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.

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Comments on “Kentucky's Gambling Domain Name Grab Sets A Terrible Precedent”

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Bill says:

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 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!

Dennis Parker (user link) says:

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.

Reason says:

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.

Duane says:

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.

Bob Smith says:

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 %.

Bill1016 says:

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.

Henry George says:

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 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 or could be seized by the Chinese government. Tip for gambling websites: your domain name should end not .com.

Proudly from Kentucky says:

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.

skyrider (profile) says:

“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 because Mike offers a contrary view which might ‘promote piracy.’

Ken Tucker says:

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.

Open PAMM Account SW FX (user link) says:


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