More legal certainty and transparency for applicants registering domains
DENIC modernizes its terms and conditions for the registration of .de domains
DENIC has brought itself into line with established international practice by simplifying its terms and conditions for the registration of domains. It has made them more transparent and further strengthened the position of domain holders. The new version was adopted by the internet service providers (ISPs) who are members of the DENIC cooperative at the general assembly held on 3 May 2000, and the cooperative members are now setting about putting it into practice by 30 September 2000. The text of the terms and conditions governing domains has been considerably streamlined and is now a much better reflection of the respective roles of the Internet provider (provision of Internet services) and DENIC (registration of domains). The opportunity has also been taken of adapting the terms and conditions to the latest provisions of Germany's legislation on data protection. The prerequisites to be satisfied by .de domain holders have also been relaxed. They no longer have to be domiciled in Germany; in future, it is going to be enough for them to appoint an administrative contact with a German domicile.
The following are the most important changes in detail:
In future, customer contracts will state quite specifically that the provider is acting on behalf of the customer and as the customer's agent in registering domains with DENIC. Upon registration, the customer becomes the holder of the domain directly. In other words, a direct contractual relationship is created between the domain holder and DENIC. It remains the provider's job to look after the domain and to make other Internet services available to the customer. The new wording, however, clearly documents that the actual domain registration is carried out by DENIC. For that reason, customers must be informed about DENIC's price list. It is true that, in practice, this list need not concern customers as long as they have a valid ongoing contract with a provider. The situation, however, looks very different if the provider stops paying the fees for the domain to DENIC, which might happen, for instance if either the customer of the provider terminates the contract. Of course, the domain still belongs to the customer, but he/she must conclude a new contract with a different provider or pay DENIC's fees when these fall due. The provider the customer used to work with has no right at all to simply delete the domain.
This rule is not new. However, in the hope of pre-empting possible misunderstandings in future, it is now being stated much more clearly. This clarification has now removed any possibility of doubt: domain holders always maintain their rights to their domains, even when they move from one provider to another or if their existing provider ceases business.
The passages in the new text that deal with data protection have now been worded more precisely. In future, it will be clear that when customers sign they are explicitly agreeing to the storage and transmission of their data. It is a mandatory requirement to disclose a real physical address. Without it, the domain registration will fail to complete. Any domain applicant has the option of agreeing to the publication of addition voluntary data, such as telephone and/or fax numbers and/or e-mail addresses. These items of data remain mandatory for the technical contact and zone administrator (tech-c and zone-c), since it must be possible to inform and contact them quickly in the event of an emergency.
In future, it will be possible for legal entities or natural persons who do not have a German domicile and who are not subject to the jurisdiction of the German courts in some other capacity to become holders of .de domains. As of 15 August 2000, it will be enough for a domain's administrative contact to have a domicile in Germany. The main beneficiaries of this new arrangement are going to be non-German companies and German nationals domiciled abroad, who will now be able to become holders of .de domains. It remains a mandatory requirement for the admin-c to be domiciled in Germany, because he/she acts as the addressee for the service of official and/or court documents in the event of any dispute.
The administrative contract is the domain holder's representative with full powers of attorney to act in any matter concerning the domain; he/she is the first point of contact and has extensive powers. Any instructions or job orders issued by the domain's admin-c are executed as such by DENIC or the provider looking after the domain, without any further request for confirmation. Domain holders are thus warned that they should be careful about choosing which individual to enter in DENIC's records as the domain's admin-c. It is possible to check the current entry by using the whois search on DENIC's website.