Proposed amendments to the .nz Authorisation Agreement

Published on 29 May 2012

DNCL sought the views of Registrars, and other interested parties, on proposed amendments to the current Authorisation Agreement that DNCL signs with authorised .nz Registrars.  The amendments add a new clause to the Agreement relating to .nz domain name take down requests.

Details of the proposed amendments are /content/Proposed_authorisation_agreement_amendments.pdf.

The addition of a take down clause is considered appropriate given the increase in reported incidents overseas where domain names have been taken out of the DNS, or cancelled, on the request of law enforcement or other agencies, rather than on the basis of a properly obtained court order making clear directives in respect of the domain name/s involved.

Our intention in adding this clause is to clarify that Registrars are not expected to respond to take down demands from law enforcement in the absence of a clear court order seeking that action.  If Registrars receive such a demand, they ‘should’ forward it to the Domain Name Commission for action with DNCL working with the appropriate agencies to resolve the matter.  DNCL will accept the legal liability and support Registrars put in a difficult position.

DNCL does not condone criminal activity but considers that, like in our general legal system, due process needs to be followed and decisions made by appropriate judicial bodies.  This stance was outlined in a post on the InternetNZ website which can be seen at http://internetnz.net.nz/news/blog/2011/Takedown-domain-names-%E2%80%93-rule-law-and-due-process.  It is also supported by legal advice we have received and which can be read at /content/Take_down_domain_names_lawyers.pdf.

Our position is that we will work with law enforcement and other appropriate entities to assist them in their inquiries and offer them our knowledge of the subject matter.  DNCL will not, however, cancel domain names merely on the request of those agencies.  DNCL will respond to an appropriate court order clearly outlining the domain name at issue and the action to be taken.  DNCL is also ready to assist any party that may be seeking such a court action to ensure that the order obtained is appropriate for DNCL to take the required action.  The proposed amendments to the Authorisation Agreement clarify that DNCL are also prepared to take these actions on behalf of Registrars where they have received such a request directly.

Comments on these proposed changes were sought from Tuesday, 17 April 2012 to  Tuesday, 29 May 2012.