Kentucky's Gambling Domain Name Grab Sets A Terrible Precedent

from the governors-who-want-more-power dept

Last month, we wrote about a bizarre lawsuit in Kentucky, where a judge gave the government the ability to seize the domain names of numerous online gambling sites, even though none of them were based in Kentucky, or even registered via Kentucky-based registrars. The whole thing smelled of corruption, given that the governor is closely tied to offline casino interests, and his campaign apparently included a big promise to bring more offline casinos to Kentucky. This effort seems mostly focused on not just blocking out online competitors, but seizing their domain names. Lots of people are pushing back and explaining how ridiculous the scenario is to the judge, noting, for example, that following similar logic would allow any country to seize any domain name. For example, China could decide that the BBC website violates its laws and demand that the BBC domain name be turned over to the Chinese government. Most folks would recognize that this is ridiculous -- but it's effectively what the Kentucky governor has done.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 10th, 2008 @ 9:53am

    I can't believe someone so stupid could make a decision of such magnitude. it's really very scary how corrupt these people are. Kentucky is just a state, not even a country and this has implications that effect everyone on the net. So scary and more importantly sad.

     

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  2.  
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    Ima Fish, Oct 10th, 2008 @ 10:11am

    Trying to explain "stupid" to a southerner isn't the easiest of tasks.

     

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  3.  
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    Rik Koenig, Oct 10th, 2008 @ 10:16am

    Re:

    It is a little easier than explaining "gross generalization" and "arrogance" to some, however.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 10th, 2008 @ 10:17am

    Corrupt or just plain ignorant? How about a law requiring that judges be knowledgeable in the field involved.

     

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  5.  
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    Ima Fish, Oct 10th, 2008 @ 10:21am

    Re: Re:

    Or "a joke" to someone else.

     

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  6.  
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    Ima Fish, Oct 10th, 2008 @ 10:22am

    "Corrupt or just plain ignorant? How about a law requiring that judges be knowledgeable in the field involved."

    If it is corruption, then all the knowledge in the world will not help.

     

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  7.  
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    Ura Azzho, Oct 10th, 2008 @ 10:41am

    Re: Re: Re:

    It is a tired old joke that southerners have grown weary of. Please let it die. I'm not from Georgia but my children are.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 10th, 2008 @ 11:02am

    Another example...

    Actually, I would of gone with Iran taking down SI.com for having the all the magazine covers available online...

     

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  9.  
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    Seth, Oct 10th, 2008 @ 11:13am

    Bad Logic

    The original post mentioned that many of these sites were in fact parked domains. They weren't even used for illegal activity. I guess the names themselves are illegal. Why not seize childporn.com, or murder.com. They are both illegal as well, and not just in Kentucky or the United States. This is blatant corruption.

     

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  10.  
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    Bill, Oct 10th, 2008 @ 11:23am

    Take him down!

    Sweet! Since this has global effect and if people are motivated...I think we could get the judge removed from the bench (or at least severely reprimanded). Okay, lets roll like they do over at consumerist.com and start off with someone posting the judge's work, home and cell#s (800's are a bonus). Next his home and work addresses (for the truckloads of mail). And top it off with email addresses those directly responsible for him keeping his job. How many net-activists are there in the world? The judge may soon find out!

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 10th, 2008 @ 11:35am

    Re:

    That wouldn't work... who's going to quiz them?? If the person who appointed them really wants them in there, then they'll pass any test thrown at them with flying colors...

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 10th, 2008 @ 11:38am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    It'll die when it becomes less funny. Unfortunately, this is still funny because it's still true. The south is still unfortunately a breeding ground for intolerance and ignorance...

     

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  13.  
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    Dennis Parker, Oct 10th, 2008 @ 11:45am

    Cant do it !

    This judge has overstepped his boundaries. He cannot legally seize domain names or have the right to allow others to seize them that are not "based in Kentucky, or even registered via Kentucky-based registrars".

    I could see if the companies were based in Kentucky. (Even though this still smells of corruption.) At least then he would have a legal leg to stand on but out-of-state? This is laughable if it weren't for the far reaching implications if allowed.

