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ICANN Whois Policies Update

According to an article in the October 15, 2004 INTA Bulletin, several new “Policies Applicable to ICANN-Accredited Registrars” will be implemented by the end of 2004.

The new Restored Names Accuracy Policy tales effect November 12 and requires that a domain name that was deleted due to the submission of false contact data or lack of response to a registrar’s inquiries and is subsequently restored during the redemption grace period must be placed on hold until the registrant has provided updated and accurate Whois information. However, the policy does not require registrars to verify the accuracy of the newly submitted Whois data, and thus the impact of this policy remains to be seen.

The new Whois Marketing Restriction Policy, also taking effect on November 12, requires registrars’ bulk access agreements to prohibit the use of Whois data to support any marketing activities, and/or the redistribution of Whois data unless it has been incorporated into a product or service that does not permit extraction of a substantial portion of the data.

On December 21, 2004, a new Expired Domain Deletion Policy will also go into effect.  Among other things, it defines the “extenuating circumstances” that will otherwise prevent a domain name from being deleted within 45 days of either the registrar or the registrant terminating a registration agreement.

Inaccurate WhoIs data that is reported through InterNIC’s Whois Data Problem Report System is forwarded to the appropriate registrar which must then take “reasonable steps” to correct the inaccuracy.  While some questions remain about what is “reasonable,” the system at least provides a venue for filing a complaint and monitoring a registrar’s response.

By William F. Heinze, Attorney

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