Can US arbitrarily sieze any .com

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#1
Just having a look at Kim Dotcom's new venture. The site states:

It is not safe for cloud storage sites or any business allowing user-generated content to be hosted on servers in the United States or on domains like .com / .net. The US government is frequently seizing domains without offering service providers a hearing or due process.
http://kim.com/mega/#/hosting

The .com/.net bit surprised me a little. Is there truth to this? I'm unlikely to catch their attention anytime soon, but do they theoretically have the ability to seize a .com I purchase from an Irish domain reseller?
 

mneylon

Administrator
Staff member
#2
Short answer - yes
And the same is true if you get the domain from any ICANN accredited registrar including us :)
The reality is pretty simple.
The companies that run com / net / org / info / biz / xxx are all based in the US and come under the jurisdiction of US courts etc., so what can happen and has happened is that the registry operators receive court orders that force them to seize the domains on behalf of US Federal agencies such as ICE
 

mneylon

Administrator
Staff member
#3
But to be clear ..
It wouldn't be that arbitrary ..

There have been cases where a domain has been seized or a registrar has shutdown a domain due to criminal / illegal activity / use. In some cases there were genuine, innocent users impacted as well
 
#4
Thanks for that - it wasn't something I'd given much thought to before. So the TLDs that we consider to be the "global" ones are all under US control.

That's not ideal.
 

mneylon

Administrator
Staff member
#5
Thanks for that - it wasn't something I'd given much thought to before. So the TLDs that we consider to be the "global" ones are all under US control.

That's not ideal.
Well it's not an issue unless you're using domain names to break the law .. and if you do that you're going to have issues no matter what domain extension you choose
 
#6
I guess that's the thing about courts - they have the power sometimes in their jurisdiction to control things on the internet, as long as that person is in their jurisdiction. For example, you could be obeying ICANN laws but an Irish court could force you to give up a .com if it believes it can - is that so?
 

mneylon

Administrator
Staff member
#7
I guess that's the thing about courts - they have the power sometimes in their jurisdiction to control things on the internet, as long as that person is in their jurisdiction. For example, you could be obeying ICANN laws but an Irish court could force you to give up a .com if it believes it can - is that so?
ICANN has policy and contracts. Registrars and registries are bound by those and pass on certain obligations to registrants.
An Irish court can (and has) make a binding decision on a domain holder to handover a domain etc., (ratemysolicitor.* for example)
However someone can take a case in the US directly to the registry and sidestep both the registrar and the registrant. While that might not be an issue in some cases it can be quite confusing if the court order is "sealed" so the registry cannot tell the registrar why the domain is being seized

We had an issue a few months ago where a US court was trying to force us to take action against one of our clients.
We wouldn't act on the US court's order, as they didn't have anything binding in Ireland, so they went directly to the registry to get an order.
(Just an example)
 
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