Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NiRA)

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EXTENSIBLE PROVISIONING PROTOCOL (EPP) CODE OR AUTHORISATION KEY: A SAFEGUARD AGAINST ILLEGAL DOMAIN TRANSFER

Should a registrant wish to transfer his/her domain name from one registrar to another, the registrant requires the Extensible Provisioning Protocol (EPP) Code. The EPP Code is the authorization key provided by your current registrar for your domain and required by your new registrar to complete the transfer for a domain name. You must obtain the EPP code from your current registrar to facilitate the transfer of your domain name.

The EPP Code also known as authorization code, or transfer code is the domain key to safeguard your domain name against hijackers; the code provides an extra security measure against unauthorized transfers of domain names. The EPP code is unique to that domain name. It protects your right as a domain name registrant and it ensures that you have permission to transfer your domain from one registrar to another.

The EPP code is usually a 6-16-bit combination of alpha-numeric characters assigned by the domain registrar. Registrars are contractually required to provide the code upon a registrant’s request; it is not possible to initiate a domain name transfer without an EPP code.

All Registrants must take note and understand the importance of the EPP code for the safety of their domain names. For .ng domain names, there are two (2) ways to transfer a .ng domain name from one registrar to another:

  1. The domain registrant needs to contact the domain registrar on record with the intention to transfer the domain name to another registrar. The proposed registrar will manually initiate the domain transfer request on the .ng Registry Platform and send a follow-up email with a proof of authorisation to initiate the domain transfer. The losing registrar has a period of 7 days to accept the request or reject the transfer request. Usually, if the registrant does not owe the registrar, the registrar would provide the EPP code within this stipulated time otherwise the request would automatically be cancelled after the 7th day.
  2. The second way to transfer the domain is to get the domain EPP code from the registrar on file. This can be requested from the registrar or copied from the domain client account login on the registrar’s platform. The code would be sent to the new registrar for the domain transfer.

Registrants are advised to take extreme care when they obtain the EPP code from their registrar for their domain transfer. With EPP code and human intervention, anyone can transfer the domain name. Exposing the code to an unauthorised person could lead to a hijack of the domain. You need to note that the EPP Code is one of the safeguards against the unauthorised transfer of domains and protects your rights over your domain names.

PRESIDENT BUHARI APPROVES THE APPOINTMENT OF MRS MONI UDOH AS PERMANENT SECRETARY

The President, Muhammadu Buhari GCFR recently approved the appointment of twelve (12) new Permanent Secretaries. The appointment was announced by a Press Release from the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation on the 16th of June 2020. Among the twelve new Permanent Secretaries is Mrs Moni Udoh. The press release stated that the swearing-in and deployment will be announced in due course. NiRA congratulates Mrs Moni Udoh and other newly appointed  Permanent Secretaries and wishes them all the best in their respective new roles.

TECHNOLOGY IS THE MAINSTAY

As the world gradually reopens albeit slowly and cautiously with restrictions in place, the importance of Technology and the urgent need to position solutions in every sphere of human endeavour, are topics on the front burner.

Meetings, by default, now hold virtually and face-to-face engagements are very limited. Businesses have had to respond to new challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We must say that we are impressed with the ongoing responses. People have become innovative and creative in their responses to the COVID-19 challenge.

Google started off in the second quarter of 2020 by providing Google Meet Video Conference Service free to those who wish to use the facility. Then by June 2020, Google released news of their noise-cancelling AI for meetings. This delightful innovation silences everything else but our voices in meetings. Courier companies are cashing out; providing food and household essentials. Hospitals are setting up virtual systems for consultations, and schools have gone online. It was heart-warming to hear that in Lagos State in Nigeria, a donation of 20,000 digital appliances has just been announced, in support of learning in government-owned schools.

Throughout the periods of lockdown and partial lift of the lockdown in Nigeria, NiRA has continued to provide sterling support to all. The NiRA Accredited Registrars have continued to provide .ng domain registration services and domain hosting. The systems and applications have continued to be the foundation on which most was providing online services to their clients.

There is no doubt that Technology has become a pillar for stabilising the world in these uncertain times and that as it responds to various needs, innovating quickly, it will take its rightful place as the mainstay of global development.

Muhammed Rudman

President, NiRA

WHAT TRADEMARK OWNERS NEED TO KNOW TO AVOID DOMAIN NAME CYBERSQUATTING

Cybersquatting (also known as domain squatting), is registering, trafficking in, or using an Internet domain name with bad faith, intending to profit from the goodwill of a trademark belonging to someone else.

