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KY Appeals Court Nixes Seizure of Gambling-Linked Domains 102

Posted by timothy
from the stick-to-the-whiskey-making dept.
davidwr writes "A state appeals court in Kentucky ruled that the state courts cannot seize domain names as 'gambling devices.' The court ruled that 'it's up to the General Assembly — not the courts nor the state Justice Cabinet — to bring domain names into the definition of illegal gambling devices.'"
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KY Appeals Court Nixes Seizure of Gambling-Linked Domains

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  • by drewzhrodague (606182) <drew@zhr[ ]gue.net ['oda' in gap]> on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @05:19PM (#26552069) Homepage Journal
    IANAL, but the Internet is a network, not a jurisdiction. I can't imagine they'd be able to do anything, other than block the site at the borders of the state, which is ridiculous.

    Sure, there is gambling on the Internet. Sure, they may not like it. Could they prevent Citizens from using those websites?
  • Great... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CmdrPorno (115048) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @05:21PM (#26552101)

    I predict a bill will be introduced in the next session of Kentucky's General Assembly changing the definition of "gambling devices" to include domain names. Way to suggest an escape hatch for the attorney general and lawmakers...

  • What?? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by imamac (1083405) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @05:22PM (#26552109)
    It's not the job of the judicial branch to make law? Who knew?
  • by dmomo (256005) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @05:40PM (#26552383) Homepage

    I'm not making a statement for or against this action. But it's an odd thing when you think about it. A domain name is really just that. The name of a domain. The site can still be up, it just cannot be referred to by the name anymore. It won't stop the the gambling, it will simply make it more difficult to describe (or find in this case). They cannot confiscate the IP address or shut down the machines if those sites are off shore.

    I guess this is the equivalent of keeping people away from a location by erasing it from their map.

  • by jambarama (784670) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {amarabmaj}> on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @05:45PM (#26552465) Homepage Journal
    Ignoring for the moment that bans on gambling are stupid & this was a purely protectionist move, what should kentucky have done instead? Lets pretend this law was a good one that we wanted to see enforced, how can a state enforce it?

    KY doesn't have jurisdiction over the organizations behind the gambling sites (or the domain registrars, another problem with this case) - so they couldn't force location aware IP blocks (which don't work anyway), they couldn't fine the organizations, or impose any normal civil/criminal penalties. In addition, ISP level blocks don't work & are costly, and the servers were also outside KY and couldn't be seized.

    I agree this was a stupid stupid order that violated due process, free speech, and commons sense. But if the websites & owners in Antigua (or wherever they're based) were selling US credit card numbers & the accompanying data, from servers in Antigua at http://identity-theft.ag/ [identity-theft.ag] for purposes of fraud - what could a state do to enforce anti-fraud laws? (assuming this was a state question) What could the feds do, apart from file a claim with the WTO? (which they have regarding gambling in antigua I believe).
  • by mangu (126918) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @05:59PM (#26552645)

    Lets pretend this law was a good one that we wanted to see enforced, how can a state enforce it?

    Short answer: it cannot. It would be unconstitutional in at least two counts: if considered as commerce, states cannot interfere in interstate commerce. If not considered as commerce then it's equivalent to speech, and would violate the First Amendment.

    A state can prohibit gambling, for instance betting on horse races. But it cannot prohibit anyone to publish horse race results. What could the state of Kentucky do if someone phones a bookmaker in Las Vegas placing a bet on a horse?

    if the websites & owners in Antigua (or wherever they're based) were selling US credit card numbers & the accompanying data, from servers in Antigua at http://identity-theft.ag/ [identity-theft.ag] for purposes of fraud - what could a state do to enforce anti-fraud laws?

    Go after the buyers. Who uses that data for committing fraud? That's where the actual harm is perpetrated.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @06:26PM (#26552995)

    The funny thing is that this judge didn't even rule that Kentucky didn't have jurisdiction over domain names. He just ruled that domain names weren't gambling devices.

    That is the normal process for judges. If you find a flaw that is big enough to throw out the case, you don't nitpick every other possible question in the case - those are left for future work.

  • by Hatta (162192) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @07:16PM (#26553715) Journal

    You can be bigoted over more things than race. When you believe your race is better than all others, that's racism. When you believe your country is better than all others, that's patriotism. In each case, you only support a group because you happen to be a member of it.

  • by CuteSteveJobs (1343851) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @09:26PM (#26554995)
    What sucked in this case was that GoDaddy handed over all those domains without a fight, but Network Solutions fought the suit for their customers and won. Network Soluions > GoDaddy.

    http://www.gambling911.com/gambling-news/kudos-network-solutions-standing-online-gambling-sites-100708.html [gambling911.com]
  • by Dhalka226 (559740) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @11:01PM (#26555731)

    What are they to do? Nothing. What should they have done? Not passed laws they can't enforce, or tried to enforce them in ways that are clearly not legal.

    Politicians simply need to stop thinking they can control the world or get everything they (personally) find morally objectable. It's silly enough when the federal government tries to enforce its morality on the Internet, but it's twice as silly when an individual state purports to have any authority over the rest of the world.

    Bad Stuff(tm) will always be on the Internet, and that's just a fact of life. They don't have to like it, but they need to get behind it. They can save a lot of money and trouble for a lot of people simply by coming to that revelation. (And all of this ignores the questions about whether or not it is right to enforce personal moral standards on others, much less others not in your jurisdiction.)

    If they really want to help with things, they need to educate people in their jurisdiction to the risks or help those who have already gotten in trouble. EG, if identity-theft.ag really did exist, they should help the people whose identities were stolen to begin rectifying the situation. They're perfectly free to contact legal authorities where the crime is taking place, of course, and see if that leads anywhere. Just assuming they have some sort of authority to stop it independent of that... urgh.

I'd rather just believe that it's done by little elves running around.

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