"As the Register says:|
Early ideas for .eu date back to the mid-nineties; and launching has been said to be iminent since 2000. The idea was to have an European competitor against the-then monopoly NSI's .com-domains. At the time its seemed so tempting.Exactly. I recall Erkki Liikanen saying a few years ago that an .eu (is it a ccTLD or a gTLD or a... you decide) would provide an economic boost for member states. This is, of course, silly, unless there are numerous European companies out there stubbornly refusing to get online until they can register a *.eu. Or are we to believe that a bmw.eu site would help BMW sell more cars than bmw.com (and .net, .biz, info, and GAKK!! Dan will probably like this even less than I do, .org), bmw.de, or for that matter bmw.fr. Admittedly, BMW is everywhere so perhaps they're not the best example, this being Valentine's Day, let's take mythical ma and pa outfit myswisschocolates.ch (.ch being, non-obviously, switzerland) and put them at myswisschocolates.eu and watch their sales go through the roof.
But a quick start was out of the question, once The Commission decided to adopt a formal regulatory framework. Member states and EU parliament and its committees got involved. This is the "normal" procedure: not fast, not slow - only too slow for Internet competition. Other newcomers to the TLD market have long outrun .eu.
Worse still, despite more than ample time and examples, the European Commission doesn't seem interested in learning from ICANN's plethora of mistakes. For example, they plan to do one (or two) sunrise periods, a concept so fraught with peril that Affilias (the poster kid for this thoroughly discredited idea), is about to launch some IDN (Internationalized Domain Names) without any sunrise protection, it's first come, first served (oops, that's been delayed too, and being Affilias they can't get anything right, wrongly claiming to be first from the post with IDN).
This is helping one sector of the economy (though not necessarily European), .eu pre-registration scams have gone through the roof. While EURid posts a prominent warning on their home page that there are no pre-registrations, a web search on Google for .eu+domain produces no shortage of pre-registration offerings, including some of Google's sponsored (that is, paid for) links.
At time of writing the first URL in the Register article was malformed, it should be EURid. And the link at the end of the Sue 'em all section should be, approximately: the job? [warning: .doc format, reproduced in full below, complete with errors and with their emphasis]. It gives an idea of the compexities involved when herding cats. -g
.eu Sunrise Registration - Validation Agents Sought
EURid is seeking to engage a suitably qualified body, established within the EU to validate prior rights claims of domain name applicants during the sunrise period of the new .eu top-level domain
EURid has been selected by the European Commission to operate .eu top-level domain registry.
EURid has been established as a not-for-profit organisation in Belgium and registry services will be charged on a cost recovery basis. The EURid registration model is a highly automated system and based upon the principle of first-come-first-served. The system has been adapted from the model of the Belgian registry.
The legal framework which enabled creation of the .eu TLD Regulation (EC) No. 733/2002 on the implementation of the .eu TLD, stipulates that provision must be made for a ‘sunrise period’ to enable those with prior rights to a name to register in advance of general registrations commencing.
The EC, in consultation with the Member States, has still to determine Public Policy Rules for .eu and this will include policy in prior rights and validation. The PPR are expected during March 2004.
The Regulation has already determined that only those businesses established in the EU or having their registered office (or principal place of business within the community) and natural persons who are resident in the EU will qualify to register a .eu domain name.
The Regulation also gives the following information on who will have the opportunity to register during the sunrise period.
“Public policy shall include: Public Policy Rules
public policy on speculative and abusive registration of domain names including the possibility of registrations of domain names in a phased manner to ensure appropriate temporary opportunities for the holders of prior rights recognised or established by national and/or Community law and for public bodies to register their names;”
The PPR have yet to be finalised and adopted but will contain rules and procedures for phased registration.
Though still to be adopted, we understand that the PPR will provide for a two-phase sunrise period, each phase lasting for 2 months. During phase one holders of registered (possibly published) trademarks and public bodies will be able to register their domain names. During phase two holders of other rights will also be able to apply. There is no definitive list of rights recognised but the PPR may include examples such as unregistered trademarks, company names family names. Such rights must be recognised under Community law or in the member state in which the applicant is established.
