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A client of mine registered a .com.tw domain from a registrar in his country and he said that due to the restrictions of the telecommunication company there, they are not allowed to change nameservers. Instead of using their nameservers (ns1.twnic.net.tw), I wanted to use another nameserver.

Does ICANN say anything about giving domain owners the right to change nameservers?

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It seems a bit strange that the "registrar" would impose this restriction, unless there is some local government restriction (as you seem to imply)? Although I'm not sure why that would be?

ns1.twnic.net.tw would seem to be the NAMESERVER of the register (TWNIC), not the registrar (for which there only appears to be 13 officially listed). As far as I know, TWNIC (the register) does not impose such a restriction.

In fact, TWNIC gives specific instructions for updating the nameservers on their site (See Domain FAQs under "Q25: How to set up the DNS for the English Domain Name?"). But this is only for when the domain is registered directly with TWNIC - which does not seem to be possible these days:

Since March 1, 2001, TWNIC has stopped allow itself to sign up new domain names directly, instead allowing new registration through its contracted reseller registrars.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.tw

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    Thanks for those links. The registrar listed on the domain is HINET. One of the 13 on your list. I can't read Chinese so I couldn't find a help article on how to change nameservers for their specific registrar in Chinese. I'm not sure who exactly is saying they cannot change it. I've also emailed ICANN and will post back here what they say. – Joseph Shih Jan 22 '16 at 12:16
  • So ICANN replied: For the domain names within two-letter country-code top-level domains (ccTLDs) such as .tw are administered by country-code managers. Registry operators are appointed within the country, under local laws, in conjunction with the local Internet community and local government. ICANN has no power to be involved in how these operations are conducted. – Joseph Shih Jan 27 '16 at 4:19
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I emailed ICANN and this was their reply:

Dear Joseph,

Thank you for contacting ICANN Global Support Centers and we apologies for the inconvenience your client is experiencing.

For the domain names within two-letter country-code top-level domains (ccTLDs) such as .tw are administered by country-code managers. Registry operators are appointed within the country, under local laws, in conjunction with the local Internet community and local government. ICANN has no power to be involved in how these operations are conducted.

For help with these domains, you will need to contact the country-code manager for .tw. You can find the manager for a ccTLD by searching the IANA ccTLD database: http://www.iana.org/domains/root/db.

For your convenience I am including the link for .tw as follows https://www.iana.org/domains/root/db/tw.html

We hope this is of assistance to you. We will now resolve this case. Should you have any questions or clarifications please do not hesitate to contact us.

Regards,

Tammy Yeow

Lead Global Support Analyst

ICANN Global Support Team

So it looks like there is no global regulation and is at least POSSIBLE for administrators of those two-letter country-code top-level domains to do anything they want.

  • Although this doesn't really resolve the issue. As mentioned in my answer, TWNIC (the registry operator for .tw domains) does not appear to impose such a restriction (at least according to the English version of their website), so it doesn't really make sense why the registrar (HINET) would seem to impose such a restriction, particularly since the NAMESERVERS actually point back to TWNIC. I think you would need to seek clarification from TWNIC. – MrWhite Jan 27 '16 at 8:42
  • I wish I could contact them, but I think things may get lost in translation. I would have to contact HINET to confirm that a restriction is imposed on them and by whom. Then I would need to either contact TWNIC and/or the authority they indicate. In the end, apparently, anything is possible as ICANN does not control anything relating to country-code top-level domains. I can see why it's so hard for people to serve DMCA Takedowns now. Countries could simply not comply. – Joseph Shih Jan 27 '16 at 10:36
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    YEs, ICANN has only power over gTLDs as they are under a contract with it. When you register your .tw domain name you or your client surely did read carefully the contract, which probably explains what you can and can not do with the domain. If you have trouble with a registrar you should indeed contact the registry. When you choose a ccTLD domain name it is frequently because you have some ties with the country, or your client who could contact them. – Patrick Mevzek Apr 11 '18 at 0:10

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