ICANN’s contractual framework, as reflected in the Registry Agreement and 2013 Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA), generally requires that registries and registrars comply with “all applicable laws.” “All applicable laws” is a term left undefined in the Registry Agreement; the challenge in concisely capturing the temporal, geographic and subject matter scope of the chimeric phrase as it relates to Internet-based registries operating in different fields (e.g., health, finance, organic) worldwide is daunting. As a result, ICANN adopted a uniformity-by-necessity approach – and who doesn’t intend to comply with all applicable laws in any event?
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Tony Onorato is Counsel / CIPP/US at Steptoe & Johnson LLP in New York (www.steptoe.com). He advised gTLD clients representing nearly 10 percent of all application filed worldwide as part of his technology and commercial litigation practice.