Skip to main content

WHY SHAKESPEARE WAS WRONG ABOUT DOMAIN NAMES


WHY SHAKESPEARE WAS WRONG ABOUT DOMAIN NAMES


“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet” Shakespeare wrote this verse over 400 hundred years ago, and we still hear it today. Unfortunately, when it comes to domain names, Shakespeare was dead wrong. In fact, contrary to what Elizabethan playwrights will tell you, names are essential, and the specifics of a name can be the determining factor in whether you can register a domain name or not.


But why does this matter? Shouldn’t we accept that perhaps the teachings in his poetry don’t fully cover the technicalities of dealing with new media? To put it simply, no. Shakespeare was wrong, and it must be said because sweeping changes are coming into play regarding how domain names are licensed and if you own a website, there is a good chance that it may affect you too.


But firstly…


What is a Domain Name?


A domain name is the string of words that defines the boundaries of the website. When you go to ‘www.google.com’, ‘google.com’ is the domain. It is the part of the web address which says what website you are on. Domain names are crucial, and without one, you don’t have a website.


To get even more specific, there are also second-level domains (2LDs) which go even further and can even state what country the website/company is based in, an example of a 2LD is ending a domain with ‘.com.au’.


The registration system to licence a domain name is different from the company, business, and trademark registration systems. To register a domain name, you must go through a domain name registrar. Domain names are not owned by registrants but rather licensed from a domain name registrar. 


Once a licence is granted, the registrant has the exclusive right to use the name in that domain for a limited period (which can be renewed) under the terms of the licence. There is no property right in a domain name.

 

Who manages domains in Australia?


In Australia, 2LDs like ‘.com.au’ are managed by the .au Domain Administration (auDA). The auDA has government endorsement to be the regulator for the ‘.au’ domain. The auDA acts as both the administrator and registrar for the ‘.com.au’ domains, so if you need to find out who owns a ‘com.au’ website or how to deal with a domain issue, the auDA is always meant to be your first port of call.


Also worth remembering that in Australia, you cannot own a domain name. You simply lease it off the auDA for a set amount every year. This ensures that if the auDA determines that you have not used the website for appropriate reasons, they can remove access to the domain. It also allows them to control who is allowed to have a ‘.au’ domain name as well.

 

What will be changing


The auDA has announced several changes to the eligibility requirements of a ‘.au’ domain with the significant difference being that companies must have a substantial connection to Australia to be eligible for a ‘.au’ domain. Currently, the rules allow for an international company to hold a ‘.au’ domain if they have a trademark application filed with IP Australia. The new changes will limit this so that if the company is the trademark holder for a mark, and the company has no connection in Australia, then they can only apply for a domain name the same as their trademark.  


The purpose of this is to safeguard the integrity of the ‘.au’ domain name and to prevent foreign entities with no Australian presence from unnecessarily claiming domain names in Australia.


To assist with this the auDA has also announced a restriction on a widespread industry practice, domain licensing. Now the most infamous version of domain licensing are the people will register a domain name that may have a fair amount of SEO and licence it to other businesses for a monthly or yearly fee. This will, under the new proposed auDA changes, will become prohibited. Instead, this kind of business will be relegated to more generic domains such as ones ending in ‘.com.’.


What does this mean?


This means that if you currently have a licence agreement set up which allows your holding company to licence the use of your domain name to your trading company these new changes might throw a spanner in the works. The new proposed rules will allow for a licence between the related corporate bodies to exist but only so far as both companies have an Australian presence. This means that if your holding company is based outside of Australia and does not have a significant Australian presence, then it may find that it is no longer allowed to hold the Australian domain name. This could happen even if your trading company has a presence in Australia.


Therefore, Shakespeare was wrong and being a foreign individual with no presence in Australia would be likely to lose any 2DL in Australia due to these new changes. Don’t be like Shakespeare and speak to your lawyer today.  

 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

OFF-BRAND - How a high-fashion brand and a local ice cream shop have come to blows over intellectual property

OFF-BRAND  How a high-fashion brand and an ice cream shop have come to blows over intellectual property In the various industries that are out there, not too many are as different as fashion and ice cream. One is involved in providing happiness, comfort and everything nice in this world and that other provides a sharp reminder that maybe that extra scoop of ice cream was too much. But suffice to say, a rift between the two industries is not something that you would expect to find.  But as hype culture and the obsessive fandom on the internet have grown, the industries have been growing closer and closer together. But sadly, not in the way you think, we are still a few years off wearable ice cream. Instead, there is now a good chance that your local ice creamery sells merchandise. Less impressive, for sure. But this has become a staple for restaurants with even just a modicum of goodwill attached to their name and why not? If customers are willing to pay an extra $50 so that people will

Green Eggs and Hamm

  Green Eggs and Hamm How a crotch shot of John Hamm and Dr Seuss have sparked the most intense debate on fair use dealing in copyright in the last ten years.  In 2013, John Hamm was in full swing, sipping cocktails and filming the wildly successful  Mad Men  however in years to come he may be remembered for something much more different. One uneventful day, John Hamm was photographed going commando and, thus changed how we see intellectual property rights on the internet forever.  Like all paparazzi photos, it was promptly uploaded to the internet and licenced for use. Unbeknownst to the photographer, the image was then used in an article by the Huffington Post, titled "25 Things You Wish You Hadn't Learned In 2013 And Must Forget In 2014." The writer of the piece turned the photo into a humourous GIF with the intention of mocking people who would want to see the picture and satirising the idea that it was news at all.  The photographer later registered the photo's

False Promises and Virtue Signalling - How to Get Away with Slacktivism in a Corporate World

False Promises and Virtue Signalling - How to Get Away with Slacktivism in a Corporate World  On the dark streets of Gotham one light shines through the darkness, one symbol for apathetic support of issues in search of personal gain, criminals cower… (well at least initially) at the sight of the 'Virtue Signal'. Virtue signalling has become an ever-increasing issue as we become more and more connected via online platforms. Because of this increased connection, there is a more significant amount of pressure on people to have something to say resulting in a churn of meaningless and self-serving support of issues which never amount to more than a Facebook post. This has been copied in the business world as well as companies realised quite quickly that there is a financial benefit to having your brand being associated with supporting an issue. Mind you, not actually doing something about the issue but merely being associated with doing something and there is a clearcut difference b