China’s New Domain Name Administration Rules
The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) issued the finalized Measures on the Administration of Internet Domain Names (Measures) on 24 August 2017. The new Measures will commence operation on 1 November 2017.
The new Measures will replace the old Measures on the Administration of Internet Domain Names which have been implemented for 13 years since 2004.
The new Measures include six chapters, respectively, General Rules, Domain Name Administration, Domain Name Services, Supervision and Inspection, Penalties and Supplementary. The notable amendments are summarized as the following aspects:
1) Division of responsibilities of MIIT and provincial MIIT offices
According to the new Measures, MIIT supervises and administers the national domain name services, and provincial (autonomous regional/municipal) MIIT offices supervise those domain name services in their own administrative area. In the past, establishment of Internet domain name registration administration agencies (registries) and domain name registration service agencies (registrars) was approved by MIIT. From 1 November, such establishment will be approved by provincial MIIT offices. The Measures stipulate that anyone applying for establishment of a domain name registry or registrar should file an application with provincial MIIT office.
2) Domain name service approval
Following the Scheme for the Registration System Reform of Registered Capital issued by the State Council and commencing operation on 7 February 2014, the new Measures removed the original requirements on registered capital imposed on registries and registrars. Under the old rules, the registered capital of domain name registries and registrars should not be less than RMB1 million. Although the limitation on registered capital is removed, the Measures additionally require the applicants’ good credit records and ability to verify authentic identity information and protect personal information.
3) Domain name registration services
The Measures stipulate that domain name registries should carry out domain name registration services, through domain name registrars approved by the MIIT offices, and registrars should provide services within the licensed scope but not provide registration services for those registries which are not approved by MIIT. Further, the Measures require both registries and registrars to set up corresponding emergency backup system within the territory of China and regularly back up domain name registration data.
4) Domain name registration information and personal information protection
The Measures refined the requirements on registration of domain name details. As per the Measures, the registrars should require domain name applicants to provide the domain name holder’s authentic, accurate and complete identity information, and then verify the authenticity and integrity of the information provided by them. If any of the information changes, it should be registered with the registrar within 30 days. The Measures also require the registries and registrars to store and protect the users’ personal information, and prohibit any disclosure of personal information without the user’s consent.
5) Governmental supervision and legal liabilities
The Measures stipulate that any agencies engaging in domain name services should accept and coordinate the supervision and inspection of MIIT offices and regularly report their business operation to MIIT offices. Any violation of the Measures will be warned or stopped by MIIT offices, or a fine of more than RMB10,000 but less than RMB30,000 may be imposed, subject to the specific situation. Further, any violation of the Measures and according penalty will be incorporated into the credit records.
It seems for now that websites hosted on foreign servers would not be affected by the Measures. We will keep an eye on implementation and enforcement of the new rules and any further implementing rules that may be issued by MIIT and/or other authorities in the near future.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Yu Du
Yu Du is a Partner in the MMLC Group.
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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.