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Hurricane victims get a renewal pass under ICANN rules

Kevin Murphy, November 20, 2017, 09:09:40 (UTC), Domain Policy

ICANN has given registries and registrars the ability to delay the cancellation of domain names owned by victims of Hurricane Maria and other similar natural disasters.

In a note to contracted parties, published by Blacknight boss Michele Neylon this weekend, Global Domains Division president Akram Atallah said:

registrars will be permitted to temporarily forebear from canceling domain registrations that were unable to be renewed as a result of the natural disaster.

Maria and other hurricanes caused widespread damage to infrastructure in the Caribbean earlier this year — not to mention the loss of life — making it difficult for many people to get online to renew their registrations.

ICANN’s Registrar Accreditation Agreement ties registrars to a fairly strict domain name renewal and expiration life-cycle, but there’s a carve out for certain specified “extenuating circumstances” such as bankruptcy or litigation.

Atallah’s note makes it clear that ICANN considers hurricane damage such a circumstance, so its contractual compliance department will not pursue registrars who fail to expire domains on time when the registrant has been affected by the disaster.

He added that perhaps it’s time for the ICANN community to come up with a standardized policy for handling such domains. There’s already been mailing list chatter of such an initiative.

ICANN is heading to Puerto Rico, which was quite badly hit by Maria, for its March 2018 public meeting.

While attendees have been assured that the infrastructure is in place for the meeting to go ahead, large parts of the island are reportedly still without power.

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Comments (2)

  1. Richard Funden says:

    I wonder how this is supposed to be implemented? Deletions occur automatically, after all.

    • John Berryhill says:

      It’s just a feel-good announcement. It certainly doesn’t stay the 15 day response cycle for WHOIS accuracy complaints, nor the 20 day response cycle for UDRP complaints. In the wake of any disaster, it is always possible to (a) put in WHOIS accuracy complaints which will go unanswered and pick up the domains on the drop, or (b) file UDRP complaints which will likewise default.

Leave a Reply to John Berryhill