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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

NiRA adopts brand protection strategies for .ng

Based on the avalanche of travails being meted out to Internet users by the ‘internet terrorist’ exploits, the Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NiRA) has adopted strategies to protect brand names on the country code Top Level Domain (TLD), dot ng.

This was the position of NiRA through its president, Mr. Ndukwe Kalu, following a successful resolution of domain name controversy concerning telecommunications giant, MTN Nigeria Communications Limited and a purported staff of GS Telecoms.

It would be recalled that Mtn.com.ng was first registered in 2004 under GS Telecoms by a staff of the company then.

According to MTN, large sums had always been demanded for the return of the domain to telco, which it had resisted steadfastly. Thus, he said, the outcome was that for Nigerian MTN it is known with mtnonline.com, whereas a trip then to mtn.com.ng
showcases an expired parked page.

Consequently, Kalu noted that when the matter was reported to NIRA, proper documentation of the request was made and it took about 72 hours to get the domain redelegated back to MTN Nigeria, after giving the then contacts 48 hours to respond to the request and allegation made by MTN Nigeria.

“Today, Nigerians can be proud to visit MTN Nigeria on mtn.com.ng,” he declared.
Also, he pointed out that there have been similar cases of even domains held at ransom by web host entities for state governments especially when there is a change of government.

“We saw that in Imo state and some other states. Most recent is that of Edo State, but consistently, NIRA’s position is that domains cannot be held for any dispute resolution,” he said.

NiRA president explained that since domains are a matter of rights, only those who have rights to such domains could hold on to same.

“Any service provider who feels aggrieved as to non-settlement of commercial obligation can seek legal redress,” he advised.

This, of course, he said, is different from a formal legal transfer of these rights in a sale or other transactions.

He cautioned domaineers, that the only space available to play in is the generic word market place with no infringement on Internet Protocol (IP) or brand rights.
Nigeria, he predicted, is truly on the path to a safe and happy Internet with these policies.

Kalu, also said that his group has established name server component that is of global standard by deploying Anycast.

In computing, a name server also called ‘nameserver’ is made up of a programme or computer server that implements a name-service protocol, which usually connects a human-recognisable identifier of a host, for example, the domain name ‘nira.org’ to its computer-recognisable identifier such as the Internet Protocol (IP) address (145.97.39.155).

“For the name server component, NIRA has put in place a global network of Anycast Name servers working with partners who have also served countries like the United Kingdom (UK), Germany and Canada to name a few,” he said.

He noted that one of the partners in the deployment of Anycast already works with domain managers with over 30 million domains.

“So, our Anycast servers would provide local Domain Name Servers (DNS) response in over 25 locations, 15 countries and five continents,” he said.

He explained that what this meant to an ordinary citizen is that anyone in London sending a query to the .ng ccTLD would be replied by an Anycast server in London and other cities mentioned, citing an instance, that in Nigeria, this would be first available in Lagos and subsequently in some other cities.

“This Anycast system and the associated diversity of the name server deployment far exceeds best practice and guarantees 100 per cent availability of the Nigerian Name Service,” he said.

Kalu also highlighted that the registry system component is based on COCCA, a system that has been tested to handle over 10 million records, and is currently in use for over 4 million records.

“It has been deployed with multiple redundancies to ensure that registration and zone update does not go offline. Our registry system is hosted locally in Nigeria with redundancy both in and outside Nigeria and supports real-time registrations.

This would make the .ng domain one of the few registries in the world supporting real-time registrations,” he said.

As said by him, the full local test has been on since October 1, 2008, with registrars joining in the test, with the system ready to go live.

Stressing that while the technical infrastructure was being put in place, registrars were being accredited to offer first class service to registrants.

“In all four Platinum, one Gold, seven Silver and 17 standard registrars were accredited to bring the number of pioneer accredited registrars to 29. Of these accredited registrars three have locations outside Nigeria, specifically in the United States (US), UK and Senegal with one being an the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) accredited registrar,” he said.


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