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Rules for .uk - Summary of changes

The Name


New Rules

- Proposed Rules

- Summary of Changes

- Public Consultation

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  What is the function of the Rules?

The Rules form part of the contract of registration with Nominet UK. They deal with the more technical aspects of what will and will not be accepted a domain name registration under .uk.

The changes to the Rules affect all applications for domain names within the .uk Top Level Domain and all applications to register a domain name in a .uk Second Level Domain. For example, the new Rules will affect applications to register a .co.uk or .net.uk or .ltd.uk domain name. The new Rules will apply to all existing .uk domain name registrations within Nominet-run Second Level Domains.

Background to the new Rules

The Rules that are currently in place have remained substantially unchanged since Nominet's inception in 1996. Minor amendments have taken place in 1997, and more recently in 2001 to reflect changes to Nominet's Dispute Resolution Service.

However, at a meeting of Nominet's Policy Advisory Board (PAB) held in October 2001, it was agreed that a comprehensive review of the overarching Rules was necessary and, as a result, the PAB formed a sub-committee to review the Rules.

The sub-committee was asked to resolve any ambiguities in the current Rules. In particular, it was agreed that the sub-committee would review the technical mandatory syntax Rules.

The sub-committee formulated "key recommendations" which were adopted by the PAB at a meeting held in February 2002. In consultation with the PAB, the Rules were then adapted by Nominet's legal department.

An overview of the new Rules

  • In all but a minority of cases, the new Rules do not propose any material change in policy.
  • The new Rules more accurately reflect Nominet's current practices.
  • As the current Rules are brief and not every Second Level Domain has had a written set of Rules (for example .org.uk), these have been included in the new Rules.
  • Both the current and new Rules set out the prohibitions on what can and cannot be registered in a .uk domain, and in the case of restricted Second Level Domains, who can and cannot register a domain name.
  • The new Rules provide a diagram of what a second, third and fourth level domain is.
  • The new Rules are written in plain English.

The new Rules - changes in detail

Clause 1 is new and provides an explanation of the technical definitions of the components of a domain name, and sets out the difference between an applicant and a registrant.

Clause 2 contains some new elements, which again reflect or clarify Nominet's current practices.

Clause 2.1 sets out Nominet's capacity and role.

Clause 2.2 by reference to appendices A and B describes the Second Level Domains which administered by Nominet, and which are available for an application to register a domain name, and those which are administered by third parties.

Clauses 2.3, 2.4 and 2.6 are new, but set out Nominet's existing practice.

Clause 2.5 provides clarification of the current rule 3.1.

Clause 3 explains that some Second Level Domains, like .police.uk, are administered by organisations other than Nominet. We have provided a list of these Second Level Domains in Appendix B of the new Rules.

Clause 4 clarifies that Nominet usually does not vet applications for domain names, and the differences between "open" and "closed" Second Level Domains. It also explains that Nominet does not vet who can apply for "open" SLDs (e.g co.uk, me.uk, org.uk). It is explained that each of the open Second Level Domains state an intention for which category of domain name should be registered. However, the draft sets out Nominet's current policy which is that these intentions are non-binding, and Nominet will take no action to enforce them in open SLDs. However, within "closed" SLDs there are certain requirements that an applicant must meet before a domain name can be registered.

Clause 4.1 is new, and sets out Nominet's current practice of conducting random checks on existing registrations, and taking action in the event that they do not comply with the current Rules.

Clause 5 clarifies the syntax restrictions on domain name applications set out in the current Rules at clause 3.3 and the Mandatory Rules section, for example that one character domains or two letter domains may not be accepted.

The remainder of the new Rules consist of the specific Rules that apply to each Second Level Domain:

  • The Rules relating to the .co.uk Second Level Domain clarify Nominet's interpretation of its current Rules.
  • The restrictions on registrations within the .ltd.uk and .plc.uk Second Level Domains have been updated to reflect the restrictions currently set out by Companies House in the United Kingdom for registration of a company name.
  • Rules are included for .org.uk, and the guidelines for .net.uk (by which Nominet currently determines applications to register .net.uk domain names) are brought into the draft Rules.

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