Friday, August 01, 2014

Can State-Sponsored Terror Victims Satisfy Judgments By Attaching Internet Country Code TLDs?

BNA Electronic Commerce & Law Report [subscription required] this week reported on a fascinating legal issue facing the D.C. federal district court in connection with suits by five victims of state-sponsored terrorism brought against Iran, Syria and North Korea. The victims have all obtained default judgments against the defendant countries, and are now seeking to attach assets in the United States to satisfy the judgments. Among the assets they have identified are the Internet top-level domains assigned to each of the countries.  So the parties issued writs of attachment against the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers ("ICANN") purporting to attach the .IR, .SY and KP country code TLDs. Earlier this week, ICANN filed a Motions to Quash (full text) arguing, among other things, that the ccTLDs are not property subject to attachment and are not owned by the countries to which they are assigned.  They also argue that forced redelegation of the ccTLDs would destroy their value.