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Struggle over dotAfrica gTLD intensifies

Struggle over dotAfrica gTLD intensifies.

In the latest development within ongoing legal battle over which organisation will control the administration of the .africa (dotAfrica gTLD) domain, a US court has denied the ZA Central Registry (ZACR)'s motion for reconsideration on the preliminary injunction that was granted to the DotConnectAfrica Trust (DCA) on 12 April 2016.

This is according to a statement issued by the DCA which quotes an excerpt from a court document that reads, "At this stage of the litigation, it is reasonable to infer that the IRP Panel found that ICANN's rejection of Plaintiff's application at the geographic names evaluation phase was improper, and that the application should proceed to the delegation phase."

On 12 April the Central District Court of California is said to have granted a preliminary injunction in favour of DCA which prevented the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) from immediately delegating the rights to dotAfrica gTLD to ZACR.

Subsequent to the preliminary injunction, ZACR has joined the litigation process directly and has requested the judge to reconsider his previous decision.

ZACR stated the reason for the request is that the judge based his decision on a key factual error. The Central Registry has argued that the DCA's application never passed ICANN's Initial Evaluation (IE) process and "it is unlikely that it ever will because DCA simply does not have the requisite government support and has attracted significant government opposition."

In mid-June 2016 ZACR announced that a court had granted its motion to dismiss all claims against it by DCA.

ZACR CEO Lucky Mailela said at the time that the next step in the legal proceedings would be to wait for a ruling on the ZACR's motion to reconsider this preliminary injunction. "We will continue to support the court process and look forward to a speedy resolution that will advance Africa's Internet interests."

According to DCA, this motion has now been denied.

A court order reads: "On April 26, 2016, ZACR filed a Motion to Dismiss all claims asserted against it. On May 6, 2016, ZACR filed the current Motion for Reconsideration regarding the Court's Order re Preliminary Injunction. ICANN joined this motion on May 10, 2016. Since then, the Court has granted ZACR's Motion to Dismiss in its entirety, thereby extinguishing ZACR's role a party to the action. Therefore, the Court denies as moot ZACR's motion for reconsideration, and addresses the motion only as it pertains to ICANN."

In April the chairperson of the Africa Information and Communication Technologies Alliance (AfICTA) Jimson Olufuye expressed his support for an out-of-court settlement as an option to resolve the lingering matter.

He was quoted as saying, "I think we should settle the dispute the African way. The African way is for respectable elders on the continent to call the parties and through dialogue settle the matter out of court."

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