Luxembourg the country where the improbabe is still possibe. Years ago it came to my attention that Restena the central registrar (yes thats a word) for LU Domain names has a very strange notion when it comes to how it gives out domain names.

Being one of the founding members of the EU you would presume that Luxembourg is somehow mature with regards to free expression, freedom of speech and similar concepts. However similar to IRAN or other arab countries, there are certain domain names you simpy can't aquire.

Though Restena claims in their Domain Name charter #4, that it "[..] does not in principle proceed to any "a priori" verification of an application for a domain name" such verification of course happens, just a few lines below we read

"Domain name applications which belong to one of the following categories are however (sic) rejected:

  • (a) the domain name contains the name of any Luxembourg municipality or village, as indicated in the Annuaire Officiel 1995 - Vol. 2 - Aperçu géo-politique et localités du Grand-Duché", unless it is the local administration in question filling in the application form for its own name as a domain name;
  • (b) domain names which are identical to an already registered domain name, or which are identical to a previously applied valid domain name;
  • (c) domain names considered obviously to be contrary to public order or good morals
End of quote.

It begs the questions as to how exactly a simple domain name can be "considered to be contrary to public order or good morals" and who exactly decides what is against "good morals" (and are there bad morals?) Is there an official board ? I mean there is no other way to get an LU domain name than over Restena (directy or indirectly).

Now here is the Blacklist of domains names, afaik this list is not officialy linked on the DNS.LU site. Google Cache

Blocked Domain names List

Let's go through some of them and ask ourselves, if to our 2009 standard these domain names contain a name of a luxemburgish village/municipality or are identical to an already registered domain name or are contrary to public order and/or good morals. (really dig the "good" here) :
  • & & & &
    These domain names are not names of villages and are not identical to others. So are these domain names themselves against public order or "good morals" ? As a reminder, we are not speaking of content but solely about the domain names. We have the year 2009 not 1850, and as such I personaly don't feel offended by these domain names. Do you?
  • &
    No village, not against public order and not similar to existing domain names, so why are they on the list. I don't know, I personaly presume that the person in charge at Restena blocks and blacklists domains he doesn't like.
  • The rest

    pretty obvious.
To put this into perspective, Luxembourg is one of the few counttries, apparently, that still thinks the simple word "sex" is offensive and against public order. Amongst it's peers are IRAN, IRAQ, CHINA, Pakistan and others. Welcome to the year 2009!


Kwisatz said... @ 24 February, 2009 16:20

Not sure whether we were the first, but I remember us trying to register, which was denied because of exactly the reasons you're stating.

Now I didn't get the immorality behind at that time, and I still don't get it nowadays.

What government body does restena belong to anyway? What about a class-action lawsuit, arguing with the inhibition of free speech?

Thierry Zoller said... @ 24 February, 2009 16:34

When I saw the "" domain on the blacklist, I personaly thought about a art of online application. Nothing to dismiss.

afaik class action lawsuits don't exist in Luxembourg.

To sum it up, the registrar normaly is not tied to the government at all.

Kwisatz said... @ 24 February, 2009 18:11

Hmm.. this is what connection I thought it had to the government:
La Fondation RESTENA, qui reprend à son compte toutes les activités du Projet RESTENA est du domaine de compétence du Ministère de la Culture, de l’Enseignement Supérieur et de la Recherche source)

What about a complaint to ICANN? I mean.. what gives Restena the right to choose which domaines are allowed and which not? What about using a different registrar? Does Restena always have the last word, even if you're using a different registrar?

Thierry Zoller said... @ 24 February, 2009 18:25

Yes Restena is definately an Governmenta organ, when I said "To sum it up, the registrar normaly is not tied to the government at all." I wnated to express that in no other cases I know (germany for example) a registrar is directly tied to the governement.

You always have to go through Restena, even if you buy over somebody else, you will not even be refunded in case they refuse.

The only way I see that things might possibly begin to move is to make it a parlamentarian question, that's why they are there, to voice the concern of us normal poeple.

Making it more public and puting the public spotlight onto this situation might also help.

Thierry Zoller said... @ 24 February, 2009 19:22

How about sending the PDF around ?

pa said... @ 04 March, 2009 09:33

I bet they will ban domain names like too.

I heard the story about too. The guy from tried to register it in the year 2000.

In the beginning (until 2001) they apparently didn't send bills toe the owners.

That village names are also forbidden, is not very logical. I know the case of a commercial association of businesses in a quarter of Luxembourg-City, which wanted to register a domain à la "quarter name".lu. Restena told them, they would deny it, because the city itself has the first right to do so. It hasn't done it in over 8 years now, so the domain name is still "available". The association is now using and is sometimes listed on black lists, because of the .info TLD, very bizarre.

strawdog said... @ 04 March, 2009 10:33

Wat eng Hypokrisie dat do!?

Verschidden Lëtzebuerger sinn nach méi verklemmt, prüde an hellëg wéi den Poopst schéngt et :/

Thierry Zoller said... @ 04 March, 2009 16:29

Thank you all for your feedback, it seems that I am not alone hurting himself to such a prehistoric behaviour from Restena.

I don't think we can change too much, we could try to open up a petition and hand it over to the parlament. This might actually work.

Anonymous said... @ 07 March, 2009 15:30

Some remarks:

Restena has been purely a TLD registry for the last 2 or 3 years. They only run registrar services for historical reasons, ie serving old customers.

Because .lu is a ccTLD with no contractual relation with ICANN, the latter cannot act on any complaint directed at the ccTLD.

The concept of "morality and public order" is indeed a very subjective one. It has been the subject of more than 4 years of discussion within ICANN, with no agreement at the end.
Note however that the .XXX domain name has been rejected by ICANN.

My personal opinion is that Restena is trying to prevent the domainer industry to hijack the .lu domain Typically, if "" was put to auction by a domainer for, say 30.000€, that would be damageable for the overall image of the TLD.

I agree with you however, that the charter needs to be refreshed and mde more precise.

"ardennes, moselle or attert" are 3 obvious examples of geographic names that should be on some kind of official blacklist but this is nowhere referenced in the charter.

It was also foreseen at the time the new charter was drafted that a committee would be set up to examine litigious case. AFAIK, this committee was never set up.

Thierry Zoller said... @ 07 March, 2009 16:11

Dear Anonymous,

Thanks for the insightfull comment but some of your information is mistaken.

Restena still functions as a registrar. (

Restena may or may not try to hinder domainers, I just don't think they do. Domainers can buy as many (and valuable domains)as they want. Just those of moral objections are blocked a clear indication that the goal is not to block domain selling.

I personaly don't think either that selling a domain like will diminuish the image of a the or any TLD.

blacknight said... @ 15 March, 2009 14:56

The Irish domain registry (IEDR) has similar rules about supposed "morality" that are equally vague.

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