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iMEGA petitioning to block Kentucky court decision
The Interactive Media Entertainment & Gaming Association announced today that it has petitioned the Kentucky Court of Appeals for a writ of mandamus to block the lower court's decision allowing Kentucky to seize 141 domain names.
iMEGA's move comes in response to the court ruling last week whereby Judge Thomas Wingate ordered the owners of 141 online gambling domain names to appear at a Nov. 17 forfeiture hearing and demonstrate they are making efforts to block their sites from residents of Kentucky.
iMEGA believes Kentucky's lawyers have sought these domain names, all related to Internet gaming and advertising, in an effort to protect Kentucky's own in-state gambling operations from competition, and to extract tens of millions of dollars in penalties from domain registrants.
"Since the lower court elected to ignore Kentucky law, and instead reached back to a law the current one supplanted, to find a rationale justifying these seizures, we have no choice but to go to the Court of Appeals," said Joe Brennan Jr., iMEGA chairman and CEO.
"This errant ruling affects far more than Kentucky and the domain names currently at risk. If this is allowed to stand, you'll see other actions like this, targeting other segments of internet media, at the state and local level, both here and abroad."
iMEGA has asked the Court of Appeals to intercede, alleging that the lower court does not have jurisdiction over the domain names as none of the names are owned by Kentucky residents or managed by in-state domain registrars. iMEGA also asked the court to consider the serious constitutional violations by the lower court.
iMEGA's lawyers included specific grounds for the higher court to intercede, including the misapplication of Kentucky's own "gambling devices" statute to include domain names. The key issue, according to iMEGA, is that there is no basis for civil forfeiture in the Kentucky statute and that Justice and Public Safety Secretary J. Michael Brown lacked the authority to bring about this action.
There has been tremendous negative feedback regarding the court decision to block domain names from the online community, and earlier this week representatives from the Poker Players Alliance (PPA), the Internet Commerce Association (ICA) and the aforementioned iMEGA all spoke out against the court ruling.
ICA president Jeremiah Johnston called the decision "dangerous," while PPA president John Pappas said he believed the judge to be wrong.
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