Best Practice Guidelines for ccTLD Managers
A working document of the Best Practices and Redelegation Working Group
of the ccTLD Constituency of the DNSO, part of ICANN
June 12, 2000
Final Draft, for comment by ccTLD Constituency
Table of Contents
1. Objectives of this Document
3. Best Practice
3.1 Status and Responsibilities of ccTLD Managers
3.1.1 Service to the Community
126.96.36.199 Promotion of the Internet
188.8.131.52 Investment in the community
3.2 Registration Policies
3.2.1 Formation and Creation of Policies
3.2.2 Minimum Requirements of Registration Policies
184.108.40.206 Contracts with Registrants
220.127.116.11 Identification of Registrants
18.104.22.168 Fairness 22.214.171.124 Privacy
126.96.36.199 Domain Dispute Resolution
188.8.131.52 Restrictions on Domain Names and Content
3.3 Operational Requirements
3.3.1 Service Quality
3.3.2 Technical Operations
184.108.40.206 Data Security
220.127.116.11 Information to IANA
18.104.22.168 Access to zones 22.214.171.124 Subcontracting
126.96.36.199 Business model
Whilst recognizing that existing managers of ccTLD registries do not necessarily
fully conform to best practice, most of the ccTLD Manager community is
committed to work towards compliance. As ICANN will formalize its relationship
with ccTLD managers in the foreseeable future, there is also a need for
a redelegation procedure.
The Domain Name System structure contains a hierarchy of names. The root,
or highest level, of the system is unnamed. Top Level Domains (TLDs) are
divided into classes, ccTLDs and gTLDs, based on rules that have evolved
over time. ccTLDs - country code Top Level Domains - are associated with
countries and territories. gTLDs are (with some exceptions) generic and
global in nature.
To date, ccTLDs have been assigned to countries and territories using
the ISO-3166-1 list, on the basis that ISO has a procedure for determining
which entities should and should not be on that list. Historically, the
management of ccTLD Registries was delegated by IANA to the existing ccTLD
Managers, under the guidelines originally set out in RFC 1591 and elaborated
upon in ICP-1.
RFC 1591, published in March 1994 by Jon Postel of IANA, is a compendium
of the experience and best practices of the majority of the ccTLD registries
in existence at the time. IPC-1 is an alternative name for a document
entitled "Internet Domain Name System Structure and Delegation", jointly
issued in May 1999 by the then separate ICANN and IANA. IPC-1 contains
a statement of policies then and still followed by the IANA in connection
with ccTLDs, and is thus the most current reference for existing ccTLD
policy and changes to it, which the current document attempts to present.
A list of current
TLD assignments and names of the ccTLD Managers can be accessed at http://www.iana.org/cctld.html
A ccTLD Manager's authority comes from its delegation from IANA and from
serving the Global and Local Internet Community, and from the affirmation
by IANA and the Local Internet Community of that authority. The IANA and
the Local Internet Community, including governmental and other authorities,
have a responsibility to support and protect the ccTLD Registry, and to
assist the ccTLD Manager serve that community.
The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) is the overall authority
for day-to-day administration of the Internet Domain Name System (DNS).
The IANA function is currently located administratively within the Internet
Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). IANA staff carries
out administrative responsibilities for the assignment of IP Addresses,
Autonomous System Numbers, Top Level Domains (TLDs), and other unique
parameters of the DNS and its protocols. This document describes the role
of IANA and the role of managers of country-code Top Level Domains (ccTLD
Managers) in the administration of the DNS with respect to the operation
ICANN/IANA is the international organization charged with supervising
the Internet Domain Name System based as far as possible on constituent
consensus with respect to policies affecting and affected by the DNS.
ICANN's ultimate accountability is for the reliable performance of the
Internet and the broadest dissemination of Internet knowledge, technology,
and development. ICANN will supervise the operations of the ccTLD Managers
and will serve as the dispute resolution forum for complaints against
a ccTLD Manager, or by a ccTLD Manager with respect to any actions deemed
by the ccTLD Manager to affect adversely its operation of the domain.
1. Objectives of this document
To set out areas to be addressed in creating Best Practice Guidelines
for ccTLD Managers.
ccTLD - A country code top level domain in the top level of the global
domain name system, assigned according to the two-letter codes in the
ISO 3166-1 standard codes for the representation of names of countries
ccTLD Registry - The entity which records names as domain names in a register
of domain names for the country-code top level domain name, according
to policies and rules, and following procedures, established with the
Local Internet Community (see below).
ccTLD Manager - A company, organisation or individual managing a ccTLD
Registrant - A company, organisation or individual for whom a name has
been registered as a domain name in the ccTLD domain name register.
ICANN - Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.
