US Court Says ccTLDs Are Not Property In Case Brought By Terrorism Victims

Victims of terrorism from Israel and the United States who sued to gain the assets of the Iranian (.IR), Syrian (.SY) and North Korean (.KP), (as well as internationalised TLDs for Iran and Syria) seized for compensation have failed. The U.S. federal court agreed with ICANN that the country code Top-Level Domains (ccTLDs) are not property subject to attachment. ICANN sought to quash the writs of attachment citing ICANN’s technical coordination role in the domain name system (DNS) and arguing that ccTLDs are not subject to attachment. “We are pleased that the court ruled in our favor on the grounds that the ccTLDs are not property, subject to attachment”, said John Jeffrey, ICANN’s General Counsel and Secretary. “The court’s ruling demonstrates a technical understanding of the DNS, and the role of ccTLDs in the single, global, interoperable internet. Had the case been successful, the case could have set a precedent and meant countries, in this case Iran, North Korea and Syria, could lose control of their ccTLDs. The case was brought by families who have won American federal court judgments that amount to more than a billion dollars against the Iranian government seek to own all the TLDs provided by the US to Iran including the .ir TLD, the ایران TLD and all Internet Protocol (IP) addresses being utilised by the Iranian government and its agencies. The court papers were served on ICANN. The case followed earlier cases brought in the US by the terror victim plaintiff/judgment holders against Iran. The districts courts repeatedly ruled that the suicide bombing and shooting attacks perpetrated by the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorist organisations in Israel were funded by the Islamic regime through MOIS. However, although the families have received compensatory and punitive damage judgments against the defendants, Iran refused to satisfy the court awards. Iran has been designated by the Department of State as an outlaw nation that provides material support and resources to terrorist groups worldwide since 1996.

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