The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have filed a brief with the Kentucky Court of Appeals calling on the body to vacate a ruling made last month by the Franklin Circuit Court.
In September, Judge Thomas Wingate ruled that the state did have the right to take the owners of 141 domain names associated with gaming to court with the intention of seizing the sites. However, the three organisations stated that any seizures and the lower court's exercise of jurisdiction over global domain names would threaten free speech across the Internet.
The three bodies filed a joint amicus brief with the Court of Appeals last week in support of a writ vacating the judge's order by arguing that the First Amendment, the Commerce Clause and the Due Process Clause of the US Constitution prohibit state courts from interfering with Internet domain names that were registered and maintained outside of that state. The brief argues that any seizure order is invalid because it threatens to impede access to a broad range of materials protected by the First Amendment.
'The court's theory, that a state court can order the seizure of Internet domain names regardless of where the site was registered, is not only wrong but dangerous,' said Matt Zimmerman, Senior Staff Attorney for the EFT.
'If the mere ability to access a website gives every court on the planet the authority to seize a domain name if a site's content is in some way inconsistent with local law, the laws of the world's most repressive regimes will effectively control cyberspace.'