ICANN responds to terrorism victims by claiming domain names are not property
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (“ICANN”) has asked a D.C. Circuit Court to prevent the handover of country code top-level domain names (“ccTLD”) to plaintiffs of Ben Haim et al. v Islamic Republic of Iran et al., who have been trying to collect their $109 million damages award from Iran for the 1997 suicide bombing. The plaintiffs have had limited success with seizing Iranian assets located in the U.S., including cultural artifacts held by Harvard University and Chicago’s Field Museum, reports Arstechnica. They have recently obtained writs of attachment against ICANN, ordering it to “hold” the ccTLDs of Iran, Syria and North Korea for seizure, liquidation or transfer. According to the Volokh Conspiracy, ICANN has responded in its motion to quash these writs by claiming that “a ccTLD is not ‘property’; even if you think its property, it’s not property ‘belonging to’ the defendant governments; even if you think it’s property belonging to the defendant governments, it’s not within ICANN’s control; and even if you think it’s property belonging to the defendant governments that is within ICANN’s control, it’s not ‘located in the United States’ and therefore not subject to seizure by a U.S. federal court.” The Volokh Conspiracy notes that, although a ccTLD is like a label to a series of interlocking relationships, the theory that domain names are property has been successfully used by the Department of Homeland Security to seize websites allegedly involved in copyright infringement.
D.C. District Court rules that FOIA requests apply to officials’ personal email accounts
Judge Stewart Nash recently ruled in Vining v. District of Columbia that District of Columbia city officials’ records on non-governmental email accounts qualify for production under the D.C. FOIA statute, reports the Washington City Paper. This first-of-its-kind ruling brings the District in line with the majority of states that have addressed this issue. According to Techdirt, the Judge ruled that as long as the government official is acting in the capacity of his employment, communications made and received by such officials are within FOIA’s scope. D.C.’s FOIA refers to “public records,” unlike the federal law, which refers to “agency records.”
Class-action lawsuit brought against ExamSoft in Illinois
Philip Litchfield, represented by Edelson PC, has filed a class-action lawsuit in Illinois against ExamSoft for the software problems on the first day of the July bar exam, reports Above the Law. According to the Daily Dot, severe technical glitches on the first day of the bar exam prevented or delayed thousands of students from uploading their essays. ExamSoft, the only alternative to handwriting the exam in many states, works by blocking all other programs and saving an encrypted version of the exam file to upload later, explains the Volokh Conspiracy. Its malfunction caused an uproar among test-takers, with many legal threats. ExamSoft responded with an apology on Twitter and extensions on the deadlines for exam uploads, but has not issued a formal apology nor a refund to test-takers, who had to pay about $140 to use the software. Causes of actions in the complaint include violation of the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act, negligence, breach of contract, and unjust enrichment.