US judge rules DCA claims deficient

A US court has this week granted the ZA Central Registry's (ZACR's) motion to dismiss all claims against it by DotConnectAfrica Trust (DCA). This is in relation to DCA's ongoing attempts to stall the public availability of the .africa (dotAfrica) generic Top Level Domain (gTLD).

The Californian judge has essentially sent a firm message to DCA that its spurious claims against the ZACR are deficient in law and don't stand up to proper scrutiny. "As matters currently stand, the next step in these US-based legal proceedings is to wait for the judge to rule on the ZACR's motion to reconsider his Preliminary Injunction. We are confident matters will again be concluded in our favour," said ZACR CEO, Lucky Masilela.

DCA now has the opportunity to amend its claims or the case against ZACR will be withdrawn. It is important to note that DCA's additional claims against ICANN (The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names & Numbers) are still being evaluated by the court.

The ZACR is the African Union Commission's preferred registry operator for the dotAfrica gTLD and also has more than the 60% required support from individual African governments. ZACR, Africa's largest registry operator, furthermore has a legally-binding ICANN Registry Agreement signed on 24 March 2014.

On 12 April 2016, the Central District Court of California 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 the 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. The reason for the ZACR request is that the judge based his decision on a key factual error. 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.

"We will continue to support the court process and look forward to a speedy resolution that will advance Africa's Internet interests," concluded Mr Masilela.

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