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back to article Kentucky judge OKs 141-site net casino land grab

A Kentucky judge has upheld that state's seizure of some of the world's most popular online casino domain names, ruling they constitute a "gambling device" that is subject to Kentucky's anti-gambling laws. Last week's ruling by Franklin County Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate applies to absolutepoker.com, ultimatebet.com, and 139 …

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Stop

Ridiculous

Why is this even being litigated? Is it possible that the Kentucky judge knows so little about the nature of the Internet that he thinks he can simply take property owned by a foreign national?

Registrant:

Domain Discreet

ATTN: absolutepoker.com

Avenida do Infante 50

Funchal, Madeira 9004-521

What an idiot! What a waste of time!

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Anonymous Coward

Endless possibilities

Using the judge's logic, perhaps Kentucky should appropriate their phone numbers, too.

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Judge in Kentucky rules the world?

Looks like absolutepoker.com is being held by a Canadian company. I don't think that the company will comply with a judge in Kentucky.

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Pirate

What an idiot!

Okay. He believes that he can do this? Great! Now, we get some judge in Iran to demand the removal of all the Christian websites. Cool. Hey, they are both judges of a sovereign nation. Right? God, you let someone wear a robe and it really does tend to go to their head. I think that we should create a law somewhere that outlaws stupid states and we start with Kentucky.

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Flame

hopefully

He and the dipshits will get sued out of existance with the byline "nethier are you, ya inbred hick"

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Typical modern judge overstepping his bounds

This crosses state and international lines and as such is a Federal issue. He does not have the legal right to say what people in other states can do and that is what he is doing.

His comment about not seizing sites that use software to block Kentucky access is nonsense. I am not even sure it can be done.

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Anonymous Coward

No faster way to remove ICANN

The fastest way to have the rest of the world take internet control out of the hands of the USofA is to have this judgment upheld all the way to the US supreme court..

Maybe this is the time for the UN to setup top level IPv6 domain name servers. It would give the perfect BOFH excuse for buying the IPv6 hardware "That old stuff makes you liable for following all laws in the USA."

Y'all know what a rendition flight is, don't ya?

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Anonymous Coward

this is so cool

I think he should seize their ip addresses as well, and everyone who's using those numbers, like DMV, telcos, retailers with their cash registers, first graders learning to count, etc. Besides, those numbers can be used on dice!

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Paris Hilton

This is insane

A domain name is nothing more than a short cut to instruct your browser to connect with a certain IP address. So by the same logic, if a casino in vegas will accept a bet made over the phone, they should have their phone number taken away? And what about if the casino didn't even use a domain name, what if they decide to spend several million in advertising just in kentucky, for the new great casino http:// 145.227.96.15 ? is that legal?

And the domain isn't even the property of the casino anyway, all they have is a limited period lease to use said domain.

I don't think this is a case of the judge being an idiot, but rather, just being a tw*t, he knows this, but believes gambling is bad and is attempting to use this opportunity to inflict his own moral beliefs on those that don't want it. After all, killing the domain name stops the company trading everywhere, not just kentucky.

I think there needs to be a federal law put in place, stating that if any state or local government wishes to impose specific sanctions or restrictions on the internet, they should have to be done so, at the state level, (or only within the scope of the local government's jurisdiction) by means of some kind of filtering agreement with the major backbone ISPs

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Few states

They are a few states that think they are not part of the US.

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Anonymous Coward

Instead

the Judge should have all the IP numbers for Kentuky based IPs published and the gambling sites can just block them.

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RKP
Gates Horns

Shirley its the users..

Surely the only jurisdiction this judge has is over the users in Kentucky who are breaking Kentucky law?

The domains, their owners & operators are NOT doing anyhting in Kentucky. At best he could target the ISPs who offer internet access to Kentucky residents.

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Anonymous Coward

I've said it before ...

Lets just do the simple thing. Stop having anything to do with the USA; they can live in the dark ages with their puritanical legal systems and corrupt business practices and everyone else in the world can live in peace.

I'm sure the majority of USAians (not Americans as that tars Canadians with the same brush) wouldn't even notice as they think that the world ends about 50 miles off the Pacific and Atlantic coastlines.

For everyone else in the world life would be easier as we'll be able to get on with our lives without the USA trying to tell us how we should live it.

Additional benefits would be that we wouldn't have to put up with the USAiSation of rather nice parts of the world and USAian tourists would be a thing of the past. Hell, even Israel may have to work out some way of living peacefully with its neighbours if it no longer has the USA supplying it with weapons to slaughter innocent Palestinians with.

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WTO ruling

You are right, mister judge. YOU are not above the law either. How about upholding the WTO ruling that says your anti-gambling laws are illegal internationally?

