UK Court Says Kentucky Has No Right To Seize Gambling Domain Name

from the not-that-it-cares dept

We've covered the bizarre legal battle in Kentucky, where the governor tried to have a long list of gambling-related domain names (none of which had anything to do with the state of Kentucky) declared "illegal gambling devices" so that the state could seize the domain names. The governor has been pretty open that this has nothing to do with any moral issue over online gambling, but is a blatant attempt to help protect local gambling establishments in the state. Of course, it's ridiculous to think that a state governor could claim the right to seize domain names that are not based in Kentucky at all, and after a lower court (that didn't seem to understand the issue) sided with the governor, an appeal court overturned that ruling. Rather than recognize how silly this campaign is, the case is going to the state Supreme Court.

But, apparently the lawsuits aren't just happening in Kentucky. Michael Scott points us to the news that one of the companies targeted by Kentucky brought a lawsuit both against Kentucky and its own registrar in the UK to get a ruling that it is not subject to the whims of Kentucky politicians. The state of Kentucky ignored the proceedings, which resulted in the court agreeing that Kentucky has no right to seize the domain name. Of course, the state of Kentucky probably couldn't care much less about what a court in England thinks (which explains why it didn't even bother to respond), so the victory may be somewhat meaningless. However, at the very least, if Kentucky somehow wins its case in the US, perhaps the registrars in the UK can point to this ruling to refuse handing over the domain names.

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  1. identicon
    Yet another Anonymous Coward, 2 Nov 2009 @ 11:45pm

    It's Tip ONeal's paradigm of local politics.

    I live in the Commonwealth O' Kaintuck, and this is all political posturing. The state runs it's own gambling (the lottery), taxes horse racing and sales, and is in a Red/Blue snit over permitting in-state casinos. The in-state casinos are being pedaled as a source of revenue by the sitting government, with a share being cut for the racetracks (go figure). Out-of-state casinos are also being vilified as takers of Our Money. The state's own techies know there's no legal basis for the suits (Pers Comm). However, this all plays well at the pulpit and with a public that is Not Too Swift on the finer points of the internet. We elect judges here, and that compromises their judgement in ways that should be obvious. Home cooking in the court system is common, though it usually ends with the Appeals Court. This suit is only alive because the Governor isn't spending his own money, and sees a political advantage in appearing to protect local interests. Until the state gets bad local press, or there is no place left to appeal and no chance to run the same lawsuits under a new name, the state will keep it up. Maybe after the next elections it'll quietly die, but as long as the in-state casino debate carries on, these suits will have legs.

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