IANA - Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (Incorporated into ICANN in
Local Internet Community - The Internet industry and users (e.g. the educational
community, the private sector, Internet societies, individual users, et
al.) and the government and authorities of the state or territory with
which the ccTLD is associated. The definition of the Local Internet Community
may vary from one country/territory to another, and is essentially a matter
for the community in a given country/territory to decide. The definition
of the Local Internet Community should be documented, available for public
inspection, and transparent to the local community. ccTLD Dispute Resolution
Body - a Body, as further defined in Redelegation Procedures, a sister
document to this Best Practices Guidelines, which will function as a panel
to adjudicate disputes concerning the management of a ccTLD or the right
to manage a ccTLD.
3. Best Practice
3.1 Status and Responsibilities
The primary duty of the ccTLD Manager is one of Public Service. The Local
Internet Community, in conjunction with the overall authority of IANA,
is the source of the mandate under which the ccTLD Manager manages and
operates the domain. The Manager's fulfillment of that mandate should
be ensured through an ongoing consultative process with the Local Internet
Community, which should, in turn, result in the protection of the interests
of the Global as well as the Local Internet community.
A ccTLD Manager is therefore a trustee for the delegated domain, and has
a duty to serve the community of the Nation it represents as well as the
global Internet community. Concerns about "rights" and "ownership" of
top-level domains are inappropriate. It is appropriate to be concerned
about "responsibilities" and "service" to the community. The ccTLD manager
should be judged on his or her performance, and the extent to which it
satisfies the needs of the Local and Global Internet communities.
ccTLD Managers are entrusted with the management of the TLD Registry.
Concerns about intellectual or other property rights in names registered
as domain names or as part of domain names are outside the remit of the
No intellectual or other property rights in the 2-character code accrue
to a ccTLD Manager as a result of the act of delegation of the responsibility
for a ccTLD Registry. ccTLD Managers may have rights to the intellectual
and other property developed by them as a by-product of managing the ccTLD
Registry, subsequent to the delegation of such responsibility.
The ccTLD Manager, in the absence of pre-existing arrangements, in consultation
with IANA and the Local Internet Community, and unless agreed otherwise
with the Local Internet Community, and consistent with the requirement
to best serve the interests of the Local Internet Community, should be
resident in the territory of the ccTLD and, if the Manager is a corporation,
the ccTLD Manager should be incorporated there. The ccTLD Manager should
recognize that some of the functions of the registry may be considered
to be a monopoly and should not abuse its special position.
3.1.1 Service to the Community
188.8.131.52 Promotion of the Internet - It is the obligation of the ccTLD
Manager to foster the use of the Internet in the geographical location
associated with the ccTLD's ISO-3166-1 code for which the domain is named.
The Manager should take a leadership role in promoting awareness of the
Internet, access to the Internet, and use of the Internet within the Country.
The ccTLD Manager should develop, over time, a consultative process with
various elements of society including the government, the education interests,
the health care interests, the cultural and other non-commercial interests,
the business interests, and other sectors of society that may be affected
by and which may profit by the use of the Internet, and who together make
up the Local Internet Community.
184.108.40.206 Service - As community service is an essential and central element
in the mandate of a ccTLD, the ccTLD Manager should from time to time,
and depending on its financial situation, identify activities serving
the interests of the local community with respect to the Internet. The
ccTLD Manager should engage with the local community to stimulate broad
usage of the Internet through initiatives such as educational programs,
technical assistance, programs to enhance Internet access opportunities
for residents, identification of innovative benefits to the local community
through the Internet, or other activities as the ccTLD Manager may from
time to time identify as serving the best interests of the local community
with respect to the Internet. As part of its operating agreement with
ICANN, the ccTLD Manager should develop a plan, consistent with its financial
capabilities, for fulfilling its obligations to the Local Internet Community,
including a consultative process interfacing with important elements of
the local society both public and private. In general, the ccTLD Manager
should attempt to provide service at the best level possible.
3.2 Registration Policies
3.2.1 Formation of Policies - Procedures for registration of domain names
should follow policies rules and procedures that have been established
and published in a transparent manner in consultation with the Local Internet
Community, consistent with IANA's requirements.
3.2.2 Minimum requirements for Registration policies
220.127.116.11 ccTLD registries should have a standard contract with Registrants
setting out the expectations and obligations of each party.
18.104.22.168 ccTLD registries should collect the necessary information to ensure
that the Registrant can be authoritatively identified.
22.214.171.124 Fairness - The ccTLD Manager should be equitable and fair to all
eligible registrants that request domain names. Specifically, the same
rules should be applied to all requests and they should be processed in
a non-discriminatory fashion. The policies and procedures for the use
of the domain should be made available for public inspection.
Policies defining which organizations, businesses, individuals, etc. are
eligible to register domain names under the 2-character ccTLD should be
defined by the ccTLD Manager in consultation with the Local Internet Community.
