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Changes to .au Domain Name Rules

Various changes have been made to the .au Domain Administration Rules in relation to Licensing (“the Rules”) which commenced on 12 April 2021. Importantly, domain names are licensed by the registrar to you as the registrant; you do not own your domain names. 

You should be aware of the changes to the Licensing Rules in case you are no longer eligible to licence your domain names.  A failure to comply with the Rules can lead to suspension or cancellation of domain name licences.

The recent changes to the Rules include:

  1. A new prohibition on renting or leasing of domain names to a third party, except where a name is registered for use by a related body corporate.
  2. Registrants will now have 30 days (instead of 12) to fix minor policy breaches.
  3. Additional warranties are required to be given in the terms and conditions as follows:
    • that the name is not deceptively similar to the name of a namespace in the .au top level domain name;
    • that the Person will not, and does not, use the licence for any purpose that is unlawful, illegal or fraudulent under Australia law; 
    • the Person agrees that the use of the Licencing Service is solely at their own risk.
  4. Eligibility criteria has been expanded for State and Territory namespaces – eg. vic.au
  5. Domain monetisation is permitted in the com.au and net.au namespaces within the .au top level domain, but this must be undertaken in accordance with the rules and the registrant must meet the eligibility and allocation requirements. ‘Domain monetisation’ is generally the practice of registering a domain name licence for the purpose of generating revenue from advertising on a website associated with the domain name.  
  6. The complaints process has been changed and now auDA has a four-tiered process:
    1. Initial complaints
    2. Review of a registrar decision
    3. Internal review of auDA’s decision
    4. External review.
  7. The main changes for the com.au and net.au spaces are:
    • Using a trade mark to meet the Australian presence test
    • An expanded definition of a corporate entity
    • Related bodies corporate rule.

What next?

If you are concerned that the above changes will impact on your eligibility and therefore your ability to retain your domain names, please contact us for advice regarding changes that you can make to ensure the security of your domain names.

You should note that this is not a complete summary of every changes to the .au Domain Administration Rules in relation to Licensing and if you have any queries regarding domain names, please contact us for advice specific to your situation.

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