The administration of the .au domain (auDA) announced new auDA rules that will change the eligibility, assignment, and registration and renewal requirements for the .au domain. These will come into effect on April 12, 2021 and can be accessed here.
The auDA administers and develops the rules for domain names in the country code top-level domain .au (ccTLD).
The new auDA rules are similar to the currently published policies, the changes generally affect:
the eligibility and allocation of .au domain names
the terms and conditions of .au domain names
the complaints process, and
auDA management and compliance with auDA rules.
Major updates include:
“Australian” presence criteria
A registrant of a domain name under the .au ccTLD must currently meet the eligibility criteria set out in Appendices A and C (com.au) and Appendix E (net.au) of the Eligibility Policy Rules. and domain name allocation for open 2LDs. Foreign entities using an Australian brand will currently meet the eligibility criteria on the basis that the â€œAustralianâ€ presence could be â€œclosely and substantially relatedâ€ to the brand.
From April 12, 2021, registered or renewed domain names will be subject to updated eligibility criteria, including the criteria for having an â€œAustralianâ€ presence. The â€œAustralianâ€ presence criteria limit foreign entities to relying solely on an Australian trademark application or registration to meet these criteria. If you have an existing com.au or net.au domain that is based on an Australian brand in order to meet â€œAustralianâ€ presence criteria, your domain name â€œmust matchâ€ the brand. The domain name must include all words in the order in which they appear in the trademark application or registration, excluding DNS identifiers, punctuation marks, articles and ampersands.
To apply or renew a domain name that does not exactly match the Australian brand, you will need to select an alternate basis on which the domain name meets the â€œAustralianâ€ presence criteria. For example, the domain name can be transferred to a legal person meeting the presence criteria. Any transfer must be made before April 12, 2021, a domain name transfer can only take place between two entities eligible to own it.
State and territory namespace
The increase in the number of eligible applicants will allow state and territory agencies to register com.au and net.au domain names.
The new auDA rules for org.au domain names have been changed to include only non-profit entities. Unincorporated associations will not be eligible for an org.au domain name. However, unincorporated associations that are registered with an Australian charitable and non-profit commission remain eligible.
Sale, rental or leasing of .au domain names
The sale, rental or leasing of com.au, net.au, asn.au and subdomains to third parties is prohibited under the new auDA rules. However, the exception is when the domain name is registered for use by a related legal person.
Related legal person exception
Businesses can apply for and hold com.au and net.au domain names on behalf of a related legal person, where the related legal person has an â€œAustralianâ€ presence. The related legal person exception does not apply to a registrar or an edu.au domain name.
The new auDA rules introduced a four-level complaints process:
review of a decision of the registrar
internal review of the auDA decision, and
For .au domain names expiring after April 12, 2021, the auDA rules in place at the time of registration (or last renewal) will apply until the current domain expiration date, on which the new auDA rules will apply upon renewal. It is recommended that entities review their domain portfolios and ensure compliance with the new AuDA rules by April 12, 2021.