ICANN To Court: ccTLDs Aren't Property

Chris CrumTechnology

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ICANN (The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) told a U.S. federal court in the District of Columbia, that a ccTLD (country code Top-Level Domain ) can't be considered property. For this reason, it says, it can't be attached by plaintiffs in a lawsuit, when they're trying to obtain assets of countries they say have supported terrorism.

ICANN General Counsel and Secretary John Jeffrey explained, “We filed a Motion to Quash in the US federal court today, to ensure that the court has the essential information about how the Internet’s domain name system (DNS) works. While we sympathize with what plaintiffs may have endured, ICANN’s role in the domain name system has nothing to do with any property of the countries involved.

“We explained in our Motion to Quash, that country code Top-Level Domains (ccTLD) are part of a single, global interoperable Internet which ICANN serves to help maintain, he continued. "ccTLD’s are not property, and are not ‘owned’ or ‘possessed’ by anyone including ICANN, and therefore cannot be seized in a lawsuit.”

The comments come after terrorism victims successfully won lawsuits against Iran, Syria and North Korea. Plaintiffs served ICANN with "writs of attachment" and subpoenas seeking info to help them seize those countries' ccTLDs in an effort to recover assets from them.

ccTLDs (and related IP addresses) specifically targeted by the plaintiffs include .IR (Iran), .SY (Syria) and .KP (North Korea). Also being targeted, according to ICANN, are internationalized top-level domains in non-ASCII characters for Iran and Syria.

ICANN's filings can be found here. The "Writs of Attachment" can be found here.

Image via ICANNnews/YouTube

Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.