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French domain name law censored by Constitutional Court

Home > Observatory and resources > News > French domain name law censored by Constitutional Court

AFNIC was informed today of the Constitutional Court’s decision that considered unconstitutional article L.45 of the French Electronic Communications Act, which is the legal framework of domain name management in France.
AFNIC highlights that the Constitutional Court differs the effects of its decision until July 1st 2011.
AFNIC is pleased to remark that the Consitutional Court took the trouble to underline that past decisions as well as decisions to be taken until July 1st 2011 cannot be challenged on the basis of its decision.
Finally, AFNIC notes that this decision is focused on the way the Parliament set the legal framework for domain name policies. The Court considers that, while Intellectual Property is taken into account, Freedom of Communication and Freedom of Trade are not.
The decision’s motives do not challenge the appointment of AFNIC as the registry for the .fr country-code Top Level Domain (ccTLD).
Consequently, the current policies of the .fr ccTLD will remain unchanged until a new legal framework is adopted.
Further information
Order n° 2010-45 QPC of October 6th, 2010 by the French Constitutional Court (In French only).
Press release of October 6th, 2010 by the French Constitutional Court (In French only).
State-AFNIC Agreement regarding the management of .fr (In French only).
Order of February 19th, 2010 regarding the management of .fr (In French only).
Decree of February 6th, 2007 on domain names (In French only).

(Association Française pour le Nommage Internet en Coopération )
Non-profit organization, AFNIC is in charge of the administrative and technical management of the .fr (France) and .re (Reunion Island) Internet domain names.
AFNIC brings together public and private members: representatives from the French government, Internet users and Internet Service Providers (Registrars).
Further information.


About Afnic

Afnic is the acronym for Association Française pour le Nommage Internet en Coopération, the French Network Information Centre. The registry has been appointed by the French government to manage domain names under the .fr Top Level Domain. Afnic also manages the .re (Reunion Island), .pm (Saint-Pierre and Miquelon), .tf (French Southern and Antarctic Territories), .wf (Wallis and Futuna) and .yt (Mayotte) French Overseas TLDs.

In addition to managing French TLDs, Afnic’s role is part of a wider public interest mission, which is to contribute on a daily basis, thanks to the efforts of its teams and its members, to a secure and stable internet, open to innovation and in which the French internet community plays a leading role. As part of that mission, Afnic, a non-profit organization, has committed to devoting 11% of its Revenues from managing .fr Top Level Domain to actions of general interest, in particular by transferring €1.3 million each year to the Afnic Foundation for Digital Solidarity.
Afnic is also the back-end registry for the companies as well as local and regional authorities that have chosen to have their own TLD, such as .paris, .bzh, .alsace, .corsica, .mma, .ovh, .leclerc and .sncf.

Established in 1997 and based in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, Afnic currently has nearly 90 employees.