More from ICANN Court Filing: Not Only Are ccTLD’s Not Property But They Don’t Belong To The Country










Earlier we wrote about ICANN filing several motions to quash a federal court ruling that ccTLD registries could be seized to satisfy judgements against the underling country saying ccTLD’s are not considered property and therefore it can’t be attached by plaintiffs.

We read through some more of the 289 page memorandum ICANN filed  in support of the motions and ICANN is position is only are not the ccTLD registries not property but the ccTLD’s don’t even belong to the underlying country. ICANN analogies that ccTLD’s registries are simply like Zip codes and domain names are like street addresses.

ICANN goes further to say:

A ccTLD cannot be physically held, it is not capable of a precise definition because it is constantly changing as new domain names are added and deleted, there is no established market within which a ccTLD can be purchased or sold, and a ccTLD holds no intrinsic value.

Put simply, defendants In this case (the underlying countries) do not “own” these ccTLDs.

“”A ccTLD is simply the provision of routing and administrative services for the domain names registered within that ccTLD; it is not property.””

“”Other established principles within the Internet community also refute any notion that a country “owns” the ccTLD assigned to it.”

The following is from the memorandum:


Under District of Columbia law, attachment proceedings must be directed at “property,” which is defined as a “judgment debtor’s goods, chattels, and credits.” D.C. Code § 16-544.

A ccTLD is not property.

A ccTLD cannot be physically held, it is not capable of a precise definition because it is constantly changing as new domain names are added and deleted, there is no established market within which a ccTLD can be purchased or sold, and a ccTLD holds no intrinsic value.

Moreover, a ccTLD, by itself, has no functional utility without all the routing and administrative services – provided by the ccTLD manager and members of the Internet technical community – that accompany and support its use.

A ccTLD is simply a two-letter code (or related non-ASCII equivalent), corresponding to a particular country, which is used to help organize the registry of second-level domain names registered within the top-level domain.

If a specific domain name can be analogized to a street address, a ccTLD can be thought of as a zip code.

That zip code may encompass many different addresses, and those addresses in turn may correspond to certain places on the Internet that people can access, such as websites. But the street address itself is not property, nor is the zip code in which the street address exists.

Rather, a ccTLD simply identifies for computers the general vicinity of the Internet in which a specific address and information is located.

To the extent a ccTLD is capable of a legal definition, it is a collection of technical and administrative services, rather than property.

This is precisely what the Ninth Circuit found in Lockheed Martin Corp. v. Network Solutions, Inc., 194 F.3d 980 (9th Cir. 1999). There, the court was called on to determine whether the .COM TLD was a “product” or a “service,” and the court ruled that the TLD fell “squarely on the ‘service’ side of the product/service distinction.” Id. at 984. As the Ninth Circuit correctly analogized, “NSI’s role [as the manager of .COM] differs little from that of the United States Postal Service: when an Internet user enters a domain-name combination, NSI translates the domain-name combination to the registrant’s IP address and routes the information or command to the corresponding computer . . . NSI does not supply the domain-name combination any more than the Postal Service supplies a street address.” Id. at 984-85.

Likewise, in assessing whether domain names – which are listed within the Internet’s TLDs – can be considered “property,” numerous courts from various jurisdictions have found that they cannot.

For instance, in Dorer v. Arel, 60 F. Supp. 2d 558, 560 (E.D. Va. 1999), the Eastern District of Virginia found – in judgment execution proceedings – that “there are several reasons to doubt that domain names should be treated as personal property subject to judgment liens.” Chief among these reasons is that “a domain name registration is the product of a contract for services between the registrar and registrant . . . Thus, a judgment debtor ‘owns’ the domain name registration in the same way that a person ‘owns’ a telephone number.” Id. at 561. In Network Solutions, Inc. v. Umbro International, Inc., 529 S.E.2d 80, 86 (Va. 2000), the statement that “[c]oncerns about ‘rights’ and ‘ownership’ of [ccTLD] domains are inappropriate.

Put simply, defendants do not “own” these ccTLDs.

A ccTLD is simply the provision of routing and administrative services for the domain names registered within that ccTLD; it is not property.

And because a ccTLD is a collection of critical and complex Internet services, a ccTLD is not attachable or property.

Put another way, Plaintiffs may not use their Writs of Attachment to interject themselves into – or become party to – this complex web of services relating to technical matters, much less interfere with and disrupt them.

Because the services provided by ccTLDs are not transferable “property,” the Writs of Attachment must be quashed. See Rochford v. Laser, 91 Ill. App. 3d 769 (Ill. Ct. App.


The Writs of Attachment must also be quashed because, even if “property,” these ccTLDs are not owned by the defendants – any more than a city or neighborhood “owns” their zip code. D.C. Code § 16-544.

None of the defendants purchased the ccTLDs assigned to their countries, and there is no established procedure authorizing the defendants to sell these ccTLDs. Nor do the defendants have the power to order ICANN or any other entity to take any actions with respect to the ccTLDs.

