In a previous post of November 2018, we reported that PETILLION had challenged projected changes to the .eu top-level domain (TLD) legislative framework that would have a detrimental effect on IP protection and enforcement online.
The EU institutions had proposed amendments to the provisions concerning the 'WHOIS database', a critical resource containing information on .eu domain name holders.
The amendments aimed to abolish the existing distinction between natural and legal persons and to make the publication of all personal data dependent on the domain name holder's explicit consent.
PETILLION sent a letter to the EU institutions, encouraging them to refrain from adopting such provisions, which would impede access to important information for IP protection and enforcement, and instead adopt a text which takes into account existing legitimate interests.
The new .eu Regulation has taken account of these concerns. Article 12 of the Regulation, which deals with the .eu WHOIS database, now sets out a clear purpose for the .eu WHOIS database and incorporates sufficient flexibility for the .eu registry provider to publish the necessary WHOIS data while also complying with the GDPR.
This is a step in the right direction regarding the need to balance the right to the protection of personal data (GDPR) with other (fundamental) rights, such as the right to freedom of expression, access to information, and the protection of consumers and intellectual property.
We keep a close watch on how this new Regulation might play a role in the ongoing work at ICANN for developing a uniform access and accredditation system for access to non-public WHOIS data.