About domains

Today, certain elements of the global information space, e.g. certain WWW (web) servers, certain computers or certain persons are recognizable on the Internet for their name (e.g. www.carnet.hr) or their e-mail address (e.g. ivan.horvat@carnet.hr). The key part of any such name or address is always the Internet domain (e.g. carnet.hr).

The basic principles of the organization of the Internet domain system (DNS - Domain Name System) have remained unchanged from the very beginnings until today (see RFC 1591). Internet domains are organized hierarchically. Within a particular domain, subdomains are registered and activated – i.e. lower level domains. Although today the domain system is intensively changing and developing, the number of top-level domains (TLD) is relatively small compared to the number of subdomains. The best-known top-level domains are general (global) in type, such as "com", "org" and "net".

Most top-level domains today are so-called country-code top-level domains (ccTLD), which are granted to particular institutions within certain countries in order to take care of the organization and management of the national domain name system, i.e. the registration and activation of second-level domains within those top-level domains. National domains are given names according to the two-letter country codes in accordance with the relevant ISO standard (ISO-3166)

As opposed to the general (global) domains, whose management can be based only on some global (e.g. market) principle, national domains are the basic element of the national wealth and sovereignty of every country, the basis of its recognizability in the virtual world, and this is why the management and use of these domains imply a high level of responsibility and respect for the different interests of all interested parties.

Today, the management of the global name (domain) Internet space, as well as the system of the central (root) servers that ensure the functioning of the DNS system is carried out via the independent organization Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which has taken over the management activities from an institution known as Internet Assigned Number Authority (IANA). In 1993, IANA granted the Croatian Academic and Research Network (CARNET) the right to manage the top level "hr" domain – the national domain of the Republic of Croatia. CARNET follows the current processes of the development of the DNS system and global trends regarding domain space management, which take place primarily through ICANN, and participates in these processes as a member of the Council of European National Top-Level Domain Registries (CENTR).

Besides opening new top-level domains of the general (global) type, which ICANN has already started, nowadays issues of the protection of intellectual property on the Internet are also very important, including intellectual property in names of Internet domains. Besides ICANN, a number of activities concerning issues of the protection of intellectual property are carried out within the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).