If the run of successful industry legal actions against the state of Kentucky continues, January 21st will be a date to celebrate. That's when the Kentucky Supreme Court is due to publish a decision that will hopefully end the long-running attempt by Governor Steve Beshear's outsourced lawyers to seize international domain names belonging to foreign online gambling entities.
Thus far Gov. Beshear's efforts have met with dismal failure. Initially successful in getting a local court to give him jurisdiction, the governor lost subsequent legal actions overturning the lower court's findings, thanks to the strenuous legal efforts of iMEGA and the IGC, with valuable support from Internet freedom bodies. The current action is the Governor's appeal against an earlier appeal decision, and is likely to finalise the issue once and for all.
Recapping the events of 2008, the publication Poker News this week observed that despite there being no federal or Kentucky law that makes Internet poker illegal, or giving Kentucky jurisdiction over offshore sites, Franklin County Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate sided with the state initially. A Kentucky Court of Appeals decision subsequently overturned his ruling, prompting the governor to launch an appeal against the appeal ruling.
Joe Brennan Jr., chairman of the Interactive Media Entertainment and Gaming Association, was outspoken in giving his views to Poker News this week, saying: "These [state of Kentucky legal representative] guys were punching above their weight class on this issue.
"They're not very good lawyers, and you can print that. They had a flawed argument from the beginning.... They say, 'These are very bad people and you should take their property away from them. Even though they haven't been convicted of any crime and there's no federal or Kentucky law that they've broken, you should seize their property because we say so.'
"They are looking for a payday and thought they found some novel concept, but they wound up getting hammered."
The Kentucky lawyers made a perplexing move last (December) month when they asked the court currently considering their appeal for permission to add names of U.S. citizens to the lawsuit... but declined to identify such individuals. Brennan told Poker News that iMEGA decided not to push that issue because it will be irrelevant once the lawsuit fails.
If denied by Kentucky's Supreme Court, the last remaining recourse for the state would be an attempt to bring the suit to the U.S. Supreme Court, the Poker News article observes. Brennan doesn't think this would fly: "This is a state issue," he said. "As two-time losers in their own state, I don't think they'd get it."
Poker News pragmatically points out that: "The lawsuit is ultimately pointless because the sites would continue to operate without their domain names. The only players who type in a domain name are the ones looking to initially download the software, and the search engines could easily be changed to recognize a new address."
The full article is here: http://www.pokernews.com/news/2010/01/kentucky-s-domain-name-seizure-ruling-soon-7776.htm
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