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The future of the freedom of Internet commerce could be hanging in the balance until 2009. An appeals court panel heard arguments on Friday regarding the Internet gambling domain name case in Kentucky, but their findings might be held until after the new year.
Lawyers for the 141 sites with names that were seized argued that it is not up to Kentucky to have jurisdiction over the sites that are legal and regulated in other countries. They believe the domain names were seized illegally.
The state of Kentucky contends that Internet gambling is illegal in their state and that gives them the right to seize the names. A judge has already ruled in favor of the state of Kentucky, but that means little simply because there was no precedent for that judge to refer to.
The final outcome of this case has drawn great interest from people with all sorts of different businesses on the Internet. If Kentucky succeeds in their current quest, it would open the door for other states to take the law into their own hands when it comes to the Internet.
Judges Michael Caperton, Jeff Taylor, and Michelle Keller are the ones who will ultimately give their opinions on the case after they digest what they heard today. Lawyers for the websites were not the only voices that were heard today.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a freedom of speech organization, had their concerns heard as well. “The court’s theory, that a state can order the seizure of Internet domain names regardless of where the site was registered, is not only wrong but dangerous,” said Senior Staff Attorney for EFF, Matt Zimmerman.