Commonwealth of Kentucky, et al., v. Interactive Media Entertainment & Gaming Association, Inc., et al.

Brief of Amicus Curiae Network Solutions, LLC In Support of Appellees


EFF, the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT), and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) urged a Kentucky Court of Appeals in November of 2008 to vacate a lower court's order authorizing the seizure of more than 100 Internet domain names associated with websites operating around the globe. The seizure, and the lower court's exercise of jurisdiction over global domain names, threatens free speech across the Internet.

In a move to combat what it viewed as illegal online gambling, the Commonwealth of Kentucky convinced a state court to "seize" 141 domain names because the names allegedly constituted "gambling devices" that are banned under Kentucky law -- even though the sites were owned and operated by individuals outside of the state, and in many cases even outside of the country. Unless the sites screened out Kentucky users, the court held, the seizure order was proper.

In its amicus brief filed with the Court of Appeals in support of a writ vacating the judge's order, EFF, CDT, and the ACLU argue that the First Amendment, the Commerce Clause, and the Due Process Clause of the Constitution prohibit state courts from interfering with Internet domain names that were registered and maintained outside the state.

On January 20, 2009, the Kentucky Court of Appeals granted the consolidated petitions for writs of mandamus, overturning the trial court's order seizure order, holding that Kentucky's "gambling device" statute did not cover domain names. On January 21, 2009, the Commonwealth of Kentucky filed a notice of appeal to the Kentucky Supreme Court.

Update: On April 2, 2009, the Commonwealth filed its appellant brief with the Kentucky Supreme Court. On April 17, 2009, EFF, CDT, and the ACLU filed a new amicus brief in opposition to the Commonwealth's Supreme Court appeal. Also on April 17, Network Solutions filed its own amicus brief in opposition to the Commonwealth's Supreme Court appeal.

This is the Amicus Brief of Network Solutions.

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Reference Info:Appellate Brief | State, 6th Circuit, Kentucky | United States

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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