark applicants and registrants only be allowed to register a domain name that is an exact match to their Australian trademark application or registration when relying on the trademark application or registration to establish an Australian connection?
  2. What eligibility and allocation rules should apply to the .au domain namespace (direct registration) and the open 2LD namespaces, and why? Should the close and substantial connection rule be retained and why? Should allocation criteria be removed, and the focus on registrant eligibility? Should domain monetisation continue to be permitted in the .com.au and .net.au 2LD and at the second level? How should domain monetisers interests be balanced against the needs of the broarder Australian Internet Community?
  3. Should internationalised domain names be trialled at the second level, and under what conditions?

Licence conditions

  1. Should a registrant be able to sublease the domain name to an unrelated party? If yes, in what circumstances should this be permitted?
  2. Where a domain name licence is transferred between registrants, should the transferee recieve the benefit of the remainder if the licence period?
  3. Should auDA be given the power to suspend a domain name licence? What should auDA suspend rather than cancel a domain name licence? What should the maximum suspension period before a domain name licence? What should the maximum suspension period before a domain name licence is cancalled?
  4. For what purposes should auDA be allowed to collect, use and disclose registrant data?
  5. Are there any concerns with the current level of information included in the public WHOIS service? Should the technical contact field be utilised for agent and lessee details?

TL;DR

  • Should “.au” be avaliable to all Australians?
  • What should happen to .net.au and .asn.au domain names?
  • Should a list of reserved domain names (such as hospital.au) exist?
  • How should registrants prove their eligibility for “.au”?
  • Should Australian domains be allowed to have non-English characters?

.auDA are seeking the opinions of the public. If you would like to have your say on any of the above questions you can email [email protected] or write to the below address:

Policy Review Panel
C/O .au Domain Administration Ltd
PO Box 18315
Melbourne VIC 3001

Submissions must be received before 5 March 2018.

Please note: this article contains information from .auDA Policy Review Panel – Registrant Policy: Enabling Australia’s Digital Economy and Society – Issues Paper – January 2018 – .au Domain Administration Ltd.