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The Internet United States Your Rights Online Politics

No, You Can't Seize Country TLDs, US Court Rules 120

itwbennett writes A U.S. court has quashed an attempt to seize Iran's, Syria's and North Korea's domains as part of a lawsuit against those countries' governments. The plaintiffs in the case wanted to seize the domains after they successfully sued Iran, Syria and North Korea as state sponsors of terrorism. But the court found the domains have the nature of a contractual right, and ruled that rights arising under a contract cannot be seized as part of a judgment.
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No, You Can't Seize Country TLDs, US Court Rules

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 13, 2014 @03:14PM (#48380331)

    But what does Bennett Haselton think about this? I can't form an opinion until he weights in on this issue. He's a frequent contributor.

  • damn (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 13, 2014 @03:17PM (#48380355)

    Damn, I was hoping to get .com's and .gov's seized due to US state sponsored terrorism (I mean surveillance)

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Oh don't worry, plenty of other countries and people see the US as terrorists

      • Re:damn (Score:5, Funny)

        by ArcadeMan ( 2766669 ) on Thursday November 13, 2014 @03:51PM (#48380699)

        We see the USA government as terrorists, but we won't say who we are, eh?

        • Re:damn (Score:5, Funny)

          by mister_playboy ( 1474163 ) on Thursday November 13, 2014 @05:08PM (#48381335)

          but we won't say who we are, eh?

          Canada, is that you?

          • Ok you caught them. Fortunately there's 194 other members you don't know about.

          • but we won't say who we are, eh?

            Canada, is that you?

            Yes
            Our government is playing hardnose. Fortunately they will be out for the next election, and Nationwide civility will return. When it does, the internet spying laws that are in place will be "softened". Court orders will be required to do the spying on "suspects of interest".

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Having an army of flying killer drones that frequently blow up civilians is not terrorism when the USA does it. They are the good guys.

        • We see the USA government as terrorists, but we won't say who we are, eh?

          Perhaps International Court of Justice? The United States is the only country to ever have been found guilty by the ICJ of sponsoring terrorism.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U... [wikipedia.org]

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Well, we are the only ones to ever use nuclear weapons in war.

        (Waiting for someone to justify use in 3.2.1...)

        • I'm unsure how the use in wartime would classify as terrorism. Further, how moral judgements of the actions can be made when it was the first usage of such a weapon against an enemy force. Even more so when, Germany and Japan were both attempting to develop the same weaponry for use.

          • by Anonymous Coward
            But if there is a current War on Terror then all current terrorist acts wouldn't be terrorist acts because it's in wartime?
            • But, but, it is only terrorism if you are on the receiving end. If you are dishing it out it is justified.
              History is written by the winners...

          • I'm unsure how the use in wartime would classify as terrorism.

            If a declaration of war mattered, then Al Qaeda's acts could be excused by their declaration of jihad.

          • I'm unsure how the use in wartime would classify as terrorism

            Yes, the correct technical term is "war crime".

            Further, how moral judgements of the actions can be made when it was the first usage of such a weapon against an enemy force

            Are you seriously suggesting that they didn't have any rough idea what it would do?

            Even more so when, Germany and Japan were both attempting to develop the same weaponry for use.

            It is a basic ethical truth that two wrongs don't make a right.

            • Yes, the correct technical term is "war crime".

              Definitions, definitions, definitions. It can't be a war crime if no one ever made it a crime. There was no law or agreed conduct of warfare during WW2 that forbade the usage of atomic weapons. This is opposed to the German's genocide, the Japanese's horrific treatment of prisoners of war, etc.

              Are you seriously suggesting that they didn't have any rough idea what it would do?

              Knowing what a weapon could do and moral judgements are two different things. Your question is irrelevant. That said, no one knew that the long term effects of the bombs at the time. And you can't judge the initial bl

        • The only nation in human history to fight a nuclear war and win!
        • We were the only ones to have them in WWII. Hard to use a weapon you don't posses.

          • And the US was lucky the Japanese didn't know the US only had 2 nuclear weapons. Had the Japanese knew they most likely would have not surrendered which would have lead to a US invasion of Japan where millions on both sides would have been killed.

