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police could obtain fast-track power to suspend domain names

16 September 2011

Under recently proposed rules, the police and other authorities may obtain the power to suspend ‘.uk’ domain names, without obtaining a court order, by making a request to Nominet, the UK domain name registry, to prevent ‘serious & immediate consumer harm’.

Whilst Nominet has always held a power of suspension, previously used in cases of incorrect registration, their current regulations do not provide a formal procedure for blocking domain names as a result of criminality.

Some commentators have expressed concern about which agencies will be able to request suspensions, and an appeal process together with a periodic policy review are likely to be required.

It seems likely that new procedures will be introduced, and if so these should provide victims of counterfeiting and copyright infringement with another valuable tool for taking action against online infringers.

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