ICANN Should Not Be Involved in Civil Dispute
October 12, 2006
Filed under Internet Openness & Standards
Like many in the high-tech community, we've recently been tracking a lawsuit filed by an Illinois-based e-mail marketing company -- e360 Insight LLC -- against London-based anti-spam group Spamhaus. For those not familiar with Spamhaus, it maintains one of the most widely used spam "block lists" of Internet domains associated with suspected spammers. From the court documents, it appears e360 Insight sued Spamhaus to remove its domains from the Spamhaus block list. A federal court in Illinois issued a default judgment against Spamhaus after Spamhaus failed to participate in the proceedings. Attorneys for e360 Insight asked the court to issue an order requiring the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to suspend Spamhaus's domain name, Spamhaus.org. This is where we come in. We don't take a position on the merits of e360's case against Spamhaus, but we are deeply troubled at the attempt to bring ICANN into this dispute. ICANN is a technical body that has nothing to do with the administration of individual domain names. As we say in our official statement, ICANN has neither the legal authority nor the practical ability to suspend Spamhaus.org. It is e360's responsibility to ask a court that has jurisdiction over Spamhaus to enforce the U.S. Court's judgment. Under no circumstances should ICANN be required to be involved. ICANN has issued its own statement on the case, and we're optimistic that this will be resolved in a way that does not involve ICANN. We'll be keeping a close eye on upcoming developments.