The EU institutions are in the process of revising the existing legislative framework concerning the .eu top-level domain (TLD).
Apart from changes to the .eu governance structure, administrative requirements and the eligibility criteria for registration, the revision also includes proposed changes to the provisions concerning the 'WHOIS database'.
The proposed amendments threaten to unduly restrict the available information in this database, with potential detrimental effects on various legitimate public and third party interests, including online brand protection.
The WHOIS database contains information on .eu domain names and their holders. The publicly available identity and contact information of domain name holders in the .eu WHOIS database is not only important to verify whether and by whom a specific .eu domain name is, or was, registered, but also serves a number of other vital legitimate interest purposes, such as law enforcement, consumer protection, intellectual property enforcement and cybersecurity.
As the .eu TLD serves as a principal example for compatibility with the EU data protection framework, the adoption of the proposed amendments could set a dangerous precedent for other TLDs looking for guidance.
In its letter, PETILLION encourages the EU authorities to refrain from adopting the currently proposed amendments and instead adopt a text which takes into account existing legitimate interests.
We also wrote an article on the projected changes to the .eu TLD Regulations and their impact on online brand protection in World Intellectual Property Review (WIPR). Read the article here.