This is a statement of Public Interest Registry’s position with regard to demands and requests for the takedown of domains registered in our .ngo and .ong registries, referred to collectively here as “.ngo|.ong”.
Public Interest Registry, as a registry operating as a nonprofit corporation, has a special obligation to serve the public interest. Public Interest Registry knows that the Internet is making a difference in people’s lives, and particularly in countries that are moving towards greater democracy and freedom. This is especially true through the work of the global Non-Governmental Organisation (“NGO”) community.
Public Interest Registry believes that domain registrants are entitled to due process when domains are the subject of claims of violation of law. Every registrant of a domain name in .ngo|.ong has a contract with the registrar of its name. Among the provisions required in this contract is the following:
“[Registrant] acknowledge[s] and agree[s] that Public Interest Registry reserves the right to deny, cancel or transfer any registration or transaction, or place any domain name(s) on registry lock, hold or similar status, that it deems necessary, in its discretion; (1) to protect the integrity and stability of the registry; (2) to comply with any applicable laws, government rules or requirements, requests of law enforcement, or any dispute resolution process; (3) to avoid any liability, civil or criminal, on the part of Public Interest Registry, as well as its affiliates, subsidiaries, officers, directors, and employees; (4) per the terms of the registration agreement or (5) to correct mistakes made by Public Interest Registry or any Registrar in connection with a domain name registration. Public Interest Registry also reserves the right to place upon registry lock, hold or similar status a domain name during resolution of a dispute.”
When law enforcement agencies require action in connection with.ngo|.ong domains, Public Interest Registry cooperates to the fullest extent consistent with the Principles and Goals of the Internet Society and the legal obligations of Public Interest Registry as manager of top level domain registries. For purposes of transparency, a record of law enforcement seizure demands is kept on Public Interest Registry web site.
Public Interest Registry is a U.S. Company subject to U.S. law. When a U.S. Court Order requires a domain(s) to be locked, Public Interest Registry is required to lock the domain and will keep it locked until further order of the Court, including before, during and after auto-renewal. Due to the sheer volume of court orders Public Interest Registry must comply with, our policy is that Public Interest Registry does not issue refunds when renewal fees are incurred as a result of court orders.
Third party NGO or governmental organizations (including law enforcement authorities) may invoke Public Interest Registry’s Restrictions Dispute Resolution Policy (“RDRP”) when they maintain that domains registered in .ngo|.ong do not meet the eligibility criteria for validating domains in .ngo|.ong. Public Interest Registry adheres to decisions rendered by the National Arbitration Forum pursuant to the RDRP, including decisions that cancel registrations of domains in .ngo|.ong. Public Interest Registry also responds to the orders of courts with jurisdiction over Public Interest Registry.
Since registration of domains in .ngo|.ong are technically “bundled,” if Public Interest Registry takes such action(s) against domains registered in the .ngo TLD, the same action(s) will necessarily be taken against the corresponding domains registered in the .ong TLD (and vice-versa) even if the corresponding domain is not directly implicated in any such Court Orders or law enforcement initiative.