The US really needs to crash, burn, go bankcrupt and then be ignored for a few years by the rest of the world. about time control over the internet was removed from US hands

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An overinflated sense of power

As President Andrew Jackson famously said about Justice John Marshall, "[He] has made his decision, now let him enforce it."

There's nothing the judge can do to someone in another state, let alone another country. He needs a better understanding of the limits of his power.

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Black Helicopters

EPIC FAIL!!!!

Why is this F*cktard AG going after the websites? Second why is this Judge even hearing this case? OK im from Texas and even we aren't that stupid!!! This is just another example of some bible thumping rednecks trying to impose their values on the rest of us. I am a God fearing person myself but even I know that when to keep my beliefs to myself. If they really want to do it right they need to get in contact with the Record ASS. of Amer. and get in on cracking down on the users in KY that use these sites. Will generate BILLIONS in revenue will create jobs building prisons and guards for all the people that get caught using the sites.

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registrars

I wonder if the domain owners have any recourse with the registrars? Could they argue in a non-Kentucky court that the registrar illegally interfered with their business by transferring the domain?

If the courts in Kentucky really want to stop its citizens from visiting objectionable websites, there are much more effective ways to do so that don't require every company on earth to know Kentucky law. They could ask the Chinese government for advice.

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What a STUPID ass ruling

I don't know why I should expect different from judges these days... It has been a LONG time since judges simply upheld the law as written. Now this idiot thinks he has jurisdiction over the whole freaking world, let alone the US.

Maybe we need to get a "jurisdiction is where the server is located" kind of law passed at the international level.

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Turkey, Iran, China and ....

Just follow the examples from the countries listed above and order the ISP's in Kentucky to filter out the gambling, and the evolution sites while they are at it, from the end users in his home state.

After all gambling is an insult to Kentuckishness.

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Unhappy

Verisign

Do Verisign have offices in Kentucky? If they do then the judge's order will be against them (VS) to do the shutdown.

If not then it becomes, I believe and feel free for a lawyer to correct me, a matter of interstate trade and the Judge's ruling isn't binding per the US constitution since those orders can only be made by a Federal Judge. THere are some exceptions to this IIRC but not too many.

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Well

Technically, the .com domain is reserved for AMERICAN businesses so there is an argument that non-American companies shouldn't be using it. And, given that NSI controls the .com domain the Judge could force NSI to confiscate the domain names. But I think it would have to be a Federal judge to carry any weight.

Cheers

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Linux

Close banks in Kentucky!

Some Kentuckians are betting on the stock market. Some of them are betting on changes in the interest rates. Almost all of them are betting on the value of the dollar. Judge Thomas Wingate should lead by example: sell any shares, give all his money to charity and live as Jesus intended: http://bible.cc/matthew/6-26.htm.

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Gates Horns

Internet's not above the law,

...and neither is he. Maybe he wants tips from Ernie Chambers on suing God next? Rather obvious example of unwarranted restriction of interstate commerce and the power of wishful thinking. Even feds won't uphold this one for fear of the precedent it sets, even if they want to restrict inet gambling as well. It won't last, makes KY look stupid, costs the actual domain owners, and ultimately will result in getting turned down if it has to go to the supreme court, which it must. I just wish they could tuck into him for damages.

...and my liberal friends wonder why I said that activist judges are dangerous.

When all is said and done, the damage he has done to the court system will essentially clear the floor for internet gambling.

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Typical responses

From the geek brigade, about how their "precious" internet is being "stolen" from them.

Firstly, gambling IS banned in that state. Any company that ALLOWS people to gamble in that state should be punished.

Just because something is online does not make it above the law. Maybe ALL companies will think twice before the ride roughshed over local laws again.

But then most of you never read the full article. Before you reached the bottom you were typing with all your fury. You were defending "gambling" organisations of all things... Fucked up priorities from some of you. Besides, the judge states that if these companies do geographic location filtering they can have their domain back. What isn't fair about that? They could have done it in the 1st place.

I don't but the argument where a company can go online and sell what the fuck it wants regardless if its legal in that state or country. That is the path to anarchy and the role of multinationals over the constitution of invidual states and countries. Is that what you guys are trying to defend? The rights of multinationals? Dickheads.

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Black Helicopters

I guess the government didn't like the word...

.... "censored" connected to it. So they reached out and made a big mess that will turn around and bite them in the near future.

The way I understand it, KN had to option to censor it's citizens and/or track their credit cards for illegal activities. But filtering/censoring is a taboo word in the USA government dictionary. So they passed an illegal judgment and walked around the "taboo."

Any way, from the judge's point of view, media and software/game companies are preforming an illegal/racist activity by not selling their digital goods to people outside the USA and Canada. Or that is how I understand his point of view. So does that mean that I can sue the media studios and game companies for refusing to sale me their digital goods? How about the fact that they enforce regional locks on their products?

