17 Dec 2018

Niue’s case against Swedish internet company weak, says expert

4:55 pm on 17 December 2018

An internet expert has poured cold water over Niue's claim a Swedish company took over its domain name without consent.

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Photo: 123 RF

Last month, Niue filed a lawsuit against the Swedish Internet Foundation in the Stockholm District Court.

A lawyer for Niue's government estimates it has lost around $US20 million in income since 2013, when the company began administering the domain.

Niue, which has never had control of its country code Top Level Domain (cc TLD), .nu, is seeking to take it back and the lost income.

Keith Davidson, a former president of Internet New Zealand, says Niue doesn't have a strong case.

"I don't think that that will be likely to be successful. In fact, I'd be surprised if the case actually goes to court given the jurisdiction of the issues around Niue are the self-governing state of Niue and not Sweden."

Mr Davidson said satellite connections in Niue suggested that revenue from the cc TLD had already been directed to internet infrastructure in Niue.

The cc TLDs of Pacific Island countries have historically been riddled with controversy, including Tuvalu's .tv domain and Tokelau's .tk domain, but are, with the exception of Niue, managed by their respective governments, said Mr Davidson.

'Nu', which is linguistically similar to Scandanavian translations of "now", has fitted well within Swedish society, he said.

"So they've been able to exploit it, however that cuteness is disappearing fast as there has been a huge number of new generic top level domains like .com having been launched over the past year."