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Finns rushing to register their Internet domains

HELSINKI, Finland (AP) — Finnish communications authorities were swamped with domain name applications for ".fi" suffixed Internet names, with more than 17,000 requests within hours after a change in legislation Monday allowed for more lax Internet addresses in the country.

During the first six minutes after the government communications office opened, it had received 4,000 new requests.

Previously, domain names have only been issued that exactly correspond to the name of a business, organization or trademark. Not even acronyms of these have been allowed in the .fi domain.

Under the new legislation, Finnish domain names can be almost arbitrary, as long as they fulfill "requirements of decency."

Before Monday, 42,000 names were registered under the old rules. With the change, the number jumped by a third during the first day, according to the Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority, which oversees Internet names.

The new law still requires that the applicant be a company or an organization registered in Finland. Also, domain name squatting — the hoarding of domain names that sound attractive with the purpose of making a profit — is forbidden.

Registration of a Finnish domain name costs euro50 ($55) and is valid for three years.