Bad news for Spamhaus?

The anti-spam operation Spamhaus, based in the UK, is being sued in an Illinois court by an individual named David Linhardt, who is listed in Spamhaus' Register of Known Spam Operations (ROKSO) database. Spamhaus has been responding like this:

… Spamhaus, which as a British organization not subject to Illinois court orders is continuing to list Linhardt’s IP addresses on its SBL spam blocklist as usual … the Illinois ruling shows that U.S. courts can be bamboozled by spammers with great ease. Additionally, as spamming is illegal in the United Kingdom, an Illinois court ordering a British organization to stop blocking incoming Illinois spam in Britain goes contrary to U.K. law which orders all spammers to cease sending spam in the first place.

Spamhaus' position is that Linhardt will need to file his suit in Britain. Sounds plausible to my non-lawyer ears. However, a PDF of a legal document dated October 6 features what seems to be a new gambit on the part of the plaintiff – attempting to shut up Spamhaus via their US-based domain registrar:

Tucows, Inc., ICANN’s accredited registrar for www.spamhaus.org, is hereby ordered to suspend or place a client hold on www.Spamhaus.org until such time as they receive a further order from this Court that such suspension or client hold be lifted.

The document also says that “the additional relief requested by Plaintiff is denied,” which I assume refers to that $11 million. Note that the document is labeled “PROPOSED ORDER”, which I believe means that it hasn’t yet been signed by a judge. Is this just more futile poking, or does it stand a chance of causing real trouble for Tucows? I welcome contributions and corrections from anybody with more information.

Update: ICANN officially states that it “does not have either the ability or the authority” to comply with the court order.

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