     

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  14.  
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    Reason, Oct 10th, 2008 @ 12:06pm

    This will result in

    This will ultimately result in lawsuits against the Commonwealth of Kentucky, likely filed by both the owners of the seized domains, and the governments of the countries in which they're based. Only the citizens of Kentucky lose, as their elected official and his cronies piss their money down the drain, defending this obviously illegal seizure, and then paying to settle out of court.

    Fine use of those tax dollars, governor.

     

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  15.  
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    Duane, Oct 10th, 2008 @ 1:30pm

    No the whole story

    Although it is only incrementally better, the litigation in essence says give these names to us or block them from people in our state. I know that is just as dumb, but there is some method to the madness.

    Here in the Bluegrass state, we have horse racing, a fine way to waste a day and waste a lot of money. Indiana is just right across the river and it has two casinos, also a fine way to waste a day and waste even more money, because you can gamble 24/7 without having to wait 25 minutes in between races.

    The news is chock full of the reports showing how so much of KY's leisure revenue is going to Indiana because they have casinos and we don't. Now, obviously we can't block access to Indiana, but in tough economic times, the governor has got to do something to show how sensitive he is to economics and crap. So, here's a pretty good sounding notion, sue the Internets. Throw in something about it being "for the children" and you've got a surefire winner.

    Nevermind that the idea is batshitinsane, it will look good come next election.

     

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  16.  
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    Bob Smith, Oct 10th, 2008 @ 1:34pm

    Steve Beshear

    The governor of Kentucky is a complete idiot. He gave an absurdly high tax break, 50 % of the investment, to an electric car company ZAP that said it would bring 4,000 jobs to Kentucky. The investment they are making was only $100 million dollars which is chump change and no way would it support 4,000 jobs. The cars are glorified golf carts. Experts have said they don't think the company will survive very long.

    To show how stupid the people of Kentucky are the approval rating for this loser is 80 %.

     

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  17.  
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    Bill1016, Oct 10th, 2008 @ 1:41pm

    KY Gov has legal backing

    Interstate online gambling, with few exceptions, has been illegal since 2006 (ref. H.R. 4954, Subchapter IIV). The law specifically requires the blocking of financial transactions used for this purpose but is also vaguely written to allow other means of blocking. I think the KY governor took this to the extreme. It would seem that ordering ISPs which service KY to block the 141 sites should have sufficed. Since many of these Internet gambling sites are off-shore, it is a like China seizing the BBCs domain for violating it's laws. I'm sure there will be appeals to this judge's ruling and hopefully a more reasonable method of enforcing the federal law will prevail or that law will be ruled unconstitutional. It's ironic that KY is also the name of a lubricant used for .... well, you know what.

     

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  18.  
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    Anon Cow, Oct 10th, 2008 @ 1:53pm

    Explain to the governor that the judge's decision could allow the NAACP to take control of the KKK website and he'll probably change his tune very quickly...

     

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  19.  
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    Henry George, Oct 10th, 2008 @ 5:27pm

    The BBC Analogy

    I’m not sure I understand the BBC analogy. The government of China or Kentucky could well get a local court order granting them ownership of the BBC’s domain name, but the ownership of bbc.co.uk would be decided by Nominet and/or the English courts. Neither of these are going to take any notice of such a foreign court order.

    I’m not sure that the BBC has a Chinese domain name, but one could certainly imagine a situation in which google.cn or yahoo.cn could be seized by the Chinese government. Tip for gambling websites: your domain name should end .co.uk not .com.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 10th, 2008 @ 8:40pm

    A point that should not be overlooked is that this case in Kentucky is what is known as an "in rem action". This is significant in that "in rem actions" are lawsuits filed against property versus individuals.

    One issue that will eventually have to be addressed is whether or not domain names are "property".

     

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  21.  
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    Ernest T Bass, Oct 11th, 2008 @ 12:06pm

    Dem Folks Ought to No Betta

    Da Govna of Kentucka shud be fixin' them thar skools, and plum ferget bout boasting just how stupid he is. That there Wikipedia done say Kentucka has an adult illiteracy rate of about 40%. I beg to diffa. I tink the Govna is showing its much bigga.