        • Justified by ignorance. Used twice and once they found out what happened, they tried their damnedest to never use them again. If you want to be honest about it, accept how ignorant they were and without the hindsight we have now.

      • Well, tell those people to abandon their plans to sue the US for that in a US court, because even if they win, they won't get the domains they wanted. (Whereas prior to this decision, it would have worked? ;)

    • "It's not a crime if it's the President doing it!" said Richard Nixon.
      Wonder how many brownie points Bush got for the Patriot act over at Langley?
    • The US is the main sponsor of Mexican drug cartels and those cartels are terrorizing. But in this case it is not the state, although ... they could decide to take hair samples and jail every 'sponsor'-citizen.
    • If I had points to vote you up, I would. Question is, when does the counterterorism become the terrorism? I think we all know the answer, and its not limited to just one country..
    • Damn, I was hoping to get .com's and .gov's seized due to US state sponsored terrorism (I mean surveillance)

      Why worry about the surveillance and ignore the terrorism?

      Oh, because they re-wrote the dictionary to define "terrorism" as "things we don't like done by people we don't like".

  • Seriously, what do they think they can gain from not letting a government control it's own name?

    It's not like Iran is going to stop existing on the Internet even if they did take them. Peering through less hostile neighbors wouldn't just stop. The only leverage this would really give the US government is the ability to set up "kimjongisapoopyhead.nk".

    • Peering through less hostile neighbors wouldn't just stop.

      A couple of well placed boat anchors can do the trick... Anyway, I doubt some silly ol' court order is going to stop the government. They'll just DDOS the shit out of them and plant malware. I mean, c'mon, the war is on. Buy bonds. Support the troops.

      • because those countries are all islands in the middle of the ocean? they don't border countries that would love to flip the western world the bird? guess again

        • Yeah well, it did slow things down a bit and the targeted machines were hit, and forcing a reroute through your own planted machines can be just as much a part of the deal. Court orders are easier to circumvent than ROT-13. Personally, I think it would more beneficial to leave the sites up and sit back and watch. I would rather monitor the communications than block them.

    • by DarkOx ( 621550 )

      Seriously, what do they think they can gain from not letting a government control it's own name?

      Hmm lets see break every link to every site for an entire country. Sounds like a pretty stiff sanction to me. Think of the economic harm that would happen to us for instance if suddenly .com .org and .net were suddenly pointed elsewhere, that would mean for example slashdot.org would not resolve or would instead point to someones propaganda page etc.

      Services and integrations that have hostnames would beak, I am sure lots of federal and state government systems we don't think of as Websites would cease t

    • Act of war... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      One reason (IIRC, it was the same reason that SOPA/PIPA was shelved) is that China and Russia made it quite clear that blocking their domains is the same thing as blockading physical ship ports or denying access to airspace -- it would be considered an act of war and treated as such.

      Same thing on this level. Taking the TLDs from the countries would further advance the cause of the UN to seize ICANN.

      You think the US is bad... wait until the UN starts running things, with countries like the UAE and Saudi Ara

      • Oh, so has china been at war with us since like 1998?

      • You think the US is bad... wait until the UN starts running things, with countries like the UAE and Saudi Arabia at the helm. Got a pic of your friend eating a BLT? Your entire domain and IP range gets pulled.

        UN runs international post, and guess what? It doesn't affect the ability of people in free countries to exchange information without being subjected to laws of other countries.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Who are the plantiffs? I hate having to research every damn article on this site because of lazy contributors.

  • Awarding the domains would have set a precedent and opened a whole can of worms (opportunity?) in the porn industry.
  • Interesting (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ZombieBraintrust ( 1685608 ) on Thursday November 13, 2014 @03:50PM (#48380687)
    Basically it works like this.
    1) Amy has a contract to wash Bob's car for $100 month.
    2) Carl sues Bob for murdering his dog.
    3) The courts can not give Carl a contract with Amy. The courts can only award Carl with property and money taken from Bob.
    Basically the courts can't force Amy to work with Carl. They can't force ICANN to work with the plantiffs.
    • by DarkOx ( 621550 )

      Which is an interesting precedent to set on this issue. Consider the cases recently where Microsoft and others have been permitted to size domains. Under this logic that does not fly.