As stated in ICANN’s ccTLD guidelines, Section 9.1.3, “the ccTLD is operated in trust in the public interest and that any claim of intellectual property rights in the two-letter code in itself shall not impede any possible future change of Registry.” (Enson Decl., ¶ 14, Ex. M at ¶ 9.1.3 (emphasis added); see also Enson Decl., ¶ 13, Ex. L at Clause 4.2.)

In fact, according to ICANN’s rules and procedures, defendants do not possess the sole power to determine or control what entities will operate the ccTLDs assigned to their countries. (Enson Decl., ¶ 6, Ex. E at p. 2.)

In addition, “[g]eneral principles of property law require that a property owner have the legal right to exclude others from use and enjoyment of that property.”

Here, Plaintiffs cannot point to a contract, agreement, treaty, statute or court case providing defendants with a “legal right” to exclude others from the use and enjoyment of these ccTLDs.

Nor can Plaintiffs point to any evidence indicating that the defendants have attempted to assert such a legal right.

In fact, the entire premise of a ccTLD is that it will be used and enjoyed by many who choose to register, operate and visit domain names within that ccTLD.

The defendants’ lack of ownership interest in the ccTLDs here is fatal to the Writs of Attachment.

See Peterson v. Islamic Republic of Iran, 938 F. Supp. 2d 93, 97 (D.D.C. 2013) (ruling that attachment of electronic funds transfers were inappropriate because Iran had no property interest in the ETFs); Estate of Heiser v. Islamic Republic of Iran, 885 F. Supp. 2d 429, 438 (D.D.C. 2012) (same); Bunkers Int’l Corp. v. Carreirs Pitti, P.C., No. 1:11CV803 (LMB/IDD), 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 40332, at *9-10 (E.D. Va. Mar. 22, 2012) (refusing to allow the attachment of an Internet domain name because the name was not registered to the defendant).

Other established principles within the Internet community also refute any notion that a country “owns” the ccTLD assigned to it.

In 2000, the Governmental Advisory Committee, an independent group of governments that provide ICANN with public policy advice regarding ICANN’s activities, agreed to another set of principles stating, among other things, that “[n]o private intellectual or other property rights should inhere in the ccTLD itself.” (Enson Decl., ¶ 13, Ex. L at Clause 4.2). And Clause 5 of these principles describes the governments’ role as “represent[ing] the interests of the people of the county or territory for which the ccTLD has been delegated” (id. at ¶ 5.1), maintaining “responsibility for public policy objectives” and “ultimate policy authority” (id. at ¶ 5.2), and otherwise following “the general principle that the Internet naming system is a public resource in the sense that its functions must be administered in the public or common interest.” (Id. at ¶ 5.3).

A theory that these ccTLDs are property “owned” by the defendants runs contrary to these bedrock principles of the Internet.

And these are principles acknowledged by many of the ccTLD managers themselves. In particular, numerous .ccTLD managers have publicly supported ICANN’s ICP-1 and its statement that “[c]oncerns about ‘rights’ and ‘ownership’ of [ccTLD] domains are inappropriate.

Statement that “[c]oncerns about ‘rights’ and ‘ownership’ of [ccTLD] domains are inappropriate. It is appropriate, however, to be concerned about ‘responsibilities’ and ‘service’ to the community.” (Enson Decl., ¶ 7, Ex. F at § b (emphasis added); ¶ 15, Ex. N (Letter from Drafting Committee, Alternate ccTLD Best Practices Draft (3 March 2000).)

Put simply, defendants do not “own” these ccTLDs.””

ICANN Responds To Seizure Order of The .IR Registry, saying ccTLD’s Are Not Property











A couple of weeks ago we told you that the attorney for the victims of a terrorist attack got a federal court to order the seizure of the .IR domain registry which is the ccTLD for Iran to help satisfy a judgement the victims  held  against the republic of Iran.

As first reported by,  (The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) told a U.S. federal court in the District of Columbia, that ccTLD (country code Top-Level Domains ) can’t be considered property and therefore it can’t be attached by plaintiffs.

ICANN General Counsel and Secretary John Jeffrey filed various Motion to Quash in the US federal court and ICANN’s memorandum in support of its motion is 289 pages.

“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.”

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, he continued. “ccTLD’s are not property, and are not ‘owned’ or ‘possessed’ by anyone including ICANN, and therefore cannot be seized in a lawsuit.”

“ccTLD’s are not property, and are not ‘owned’ or ‘possessed’ by anyone including ICANN, and therefore cannot be seized in a lawsuit.”

Here is part of the memorandum:

“Plaintiffs hold several money judgments against the governments of Iran, Syria and North Korea (collectively, the “defendants”). Plaintiffs endeavor, with the Writs of Attachment, to attach the .IR, .SY and .KP country code top level domains (“ccTLDs”), related non ASCII ccTLDs, and supporting IP addresses (collectively, the “.IR, .SY and .KP ccTLDs”), all of which represent a space on the Internet for use by the citizens of Iran, Syria and North Korea.