     

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  22.  
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    skyrider (profile), Oct 13th, 2008 @ 4:50am

    "Trying to explain "stupid" to a southerner isn't the easiest of tasks."

    You do know that Kentucky sits further north than most of the state of California, right?

    In fact, you follow that same line that passes through Louisville, Kentucky east, and it comes very close to passing through the District of Columbia.

    You can make all the hick jokes you want, maybe even say that the mountain air does no good for the brain, but please don't try to call them southerners.



    I can imagine that the **AA's are watching this very close. After all, they would love to seize piratebay's domain. Then, after that victory, they might even get around to seizing techdirt.com because Mike offers a contrary view which might 'promote piracy.'

     

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  23.  
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    known coward, Oct 13th, 2008 @ 10:31am

    maybe

    he was elected in new jersey.

     

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  24.  
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    Proudly from Kentucky, Oct 17th, 2008 @ 2:31pm

    Re: Dem Folks Ought to No Betta

    Wow Ernest T, why don't you back off? While I totally disagree with the governor on this issue, as I do on many other issues, I don't see how attacking the folks of Kentucky has anything to do with it. There may be a high rate of adults who cannot read well, but in my area of the state that is not evident. In addition, the crime in my area is low, the jobs pay fairly well, and people aren't afraid to speak to their neighbors. I've traveled this great nation and most people I know here in Kentucky have values that would rival those found anywhere I have been. Perhaps I am alone in my belief, but I would rather associate with ignorance than idiocy. You can teach an ignorant person, but it is not so easy to teach an idiot.

     

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  25.  
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    Fuhgedaboudit, Oct 20th, 2008 @ 1:30pm

    Fuhgedaboudit

    Hope this works block everyone that throws there money away over sea's

     

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  26.  
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    Ken Tucker, Oct 28th, 2008 @ 11:01pm

    Any .com address is managed by NSI, which has a contract with the US Government to do so. Therefore, regardless of whether the company operating the .com address is out of state or out of the country is irrelevant, as the address is, technically speaking, American. Technology to block access to websites exists (Ask China all about it!), however these companies of course don't want to set this precedent as they would begin to lose their illegal gambling revenue. P.S. In case you forgot interstate online gambling is, with few exceptions, illegal. Therefore, lets face it, whether you like it or not, Kentucky, DOES have a legal leg to stand on.

     

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  27.  
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    Gregory, May 11th, 2009 @ 7:01pm

    Re:

    I agree. They must focus on other issues aside from online casino gambling. Domains name does not matter anymore, unless it provides the site's details. Sort of small things getting bigger. That's sounds cheap.

     

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  28.  
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    logo design (profile), May 12th, 2010 @ 5:49am

    I think, The south is still unfortunately a breeding ground for intolerance and ignorance. Logo Designs

     

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  29.  
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    facial scar treatment, Jun 17th, 2010 @ 1:11am

    Re:

    Of course but still people are willing to play somewhere, to earn money and have easy life. This is why it happens. More or less but it will happen all the time.

     

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  30.  
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    Toenail Fungus Treatment, Nov 20th, 2010 @ 7:10pm

    That is unbelievable! In my opinion such precedents should be discussed on the national level.

     

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  31.  
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    Аналити&, Nov 20th, 2010 @ 7:16pm

    very strange

    Can't imagine what effect this could bring to the entire Internet industry! An investigation on the matter of corruption could surely be a useful step in this story..

     

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  32.  
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    Symis Int'l, Nov 25th, 2010 @ 12:19pm

    Agreed

    I agreed.

    David Brown
    http://symis.com

     

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  33.  
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    Gold rates, Dec 26th, 2010 @ 7:08am

    This is right

    This is however general that there are many websites who are running on evil basis and gambling deeds so for this sake domain names should be withheld to eliminate these un-friendly factors.

     

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  34.  
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    Open PAMM Account SW FX, Feb 18th, 2013 @ 11:26pm

    Appreciated

    When you are looking for quality articles on interne, it is really difficult to find. There are many blogs and website available having poor quality content but When I go through this article I found it as the finest article on Kentucky's Gambling Domain Name Grab Sets A Terrible Precedent, I would like to appreciate writer for his dedication and knowledge on the topic

     

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