UK residents and organisations who hold .eu domain names beware – the European Commission announced that .eu domain names may no longer be available in the UK post-Brexit (subject to any transitional arrangements). Up to 300,000 domains may potentially be affected.
Legally, only EU organisations and residents are eligible to register .eu domain names. All domain names that are held by parties that do not meet this criteria can be revoked.
That, according to the European Commission, makes all of the UK organisations and residents ineligible after brexit.
Their notice has been met with a lot of criticism. This could be a reason for the EU to reconsider its current strict stance. There is still a chance that the EU and UK may agree on a different arrangement for .eu domains, however the latest draft of the withdrawal agreement says nothing about it. If no arrangement is made, then the European Commission announcement will come into effect on 30th March 2019.
The main goal of GDPR is to protect EU citizens from online abuse and breaches of privacy. It applies to all companies processing their EU subjects data, no matter where the company is located.
There are severe penalties for non-compliance – from 4% of annual global turnover to 20 million euros; whichever is greater. That makes it a serious matter.
It will greatly affect domain name registries and registrars who publish the personal details of domain owners in the WHOIS database, which is public – with a full entry listing an organisation’s name, address, telephone number and email addresses.
The issue that arises here is that registries and registrars are obliged to publish data in the WHOIS database by ICANN (global domain name authority).
ICANN has been trying to resolve the clash – but since they only determined it would affect them in October 2017 – they have been rushing to find a solution since then. They have proposed a model of GDPR compliance which makes registrars continue collecting WHOIS data in full, but not publishing it to the public.
This raises a concern – it will have a serious effect on the ability to protect intellectual property rights from “cybercriminals”.
Groups like Copyright Alliance, MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America), IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry), RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) and dozen of others – sent a letter to the Vice President of the European Commission warning that restricting their access to WHOIS will affect their ability to protect their rights.
The EFF, on the other hand, says that being able to contact a domain owner wouldn’t necessarily require an email address to be made public: “There are other cases in which it makes sense to allow members of the public to contact the owner of a domain, without having to obtain a court order, but this could be achieved very simply if ICANN were simply to provide something like a CAPTCHA-protected contact form, which would deliver [an] email to the appropriate contact point with no need to reveal the registrant’s actual email address”.
What do you think about the GDPR and WHOIS confusion? Is it going to help us retain our privacy, or help grow cybercrime? Let us know in the comments below.
Nominet (the UK domain registry) has announced that we can register everyone’s reserved .uk domains (you have one reserved for you until 10th June 2019 if you own a qualifying .co.uk/.org.uk/.me.uk domain) for free. Whilst we have provided an interface in the client area to claim them, many of you have not done so, so we’re going to take the step of registering them all for you from September 11th onwards unless you opt out. A lot of questions can be answered by checking out Nominet’s information site here:
However, we understand you may have further questions about this so here are the most common ones:
Are they really free?
Yes, 100% free, you will not be charged for these registrations at all for the initial 2 year period. After that, standard .uk rates apply, which are the same as .co.uk.
Why is this so important?
Whilst we’ve helped several thousand domain owners claim their domains so far, we envisage a situation in 2019 whereby anyone will be able to register the .uk version of a domain for which you are the .co.uk or .org.uk owner. After calling approximately 300 customers by phone to gauge what the preferred course of action is, over 99% wanted the domains registered for them immediately. We’re confident that this applies to the rest of our client base, which is why we’re taking the step of claiming them automatically for you.
As an example of the consequence of not claiming your domain, imagine you own, for example, londontaxicompany.co.uk, and you haven’t claimed your .uk domain by 10th June 2019. On June 11th, your competitor can now register and use londontaxicompany.uk, undermining your .co.uk based website. It’s potentially very bad news.
Do I have to do anything? How do I opt out?
If you’re happy to have them registered for free and added to your account, then do nothing. If you don’t want your free domains, then simply open a ticket through the client area before September 8th, stating which domains you don’t want to claim.
When will they be registered?
We will be registering the domains from September 11th onwards, until October 31st. You will receive a registration confirmation for each domain we register on your behalf, and it’ll appear live in your account instantly, as with any other domain.
Can I transfer domains to you I own elsewhere and then claim the free .uk equivalent?
Yes. Just submit a domain transfer for your qualifying .co.uk/.org.uk/.me.uk domain in the normal manner at https://my.freevirtualservers.com/cart.php?a=add&domain=transfer , transfer it to us by changing the IPS tag at the current registrar to EASY-INTERNET. Within 4 hours it’ll show as active in the client area and you can then claim the free .uk version through the client area claim interface.
What are the ongoing costs?
The first 2 years are free, and there’s no obligation to renew, though we expect most will. In an ideal world, .uk wouldn’t exist, but it does, and business owners in particular need to protect their brand names. Auto renew will be enabled by default on these domains.
If you have any further questions, please open a ticket from the client area at https://my.freevirtualservers.com/clientarea.php.
Update: Offer now ended
Update: Promotion extended until Saturday 19th February!
For a very limited time – until Sunday 13th Saturday 19th February – we have a fantastic discount on .CO domain names. For the first year of registration we’re offering a whopping 50% off on new .CO registrations.
Since the launch of .CO in June this year we’ve seen all kinds of uses of .CO for websites and email addresses for:
What will you use yours for? Let us know!
The registry in charge of all .EU domain names, EURid, is giving away 100 8GB iPod Touches as part of an end-of-year promotion. The promotion is available to anybody registering a .EU domain name between November 25th and December 25th – simply visit winwith.eu and enter banner code XMAS2010 along with your domain name and contact details to be in with a chance of winning!