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Stop

What a pompous arsehole..

the judge is.

And the 'merkins wonder why... yadda, yadda, yadda...

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To James Butler and Hud Dunlap

The fact that the decision is good or bad should not push you into claiming absolutely false things to push your opinion through.

James Butler (and others saying the same, like MD Rackham): of course the judge can seize the domain name, he just has to ask ICANN to do it. If the domain names management was not in the US, he might have a hard time, but as it is, yes, he can very easily do it. You should avoid sentences like "does he know so little about the internet" when in fact you did not stop to think about whether he might actually know what he's doing (which does not make it wrong or right, but wrong or right has nothing to do with "being able to").

Hud Dunlap: "His comment about not seizing sites that use software to block Kentucky access is nonsense. I am not even sure it can be done."

Of course it's not nonsense, and of course it can be done.

Just open about ANY website these days. All serious websites use your IP and the corresponding database to locate you, whether to serve you targeted ads, to be in your language, to give you relevant news or weather, and so on. Oh, little flame on the way: or to make you pay more, like when you're trying to buy some game download in the UK on the US site, and the site tells you it won't accept your order because you're located in the UK and so you need to connect to another website and pay double.

It's very, very easy. Just take the IP, check it against a list of ISPs of the world and the locations they serve (you can also get the identification of the router if you want even closer localization), and then display different websites based on the location of customer.

Here, just have a few lines of code in the script that says "if IP matches Kentucky, display 'sorry mate' text, else give access to site"

Flame all you want, but do not confuse your wishes with reality. The decision may be wrong, but it's technically easily applicable, both for taking the domain names over and for having the site implement a blocking

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Nullabour syndrome

This prize twat is typical of the current crop of political thinking ( and this is religio/political not judicial), They think they have the right and the power , so they give it to themselves. I have called it Nullabour but it could equally be called Bush syndrome or Mugabe syndrome, the world is full of these arseholes.

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Anonymous Coward

Finger lickin' good.

I demand that in exchange for these domain names, the Kentuckians reveal the recipe for the Colonels Secret Sauce!

On a more serious note though, this follows on from my comment yesterday on a report about Ofcom wanting more internet regulation. These people just do not understand the internet and should be kept away from it. Yes, they need to keep an eye on the absolutely abhorrent content, but I am big and ugly enough to decide if I want to be involved in an illegal activity, and if I don't find it on the internet (where I already know BB is watching), I'll find it on the streets (where there's a chance I won't be caught).

NB. Not that I knowingly partake in any illegal activities of course. Just a spot of high speed drag racing on the M4 bus lane, selling drugs to kittens, and short selling stock in banks.

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Horsies

It seems odd that a 'judge' in the state that stages one of the top three horse races in the world, a race paid for by gambling, thinks gambling should be illegal.

Is he now going to ban the Kentucky Derby too, or is it just furreners he wants to stop?

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Paris Hilton

This confirms everything we ever suspected about judges

If they're not peering over half-moon spectacles to ask an officer of the court "What precisely *is* a 'video recorder'"?, then they're being pickled in vats of vintage port and/or eating five rich dinners a day in order to maintain their otherwise-impossible levels of Cluelessness.

Not even Paris is *that* dopey.

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Anonymous Coward

The biggest

Isn't Kentucky home to one of the world's biggest betting events?

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Federal issue?

"This crosses state and international lines and as such is a Federal issue"

Even the feds have no jurisdiction if the domain owner is not a U.S. citizen. I am guessing that in order to actually seize the domains they would have to go to a Canadian court.

Certainly it is WAY above the remit of some hick-town judge who doesn't like the naughty internets.

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Anonymous Coward

"I scent blood in the water," quoth the lawyer.

"...killing the domain name stops the company trading everywhere, not just kentucky..."

Grounds for a fucking enormous lawsuit that will bankrupt Kentucky.

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Gates Halo

Twatrobe!

I call Twatrobe. Give a twat a cape and they think they can rule the world, *insert evil laughter*.

Gates because not even he could pull off a stunt like this one.

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Anonymous Coward

What a nutbag

Get your banjos out. Here comes the Kentucky legal system in action... dagga-dang-ding-dang-ding-dang-ding-dang !

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Moron

If there company is registered in Kentucky and operates in Kentucky ; then yes, the judge is correct.

If the company is overseas; then the judge is wrong. it's that simple.

If a Kentuchian buys an item illegal in Kentucky is (say) France and brings it home, will this judge sue France or the French company?

The internet is not above the law, this is true, but backwater-hick states should not try to force their views on the world. The judge should simply have told ISPs to block access in Kentucky, or given the sites time to block Kentucky.

