Skip to main content
Resources

ICANN Tells U.S. Court That ccTLDs Are Not "Property" | Files Motion to Quash in U.S. Legal Action Aimed at Seizing Top-Level Domains

Washington, DC… The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has told a U.S. federal court in the District of Columbia, that a country code Top-Level Domain (ccTLD) cannot be considered "property," and thus cannot be attached by plaintiffs in a lawsuit, who are trying to obtain the assets of countries that they argued have supported terrorism.

"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", said John Jeffrey, ICANN's General Counsel and Secretary.

"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."

ICANN's arguments were put forth when the victims of terrorism who had successfully won lawsuits against Iran, Syria and North Korea, sought to collect on those civil judgments. In their attempt to recover assets from these countries, the plaintiffs served ICANN with "writs of attachment" and subpoenas seeking information to help them seize the ccTLDs of those nations.

The ccTLDs (and related IP addresses) targeted by the plaintiffs include; .IR (Iran), .SY (Syria) and .KP (North Korea), as well as internationalized top-level domains in non-ASCII characters for Iran and Syria.

##

To read ICANN's legal filings, go here:
https://www.icann.org/resources/pages/icann-various-2014-07-30-en

To read the original "Writs of Attachment," go here:
https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B_dOI5puxRA9M3hweE9Eel9mVTQ/edit?pli=1

Media Contacts

Brad White
Director of North American Communications
Washington, D.C.
Tel: +1.202.570.7118
Email: brad.white@icann.org

James Cole
Global Media Coordinator
Washington, D.C.
Tel: +1.202.570.7139
Email: james.cole@icann.org

About ICANN

ICANN's mission is to ensure a stable, secure and unified global Internet. To reach another person on the Internet you have to type an address into your computer - a name or a number. That address has to be unique so computers know where to find each other. ICANN coordinates these unique identifiers across the world. Without that coordination we wouldn't have one global Internet. ICANN was formed in 1998. It is a not-for-profit public-benefit corporation with participants from all over the world dedicated to keeping the Internet secure, stable and interoperable. It promotes competition and develops policy on the Internet's unique identifiers. ICANN doesn't control content on the Internet. It cannot stop spam and it doesn't deal with access to the Internet. But through its coordination role of the Internet's naming system, it does have an important impact on the expansion and evolution of the Internet. For more information please visit: www.icann.org.

Domain Name System
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""icann.org"" is not an IDN."