IMEGA Refiles With the Kentucky Court of Appeals
It didn't take long for the Interactive Media Entertainment and Gaming Association to respond to the Kentucky Supreme Court's ruling that the trade association needed to demonstrate standing to litigate on behalf of the 141 Internet gambling-related domain names seized by the Commonwealth.
Just five days after the ruling, iMEGA refiled the case with the Kentucky Court of Appeals on Tuesday night along with an affidavit from Yatahay Limited asserting ownership of the impacted domain TruePoker.com and membership in the trade association.
PokerNews acquired the affidavit, which is public record, from the Kentucky Court of Appeals. The individual from Yatahay who signed off on the affidavit and provided a copy of his passport to the court was Matthew Bartlett, who is identified as technical manager of the company.
iMEGA had been given 20 days to refile. The court will now wait to see if the other plaintiffs in the case, mainly the Interactive Gaming Council, will also refile with an affidavit from one of its members. As long as the Court of Appeals is satisfied with iMEGA's showing of standing, the case will move back to the Kentucky Supreme Court for a judgment on the merits of the arguments.
"The owners of the 'TruePoker.com' domain have taken a big step on the behalf of the industry and players," said iMEGA chairman Joe Brennan Jr., who also filed an affidavit confirming Yatahay's membership. "We've overcome the technicalities that gave the Commonwealth its short-lived victory. The court can now make a decision based on Kentucky law. Based on the language of the decision last week, we know the court wants to do just that. We know that the law favors us and, frankly, so does the Commonwealth's attorneys."
iMEGA had previously kept all of its members confidential. Brennan said three members of the association volunteered to file the affidavit. Only one was needed, and Yatahay was chosen partly because the company does not operate an Internet gambling site. It merely leases the software and domain name to the operator, TPCR Development, SRL.
"I'm sure the Commonwealth will say something like that doesn't count," Brennan said. "If you go to a 'whois' site and look up TruePoker.com, you'll see Yatahay Limited. It has been the owner of the domain name since 2007."
True Poker also does not operate in Kentucky and has rejected business from IP addresses in the Commonwealth as a precaution since the seizure.
Yatahay management issued an anonymous statement via e-mail that read, in part: "Kentucky does not prohibit Kentuckians from playing poker online, but the Commonwealth wants to censor their freedom to do so. Kentucky lacks a Great Firewall of its own to choke off internet access, so it sought to seize website urls from owners located all around the world. As an iMEGA member, Truepoker.com's owner, Yatahay Limited (of Cyprus), has stepped forward to support iMEGA , the internet-protective association challenging Kentucky in Court. Unlike in China, the United States judicial system provides a forum to fight against censorship attacks on Internet freedom. Truepoker.com supports the rule of law in Kentucky, and through iMEGA, is fighting to protect Internet freedoms for its website visitors and poker players who simply want to play where they choose."
Commonwealth attorneys must have known iMEGA wasn't going to give up on the case because they were in Franklin District Court on Wednesday morning trying to get the names of owners of Full Tilt Poker and Pocket Kings Limited, the software provider of Full Tilt, added to the complaint. Judge Thomas Wingate denied the request, saying the Kentucky Supreme Court ruling was not final. The only way the amendment would be granted is if iMEGA loses in the Supreme Court. Now that the standing issue is resolved, Brennan is confident that won't happen.
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