Kentucky's Attempt To Seize Gambling Domain Names Goes To State Supreme Court

from the waste-of-kentucky-taxpayer-dollars dept

A year ago, we were surprised to hear that Kentucky's governor was trying to seize the domain names of a long list of over 100 sites that had something to do with gambling. The governor was basing this on a Kentucky law that let the government seize "devices" used for gambling, even though none of the sites in question were based in Kentucky. The governor -- who many say did this to protect local Kentucky gambling operations -- compared these website to "a virtual home invasion." While a judge originally was going to allow the seizure, the state appeals court overturned the ruling, saying that it was clear that a domain name is not a gambling device.

Rather than back down, the governor pushed ahead and is using taxpayer money to appeal the ruling. Ragaboo alerts us to the news that the Kentucky Supreme Court is getting set to hear the case. It's difficult to see how the governor has much of a leg to stand on here. He's trying to seize the domain names of businesses operated entirely outside the state. Allowing such a seizure of domain names would set a horrendous precedent and create all sorts of problems. Hopefully the Kentucky Supreme Court sees this, and Governor Steven Beshear realizes it's best to give up this dangerous crusade.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Bob Mime, Sep 22nd, 2009 @ 4:23am

    I wonder..

    I wonder how Steven would feel if some animal rights group in another place decided to do the same thing about horse racing and went after the horse tracks in Kentucky? I think he would have a fit, after all that's what the people that own him would do...

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 22nd, 2009 @ 5:00am

    Hope he is prepared to deal with the E.U., China, Russia and the rest of the world, because if he does that and the U.S. federal government allow it it will be hell to pay after.

     

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  3.  
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    Pete Austin, Sep 22nd, 2009 @ 5:27am

    Piracy

    If these were ".US" domains (i.e. targeting the USA) then there might be a slight point here, but ".COM" domains are international.

    It sounds similar to Somali Pirates hijacking international ships.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 22nd, 2009 @ 6:26am

    @Bob and Horse Tracks

    @Bob - It wouldn't be like taking horse tracks in Kentucky. It would be more like taking the phone number for that horse track.

    Not that it would be right to take their domain, but the internet has a nasty reputation of routing around problems. I assume if Kentucky did take their name, they would probably just go get a new name. Annoying - yes... shutdown business - no.

     

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  5.  
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    Richard (profile), Sep 22nd, 2009 @ 6:37am

    he can huff and puff

    But can he actually DO anything even if he wins.

    Domain names are managed by ICANN here is an extract from Wikipedia on the subject:

    Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP). This policy essentially attempts to provide a mechanism for rapid, cheap and reasonable resolution of domain name conflicts, avoiding the traditional court system for disputes by allowing cases to be brought to one of a set of bodies that arbitrate domain name disputes. According to ICANN policy, a domain registrant must agree to be bound by the UDRP — they cannot get a domain name without agreeing to this.


    Now if the state of Kentucky holds any domain names they must have agreed to UDRP so this matter cannot be settled in the Kentucky Courts - or any other court unless Kentucky first relinquishes all the domain names it holds.

    So long as Kentucky holds any domain names they can only use the UDRP.

     

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  6.  
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    imfaral (profile), Sep 22nd, 2009 @ 6:40am

    Re: he can huff and puff

    Shh, you are using logic and reason to try and these types of people don't like or understand any of that.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    inc, Sep 22nd, 2009 @ 6:54am

    Re: he can huff and puff

    Not only that but wouldn't it have to be a federal court to cross state lines? Instead of wasting money trying to steal the domain name why didn't they just make an honest bid to buy the domain name?

     

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  8.  
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    Garrett, Sep 22nd, 2009 @ 7:42am

    So many questions...

    How does any appeal even last more than 3 seconds when none of the websites are based out of KY, or even the US for that matter? Shouldn't the appeal court have made that clear?

    Like mentioned above, even if the Kentucky Supreme Court allows it, then what? It would be like Sri Lanka claiming ownership of the moon. Good for you, but it means nothing.

    Has no one explained this to anyone down there? Is there not one person who explained to the administration or state house how the world operates? I know the internet is confusing, being a series of tubes and all, but.....seriously?

     

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  9.  
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    Just Me, Sep 22nd, 2009 @ 7:50am

    Just seize the internet wires.

    He should seize the wires used for gambling. Just take the wires from the ISPs! I know, stupid idea, but so is thinking you can take a domain name. Maybe is the domain name was registered within his state.

     

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  10.  
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    Chucky Cheese, Sep 22nd, 2009 @ 9:22am

    Grab it while you can!

    Cool! I've been wondering what domain to purchase next.

    The domain STEVENBESHEARISANIDIOT.COM is available!

     

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  11.  
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    Matt (profile), Sep 22nd, 2009 @ 11:28am

    Re: he can huff and puff

    The UDRP is not exclusive. You agree to be bound by it - so if the process is started, you will have to comply with the result - but that is not the same thing as making it an exclusive forum for all disputes.

    Put differently, _that_ is not why this is a silly case.

     

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  12.  
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    Matt (profile), Sep 22nd, 2009 @ 11:29am

    Re: Re: he can huff and puff

    No.

     

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  13.  
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    Luci, Sep 22nd, 2009 @ 4:07pm

    Re: Grab it while you can!

    Go for it. Use it to enumerate the many ways this man is being a total moron. Kentucky already gets a bad rap for backwards, inbred, redneck idiots. He's just showing the world how close to the mark that is.

    Seriously, Mr Beshear. Do you really think you have the authority to demand anything from an international organization that doesn't answer to you? How about you demand the UN only lets its members speak a single language?

     

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  14.  
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    Al, Sep 22nd, 2009 @ 11:53pm

    quick, let's pass a law...

    As a Canadian, I'm offended that I can surf the internet and be exposed to all these gambling sites. I think we should pass a similar law and grab any sites he's overlooked, like, oh I don't know, how about www.kylottery.com.

    Presumably we could also grab some of the state's computers and trucks - assuming they have electricity and horseless carriages in Kentucky.

     

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  15.  
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    ukmark, Sep 24th, 2009 @ 11:58pm

    backhander

    I think he is being paid a backhand load of cash by the casino thugs. Why else would you try something so stupid.

     

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  16.  
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    Greg WIllies, Dec 2nd, 2009 @ 3:13pm

    RE: backhander

    That may be the case. These politicians usually do dirty things for dirty money. I think he's backed up by giants that's why he's that stupidly brave to try and pass that law. UK sites like Gamblux casino and many other survived that controversy, I'm sure those 100 domains will pull through.

     

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