      • ICANN was not involved in those cases. ICANN delegates the buying and selling of second level domains to domain name registars. This is where the contract comes in. ICANN controls the top level domain and points these at the domain name registars. In this case North Korea.
      • by sribe ( 304414 )

        Which is an interesting precedent to set on this issue.

        What's interesting is that the Supreme Court ruled on this a long long time ago, and the message hasn't gotten through...

    • by bondsbw ( 888959 )

      How about this scenario:
      1) Dollars Bank has a contract with Edward in the form of a savings account to hold his $1 million in cash.
      2) Faye sues Edward because he destroyed her $1 million house.
      3) Edward only has $5 in his wallet.

      What can the courts do here? Using the logic above, I'd be tempted to say that Faye can only get the $5 he has that isn't under contractual agreement.

      And sure, perhaps banks are special in this regard, but it wouldn't take much thought to find a loophole that didn't involve a "bank

      • by Yebyen ( 59663 )

        I think that loophole is called a "Trust"

        I don't fully understand how it's different than just having your money in a bank, but that is supposed to provide you with some insulation against having your property seized due to a judgement against you. I also don't understand how putting your money in an irrevocable trust can be of any value, if the point is that you can no longer access your own money to pay a judgement, what would have been the point of earning it in the first place?

        • It's common with inheritence and minors. Imagine what would happen if a six-year-old suddenly inherited half a million dollars? Not a good thing. So in that circumstance, the money would be placed in a trust fund with a contract to return it to the beneficery when they reach a specified age, and (hopefully) have the maturity to use it wisely.

      • The courts can award Faye $1million even if Edward has $5 in his wallet. They can force Edward to hand over the cash once the contract completes. Faye becomes a lienholder agaists Edward.
    • Basically it works like this. 1) Amy has a contract to wash Bob's car for $100 month. 2) Carl sues Bob for murdering his dog. 3) The courts can not give Carl a contract with Amy. The courts can only award Carl with property and money taken from Bob. Basically the courts can't force Amy to work with Carl. They can't force ICANN to work with the plantiffs.

      A very thought-provoking post. I had trouble understanding why Bob would pay $100 a month to have his car washed, until I realized that washing his car is a euphemism. Upon realizing that, your argument became much more persuasive.

  • by ArcadeMan ( 2766669 ) on Thursday November 13, 2014 @03:52PM (#48380717)

    DDoS those countries from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

    • And if that's not enough, there's always OADS [impsec.org] for when you really want to be sure, but don't want to worry about fallout.
  • North Korea and Syria sponsor terrorism? Never heard of that accusation, who do they support? And who was suing them? This could only be done by someone who was damaged, right?
    • The case was brought by a number of parties, who have separate claims against Iran, North Korea, and Syria. All have gotten judgments, now they are trying to collect on them. For the North Korea judgment, the claim results from a 1972 terrorist attack in Israel. The attackers were actually Japanese, part of a Japanese terrorist group called the Japanese Red Army, loosely linked (if I remember correctly) to the German Red Army Faction, and backed by a Palestinian terrorist group (offshoot of the PFLP), th

  • by WarJolt ( 990309 ) on Thursday November 13, 2014 @05:00PM (#48381273)

    Who gave North Korea a computer? Why would they need a TLD?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Then why do the courts make it possible to seize domains of individuals and private corporations?

    • Excellent point. It seems unlikely to me that this decision survives the next round, since that would probably imply a reversal on the current jurisdiction around second-level domain names.

      Maybe the decision was *designed* to be reverted by a higher court. At least in Germany, it is an open secret that courts sometimes write their decisions intentionally so that they will be overturned - either because they don't want to take responsibility for the correct decision or because the professional judge must wri

  • Ignoring entirely why the us feels it's courts have jurisdiction at all, any other outcome would have resulted in these countries and their friendly neighbours legislating TLD definitions.
  • No government would want to trust their TLD (on which relies the entire country's infrastructure and economy) to a foreign country that interferes with it. Once that can of worms is opened, you'd probably end up with each country hosting their own alternative root and mandating their ISPs either default to using it or being able to fail over to it quickly when necessary.

  • And Mauritius lost its gov.mu! Now they are using govmu.org!

Never worry about theory as long as the machinery does what it's supposed to do. -- R. A. Heinlein

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