According to the Nigerian Cybercrime Act 2015, Cybersquatting is prohibited and a criminal offence. The Act states that any person who intentionally takes or makes use of a name, business name, trademark, domain name or other word or phrase which was already registered, owned or in use by another individual, or corporate body, or belonging to either the Federal, State or Local Governments in Nigeria, on the internet or any other computer network, without the necessary authority, and for the purpose of interfering with their use by the owner, registrant or legitimate prior user, commits an offence under this Act and shall be Cybersquatting. They shall be liable, on conviction, to imprisonment for a term of not more than 2 years or a fine of not more than N5,000,000.00 or to both fine and imprisonment. There have been several discussions on the effectiveness and adequacy of the Act. But that discussion is not for this platform.

The enactment of the law and consequent application of the penalty should be sufficient to scare any domain squatter trying to engage in domain squatting, but the reality is that there are still some persons out there perpetrating the act of domain squatting. There are some who want to benefit from the hard work of others by trying to use their brands as a launchpad for their own business. People need to respect the work of others and desist from infringing on the right of others.

Trademark owners should be aware of the Nigerian Cybercrime Act 2015 and the importance of registering their trademark as a domain name and it could prevent domain squatting and help promote brand protection.

The Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NiRA) has many policies that govern its operations. One of such policies is the NiRA (.ng) Domain Name Policy,  which states that domain registration is on a first-come, first-served basis and section 4.1 of the NiRA General Registration Policy states, "It is the Registrant’s obligation and responsibility to ensure that all Registration Information, as defined in the Registrant Agreement, is up-to-date, complete and accurate. Any update of Registration Information must be done through the Registrant’s Registrar of record unless otherwise permitted by NIRA". But also, the NiRA policies recognise the right of the owner of a trademark or tradename obtained from the Trademarks, Patent & Design Office, Federal Ministry Industry, Trade and Investment (FMITI).

The Trademark owner should take note of the following and register their domain name:

It’s easier to avoid being the victim of a domain squatter. Here are some tips to assist to prevent such situations  in the future:

  1. Contact a NiRA Accredited Registrar via https://www.nira.org.ng/accredited-registrars for the .ng domain name of your choice.

  2. Domain Name registration is on a first come first served basis 
    Squatters are always out to register popular names in order to profit from the names later. The bonafide owner of such a name might not be able to retrieve it or might have to part with a huge amount of money to acquire the name.

  3. Register the domain you want before you need it
    Register the .ng domain name you want on the portal of your NiRA Accredited Registrar. It has been proven that domain squatters often buy recently searched domain names in the hopes of selling it to the original searcher.

  4. Register similar names
    Consider buying domains with multiple extensions, on other TLDs, to prevent squatters from buying them. Research common misspellings of your domain and consider registering them as well. This is also a form of brand protection.

How to reclaim your .ng  domain name

If you believe a domain name infringes on your copyright or trademark, contact the registrant of the domain name, with sufficient evidence, contact NiRA to assist to resolve the situation and/or use the NiRA Dispute Resolution Policy (NDRP) to file a dispute with regards to that domain name.

At every point in a dispute process, you would be required to provide sufficient evidence of your trademark or copyright ownership from the Trademark Offices, FMITI for the .ng domain name. If this is not available, it might necessitate the bona-fide owner paying a handsome amount of money to the squatter to get the desired name.

ICANN AND THE SCHOOLS ON INTERNET GOVERNANCE

Building capacity or providing training in Internet Governance (IG) is critical to enabling stakeholder groups to participate fully in all IG-related processes. Schools on Internet Governance (SIGs) were created specifically to support this objective.

The first SIG emerged in 2007, a couple of years after phase two of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) and just one year after the first Internet Governance Forum (IGF). SIGs continue to grow, and today there are close to 20 initiatives such as Nigerian School on Internet Governance around the world, some global, some regional, and some national.

ICANN has played a key role in SIGs and related initiatives as a partner, sponsor, faculty member, and/or student. ICANN's role as the coordinator of the Domain Name System (DNS) and facilitator of the multistakeholder approach, as well our position as a leading global IG institution, are important topics in many SIG's curriculum. ICANN's rationale for supporting these initiatives includes awareness-raising, capacity development, an obligation to explain how the DNS actually works, outreach and engagement, and internal training opportunities.

The ICANN community has devoted significant resources to developing ICANN's Strategic Plan for fiscal years 2021-2025, which in part focuses on building capacity for technical and operational objectives.  To ensure alignment with the goals in the Strategic Plan, ICANN has conducted a review of SIGs around the world and identified a set of good practices to guide our future support of these initiatives.

ICANN engages with current SIG partners to share their thinking about how they can align ICANN participation in individual schools that share ICANN’s core objectives. ICANN also plans to simplify how new school organizers can engage in the future.

SOURCE: ICANN