Applications for domain names will be made only through accredited registrars who will have access to EURid automated systems. Applications made during sunrise will include extra information such as the type of right the applicant has to the name and under which law. Applications will be date/time stamped, stored in a special sunrise database and the names requested will be blocked from registration until a conclusion is reached on whether there is a prior right claim to that name or not. A whois lookup facility will be publicly available to show all applicants for a name, the order in which they were received, the right claimed and the deadline for each applicant to submit paperwork proving the right.
The registrant will then have 40 days from making the application to provide the required documentary evidence of prior rights to a Validation Agent (VA) to be engaged by EURid. The responsibility will rest with the applicant to ensure his paperwork has reached the VA by the 40th day. This can be monitored by using the whois look-up facility. Once the deadline has passed, the application expires and the named becomes available for general registration. If there is more than one application for that name, first-come-first served principle applies. Only when the earliest applicant has failed to produce suitable documentation within the 40 days will the paperwork of subsequent applications be checked. If no applicant provides satisfactory evidence of prior rights within the 40 period they are given, the name will be ‘unblocked’ and made available for general registration.
Sunrise application charges
At the time of submitting an application during the sunrise period, a one-off sunrise application fee will be deducted from the account of the registrar. This will include the registries administrative costs and the fee to be paid to the Validation Agency.
This charge will be non-refundable. If the prior rights are validated and the domain name accepted, the name will be registered in accordance with the information supplied in the application and the usual registration deducted from the account of the registrar.
EURid will widely announce the sunrise period to ensure that the timescales, rules and procedures are well known throughout the EU with specific targeting to the IP and registrar communities
Summary of Service Required from Validation Agent
It is proposed that a suitable organisation Validation Agent be engaged to authenticate prior rights claims. The VA will have access to the sunrise application data base and be responsible for receiving and checking the documentary evidence of prior rights applicants and inputting and updating the status field of applications in EURid’s sunrise database.
The VA will need relevant expertise regarding which rights are recognised in each of the 25 countries of the expanded EU. They will also need to know what constitutes proof of that right in the jurisdiction in which it is recognised. The VA will need to be able to draw upon expert knowledge in all of the Member states of the EU.
The VA will have secure, web-based access to the EURid Sunrise database. Each employee will have a user ID and password. They will also have access to the public whois lookup facility, also web-based.
The VA will be expected to handle all enquiries relating the sunrise application process and suitable contact information (including email, fax and telephone) will be widely publicised by EURid.
As names applied for under the sunrise provision will be blocked from registration until the validation process for that name is concluded, it is not essential that validation be complete before the commencement of general registration. However, service standards will be required and these will form part of contractual negotiations between EURid and the organisation selected to provide Validation services. Priority of validation must be given to those applications received during phase one of the sunrise period. Special procedures will be made to validate the applications from governments and public bodies.
The EURid systems will generate a daily work sheet of those applications which are the first in line to be validated and for which paper work has been received. Applications which pass their deadline and those will arrived after the first for that name has been validated will automatically be ‘rejected’ by the system and the applicants informed.
It should be anticipated that some applications or paper work for validation will be received without an application number or which have not been requested electronically in the correct manner via an accredited registrar.
The VA will need to demonstrate its financial stability and provide evidence of liability insurance which indemnifies EURid for errors or omissions of the VA.
An Alternative Dispute Resolution facility will be available to handle any disputes between those who are successful in registering a name and a third party challenging that right. The sunrise terms and conditions will require the registrant to participation in the ADR process. This will not prevent access to the courts.
The VA will need to have in place procedures to investigate claims by applicants that they have made an error or failed to follow the rules of the sunrise period.
Fees for Validation Services
A fee will be paid for each application generated in the Sunrise database (the validation fee). The PPR provide for charging differing fees for those applications made in phase 1, which should be more straightforward to validate, and those applied for during the second phase which could be more complex and specific to one particular member state.
Fees will be paid to the Validation Agency at the end of each month as set out below:
The first 50% of the validation fee for all applications received in that month.
The second 50% of the validation fee for each application which fails to meet the criteria or passes the deadline for receipt of documents and is rejected during that month.
The second 50% of the agreed validation fee for each application, which is validated, plus the second 50% for later applications for the same name which then become automatically rejected.
The levels of fee are open to negotiation but the European Commission, who must approve the registries choice of Validation Agent, will expect it to be reasonable and cost-related.
Those interested in providing this service
If you are interested to provide this service or would like further information, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org."