Rules of the .cat domain
1. .CAT registration policy
In order to register a .cat domain name you must sign (or more often, tick an agreement option on the online registration form) an agreement with the authorized registrar you have selected. This agreement describes the commercial conditions, price included, that the Registrar will offer you, and includes a separated document, but incorporated as an appendix, the .cat Registration agreement. This last agreement has also appendixes that deal with specific .cat usage policies, sunrise period, defensive registrations and domain names with non-english characters.
This is the main normative that links you to the .cat domain name you registered. It is an agreement between you, as a registrant and holder of a .cat domain name, and Fundació puntCAT, entity that manages the .cat Registry. Here you have its English version.
.CAT Domain Charter
This is a restricted domain name (sponsored, if we use ICANN's terminology) . That is, it is addressed to fulfill the needs of a specific group. The .CAT sponsored Top-Level Domain Charter (part of the contract between Fundació puntCAT and ICANN, as section I of Appendix S) defines that specific community and describes the eligibility requirements:
- The .cat TLD is intended to serve the needs of the Catalan Linguistic and Cultural Community on the Internet (the “Community”).
- The Community consists of those who use the Catalan language for their online communications, and/or promote the different aspects of Catalan culture online, and/or want to specifically address their online communications to that Community.
- Universities, schools, research institutions and other academic entities that use Catalan in their academic activities or teach/promote aspects of Catalan culture.
- public or private entities whose aim is promoting the Catalan culture.
- writers, translators, correctors and journalists publishing (or contributing to) works in Catalan
- publishing companies that publish works in the Catalan language or relating to the Catalan culture.
- media using the Catalan language for their communications.
- individuals, groups, businesses, organizations, entities or initiatives, however constituted, carrying online communications in Catalan.
- individuals, groups, businesses, organizations, entities or initiatives, however constituted, proving their belonging to the Community by way of sponsorship from other members of the Community in the form established in the Registration Policies.
- members of Fundació puntCAT
Right use and fulfillment policy
When you register a .cat domain name you must fill, as part of the process, a declaration of intended use for the domain you register. This declaration does not need to be too detailed, but must be true. If once you got the domain name, your use differs from the one you stated in the "intended use", Fundació puntCAT may require you to explain why and might even block the domain name (ie. keep you as owner but being inoperative for any Internet service like web, mail, etc). Fundació puntCAT may also block your domain if you do any unacceptable use of it like for instance spam or reselling domains. Of course you can always change your declaration of "intended use", but in any case, this change must comply with .cat Registry eligibility charter (described above).
On defensive registrations
This kind of registrations are addressed to protect trade marks, in particular for those registrants that cannot comply with the eligibility requirements, so cannot register a .cat domain name. If they want to prevent others from registering domain names equivalent to their trade marks, they can ask for a defensive registration. This kind of registrations prevents others from applying for the same domain name but does not allow its owner to use the domain name (because as it has been said above, they don not comply with eligibility requirements). If a trade mark holder honors the requisites to obtain the domain name (for instance, if their web has a significant part written in Catalan), they may prefer to register following the standard process, as defensive registration is more expensive and does not allow to use the domain name at all.
On the domain names with non-English characters
The Domain name system was designed to accept only the ASCII characters (ie. the Latin alphabet from a to z, without diacritic nor modified signs; plus digits form 0 to 9 and the hyphen, -). So no accents, nor non-English characters set aside Chinese or Cirillic alphabets are accepted.
But there is a new technology know as IDN (Internationalized Domain Names) that allows, by registring a special domain name and certain converstions, that users could use domains with, for instance, accents. The .cat domain offers this possibility as follows:
You may register .cat domain names with any Catalan specific character, that is:
Whoever registers a domain name with any of these special characters is, in fact, registering an special domain name called punycode, that starts with xn-- and continues with the codified domain name resulting of applying the IDN algorithms.
If you type the IDN domain (for instance fundació.cat) the web vbrowser will display the corresponding web page, translating, so to say, the punycode version to the normal one with accents.
Unfortunately no all web browsers are IDN enable yet. In particular Internet Explorer 6.x it is not but version 7 will. All other browsers (Firefox, Mozilla, Netscape, Safari, Opera, Knoqueror...) already include this funcitonality. The biggest limitation to IDN domain names is that right now there is no email client able to use them. This means that you can surf the net using IDN domain names but when sending an email you must use the domain name without the special characters.
Bearing this in mind, Fundació puntCAT is applying a prudent strategy with IDN names. As IDN are a reality and work , we offer them, but as they do not yet work on all browsers and email clients, who registers an IDN domain name also gets, for free, its equivalent without the special characters, that is the "traditional" domain name closer to its IDN version as show in this conversion table:
é = e (préssec.cat = pressec.cat)
è = e (agència.cat = agencia.cat
í = i (destí.cat = desti.cat)
ï = i (traït.cat = trait.cat)
ó = o (fundació.cat = fundacio.cat)
ò = o (ressò.cat = resso.cat)
ú = u (algú.cat = algu.cat)
ü = u (piragüisme.cat = piraguisme.cat)
ç = c (vicenç.cat = vicenc.cat)
l·l = l-l (col·legi.cat = col-legi.cat)
So if you register an IDN domain name you get 2 domain names and only pay for one! That way you can always be sure that following an easy protocol ("use accents and if it does not work do not use them") that communications will always work, whatever software and whatever keyboard is used.
2. Conflict resolution procedures
What can you do if you think a .cat domain name has been registered not honoring the domain's registration policies. Is there a .cat domain name abusing your trade mark rights? Do you think that its use is somehow affecting your interests?
As any other generic domain, .cat honors the Uniform Domain-Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) aproved by ICANN. When you register a .cat domain name, whatever registrar you use, you must accept this policy (also included in the registration contract).
This conflict resolution policy is applied when the owner of a trade mark believes that:
(a) the .cat domain is equal or too similar to its trade mark.
(b) the holder of the domain does not have any right or legitimate interrest, and
(c) the .cat domain has been registerd but is not being properly used.
Conflict resolution policy on .cat eligibility requirements (ERDRP: .cat Eligibility Requirements Dispute Resolution Policy) is specific to Fundació puntCAT but it does follow ICANN's directives.
This policy is available to whoever thinks that a .cat domain name (or a defensive registration) has been registered improperly and not honoring the .cat eligibility requirements and may want to ask for its cancellation. ERDRP text is here.
This policy does not pretend, by any means, to substitute any UDRP, nor the decisions of any judge or court. It only complements them, offering a way to cancel (and if required, transfer) registrations made not complying the .cat requirements.
According to the disappearance of the IQUA, the authorized provider of the conflict resolution services within the ERDRP, Fundació puntCAT is considering updating these regulations.
.cat domain name holders are not oblied to participate in this process (except for Sunrise specific issues) as they are not either oblied to comply to its result. As any other mediation process, this is a tool to reach good will agreements by means of experimented professionals. It is aplied in cases where 3rd parties want to argue the registration or use of a .cat domain name. This is the text of the mediation policy.