So today I learned that there’s a small country called Niue about 2,400 north of New Zealand. It turns out that this tiny island paradise happens to be the rightful owner (or at least according to them) of the .NU domain extension. Well that doesn’t seem so bad, does it?
Well it’s not bad, if Niue was actively using and selling .NU domains, but instead it looks like Sweden has taken over the ccTLD dating back to 2013, and since then, they’ve made a pretty penny with it. Before I go on, I know what you’re thinking…what does Niue look like? It looks like this:
(Image source – theculturetrip.com)
I know what you’re thinking now, why don’t we start holding domain name conferences here? I digress. The reality is, Nieu feels like they were cheated out of the chance to rightfully use their own ccTLD, here’s the skinny:
In the early days of the internet, what is now the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) assigned a country-code top-level domain (ccTLD) to nations — like .au in Australia, and .nu for Niue.
Par Brumark, the lawyer acting for Niue’s Government in the case, told the ABC’s Pacific Beat program they are arguing the Internet Foundation in Sweden (IIS), which is the current register for .nu, is using the domain unfairly.
“In their founding charter and statutes, it’s clearly stated they’re not allowed to administer any foreign national top-level domains. And they have, without consent from Niue, taken over,” said Mr Brumark, who is also the vice-chairman of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers’ Governmental Advisory Committee. (Source – abc.net.au)
So first things first, I’m not a lawyer, and second, I haven’t done a lot of research here, but at first glance, it does sound like Niue might have a point. The reality is, the documentation and regulations about running a ccTLD can be confusing, and I don’t think it’s crazy to imagine a much bigger more tech savvy country like Sweden taking advantage of a situation like this.
This issue does look like it will come to a head in 2019 as Niue has plans to sue Sweden for something in the $27M – $37M range. I would highly recommend reading the full article (link below the quote above) to hear all the details but safe to say this is going to be an interesting story to follow.
For anyone who reads my blog that does happen to be a lawyer, or anyone that knows more about this that wants to chime in…who do you think is at fault here? Does Sweden owe Niue millions of dollars? I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!