Menu
No, you can't seize country TLDs, US court rules

No, you can't seize country TLDs, US court rules

That's good news for those who worry about the power the U.S. government has over the Internet

In a landmark ruling that signals a win for the current system of Internet governance, a U.S. court has quashed an attempt to seize Iran's, Syria's and North Korea's domains as part of a lawsuit against those countries' governments.

The plaintiffs in the case wanted to seize the country's ccTLDs (country code top-level domains) .ir, .sy and .kp after they successfully sued Iran, Syria and North Korea as state sponsors of terrorism. The domain seizure was part of a financial judgment against those governments.

The claimants wanted to seize the domains from the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a non-profit US-based organization which oversees the Internet.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Colombia however denied the plaintiffs' motions to seize the domains earlier this week, ICANN said.

"This is very good news," said Peter van Roste, general manager of the Council of European National Top Level Domain Registries (CENTR).

"It is very important, especially in these times, to show the world that domain names cannot simply be seized by U.S. law firms with all the possible consequences for the global use of the Internet," he said.

ICANN had argued that ccTLD's can't be seized because they aren't property. Instead, they are more like postal codes that allow users to go to websites and send email to addresses under those domains, it said.

However, the court didn't rule that domain names aren't property, said Van Roste, adding that the domain name sector would have welcomed such a verdict.

Rather, the court found the ccTLDs have the nature of a contractual right, and ruled that rights arising under a contract cannot be seized as part of a judgment.

Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, online payment issues as well as EU technology policy and regulation for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags internetlegalICANNintellectual property

Events

Why experience is the new battleground for partners

Join us for an exclusive webinar, in association with Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Technology Services Industry Association (TSIA) and learn about the latest industry insights and how technology services continue to evolve to deliver differentiated value, and how partners can be successful in 2021 and beyond.

Featured

Slideshows

The Kiwi channel gathers for the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards

The Kiwi channel gathers for the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards

Hundreds of leaders from the New Zealand IT industry gathered at the Hilton in Auckland on 17 November to celebrate the finest female talent in the Kiwi channel and recognise the winners of the Reseller News Women in ICT Awards (WIICTA) 2020.

The Kiwi channel gathers for the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards
Leading female front runners honoured at the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards

Leading female front runners honoured at the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards

The leading female front runners of the New Zealand ICT industry joined together for the annual Reseller News Women in ICT Awards event at the Hilton in Auckland, during which hundreds of guests celebrated 13 outstanding individuals who won awards, chosen from more than 50 finalists representing over 30 organisations.

Leading female front runners honoured at the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards
Channel gathers to celebrate the Reseller News Innovation Awards 2020 winners

Channel gathers to celebrate the Reseller News Innovation Awards 2020 winners

More than 500 channel leaders gathered in Auckland on 21 October at the ​Reseller News Innovation Awards ​2020 to celebrate the achievements of the New Zealand technology industry's top partners, start-ups, vendors, distributors and individuals.

Channel gathers to celebrate the Reseller News Innovation Awards 2020 winners
Show Comments