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Spamhaus Litigation Update

9 October 2006 — ICANN has been advised that a Proposed Order referencing ICANN has been submitted to the court in the matter entitled e360Insight, LLC et al. v. The Spamhaus Project, Case No. 06 CV 3958. This lawsuit is currently pending in the United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois.

Please note that ICANN is not a party to this action and no order has been issued in this matter requiring any action by ICANN. Additionally, ICANN cannot comply with any order requiring it to suspend or any specific domain name because ICANN does not have either the ability or the authority to do so.

Based on ICANN's review of the record in the matter, it appears that e360Insight ("e360") filed suit against The Spamhaus Project ("Spamhaus") on 21 June 2006. In the complaint, e360 sought equitable relief by way of an injunction (a court order requiring a party to do or refrain from doing a particular act) as, well as monetary damages, alleging that Spamhaus: (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 . . . ." Complaint at para. 1.

As the Court stated, "[t]hough Spamhaus initially defended the action, it subsequently withdrew its answer and its attorneys withdrew their appearance. [Spamhaus] has taken no further action to challenge Plaintiff's [e360's] allegations." Court Order, 13 Sept. 2006.

According to the Court's file, Spamhaus failed to respond, the Court entered a default judgment against Spamhaus in the amount of $11,715,000.00 plus $1,971.05 in litigation costs. On that same day, the court entered an order for equitable relief (in the form of a "permanent injunction") against Spamhaus requiring, among other things, that Spamhaus remove e360 from the ROSKO list and post a message on its website at indicating that Plaintiffs were erroneously listed on the website as spammers. Court Order, 13 Sept. 2006.

ICANN has no direct knowledge as to the merits of the claim by e360 against Spamhaus, the reasons why Spamhaus withdrew its answer, or why Spamhaus took no further action to defend the matter.

On 29 September 2006, e360 filed a motion alleging that Spamhaus failed to comply with the Court's previous order and asked the court to suspend, until Spamhaus complies with the Court's previous order.

There was a hearing on 5 October 2006, and following that hearing e360 submitted an order for the Court's review. Minute Order, 5 Oct. 2006.

E360 electronically submitted a proposed order to the court for its review which, if signed, would call for Tucows (Spamhaus' Registrar) and/or ICANN to suspend or place a client hold on

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 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.

ICANN has made this posting in response to community interest expressed on this topic and will continue to monitor this matter.

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Internationalized Domain Name ,IDN,"IDNs are domain names that include characters used in the local representation of languages that are not written with the twenty-six letters of the basic Latin alphabet ""a-z"". An IDN can contain Latin letters with diacritical marks, as required by many European languages, or may consist of characters from non-Latin scripts such as Arabic or Chinese. Many languages also use other types of digits than the European ""0-9"". The basic Latin alphabet together with the European-Arabic digits are, for the purpose of domain names, termed ""ASCII characters"" (ASCII = American Standard Code for Information Interchange). These are also included in the broader range of ""Unicode characters"" that provides the basis for IDNs. The ""hostname rule"" requires that all domain names of the type under consideration here are stored in the DNS using only the ASCII characters listed above, with the one further addition of the hyphen ""-"". The Unicode form of an IDN therefore requires special encoding before it is entered into the DNS. The following terminology is used when distinguishing between these forms: A domain name consists of a series of ""labels"" (separated by ""dots""). The ASCII form of an IDN label is termed an ""A-label"". All operations defined in the DNS protocol use A-labels exclusively. The Unicode form, which a user expects to be displayed, is termed a ""U-label"". The difference may be illustrated with the Hindi word for ""test"" — परीका — appearing here as a U-label would (in the Devanagari script). A special form of ""ASCII compatible encoding"" (abbreviated ACE) is applied to this to produce the corresponding A-label: xn--11b5bs1di. A domain name that only includes ASCII letters, digits, and hyphens is termed an ""LDH label"". Although the definitions of A-labels and LDH-labels overlap, a name consisting exclusively of LDH labels, such as"""" is not an IDN."