Publications and Newsletters


A new step toward a logical system to domain name registration in Argentina results in a tough blow for cyber pirates

1- Introduction
At first, the purpose of NIC Argentina was that the process to obtain a domain name were as easy, free and irrestrictive as possible. For this reason, the registration mechanism was not assigned to any private agency but remained under the state scope.

Those who have closely followed the evolution of the system of domain name registration in Argentina still recall those times when no formality whatsoever was requested for registration. Only was it necessary to enter some name – either real or invented. It was neither required to state, nor by any means, give evidence of any legal and/or factual qualifications or a real domicile.

Thus, up to now, we could see that minors under 12 years of age and fictitious entities have made an unrestrained registration of domain names, thus leading to a legal chaos, since apart from the inconveniences to locate such an entity or person, in many cases, the domicile submitted did not exist.

Soon after, NIC Argentina amended this situation by way of a circular letter requesting to put in order those domain names owned by fictitious entities. As well, the statement of some personal identification number began to be an obligation.

However, there was another problem: domain names had no expiration date, thus year after year numerous quantities of registrations were being added to the data bases, while many others remained in force. This situation was solved two years later when it was decided that Internet domains would expire annually, but their renewal – as their registration – keeps being free of charge.

Up to this date, two main issues pose trouble to those trademark owners who have attempted to protect their rights in the Internet in Argentina: one is the lack of formality of the registration – as far as gratuitiousness and unlimited amount are concerned; the other important problem is that there is still no specific legislation to rule over conflicts of ownership of domain names. Thus, trademark owners are compelled to start a lengthy and highly expensive judicial process, which greatly differs from that of the international system established by WIPO, being the latter extremely affordable in terms of costs and time.

2 - The new resolution
NIC Argentina has presented a solution to the former cited problems by means of a new resolution, No. 203/2009, related to the faculty of a registrant to register domain names.

The mentioned resolution restricts, in principle, the amount of Internet domains to be registered by a person (either natural or juridical) up to 200. Said figure may only be increased by a formal application for each new domain name, in which the applicant should state the reason why it is considered necessary to obtain more domain names than the amount previously fixed, and also to show a legitimate interest over same.

As well and in attempt to gradually correct the bases of domain names in Argentina, said resolution states that a registrant may, in principle, renew two hundred domains. Thus, it is expected that in a reasonable lapse of one year, the amount of registered and valid domain names be drastically reduced.

The truth is that the gratuitousness of domain names in Argentina has caused that 884 entities requesting registration (less than 1 per cent of the total amount of the entities) owned some 25 per cent of the registered domain names in force, approximately 450,000, and had, as well, some 200,000 applications pending of registration.

In this way, NIC Argentina has given a tough blow to those cyber pirates who traded with the registration of domain names of third parties to later sell them for small sums or else drop them before facing a judicial claim.

3 - Next steps to be taken
Although we know that said resolution is extremely praiseworthy and hence we support and welcome same, we believe there is a long way ahead as far as the regulatory aspect is concerned, to allow that the system of domain name registration in Argentina may be able to face piracy of domain names.

The first step to be taken, and on an urgent basis, is that of fixing some fees for registrations and renewals. It is evident that the gratitious nature of said procedures encourages the unselective registration – two hundred registrations are still a very high amount – and does not allow to determine with the necessary certainty requested by our courts who the actual registrant has been.

Payment of fees for registration will compel registrant to duly identify itself  before NIC Argentina, whether in person at the time payment is made at any banking office of the country or through a credit card issued by an entity authorized by the Argentine Central Bank. The increase in the registration costs would discourage speculative traders to apply for an irrestrictive number of domain names.

On the other hand, it is necessary that a legal regulation be issued to solve those conflicts related to the ownership of a domain name. At present, NIC Argentina, which depends on the National Executive Power, openly declares itself incompetent to solve conflicts between parties. The same situation is found in trademark cases where the settlement of disputes lies under the judicial scope. As conflicts for domain names lack of an established regulation, our judges are compelled to rule, according to the particular case, by analogy with other legal provisions, such as the Trademark Law or the law that governs the right to a person’s own name.

Therefore, it is imperative that the Argentine Congress immediately devotes to the issuance of a law to allow the settlement of this type of conflicts with the necessary celerity. At that moment, the results reached by the use of the policy to solve conflicts with domain names applied by ICANN should be seriously taken into account. Said policy was adopted by numerous countries worldwide as well as in Latin America. Our judges have frequently reverted to said policy to settle, up to this date, those disputes related to domain names.