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US court denies request to suspend Spamhaus domain

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Internet Security Threat Report 2014

A US judge has denied a request to order internet registrars to suspend Spamhaus's domain, easing concerns that the spam blocking service might be interrupted.

Judge Charles Kocoras turned down a motion from e360 Insight, a firm that sued Spamhaus after the anti-spam organisation blacklisted its domains over alleged spamming, in the latest chapter in an ongoing legal tussle between the two organisations.

In a default ruling [PDF] made by an Illinois court last month, Spamhaus was ordered to pay $11.7m in compensation to e360 Insight, pull the organisation's listing, and post a notice stating that it was wrong to say e360 Insight was involved in sending junk mail. UK-based Spamhaus did not defend the case and the ruling was made in its absence.

Initially, Spamhaus ignored the ruling. e360 Insight responded by upping the ante and calling [PDF] on the Illinios court to order domain registrars to suspend Spamhaus's domain, Spamhaus.org. If carried through, the move could have resulted in a huge volume of extra spam hitting email servers. The draft order called on either internet governance body ICANN or Canadian registrar Tucows to suspend the spamhaus.org domain.

The domain-name threat prompted Spamhaus to appeal the original $11.7m judgment against it.

Meanwhile, e360 Insight's ambitious legal bid to have Spamhaus's domain pulled has been nixed. Judge Kocoras issued an order on Thursday denying e360 Insight's motion on the basis that the suspending the spamhaus.org domain would cut off all lawful online activities of Spamhaus, not just those in contravention of the Illinois court's injunction. The Court also noted that since there is no indication that either ICANN or Tucows acted in concert with Spamhaus, it was inappropriate to make them parties to the case. ®

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