High Court Hears Arguments In Domain Name Case

From Kentucky Public Radio’s Tony McVeigh

The legal battle over Kentucky’s attempt to seize the domain names of some Internet gambling sites has reached the state supreme court.

An appellate court says domain names are not gambling devices as defined by Kentucky law and therefore not subject to forfeiture. But attorney Eric Lycan, arguing for the state, disagrees.

“It is property. A domain name is property that can be seized and can be executed upon,” Lycan said Thursday.

But attorney Bill Johnson, representing domain name owners, says the case never should have gotten this far in the first place. “In that the judge – the trial judge – should have said, I don’t have jurisdiction,” Johnson countered.

At issue are the domain names of 141 Internet gambling sites. The state’s trying to seize them because it claims they’re illegally siphoning millions of much-needed dollars away from the commonwealth. A ruling from the high court is not expected for several weeks.