The Niue Information Technology Committee, an entity formed recently by the Niuean government, has filed a lawsuit in Stockholm aiming to have the Swedish registry operator iiS transfer the zone back to local control.
Niue is an island-nation in the South Pacific with a population around 1,600. Internet Users Society-Niue (IUSN), an organization founded by an American businessman and two expatriate residents, was assigned management of the .nu ccTLD in 1997.
ISUN’s technical partner was WorldNames, Inc., a company headed by the aformentioned American businessman, Bill Semich. So, as is often the case, the ccTLD manager and registry operator for .nu were inextricably linked. The difference is the tenuous connection to the Island’s government and the proximity to a for-profit business.
In 2013, WorldNames entered into an agreement with Swedish registry operator iiS, by which the latter assumed the technical backend and commercialization rights for .nu over a period of 15 years. The deal is worth around $1 million per year.
iiS is the defendant in the recently-filed lawsuit, which challenges the legality of their agreement with WorldNames. Niue’s arguments draw heavily on iiS’ own publications and the statements of its CEO. Specifically, iiS’ charter gives its mission as a steward of Swedish internet properties, whereas the .nu is a Niuean asset.
If Niue is successful, they will gain a right to enter into lucrative contract with a new registry operator.
NOTE: This article is based on a recent post on Domain Incite, complemented with some original research and commentary.