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The Kentucky Court of Appeals Court is expected to rule in the next few weeks on the Internet gambling domain name seizure case that has been ongoing. Regardless of their ruling, there is a common opinion that the ruling will not be enforceable.
Governor Steve Beshear has successfully seized the domain names to 141 online gambling sites. The ruling by a Kentucky judge has caused quite a stir in the Internet world and it has sent lawyers scurrying for precedent to form opinions off of.
One attorney, Matthew Zimmerman, of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, according to Computerworld, feels that no matter what the outcome of the appeals ruling, there will be no way the state will be able to legally enforce the seizures.
“Strictly as a legal matter, it (court ruling) is not enforceable at all. But if we are talking about domain name registrars who are willing to comply, this thing is as enforceable as they are willing to make it,” Zimmerman said.
His point was that even if the ruling is unenforceable, some of the sites that are affected might adhere to the ruling to eliminate the legal battle. They are inclined to not rock the boat at a time when a new administration could lead to a regulated online gambling industry.
At risk even more than just gambling domain names in the seizure case is Internet freedom. “One state is suddenly opining and acting in a way that has implications for people all over,” said Anita Ramasastry, Director of the Shidler Center for Law, Commerce, and Technology at the University of Washington School of Law, in a blog post on Findlaw.com.
The only domain names that would be bound by the Kentucky ruling would be sites that are registered in the state of Kentucky, but as Ramasastry points out, it is other areas of the Internet that will be more affected than the gambling sites.
If upheld, the ruling in Kentucky would set precedent for any state to go after any Internet site they feel is in violation of their state laws. That would leave the legality of many sites in the hands of judges in states where the site is not even registered.
With the ruling coming down any day, many people will be tuned in to see just how much jurisdiction individual states have over the Internet.