Civil liberties organization files appeal to change rules in .ORG

08.08.2019

The civil liberties organization Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has sent an official request to ICANN asking it to change the rules for the gTLD .ORG. It was reported earlier that in late June, ICANN renewed the agreements with registries that managed several ‘old’ domain zones, including the Public Interest Registry (PIR) that manages .ORG. The new contracts equalize the ‘old’ domains with new gTLDs. This decision received some serious criticism.

The large domain registrar NameCheap earlier requested a change in the rules for .ORG. The company objects to the removal of price increase caps for registration in .ORG. In the new contract, the registry is given the right to increase prices at its sole discretion and registrars fear that it could affect their business. The EFF has also filed a request but it is more concerned about organizational issues.

The new rules introduce the Uniform Rapid Suspension (URS) procedure, which is already in effect in new domains, to .ORG. Unlike the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) used in the ‘old’ domain zones, URS is a much quicker tool. It allows for blocking a domain without a decision on transfer or the legitimacy of the complaint. In addition, the URS procedure is much cheaper than UDRP. According to Domain Incite, EFF is worried that it could be abused to curtail free speech. It said URS is “particularly dangerous for the many .ORG registrants who are engaged in an array of noncommercial work, including criticism of governments and corporations”. The URS procedure might become a tool to rein in such registrants.