ICANN ordered by Illinois court to suspend spamhaus.org

information about this court ruling can be found on spamhaus’s web site, here:

apparently, at this stage, it is only a proposed ruling. but i am no lawyer.

this story has been discussed before, when spamhaus, which is located in the uk, was sued in the us by a spammer.

they refused to come before the court as “they do no business in illinois, and are located in the uk.

legal issues aside, imagine what would happen if spamhaus was forced to present itself before courts all over the world, where they don’t even do business. they are a volunteer organization and spammers will stop at nothing to get at them.

after this court ruling, spamhaus.org was under a ddos attack, in my opinion for the purpose of preventing users from reaching the information it provided about the court ruling.
this was done along-side a joe job, sending fake email appearing to come from spamhaus’s ceo, steve linford. this email provided disinformation about the court ruling, claiming that anyone who uses the spamhaus service can be facing legal action. this was false.

this court order (potential court order) to icann is the one of the most dangerous things that could potentially happen to the internet, and it needs to be squashed. next, we would see the court going after spamhaus mirrors, registrars or rirs.

icann, while being composed of good people who do try and do good, does very little as an organization where it comes to stopping abuse. a lot of this abuse involves millions on millions of domain names. these are used for spam, phishing, cp, botnets and a lot of other such activities.

if icann can now potentially be used to:

1. attack an organization that keeps a lot of the internet sane. not just spam-free, but rather actively helps the fight against cp, phishing, etc.

2. circumvent international law, forcing a foreign entity to answer the call of a court around the world, which ruled wrongly on business they don’t actually do.

3. shoot itself in the foot, forcing the formation of a sort of alternate root (we will keep using spamhaus, folks, no matter what) or a move to a different tld or a cctld. it will no longer be a relevant body. hey, everybody is talking about how to keep spamhaus alive. that’s an idea that floats around a lot.

it will be a precedent which will open a can of worms, and there will be no end to it. this court ruling needs to be attacked with all possible force, by icann, the community, the news and everyone else who cares.

i still have faith in icann’s good people, and i still have faith in the law enforcement officers who use what spamhaus freely gives to the world. i also have faith in the judges of the illinois court, and believe they will make the right call.

this illinois court will meet with a clue stick and clue up, they don’t currently seem to be very tech-savvy to me.
i am not sure at all icann can ignore such an order when it comes. icann will prevent this legal action, or something else will be done. otherwise, maybe it is time for an alternate root, as the alternate evil seems very shiny right now.

this is all yet to be determined, and mostly my opinion beyond the urls provided. this, however, needs to be addressed. it is serious.

for now, what would be very nice is to see every cctld that “cares” provide with a free, courtesy domain name, and point to spamhaus’s ip addresses. spamhaus.co.il, spamhaus.jp, etc.

i am rather inflamatory in this post, but to be honest, the world isn’t going to end, i will still go to spmahaus’s website even if i have to go to .co.uk instead of .org.

gadi evron,

  • Simple logic

    I propose suing ICANN in Vanuatu tomorrow, and when they don’t turn up, require them to remove their domain name.

    Please people, there needs to be some common-sense.

  • Phil

    FYI Spamhaus registered spamhaus.co.uk the day after the judgement.

  • Jeremy

    Except that spamhaus.co.uk is a squatter.

    “spamhaus.co.uk is a UK based family business who specialise In selling branded and top quality merchandise at hugely discounted prices on the Internet.”

    Family business my derrière.

  • http://homepage.ntlworld.com/tim.wesson/ Tim Wesson

    http://www.spamhaus.org.uk/ is the correct address.

  • http://www.amduus.com Scott Auge

    I believe it is spamhaus.org.uk and http://www.spamhaus.org.uk for the web site.

  • http://www.my-usa-data.com Greg Bulmash

    Let’s say that an Iranian web site started publishing bogus stories about how Jews drink the blood of Gentile children on Passover and how the Catholic Church is conspiring with Pillsbury to poison Muslims.

