The Domain Name Act
The availability of Finnish domain names under the .fi root increased and it became easier to register on 1 September 2003 when the Domain Name Act (no. 228/2003) entered into force. The Domain Name Act governs the application for Finnish domain names, the form and content of a domain name and responsibilities and obligations of service providers. The translation of the Act is available at the following address: http://www.ficora.fi/englanti/document/Domain_Name_Act.pdf.
Who can apply for a domain name?
A company or a community entered into the Finnish Trade Register, the Finnish Register of Associations or the Finnish Register of Foundations, or a corporation within the Finnish public sector, may exclusively apply for a domain name. Therefore, a pending registration does not do. Public sector corporations comprise the state, municipalities, joint municipal authorities, congregations, registered religious communities, independent public corporations (e.g. the Social Insurance Institution of Finland), public associations and foreign embassies. Associations and political parties submit the association registration number (123.556) on the application form. Other organisations and firms submit their business identity code (1234567-8).
It is possible to authorize a representative who can apply for a domain name in which case the representative fills out the domain name application on the client’s behalf. A domain name holder can authorize a representative to act on his behalf in all matters relating to an existing domain name.
Also, many service providers apply for domain names on their clients’ behalf.
What kinds of domain names are accepted?
Since the entry of force of the Domain Name Act, the applicant has been free to choose the Finnish domain name. For example, no connection to the applicant’s company name or business activities is needed anymore. However, the law governs the form and content of a domain name.
The domain name may consist of 2-63 characters. It may consist of letters from a – to z or numbers from 1 to 9 and of a hyphen.
The domain name must be an active Internet address. In other words, at least two functioning name servers must be configured to serve the domain name. The name server information must be submitted on the domain name application. No domain name is granted before checking that the name servers function. Also see: What are name servers?
What kinds of domain names are not accepted?
A domain name cannot be illegally based on a name or trademark registered by another party. The Act refers to names entered into the Finnish Trade Register, the Finnish Register of Associations or the Finnish Register of Foundations, and trademarks entered in the Finnish Trademark Register or in the Trademark Register of the European Union. In addition to this, names of public sector corporations and established names that the Act on Business Names and the Act on Trademarks refer to are protected.
You may apply for a domain name consisting of a person's first name or surname (e.g. janesmith.fi or smithjane.fi) only if the name is registered. You will need to provide the registration number of the name on the application form.
A domain name cannot contain offensive terms or incitements to commit an offense.
It is forbidden to apply for domain names in order to store them and to sell them to third parties.
It is not possible to apply for a domain name that indicates a type of company/community or an acronym for such (e.g. oy, osakeyhtiö, ky, kommandiittiyhtiö, tm tavaramerkki) or top level global or national domains (e.g. com, net, org, fi, se).
How do I make sure that the domain name is lawful?
FICORA’s domain name service checks the applications only automatically before granting. Therefore only some of the unlawful registrations can be prevented. For example, the domain name system cannot check whether the domain name that is being applied for violates a registered name or trademark.
The domain name applicant is responsible for ensuring that the domain name does not violate a registered name or trademark. The applicant must make sure that the domain name is lawful and be prepared to provide the necessary specifications prior to applying for the domain name.
It is possible to browse the names and trademarks that have been registered in Finland on the Internet for free. FICORA’s domain name system provides the domain name applicant with information on valid restrictions and guides the applicant to make the necessary specifications prior to applying for the domain name. An applicant using the domain name system or the applicant’s representative must assure that they have checked the registers that have been mentioned by name. FICORA does not check name and trademark registers on behalf of domain name applicants, nor can it provide advice on the use of registers.
Names and marks protected by registration can be easily found in the public registers below:
The domain name applicant is also responsible for that the applicant’s information in the domain name system is correct. It is criminal to submit false information in a register maintained by an authority.
FICORA may suspend or revoke an unlawful domain name.
What are name servers?
A domain name is an Internet address. Name servers must be configured to serve the domain name so that the domain name would function as an address. Name servers are machines on the Internet which translate domain names into IP addresses. Webpages are not found and e-mail does not go through unless name servers are configured to serve the domain name. A minimum of two and a maximum of ten separate, functioning name servers must be configured to serve the domain name.
Information on the technical configurations and restrictions set on name servers can be found in the FICORA regulation 37 A/2003 M (http://www.ficora.fi/englanti/document/FICORA37B2004M.pdf). At least two functioning name servers must be configured to serve the domain name, or otherwise FICORA will not grant the domain name.
The names of name servers and IP addresses must be submitted in the domain name application. The domain name automatically checks whether the name servers mentioned in the application function. If one or several name servers do not pass the name server test and are not repaired within the deadline (1 month), the application for a domain name will expire and the applicant will lose the domain name. The fee will not be returned.
Internet service providers provide name server services to customers who do not have their own name servers. The service provider can also forward the application on behalf of the domain name applicant.
How long is the domain name valid?
The domain name is granted for a fixed period and it is valid for 3 years from the date of granting, after which it can be renewed by paying a renewal fee prior to the end of the validity period. In other words, the domain name can be valid for an unrestricted period if you see to that the renewal fee is always paid prior to the end of the validity time. FICORA will send a reminder of the end of the validity period both by mail and e-mail to the addresses provided by the domain name holder.
What is the authorization key for a domain name?
The authorization key is a code which the domain name holder uses to administer his domain name in FICORA’s domain name system. The authorization key is sent to the holder together with the decision on the granting of the domain name.
By submitting the authorization key, the holder can authorize the Internet service provider to make changes in the domain name. The Internet service provider can, for example, use the authorization key to change the name server information of the domain name or update the holder’s contact information.
You are free to transfer to another Internet service provider at any time. The authorization key can be replaced by a new one, if necessary.
Correct contact information is important
All information, decisions and communication concerning the rights of a domain name holder will be sent to the e-mail and mailing addresses specified in the application. If the contact information is not up-to-date or is incorrect, the holder's right to the domain name may be jeopardized. Therefore, it is utterly important that the holder registers as a user of the domain name system and sees to that the contact information is updated.
The technical contact information specified in the domain name information must be updated separately. Name server change does not update automatically this information.