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Judge temporarily locks down OnlineNIC’s assets

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Judge issues temporary restraining order in OnlineNIC dispute.

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A U.S. judge this afternoon granted (pdf) most of Facebook’s request for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against domain name registrar OnlineNIC.

The TRO prohibits the transfer of funds or assets “except to pay costs directly necessary to maintain the day-to-day operations of their business (e.g., renewing customer domain names, paying for servers, paying any employees).”

This includes moving any money in bank accounts. It also blocks OnlineNIC from transferring domain names it owns to another party unless approved by the court. (Note that this does not apply to customers transferring their domains.)

The judge also ordered the defendants in the case to provide a full accounting of their assets.

The TRO is in effect until August 6. A hearing on a preliminary injunction will be held on August 5.

Separately, a commenter on Domain Name Wire posted today that OnlineNIC informed him that it had reconciled with Facebook. I haven’t seen the email but sent my own message to OnlineNic with a link to my original article. The company responded:

“The information in the article is not true.Currently we will still keep onlinenic in operation. We value all partner’s business. As an ICANN-accredited registrar, all domains under OnlineNIC are safe.”

The information in the article is certainly true, but it’s also true that OnlineNIC is currently in operation. It’s also likely true that all domains at OnlineNIC are safe. There is a process in which ICANN transfers customer domains when a registrar closes.

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