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April 11, 2019

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Here's the The Lowdown from DN Journal,
updated daily
to fill you in on the latest buzz going around the domain name industry. 

The Lowdown is compiled by DN Journal Editor & Publisher Ron Jackson.

Australian Entrepreneurs Up in Arms Over Proposed Rules That Could Ban .AU Domain Investing

The domain investment community in Australia is sounding a red alert triggered by new rules being considered by AuDA (the overseer of the country's .AU top level domain) that many there see as attempt to institute an outright ban on domain investment. If

enacted domains that have already been registered and paid for could be taken away from their current registrants. AuDA is currently inviting public commentary on the proposed changes but the window is about to close with the deadline for submissions set for 5pm Australian EST Friday, April 12 (AEST is 14 hours ahead of U.S. EST which would make the deadline 3AM Friday morning in the eastern United States).

Simon Johnson

Veteran Australian entrepreneur and domain investor Simon Johnson, who served as Chairman of the AuDA Board's Security and Risk Committee until resigning in 2017, is among the well-known figures who have taken a firm stand against AuDA's proposal. Johnson told us the Australian Internet industry must be defended and there is still time to act. "Given that Directors need to exercise due care and diligence, for auDA to retrospectively go back and delete domain names from Australian businesses, does more harm than good," Johnson said. "As such, I donít believe it would be in the interests of the organisation for the auDA Board to accept the recommendations in the PRP report.Ē

The Internet Commerce Association (ICA) also issued their own strong objections to the AuDA proposal in a nine-page letter sent to AuDA's Policy Review Panel Tuesday (April 9). The letter written by ICA Legal Counsel Zak Muscovitch noted, "Whether in land, a catalogue of Beatles songs,or domain names, investing in assets is a natural by-product of a free and open market. Domain registrants use and risk their own money to lawfully purchase generic and descriptive domain names on a first-come, first-served basis and from prior owners and should have the right to do so. Domain name investors range from an at-home mom making a casual investment in a handful of names to professional domain name investors who spend substantial money and efforts on building a portfolio and marketing it to the public. Such business activities involving domain names are entirely legal, expected, and natural. Indeed, Australia is the only country that we are aware of that has such restrictive policies when it comes to domain names."

Muscovitch added, "The attempt to stamp out domain investing will create a multitude of unintended collateral harms. The effort will either be ineffective or will entrap those who are not primarily domain investors in an overly 

ICA Legal Counsel Zak Muscovitch

broad net. The supposed harms the policy is attempting to address are largely illusory while the actual harm created by the proposed policies, if enacted, will be deep and widespread."

In a related noted, the ICA is hosting an open public webcast Friday afternoon (April 12) at 1pm US Eastern Time. Anyone can sit in on the session by registering here. The controversial AuDA proposal is one of several topics set for discussion on the webcast.

(Posted April 11, 2019)  

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