Specifically, the registration of domain names should be based on objective
criteria that are transparent and non-discriminatory. Policies and procedures
may vary from country to due to local customs, cultural values, local
policies and objectives, law and regulations. The definition should be
documented, available for public inspection, and transparent to the Local
Requests from for-profit and non-profit companies and organizations are
to be treated on an equal basis, and no discrimination may be made between
customers or classes of customers based on race, gender, national or ethnic
origin, creed, physical disability, or political affiliation. No bias
shall be shown regarding requests that may come from customers of some
other business related to the ccTLD manager. There can be no stipulation
that a particular application, protocol, or product be used.
126.96.36.199 Privacy - The ccTLD Manager should have a consistently applied
policy on privacy, and that policy should be published.
188.8.131.52 Domain Name Dispute Resolution. ccTLD Managers should define and
publish their domain name dispute resolution policies and procedures,
in consultation with the Local Internet Community. Mechanisms should be
established by the ccTLD Manager to handle fairly and independently any
such disputes arising between registrants, or other parties, and the ccTLD
Manager. Making judgments in relation to disputes between third parties
and domain name registrants are outside the remit of the ccTLD Manager.
The ccTLD Manager should establish and publish rules providing for independent
resolution of domain name disputes consistent with international intellectual
property dispute resolution conventions and otherwise providing for swift,
definitive, and non-discriminatory resolution of disputes. Such rules
may provide for initial action in the best judgment of the ccTLD Manager
exercised in good faith, but such action should be subject to the independent
dispute resolution process. To the extent that the IANA or ICANN determines
a preferred method of resolving domain name disputes, the ccTLD Manager
should conform its practices to such method.
184.108.40.206 Co-operation with law enforcement. A ccTLD Manager receiving a
complaint from a relevant and recognized authority of harmful or illegal
activity being conducted on a website registered with the ccTLD, should
share with that authority information on the holder of the domain name.
3.3 Operational Requirements ccTLD Managers are charged with operation
or supervision of the operation of the DNS service for the domain, including
assignment of domain names, delegation of subdomains, maintenance of the
zone files for the domain, and operation of nameservers.
3.3.1 Service quality: ccTLD registries must register domain names in
an efficient and timely manner.
3.3.2 Technical Operations
220.127.116.11 - Data Security. ccTLD Managers must ensure that all Registry
data is secured against damage or loss using the best technology in prevailing
use for such purposes.
18.104.22.168 The ccTLD Manager supervises the process of registration of domain
names in the registry of the ccTLD, and supervises the operation of the
domain name servers and the maintenance of the appropriate zone files
for the ccTLD. There must be permanent (24-hours per day) Internet Protocol
(IP) connectivity to the name servers and the registry servers. There
should be published e-mail and web address contacts, and these should
be permanently accessible. The ccTLD Manager must do a satisfactory job
of supervising the DNS service for the TLD, and carry out its tasks in
a satisfactory manner with technical competence and with equipment reflecting
at least the state of the art prevailing in the DNS system globally. Duties
such as the assignment of domain names, delegation of subdomains and operation
of nameservers must be done with technical competence. At a minimum, the
ccTLD manager must provide primary and secondary nameservers with 24-hour
Internet Protocol (IP) connectivity to the Internet, 365 days per year,
and operate the database with accuracy, robustness, resilience, and reliability.
(See RFC 1591 and ICP 1).
22.214.171.124 The ccTLD Manager should keep the IANA advised of any changes
to the information concerning the domain that is maintained in the IANA's
register database, and should respond to requests for information from
the IANA relating to the status and technical operations of the domain
in a timely manner.
126.96.36.199 The ccTLD Manager must protect the integrity of its zone(s) and
must make arrangements with IANA to assure continued operation of the
registry, and continued resolution of names within the ccTLD's zone(s),
in case of bankruptcy, illness, acts of God, or any other condition that
threatens the smooth functioning of the ccTLD.
188.8.131.52 Subcontracting of Operations - Unless otherwise agreed with the
Local Internet Community, a ccTLD Manager may contract out any or all
of the operation and administration of a ccTLD Registry, provided that
the ccTLD Manager contractually obliges the sub-contractor to comply with
the requirements of this and any other documents setting down best practices
for ccTLD Managers.
184.108.40.206 ccTLD Managers shall not be limited as to their business model.
220.127.116.11 It is the obligation of the ccTLD Manager to foster the use of
the domain. Because of the many options for domain name registrants, the
marketplace will, in large measure determine the pricing levels for services
of ccTLDs. Nevertheless, the ccTLD Manager should price its services at
such levels as to promote and not limit the use of the domain name and
to be competitive generally with the market. The ccTLD Manager should
not in effect hoard the domain by excessive pricing relative to the market
or otherwise act in a monopolistic fashion. A demonstration of financial
abuse of registrants will be deemed misconduct by a ccTLD Manager.
3.3.4 Governing Law
ccTLD Managers should operate under the law of the country or territory
where they are located. The relationship between Registrants and the ccTLD
Manager (whether by explicit contract or otherwise) should be governed
by the law of the country or territory of the ccTLD.