Legal Challenges Related to the Regulation of a Domain Name System

Marius Kalinauskas, Mantas Barčys

Abstract


Purpose—to review and analyse the problematic aspects related to domain name allocation and further usage processes, highlighting legal regulation of a domain name system.
Design/methodology/approach—based on the comparison analysis of scientific literature, authors discuss problematic issues related to the legal regulation of domain name allocation and usage processes, analyse practical approaches and collision cases in the context of a domain name system. The authors examine the positive and negative aspects of a domain naming system and conflicting regulatory specifics. This paper describes the development of institutional bodies responsible for DNS management, supervision approaches and inner functionality policies.
Findings—the authors examine domain naming system models and dispute resolution mechanisms, their evolution in the context of Internet development and the structural changes of the Internet governance institutions. The authors analyse tendencies related to DNS regulation and the possible effect of new regulation models in practice, while reflecting interests of stakeholders in the subject field.
Research limitations/implications—agreements on the registration of domain names are based on self-regulation principles. A number of different interests may collide when speaking about domain name registration or usage and this issue becomes a major challenge to scientists and lawyers who are seeking an optimal domain-naming regulatory mechanism. The article does not address trademark conflicts within domain names in this respect. This should be considered as an object for separate study, which requires deeper analysis.
Practical implications—the authors review key aspects of the domain name system and describe tendencies for the regulatory models.
Value—the article emphasizes potential domain naming conflicts and disputes concerning the usage of common terms and phrases in order to manipulate information for illicit purposes. The legal and ethical aspect related to the limitation of domain name usage is reviewed when various combinations of top level domains and second level domains may arise due to newly-created generic top-level domain names. The usage of these methods may inflict potential threats for the legitimate interests of institutions, individuals or other legal subjects. The reasonable limitations of domain naming system could possibly help to protect the legal interests of individuals and to secure the legitimate expectations arising from a historical, cultural and legal perspective. The growth and impact of the internet influences global economic, political and business processes. The emerging of internet of things and other adaptations of the technology determine the necessity to liberalize the governance of a domain name system.
Research type—general review, viewpoint.

Keywords


ICANN; Internet Governance; IANA; TLD; gTLD; ccTLD; sTLD; Domain Name System

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"Social Technologies" ISSN online 2029-7564