In June, the Information Technology and Broadcasting Bureau of the Hong Kong government issued a consultation paper inviting the public to comment on the future arrangements for the administration and assignment of Internet domain names and IP addresses in Hong Kong. Currently, Hong Kong ccTLD's (i.e.".hk") are administered by the Hong Kong Network Information Centre (HKNIC) under the Joint Universities Computer Centre (JUCC). IP addresses are allocated by the Hong Kong members of the Asia Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC), who are generally the larger ISPs in Hong Kong. These larger ISPs distribute the IP addresses to smaller ISPs and end-users.
The consultation paper puts forward, for public comment, a number of recommendations of the taskforce set up to consider the issues. Some of the recommendations of particular interest are highlighted below.
- a non-profit making organisation should be spun-off from JUCC to handle the administration of domain names in the future;
- fees should be imposed for the renewal of domain names;
- organisations should be permitted to register more than one domain name under ".hk";
- individuals residing in Hong Kong should be allowed to register one domain name in a new second-level category under ".hk";
- second-level domain categories for a particular domain name application should correspond to the applicant's nature of business (i.e. ".net" for network providers);
- domain names should be transferable based on valid grounds;
- domain names of famous international trade marks, service marks and brand names to be included in a 'reserved list.' The reserved list to be drawn up by reference to reserved lists prepared by other ccTLD registration authorities;
- upon making an application for a domain name, the applicant should declare that to the best of its knowledge the domain name applied for does not infringe upon third party intellectual property rights;
- an alternative dispute resolution mechanism for ".hk" domain name disputes should be developed, with unsuccessful registrants having the right to appeal against the decision to the Hong Kong courts within a specified time.