ICANN allows registrars to protect expired domains during COVID-19 pandemic

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has announced that domain name registrars can temporarily refrain from cancelling domain names that registrants were unable to renew due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the binding contract between ICANN and accredited registrars, the Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA), registrars are required to delete domain names no later than 45 days after their registration expires, unless there are ‘extenuating circumstances’. ICANN qualifies the COVID-19 pandemic as a natural disaster, allowing registrars to take measures ‘to protect registrants when they are unable to renew their domains’.