Four basic documents of the French naming policy had been referred to the Council of State in 2010: the “PREDEC” alternative dispute resolution procedure, the naming policies for the .fr TLD in force at that time, as well as the order and agreement of 2009 designating the registry for the .fr zone. The Council’s decision, dated June 10, 2013, follows on from the procedure initiated before the Constitutional Council in 2010, which led to the annulment of the former Article L. 45 of the French Electronic Communications and Telecommunications Act (CPCE) (1).
The Council of State annulled the texts, which were no longer in force. The reason for the annulment was the failure to notify the European Commission of the naming policy.
This important decision ends litigation that has been going on for nearly four years. It also confirms that Afnic is entrusted with a public service remit as the Registry for the .fr TLD.
The legal and regulatory framework currently in force is not affected by the decision of the Council of State, which therefore means there will be no immediate change in the role of Afnic or in the registration rules applicable to the French ccTLD.
Afnic will examine the medium-term consequences of this decision in the near future.
The Association intends to continue to fulfill its daily assignment of serving French Internet users, domain name holders and registrars of the .fr TLD in accordance with its initially stated purpose and, henceforth, with the requirement for continuity of the public 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.