The new directive on “reassignment of domain names of general interest” is intended to regulate the procedure for reassigning domain names in those cases in which said names have been abusively registered, implementing the specific procedural rules in the National Domain Names Plan.

Law 34/2002, of 11 July, the Information Society and Electronic Services Act, stipulates (additional provision six, section three) that: "the assignment of ".es" domain names will be performed in compliance with the criteria set forth in this provision, in the National Internet Domain Names Plan, in other specific regulations issued for its implementation by the Assignment Authority and, to the extent that they are compatible with them, with generally applied practices and recommendations issued by international entities and bodies which undertake activities related to managing an internet domain names system.”

The National Plan for Internet Domain Names Under the Country Code Corresponding to Spain (.es), approved by Order ITC/1542/2005, of 19 May, in section two states that “the Register will be managed to comply with general interest, ensuring it is secure and in accordance with the principles of quality, effectiveness, reliability and accessibility.”

Occasionally it becomes necessary to recover an “.es” domain name that has been registeredby people or private entities and that is of high general interest. On many occasions these domain names are registered for the speculation purposes and give rise to confusion concerning the holder assigned and the subject that truly represents the general interest associated with that specific domain name.

The directive stipulates that in the event that a domain name is detected that is of high general interest, the Chairman of Red.es may exceptionally, via a reasoned resolution, declare the domain name to be of general interest. Once this resolution has been issued, Red.es will cancel the domain name and reassign it in favour of the subject representing the general interest.

It is not an expropriation

The person (natural or legal) who registers a domain name directly associated with the general interest without being such, enjoys the use (never the ownership) of a public resource to which they are not legally entitled. Hence, under no circumstances is it appropriate to speak of “obligatory expropriation”, but rather of “reassignment”.

The new reassignment procedure offers domain name holders the highest legal guarantees. Former holders will be called to a hearing and they shall also be compensated for the expenses incurred in registering the domain. And, in any event, parties affected by reassignment will be entitled to lodge an appeal before the Administrative Disputes Court.