Judge Allows Kentucky To Seize Domain Names
from the bad,-bad-news dept
Last month, we wrote about a judge allowing Kentucky’s governor to seize 141 domain names that were somehow associated with gambling sites under a bizarre interpretation of Kentucky law. Pretty much everyone involved admits that this is just Kentucky’s governor protecting local gambling establishments who supported him in the election. No one is even hiding the fact that this is purely about protecting the governor’s political supporters from any sort of competition.
However, what’s scary is in how the seizure is incredibly broad and far-reaching. None of the sites are based in Kentucky. Many of the sites are nothing more than holding pages, rather than actual online casinos. And, the law itself interprets these sites as “illegal gambling devices” which seems like a big stretch. There was some pushback, as people explained to the judge what an incredibly bad precedent this ruling would set — as it would effectively allow any local law to be used to take possession of any website.
Apparently, the judge doesn’t care. Late last week, the judge upheld the original ruling, giving one small out to the various sites. If they implement filters that block access to any IP address in Kentucky, they can keep their domain names. That’s backwards. It shouldn’t be the responsibility of a website that is just online to use geocoding techniques to comply with every single local law. If that were the case, the internet would ground to a halt, as any website would face so many different liabilities from so many different jurisdictions to make it impossible to comply — and in each lack of compliance, face a potential seizure of the domain name. This is a bad ruling by any stretch of the imagination, made even more bizarre by the judge’s unilateral ruling before a hearing was even held. The whole thing sounds quite questionable, and hopefully will be dumped on appeal.