Domain name disputes

Disputes involving domain names typically deal with two types of issues. We outline here these two types of issues and how you can try to resolve them.

1) The domain name itself is the subject of the dispute

In this case the natural starting point is to contact the Registrant (either by yourself, or through your legal counsel) to see if you can resolve the issue.

How to contact a Registrant:

  • Search the domain name in question in the WHOIS, and use the contact information provided.
  • If the Registrant’s contact information is not displayed in the WHOIS, you may use CIRA’s online Message Delivery form, which will allow you to send a message to the Registrant, while maintaining their anonymity. 
  • If you are unable to resolve your issue with the Registrant using the Message Delivery Form, and require the Registrant’s contact information, in specific and limited circumstances, CIRA may disclose certain contact information of Registrants that is not publicly available through the WHOIS search tool via the Request for Disclosure of Registrant Information - Rules and Procedures.

In the event that your dispute relates to a domain name that you feel the Registrant has registered in bad faith, you may consider using CIRA’s Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (CDRP).

2)The dispute arises from the website content associated with the domain name

In this case, in addition to contacting the Registrant, you also may try contacting the hosting company that is hosting the website content. 

Please note that CIRA will only suspend or delete a domain name in response to a Canadian Court Order or judgment that explicitly orders CIRA to take specific action. However, as CIRA is not a party to the dispute, CIRA expects you to first attempt to resolve the matter with the Registrant and for you to first seek a Court Order directed at the Registrant.

It is also important to note that under the Domain Name System (DNS), a domain name simply translates the more easily memorized domain name into the numerical IP address. Websites are accessible through their IP address, which consists of a long sequence of numbers. While it is possible to access a website through its IP address, the DNS makes it easier to access the website by designating a unique domain name to the IP address in question. In this regard, suspending or deleting a domain name does not remove an offending website from the Internet; the offending website will still be accessible online through the IP address.

Information for law enforcement agencies

With respect to Canadian law enforcement agencies and the conduct of certain types of investigations, CIRA may under specific and limited circumstances, disclose certain specific contact information of Registrants that is not publicly available through the WHOIS search tool via the Request for Disclosure of Registrant Information for Law Enforcement and National Security Agencies - Rules and Procedures.

Otherwise, law enforcement agencies may avail themselves of the following types of orders depending on the specific outcome they are seeking:

  • Obtaining the Registrant’s information whose information is not available in the WHOIS:  a production order pursuant to s. 487.014 of the Criminal Code.
  • Locking a domain name: A General Warrant pursuant to s. 487.01 of the Criminal Code coupled with an Assistance Order pursuant to s. 487.02 of the Criminal Code. 
    Changing the DNS associated with a domain name: A General Warrant pursuant to s. 487.01 of the Criminal Code coupled with an Assistance Order pursuant to s. 487.02 of the Criminal Code.

Recent court orders

Calendar Years

2018

CIRA has not yet received any Court Orders in 2018. 

2017

In 2017, CIRA received three separate Court Orders from law enforcement for the following orders set out below. These Court Orders were specifically directed at CIRA, and CIRA executed these orders:

  • One Court Order ordering a Registrant’s information whose information was not available in the WHOIS;
  • One Court Order ordering the locking of a domain name; and
  • One Court Order ordering the change of the DNS associated with a domain name

2016

CIRA did not receive any Court Orders in 2016.