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Paris Hilton

A US state of mine

"Surely the only jurisdiction this judge has is over the users in Kentucky who are breaking Kentucky law?"

They are the only people who can break that law. Running a casino, no matter how crooked, outside of Kentucky isn't illegal there is it?

But what about larger issues. How are they going to choose governors and for that matter which liar is going to replace the chimp? Or isn't democracy gambling online? OK not with Diebold machines but...

How much profit did the state make out of prohibition? Maybe they need another blanket ban to get them out of this economic crisis too.

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Re: Do Verisign have offices in Kentucky?

See for yourself: http://www.verisign.com/contact-information/index.html.

Looks like the answer is "no". I expect Verisign to politely decline, since if they are unwise enough to agree to his request, I would expect the other states to sue Verisign's ass off.

Aren't (some) judges elected over there? For how much longer is this guy going to be entertaining us?

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@ AC 00:59

As a Canadian, I thank you for your distinction.

In areas near the USA border (Ontario in particular, Niagara Falls was famous for it a few years ago), a lot of stores don't display price tags. If you ask for the price, they refer to a list behind the counter. It has 2 columns - 1 for USAians, one for everyone else. Guess which is higher?*

(*note: this is based on the last time I visited Niagara, a good few years ago. Things may have changed since)

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Good for goose, good for gander?

A cursory search shows more than one online job advert from companies in Kentucky that are available for UK citizens to view but are clearly in breach of "The Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006". Clearly the domains of these companies should all be seized by UK courts.

I guess the same adverts would be visible in Canada but are only in the English language when they should clearly also be available in French. So, maybe the Canadians should also be claiming these domains.

Given that the ITU organises things like radio frequency allocations and internaional telephony, it seems logical that they should have the responsibility for Internet related allocations such as domain names (and IP addressing). This would avoid the problems of a US-controlled body like ICANN. It's quite reasonable that the Yanks do what they like within their own country but it is not acceptable that they foist heir rules/views/morals on the rest of us.

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Alert

easy answer

Just have Judge Wingnut ban the internet in Kentucky....

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This post has been deleted by its author

Joke

@ easy answer

FFS, don't go giving the arsehole ideas! Do you think this power-crazed moron will stop at the State Line there either? You're putting the whole interweb at risk, you dolt.

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Re: Finger lickin' good

>Just a spot of high speed drag racing on the M4 bus lane

Don't the ruts left by the busses play havoc with your high heels?

@William

>I don't but the argument where a company can go online and sell what the fuck it wants regardless.

Temper, temper. Didn't your religious leader ever tell you that when you start being abusive you've lost the argument.

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@William

So internationally recognised domain names can be seized on the orders of local courts if their services are available in that area then? Of course there are plenty of US sites which are offering types of pornography that are illegal in many countries in the world. Presumably, on that basis, their domain names can be siezed too. In fact you don't need to go to such seedy areas - there are other services and views available from the Internet that are illegal in all sorts of countries.

For instance, we currently have an Australian citizen who has been arrested in London on the basis of Holocaust Denial charges in Germany based on a website published in Australia. There are plenty of US sites which operate quite happily under the guarantees of the 1st Amendment which will fall fould of such laws in Germany and Austria (although I don't think the German or Austrian courts would be so brave as to pick on a US citizen). This point about applying extra-territoriality laws to organisations in other countries solely on the basis of services and information offered over the Internet is very dangerous ground indeed. You never know where it might lead.

In this case, then the top level domains used for International purposes should be beyond the power of any single National court. There is possibly some way of dealing with International issues through some form of International court, although that is fraught with problems.

As it is, there is always the possibility of national legislation over the way that top level domains are interpreted in individual territories. Should that ever happen, so a dot-come in one territory is fundamentally mastered differently to that in another; well chaos truly will ensue.

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Elected judges

I believe that in the USA judges are (often? usually? always? ) elected. That this is a bad idea is perfectly demonstrated by this case. It's bad enough allowing populist demagogues to be elected into a position where they can make laws (fortunately only if they can find enough likeminded idiots to command a majority). It's even worse to allow one of them, acting alone, to pronounce on those laws!

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Paris Hilton

They're idiots

Surely the sites are still available. They may make it harder for people to visit, but unless they take their IP addresses off them, there will always be a way to gamble in Kentucky.

Seriously, overturn this quickly before people start abusing this 'system'. Just take a leaf out of the Chinese's book... blocking their users from content they don't want them to see (rightly or wrongly) rather than taking over domains in their entirity.

Paris, because she has more sense than this judge!

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IT Angle

nominative determinism - Judge Wingate

Wingate was a proxy firewall I used in my early days on the Internet. Is he trying to be some sort of firewall?

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@Instead

So you've never heard of anonymous proxies?

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