ICANN Tells US Court Country Codes NOT Property

ICANN has filed a motion to quash in a US court today.

The filing is in relation to a court case being brought by victims of terrorism who are trying to get assets of the countries involved. One of the assets that they were trying to go after were the ccTLDs and and IP address assignments to those countries, namely Syria (.sy), Iran (.ir) and North Korea (.kp).

You can read more about the court case here.

Today’s announcement from ICANN sends a clear message – country codes are NOT property. ICANN’s legal counsel John Jeffrey made this clear:

“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.” Jeffrey further explained that “ccTLD’s are not property, and are not ‘owned’ or ‘possessed’ by anyone including ICANN, and therefore cannot be seized in a lawsuit.”

All the legal documents filed by ICANN in relation to Ben Haim v. Islamic Republic of Iran; Calderon-Cardona v. Democratic People’s Republic of Korea; Rubin v. Islamic Republic of Iran; Stern v. Islamic Republic of Iran; Weinstein v. Islamic Republic of Iran; Wyatt v. Syrian Arab Republic are also available on the ICANN site.

While ICANN may have filed motions to quash I suspect this story isn’t over just yet. ICANN is a US based entity and is, therefore, subject to US law and decisions from US courts. While ICANN’s arguments might make sense to industry insiders whether a US court will agree with them or not is another matter.


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