Feeds

US dotcom keeps ownership of SouthAfrica.com

South Africa the country backs down

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Security for virtualized datacentres

The nation of South Africa has abandoned its fight to own the domain name southafrica.com.

The ownership battle began last year, when South African officials tried to wrestle the domain name from US dotcom Virtual Countries, which registered southafrica.com in 1995.

Virtual Countries owns a stack of country name-based sites, such as e-england.com and russia.com.

South Africa threatened to take its case to the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO).

In retaliation, Virtual Countries filed a lawsuit against South Africa and the South African Tourist Board.

Last week the dispute came to a head - with US District Court Judge Allen G Schwartz dismissing Virtual Countries' suit because the New York court lacked jurisdiction under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act. South Africa also said it would drop its threat to take the company to WIPO.

In dismissing the suit, the judge added that South Africa would be unlikely to succeed at WIPO under the current rules governing domain name disputes.

"This is a landmark case because a US court is for the first time saying countries are not going to get protection for their names," said Maxim Waldbaum, a senior partner at the New York office of law firm Salans who defended Virtual Countries in the case.

"Because the decision indicates that South Africa would likely lose any ownership challenge, the cloud that South Africa attempted to put on Virtual Countries' title to the domain name has passed."

South Africa is now waiting for a change in the law so it can claim the URL, according to Waldbaum. But for now it seems the country will have to be content with its dot net suffix. ®

Related Link

Virtualcountries.com

Related Stories

Why ICANN's domain dispute rules are flawed: Part I
Why ICANN's domain dispute rules are flawed: Part II
Southafrica.com v. South Africa the country hits US courts
Southafrica.com sues South Africa the country

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.