Yesterday, Kentucky Circuit Court Judge Thomas D. Wingate affirmed the Kentucky court order to seize domain names related to gambling. According to Poker News, Judge Wingate dismissed challenges of Kentucky’s jurisdictional reach, claiming that a domain name is a device used to enable gambling and is therefore illegal under Kentucky State law. In this case, Judge Wingate’s ruling extends a state’s court jurisdiction to cover where a domain name is used, not just whether the domain name is owned or maintained within that state.
This ruling revives some broader questions about just who (if anyone) has (or should have) authority over the Internet. Since its inception, there has been tension between those who believe in the need to govern the Internet and those who believe in the limitless freedom that the space can provide. Whether or not the court should have taken action here is debatable, but it is important to ensure that the domain space has appropriate governance in place to protect consumers and existing laws. It is the responsibility of the Internet community to call attention to gaps in governance as a way to continually strive towards building a better online community.
What are your thoughts on the ruling in this Kentucky case?
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