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ICANN Won’t Suspend Spamhaus

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The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) posted notice that it had neither the ability nor the authority to suspend the domain spamhaus.org. ICANN was requested to do so after Spamhaus ignored a US court default judgment ordering the company to pay $11.7 million in damages to e360Insight.

e360 filed suit against UK-based antispam outfit Spamhaus in an Illinois court, accusing Spamhaus of wrongfully blacklisting commercial email from the company as spam, effectively blocking email from reaching UK inboxes.

Spamhaus has long been criticized by commercial emailers for being the Internet version of Salem witch hunters – overzealous in their categorization.

Spamhaus did not appear in court for the same reason the company refused to pay the default judgment: Illinois, nor the US, had no jurisdiction over a UK company. The court responded by requesting an permanent injunction against spamhaus.org, suspending the domain, an act the company claimed would result in a worldwide spam flood.

The default judgment found Spamhaus guilty of (1) “erroneously and repeatedly placed Plaintiffs on its Register of Known Spam Operations (the ROSKO list), and then (2) wrongfully coerced Plaintiffs’ business partners to refrain from doing business with Plaintiffs . . . ”

ICANN says it has no direct knowledge of the claims made by e360 nor of why Spamhaus took no action to defend themselves. Further, the decision to suspend is left to the registrar, Tucows.

From ICANN’s statement:

Even if ICANN were properly brought before the court in this matter, which ICANN has not been, ICANN cannot comply with any order requiring it to suspend or place a client hold on Spamhaus.org or any specific domain name because ICANN does not have either the ability or the authority to do so. Only the Internet registrar with whom the registrant has a contractual relationship – and in certain instances the Internet registry – can suspend an individual domain name.

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ICANN Won’t Suspend Spamhaus
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