ICANN holds no property to attach and ICANN does not have the authority or capability to effectuate a “transfer” of the .IR, .SY and .KP ccTLDs to anyone, including Plaintiffs.

“Well established legal principles dictate that the .IR, .SY and .KP ccTLDs are not subject to attachment, for multiple reasons.

First, a ccTLD simply is not “property” subject to attachment.

Second, although operating for the benefit of the people of Iran, Syria and North Korea, respectively, the relevant ccTLDs are not “owned” by the defendants or anyone else, for that matter.

Third, the .IR, .SY and .KP ccTLDs are not “located” in the District of Columbia or even the United States, and therefore are beyond the reach of Plaintiffs’ Writs of Attachment.

Fourth, even if these ccTLDs could be characterized as “property in the United States of the defendants,” this Court would lack jurisdiction over these proceedings, according to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act. Fifth, ICANN does not unilaterally have the capability or authority to transfer the .IR, .SY or .KP ccTLDs to Plaintiffs.

Finally, a forced transfer of the .IR, .SY and .KP ccTLDs would destroy whatever value may exist in these ccTLDs, would wipe out the hundreds of thousands of second level domain names registered therein by various individuals,businesses and charitable organizations, and could jeopardize the single, global, interoperable structure the Internet. For these reasons, individually and collectively, Plaintiffs’ Writs of Attachment must be quashed”

ICANN’s filings can be found here. The “Writs of Attachment” can be found here.


HardRock; BMW; Starbucks; BretMichaels & God All .Rocks; Here are the first .Rocks Registrations

.Rocks which goes live into general availability on August 6th,  has a little over 200 domains which were registered in Sunrise  (Trademark holders) and in the Early Access Program (EAP) for those who were willing to pay a higher fee for early access to domain registrations

The cost of a non-premium .Rocks registration is at $14.99 at Godaddy

A lot of the registrations are or product.Rocks types of domains

Some people took .Rocks literally, registering domain names like Moon.Rocks, Lava.Rocks, Gem.Rocks and Pet.Rocks

There are a few personal domain names like Brad.Rocks, BradClever.Rocks and BretMichaels.Rocks

Some guy who lives at the Ritz Carlton in Kuala Lumpur registered the domain name FBI.Rocks

If your looking for some Geo.Rocks domain names, many seem to be reserved like Detroit.Rocks, Cleveland.Rocks, Nashville.Rokcs, Miami.Rocks, Atlanta.Rocks, NewYork.Rocks,  but Florida.Rocks is a premium domain priced at $799 a year.

Here are the more interesting .Rocks domain names registered in Sunrise and EAP:

Flipkart Raises $1billion in funding – Largest ever for an Indian Internet Company

You may recall a little while back there were all those Flipkart domain purchases in various cctlds, well the company certainly could afford it as they have just completed the largest funding ever by an Indian Internet company. May 2014 5,000.00 EUR Sedo April 2014 5,000.00 EUR Sedo May 2014 5,000.00 EUR Sedo May 2014 5,000.00 EUR Sedo March 2014 5,000.00 USD Sedo May 2014 3,500.00 EUR Sedo May 2014 3,500.00 EUR Sedo August 2013 155.00 USD GoDaddy

Total price amount in this set of 8 domain name sales is 41,875.00 USD; average price is 5,234.38 USD.

stats courtesy of

The Hindu reported:

India’s leading e-commerce retailer Flipkart announced on Tuesday that it has raised funds worth $1 billion (over Rs.6,000 crore), the largest-ever by an Indian Internet company.

In a tightly competitive market, Flipkart has been going aggressive on fund-raising, just having raised $210 million as recently as May this year. The year 2014 is punctuated with milestones for the Bangalore-based e-tailer which crossed $1 billion in gross merchandise value in March and then went on to acquire competitor in one of the biggest deals in the sector.

The current funding round, the seventh till date, is led by existing investors Tiger Global and Naspers, with GIC, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, participating for the first time. Analyst sources speculate that with this the company is valuated between $6 billion and $7 billion.

Read the full article here

ICM Registry Operator of .XXX Wins Rights to The New gTLD .Sex

ICM Registry the operator of the .XXX registry has won the right to operate the .Sex new gTLD.

The other applicant for .Sex, Internet Marketing Solutions Limited has withdrawn their application, leaving ICM’s the lone applicant for .Sex.

ICM also is the only applicant for the new gTLD’s .adult and .porn

The only caveat on the new gTLD’s .Sex, .Adult and .Porn is that just a few weeks ago, seemingly out of nowhere, the New gTLD Committee of ICANN commented that they might be sensitive strings requiring further discussion.

We don’t know how ICM Registry and Internet Marketing Solutions resolved their contention for the .Sex extension nor what the terms were.

Interestingly .Sex was the among the last new gTLD set for ICANN’s Last Resort Auction which was not scheduled until next year.

ICM Registry has previously said that owners of .XXX domain names would have some grandfather rights to acquire matching .Sex, .Porn and .Adult domains.