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ICANN: Sorry, we can't delete Spamhaus.org's domain

When last we visited Spamhaus' courtroom fight with a reputed spammer, a federal judge in Illinois was being .

e360 Insight, allegedly a source of plenty of junk e-mail, had asked U.S. District Judge Charles Kocoras to force the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, and registrar Tucows, to suspend the registration for the spamhaus.org domain.

Now ICANN is saying it can't comply with any such court order, even if Kocoras were to approve it.

ICANN's statement published Tuesday says: "Even if ICANN were properly brought before the court in this matter, which ICANN has not been, ICANN cannot comply with any order requiring it to suspend or place a client hold on Spamhaus.org or any specific domain name because ICANN does not have either the ability or the authority to do so. Only the Internet registrar with whom the registrant has a contractual relationship -- and in certain instances the Internet registry -- can suspend an individual domain name."

Translation: Pick on Tucows or, perhaps, dot-org registry Public Interest Registry, but not us.

ICANN's position also makes sense. It's entirely unclear what e360's attorneys were thinking; ICANN doesn't maintain the dot-org registry nor does it have any obvious method to force registrars to delete individual domain names.