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Court Won’t Return Seized Domain Names: Says No Hardship Caused

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Aug/14/2011
Court Won’t Return Seized Domain Names

A federal judge has refused to return the domain name of a Spanish company accused of violating copyright law.

Earlier this year US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) seized the domain name Rojadirecta.org owned by Spanish firm Puerto 80 along with several other Web addresses.  Puerto 80 was the only defendant to file a petition in the court, claiming the action was seriously damaging its business.

The judge disagreed, claiming the seizure has caused no significant hardship.

A Spanish court, meanwhile, found Puerto 80 was not in violation of copyright law. 

The US Justice Department has mounted an aggressive campaign to shut down sites they claim engage in copyright infringement.  Those efforts have since been expanded to include the seizure of some dozen online gambling domains including the world’s largest poker room, PokerStars.com, and North America’s oldest online bookmaker, Bookmaker.com.  The later has since moved to a .EU domain extension and continues to service the North American sports bettor and poker player while PokerStars has left the US market entirely but remains the world’s largest room through its own .EU domain extension.  It’s .it (Italian) website is the world’s 5th largest Internet card room. 

US authorities claim the Web gambling firms are in violation of laws that prohibit the transfer of funds through Stateside banking institutions for the purpose of gambling.  Legal counsel for PokerStars has long argued it was not in violation of such laws.  The World Trade Organization has sided with the i-Gaming sector, finding the United States in violation of international trade policy. 

G911.co has since learned that the Web seizure efforts will be expanded further to include other so-called “high risk” industries such as online pharmacies, pay day loans and porn.

- Chris Costigan, Gambling911.com Publisher

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