pre-Nominet Domain links
(add your names here)
read the legal notice at the bottom of this page before taking any action
based on any information contained on this site.
|Do you "own" a pre-nominet name?
You can tell if your name was in use before Nominet took over from the naming committee by looking up your details on the Nominet Whois. If your name has no Registered on: date and no Renewal: date shown then it is probable that your name was Registered pre-Nominet.
|What does Nominet
propose to do about names created before it was?
Simple, they are going to take any domains you own away from you and then rent them back to you on their terms!
If you don't like that and won't agree, then they will delete the domains and may rent them to someone else.
Also, if you do sign Nominet's contract you will be vunerable to their dispute resolution procedure where your continued renting of the domain can be challenged quite easily for a fee of only £750. Nominet's website says "As a result of a DRS decision, Nominet has the power to transfer, cancel or suspend the Domain Name registration".
As we have already had to fight a number of legal actions to retain our "pre-Nominet" names we are particularily concerned at this last point, so we have explained our concerns to Nominet and have offered to pay an appropriate fee for the retention of our names and DNS server addresses in the root server but we have declined to sign their current terms and conditions.
Nominet have replied and in effect said that unless we accept their contract as it stands they will remove our domain name from the root server and the registry. Also that they would offer the domain name/s on a first come first served basis to any registrant that will sign their contract.
|What is Nominet's
authority for this action?
In the Pitman case the Lord Chancellor simply says "When on 1st August 1996 Nominet U.K. took over the allocation of domain names from the Naming Committee..."
No comment is made as to what basis or on what authority this was done. So we checked further, the first stop was Nominet's web site to see what they had to say.
Nominet's Memorandum of Association says this:
1. The name of the Company is "NOMINET UK".
2. The Registered Office of the Company will be in England.
3. The objects for which the Company is established are:
3.1 to act as the Network Information Centre for the United Kingdom and manage and control the use of the Internet domain ".UK";
3.2 subject to all necessary consents, and to the co-operation of the governmental and non-governmental organisations concerned, to manage and control the use of sub-domains under the Internet domain ".UK" (whether directly or by means of sub-contracts, agents or any other means);
3.3 to establish, publish and administer rules for the use of the domain and sub-domains referred to in clauses 3.1 and 3.2;
3.4 to maintain a register of Internet domain names;
3.5 to establish and implement procedures for authorising changes to the register;
3.6 to provide facilities for searching the register; and
3.7 to operate a domain name service;
in each case on a commercial basis.
We then asked Nominet what consents they had received and from whom. The answer we received suprised us not a little, their reply was along the lines of:
" the Naming committe were just glad to get rid of what had become a full time job, no official authority or consent was given".
When we pressed further and asked if there was any legislation that had been passed to authorise them the answer was again no.
The reply was "No, but the Government knows about us and they like us because we have taken a problem off their plate".
So it would appear that Nominet UK have no authority whatsoever to claim rights over domain names registered before they even existed, in fact they do not seem to have any authority at all, other than the powers they receive when someone agrees to their terms and conditions!
In fact they are just another trading company with two differences, they have a monopoly and they think it is o.k. to use that monopoly position to threaten to force registrants of pre-nominet names to give up rights to their own property.
Just imagine if you had bought a new telephone and a new phone company came along claiming monopoly rights and said "if you want to use our network you must give us your phone and pay us a rental for it." What would your reaction be?
|What are pre-Nominet
When the internet first started to operate people applied to their own ISP for a domain name and the ISP would forward the proposed name to the "Naming Committee" for consideration. If no objection was received from any member of the committee within six days then the name was registered. The registrant or "owner"of the name did not pay a fee to the naming committee but often paid a substantial amount to the ISP for registering the name. The procedure was described in the Pitman case judgement. Nominet UK took over from the "Naming Committee in August 1996.
|Who is Nominet
Nominet UK is the body currently attempting to control the UK namespace.
Their web site says:
"Nominet UK is the registry for .uk internet names. We manage the authoritative database of .uk domain name registrations.
We are a not-for-profit company and have members instead of shareholders. Nominet is officially recognised as the .uk domain name registry by the internet industry, users and the UK Government."
The bold highlighting is ours, of course. We have requested evidence of this official recognition but so far have seen none. We have been told by an officer of Nominet UK that there is none but that the Government "knows about us".
(Incidentally I find it rather difficult to understand how a user can "officially recognise" a company?)
You will also find the following statement on the Nominet UK website on the "Legal Statements" page: "We are not a regulatory or governing body"
|Why don't we just
agree to Nominet's terms and conditions, surely their terms and conditions
can't be that bad?
A very sensible question. During the last eight years we have spent many thousands of pounds fighting three legal battles against predatory companies who claimed prior rights to certain of our pre-Nominet domain names and wanted them taken away from us.
It was money we have had to divert from growing our company but fortunately we won in each case. The market capitalisation of the parent companies of the last two companies that tried to stop us using one particular pre-Nominet name were CAN$2.5 billion and US$289 million respectively.
When we won the last case we breathed a sigh of relief. We thought, we own the domain name, the limited company and the trade mark, we can now relax and go back to doing business. (silly aren't we!)
Then along came Nominet with the demand that we sign their terms and conditions and effectively hand ownership of the names to them so that they can rent them back to us on a two yearly basis, and if we do not pay their charges whatever they may be and for whatever reason, the names can be taken away from us.
Also if someone wishes to challenge our rights to the name then we have to submit to Nominet's dispute resolution proceedure. We raised this question with Nominet and they responded that it would not be possible to make a special case for us. We suggested that probably a large number of the best domain names would have been snapped up early, before Nominet's appearance on the scene, and that we doubted that we were the only people with concerns. Nominet refused to tell us how many other names were affected.
|What can you do about
Join us, we need all the help we can get! Please send an email to:
telling us how you can help.
What do we intend to do?
We have absolutely no wish to waste either our or Nominet's time,
money or energy on this matter but we feel we have no option but to tilt
at this particular windmill. But we do it reluctantly because the horse
is old, the armour is rusty and dented and we are well aware of the
old saying that the moment you mention the word principles to a solicitor
they look it up
in a dictionary
|Who are we?
We are Net Services International Limited, members of Nominet (our tag is NSI), we are a privately owned ISP established in 1996. If you would like to know more you can follow this link to our pre-Nominet domain name web site http://www.netservices.co.uk, well at least until Nominet pulls the plug on it! If that link does go then please follow the link at the top of the left hand column above, that should always work.
|A personal statement
It is with great reluctance that I have built this site. I have no wish to enhance my solicitor's already massive pension fund any further by paying even more fees to defend the domain names we "own". Also I have no wish to waste Nominet's time and money as I feel the organization has enough problems to deal with already.
I believe it is essential that the UK namespace is organized efficiently so that individuals and businesses in the UK can reap the maximum benefit from the internet to improve everyone's lives and the economy without having to waste time on the supporting services that need to operate behind the scenes.
Unfortunately the self-appointed operator of the UK namespace Nominet UK seems to have lost the plot, actually I don't think they ever knew what it was because the catalogue of faulty decisions starts way back to the basis on which the company was formed in the first place. But then that is just my personal view.
We believe the information on this site to be true but it is currently incomplete as we are waiting for permission to publish other documents. The site may also contain unintentional errors of fact, if you are aware of any errors then do please let us know so that we may correct them.
We would strongly advise that you do not take any action based on the information on this site without first obtaining independent legal advice about how these issues could affect your own circumstances.