Currently, Clause 3.15 of the Roles and Responsibilities Policy (RAR) requires that all registrars:
Be responsible for all actions of any person or organisation acting as a reseller through the authorised registrar. Resellers are required to meet the same obligations and standards as registrars in their dealings with domain names and registrants. If a registrar does not offer registry services to what the DNC, in the DNC's sole discretion, may decide is the public, or any section of the public however that section is selected, then all users of the registrar's services will be resellers for the purposes of the .nz policies. For these purposes "the public" can include government departments, offices or agencies. Ensure that any organisation, whether a reseller or not, working in any way through or with the registrar's systems operates in a manner consistent with the .nz policies.
Recent events have shown that registrars may not have sufficient power to ensure their resellers fully comply with the .nz policies and that they are limited in what they can do to assist registrants in some situations. It is proposed to amend the RAR policy to incorporate measures that can be invoked in serious cases of a non-complying reseller where attempts to get its behaviour modified have been unsuccessful.
Amendments to the Registering, Managing and Cancelling Domain Names Policy (RMC) that the DNC is considering drafting are to introduce a mechanism where the following process can be enforced:
- Registrars are to monitor the activities of their resellers and notify the reseller if any of its actions are in breach of the .nz policies.
- Registrars are to specify what is required to remedy the breach or breaches, the timeframe the reseller has to remedy them and the consequences of a failure to so remedy them. The timeframe to remedy the breach or breaches must be reasonable and reflect the seriousness of the non-compliance (more urgent changes will be needed if the breach actions are serious with major consequences for the registrants).
- If, at the end of the timeframe, the reseller is still not compliant with .nz policies, the registrar may make an application to the DNC to have responsibility for managing the .nz names involved transferred to the registrar.
- Transferring responsibility of the names from the reseller to the registrar is a significant step that impacts the relationship the registrant has with their provider so will only be considered where the registrar can demonstrate to the satisfaction of the DNC that:
- the reseller’s actions are in breach of the .nz policies;
- registrants are being negatively impacted;
- the reseller has been advised of its breach or breaches of the .nz policies and what it needs to do to remedy the situation, with a timeframe for when that action needs to be completed by, and the consequences of a failure to remedy the breach or breaches;
- the timeframe given is fair and fits with the seriousness of the non-compliance (more urgent changes if the breach actions are serious with major consequences for the registrants); and
- the registrar has a contract / agreement with the reseller that sets out the possibility of the control of the names transferring in the case of a breach.
As part of the process, registrars will be encouraged to enter into formal agreements with their known resellers. The DNC will offer to assist in the development and review of these.
The DNC is aware that not all resellers will be bound to a formal agreement with a registrar and that this would create a gap in the policy framework. It is therefore proposed that there will be an additional clause providing that, in exceptional circumstances, even if no formal agreement between the reseller and the registrar exists, the DNC may order the names transferred over to the registrar. If that situation is being considered the DNC will also attempt to work with the reseller giving them the opportunity to become compliant and will follow due process in any investigation that could lead to their names being transferred to the registrar.
Comment is being sought on the general approach to managing this issue. Comments received will determine the nature of any changes to the RMC to cover this situation. Any amendments made will be the subject of a further consultation to ensure the changes are specifically consulted on.
Submissions closed at midday 15 September 2014. Submissions received are published here.