    Now, let’s say that I kept a list of “hate” sites and put them on it. That list was then picked up by a few companies that offer web filtering software and access to their hateful lies was denied to anyone behind a proxy running one of those filters.

    Now, let’s say that the Iranian hatemongers sued me in an Iranian court. I refused to show and a default judgement was entered against me, ordering me to pay millions in damages and post a public notice that the Iranians were not only not hatemongers, but that their bigoted lies were true. When I refused to comply, a fatwa was issued, ordering my death at the hands of any observant Muslim.

    Now let’s say that this judge from the Spamhaus case read a story about this. Would he see himself in this story? Would he acknowledge the jurisdiction of the Iranian court?

    Spamhaus does not block mail. They merely provide a list which others use to block mail. Their list is based on evidence they have collected and the standards/laws of their country. Not only does this court not have jurisdiction, but it has no logical basis for its ruling other than the defendant’s refusal to appear or comply and the judge involved getting his ego bruised by it.

    The judge needs to rein in his ego, look at this dispassionately, admit he’s been duped by spammers, and take out his wrath on the spammers with sanctions and criminal charges for perjury.

  • Dave

    What we have here is an organization that ignored a lawsuit it could have easily won because it was in another country — specifically the country that controls the internet. The lesson here is to not ignore lawsuits and to take them seriously. Emailers want to stay in business and will go out of their way to do so.

    While it is sad to see Spamhaus in this position, they put themselves in it by their own arrogance.

  • e360insight

    Now this is too much. I really hope Icann / Tucows do not suspend the domain. I am really pissed of by e360insight. I have colleted the working e-mail addresses from the company and their lawyers:


    I have a honeypot e-mail server that collects about 10000 Spams a day. I will redirect all the Junk Mail to the above addresses.

    Sorry, but I am normally a sensible person but this will keep them busy for a while.

    Please send mails with your comments to the above addresses.

    Moderator Note:
    Removed a lot of email addresses for people. This is ill practice and we discourage it on the blogs.

  • Ian M Gumby

    I wish people would look up Intentional Tort in a law dictionary.

    You don’t have to be a lawyer to understand what is written in Black’s Law Dictionary. (You just have to have a brain in your head and a high school education.)

    The issue isn’t running a black list. It is about having a claim that someone was wrongfully listed and that they suffered damages.

    Lets try this for example.
    Lets say that there’s a sex offender’s website that lists all the men who have been convicted of a sex crime, the crime and their current address.

    Now suppose that they list you. You contact them and tell them that the guy on the list isn’t you and that you’ve never committed any crimes at all.

    They do nothing.

    You then walk in to work the next day and at your desk is your manager and the VP from HR. You’ve lost your job because it was brought to their attention that you’re a listed sex offender and since you didn’t list any convictions on your job application, you’re being terminated.

    What rights do you have?

    See the parallel?

    Only the difference is that Lindhardt’s case is bogus. He filed for a TRO in Cook County and Spamhaus had it moved to Federal Court. That was a mistake if they were going to walk away claiming that they were outside of the court’s jurisdiction.

    Now IANAL, but which court has jurisdiction when the plaintiff is accusing someone of a willful tort?

    Spamhaus walked away from the claims. Hence the default judgement. Spamhaus.org is under a US controlled TLD (Top Level Domain). Domain names are property. Its Spamhaus’s only property in the US. They *can* move to spamhaus.org.uk, however this judgement is still out there.

    If the judge signs the motion, it will be interesting to see Lindhardt try and go after a US based ISP.
    Given enough rope, Lindhardt and his lawyer will hang themselves.

  • k j

    outstanding decison made ever.

  • kk

    As someone that has dealt with Spamhaus from the other side I can say there tactics are deserving of loosing their domain name and the provilidge of providing service in the USA. They use their large user base to justify their definition of UCE including bounce messages for user that do not exist or virus notification emails. When dealing with them they proved petty, insulting and ignorant. I hope this goes into effect and shows the big non event it is. Remember spamcop does the same thing and is an easy drop in replacement to this service. They also are awesome to work with. And no I am not affiliated with them in any way just a happy user.

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