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. icon
    Perry K (profile), 2 Nov 2009 @ 8:32pm

    why are we having this discussion in the first place

    domain names are not legal entities. They are administered by ICANN and it's corresponding registrars in their respective countries. ICANN has a laundry list of dispute resolution processes to deal with this kinda stuff. Why does any government entity think they have any claim on domain names?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Nov 2009 @ 8:53pm

    Why can't such an attempted seizure just be viewed as one government infringing upon the rights and rulings of another, and be classified as an act of war?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Nov 2009 @ 8:55pm


    Because all the governments involved are owned and run by the same lobbyists, and you can't declare war on yourself.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. 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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. icon
    btr1701 (profile), 3 Nov 2009 @ 8:21am


    > Of course, the state of Kentucky probably
    > couldn't care much less about what a court
    > in England thinks

    Which I'm sure will also be the attitude of the British courts toward Kentucky, should they try and seize a domain name belonging to a British citizen in the UK.

    If Kentucky thinks it can ignore the rulings of a British court on a matter concerning British citizens in Britain, I'm not sure why they think anyone's going to give two flips what the Kentucky Supreme Court says about it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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