RealTime IT News

Spain Fences Out ".es" Squatters

In a move favoring companies and discouraging URL speculation, Spain's Development Ministry wrought radical changes in the way firms register under the ".es" domain.

The new regulations are a blow to third parties hoping to register a known company name and sell it off to its "rightful owner" for astronomical sums. In addition to reserving use its own name, a single company will soon be able to register several online names without some of the bureaucratic obstacles of the past.

Under the new regulations, individuals will also have the right to register their given names, albeit as "subdomains." This process is expected to take close to 10 months.

"The point here is to protect the rights of companies and other legally established public and private organizations to use their own names, as well as other firm names and legally established trademarks," Communications secretary general José Manuel Villar Uribarri told the business daily Cinco Dias.

The Development Ministry will become the new authority on domain name registration, coordinating the process with Spain's Trade Registry and the Spanish Patent and Trademark Office. The ministry's Domain Names Advisory Board will involve Net user representatives, ISP associations, telecommunications associations, and other agents of Internet development.

In their quest for a local domain name, many Spanish companies have gone beyond local red tape to establish URLs endowed with the ubiquitous ".com." The government has expressed its intent to make new regulations a balancing force between security and flexibility.

While consumers will reserve the right to solicit domain names by themselves, they will also have the option of going through newly authorized "registration agents." The ministry is still preparing the educational requirements and guidelines for obtaining an agent license.

The new regulations are expected to be in force within four months.