Saint Quentin en Yvelines, February 08th 2007
A decree on domain names has been published in the French Official Journal (JO) on
February 08th 2007. The AFNIC would like to draw the attention of all of the stakeholders, in particular registrars, users and legal claimants on this new legal element for naming in France.
1.About .fr et du .re administration rules
This decree brings complements to the L.45 article of the French code of postal and electronic communications law (Code des postes et communications électroniques) in effect since July 2004. It specifies the administrative process that will designate the organisms in charge of administering the French internet ccTLDs (country-code Top Level Domains) and specifies orientation principles for the rules to administer these codes.
As the organism designated by the public authorities to administrate .fr and .re, the AFNIC regrets that a larger consultation before publication of the decree was not organised. The AFNIC considers that this text raises many questions, notably on the way the described principles could or should be applied. The AFNIC counts on refering the matter to the Minister of Industry, M. François LOOS, and formulate these questions.
At this point, changing the .fr and .re Charters is not considered. These Charters remain documents of reference that establish the rights and duties of the AFNIC, the registrars and domain applicants. As done before since its creation, the AFNIC will add this reflection to its Consultative Committees and will closely associate its members.
2. Calls for bidders will be set to designate the organisms in charge of administering the French ccTLDs (.fr but also .re, .gp, .mq…)
The decree introduces the new notion of calls for bidders to designate the organisms that will administer the French ccTLDs. The AFNIC frenquently asks since its inscription in the July 2004 law that an official .fr registry designation process be organized. Once again, the AFNIC wishes this designation comes up as soon as possible. All the more so because some measures of the decree can only be applied by an organism formelly designated and according to modalities yet to be defined.
On the strength of a system implemented and controled by the public authorities ten years ago, the AFNIC also hopes that the designation process will not lead to disproportionate burden in relation to the stakes.
3. Domain applicants must ensure not to breach the names of institutions, national public-services and regional admninistrative structures
The decree reinforces the principle that protects the names of national institutions, public-services, regional administrative structures, public establishment of inter-communal cooperation and the elected members within their mandates.
The AFNIC strongly supports this principle and underlines the fact that the .fr ccTLD is already one of the most protective ones in the world in regards to public structures with about a dozen naming conventions (mairie-xxx.fr, cg-xxx.fr, agglo-xxx.fr, etc.) and with legal and technical procedures to protect city names unlike any other (gTLDs like .com, .net or ccTLDs like .de, .uk…).
The operational modalities to implement this principle that reinforces protection have not yet been detailed. The domain name applicants still need to make sure they dot not infringe rights of third parties, according to the L.45 article of the French code of postal and electronic communications law (Code des postes et communications électroniques).
4. Registry and Registrar responsability could be reinforced
The decree opens new possibilities for a formelly designed organism, to block, delete or transfer domain names without intervention of judicial authorities but only in function of its own perception of the trouble. The said organism and registrars could see their responsabilities engaged in front of the competent juridictions.
The AFNIC underlines that it maintains a list of forbidden and reserved terms to prevent, in the limit of its attributions, the most manifest infrigements to public order and rights of third parties. The AFNIC has also already took
widespread actions to fight breaches such as cybersquatting.
The principle of neutrality of the AFNIC being confirmed several times by justice, the AFNIC has considered necessary to ask the Minister for more interpretation details and reserves the possibility to refer the matter to the administration on a case-by-case basis to know the line of conduct to follow when these measures will become enforceable.
About the AFNIC
(Association Française pour le Nommage Internet en Coopération )
Non-profit organization, the AFNIC is in charge of the administrative and technical management of the .fr (France) and .re (Reunion Island) Internet domain names.
The AFNIC brings together public and private members: representatives
from the French government, Internet users and Internet Service
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.