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ICANN Montevideo Meeting Topic: Registration Transfer Rules

Posted: 27 August 2001

Registration Transfer Rules

"Registration Transfer Rules" is one of the topics on the agenda for the ICANN Public Forum on Sunday, 9 September 2001.

Click here to enter the Public Comment Forum on policy for transfers between registrars of sponsorship of registrations.

The current "Policy on Transfer of Sponsorship of Registrations Between Registrars" is set forth as an exhibit to the Registry-Registrar Agreement for each TLD for which ICANN accredits registrars. (See, for example, Exhibit B to the .com Registry-Registrar Agreement.)

The current policy for transfers of registrations between registrars is based on the goal that domain-name registrants should be protected from unauthorized transfers of their domains, but should be able to change sponsoring registrars when they wish. The policy sets forth the responsibilities the gaining and losing registrars share in determining the desires of the registrant.

Under the policy, the gaining registrar is responsible for:

  • obtaining "express authorization from an individual who has the apparent authority to legally bind the Registered Name holder",
  • retaining "a record of reliable evidence of the authorization",and
  • providing the losing registrar with "a copy of the authorization if and when requested."

The policy lists four circumstances under which a losing registrar may deny a transfer request, but indicates that those are only illustrations of a losing registrar's more general ability to deny transfers in appropriate circumstances.

In recent months, several ICANN-acccredited registrars have complained about the transfer process. Some registrars have complained that gaining registrars do not adequately verify that registrants wish to transfer their registrations. Other registrars have complained that losing registrars are improperly refusing transfers requested by registrants.

These complaints were presented to the operator of the .com, .net, and .org registries (VeriSign Global Registry Services), which sought guidance from ICANN on how to proceed. In a letter dated 27 August 2001, ICANN's General Counsel reviewed the requirements of the present policy. That letter explains the legal interpretation of the current policy, but also notes that there is a significant opportunity for codes of practice or agreements between or among registrars to promote a more certain, better understood, transfer mechanism. Alternatively, it may be appropriate to develop a revised policy for transfer of sponsorship of registrations through ICANN's consensus-development process.

For further background information concerning this issue, please review the following correspondence:

And these position papers:

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