Judge Says Making It Harder To Exercise Free Speech Does Not Create Substantial Hardship

from the holy-what-now? dept

In a horrifically bad ruling on the attempt by Puerto 80 to get the US government to return its domain while it awaits a trial, a district court judge has decided that there's simply no First Amendment issue at all at this time because someone whose domain is seized by the US government can simply set up shop somewhere else:
"Although some discussion may take place in the forums, the fact that visitors must now go to other websites to partake in the same discussions is clearly not the kind of substantial hardship that Congress intended to ameliorate...."
Yes, the judge is basically saying that the government can block speech so long as you can set up shop elsewhere. The judge cites no precedent for this, other than the judge's own interpretation of the law. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court argues the exact opposite in its Virginia State Pharmacy Board v. Virginia Citizens Consumer Council decision:
"We are aware of no general principle that freedom of speech may be abridged when the speaker's listeners could come by his message by some other means...."
In that decision, the court even specifically notes that "the recipients of the political publications in Lamont could have gone abroad and thereafter disseminated them themselves...," which is what Rojadirecta effectively had to do in changing domain names, and the Supreme Court makes clear that this is still a First Amendment violation.

This ruling is just on the question of whether or not the domain should be returned pre-trial. The judge does note that the First Amendment part can be challenged in the actual upcoming trial, but in the meantime, he's claiming that a clear violation of the First Amendment does not create "substantial hardship." That's quite a ruling and quite a diminishment of the basic principles of the First Amendment.

Separately, as the EFF points out, the judge did not even address the key point raised in Fort Wayne Books v. Indiana, that you cannot use mere "probable cause," in restricting speech, but that it requires a higher bar. The judge just ignores that point entirely. It's quite surprising, and you can bet this will be appealed.

In the meantime, the implications of this are huge and immensely troubling. The reasoning in the ruling means that anyone whose website is seized cannot claim a First Amendment violation at all, because they can just put up a site elsewhere. That's a massive dismantling of the First Amendment. Based on this ruling, and contrary to a long line of First Amendment cases, the government could seize the printing presses from a newspaper it doesn't like by saying that the publisher can just use someone else's. Yikes!


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 10:47am

    Color me not surprised

    Color me so "not surprised."

    Once upon a time, the New York Times and the Washington Post overthrew a President... or so the story goes.

    New media —blogs, web forums, irc, twitter— will have to demonstrate power before the courts will grant the privileges of the incumbent, institutional, established press.

    That probably means that internet censorship will have to be defeated in the technical arena first. Then the courts will catch up, like banksters offering a loans to the wealthy...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 11:03am

    It wouldn't be any different from the city roping off part of a public park and saying "you cannot go in here" for whatever reason, or police closing off part of a public roadway for an investigation. There is no first amendment issue, because people are not blocked from expressing their opinions or exercising their rights, just not in that small, designated area.

    It's likely the same logic that will be used to show that a small amount of protected free speech doesn't excuse or cover up for scads of illegal or unprotected speech. It's why these sites will likely never get their domains back, and will very likely face prosecution for criminal copyright offences.

     

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      PrometheeFeu (profile), Aug 5th, 2011 @ 11:07am

      Re:

      It depends upon why that area is roped off. If that area is roped off because of an unrelated reason, then sure. It's the same thing as saying: No, pouring the blood of orphans on a waterwheel is not an acceptable power generation method even if it is used to power a printing press. But what is going on is more like you standing in the park talking to a crowd and the police showing up and cordoning off the area where you are currently speaking because they want you to shut up. Sure you can walk somewhere else. But that should not be legal.

       

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      Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), Aug 5th, 2011 @ 11:11am

      Re:

      As long as it slows down a few pirates then, what the hell, lets give up our freedom! Your jackassery is so blatant.

       

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      Another AC, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 11:13am

      Re:

      Except that the examples you give are all temporary, and are to serve a more common good (safety hazards for example).

      Think about what you're arguing for a moment. You're saying that because the government can take away access to property temporarily therefore it's OK for them to remove access to free speech permanently?

      And we should take you seriously?

       

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      :Lobo Santo (profile), Aug 5th, 2011 @ 11:16am

      Re:

      Yes, or lawful protests being forcibly displaced into a "designated protest area" which is conveniently out of sight of where the news cameras covering the event are going to be...

      X-(

       

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        Planespotter (profile), Aug 5th, 2011 @ 11:55am

        Re: Re:

        Which is pretty much where we are now in the UK with designated "Protest areas" where people are "kettled" together... I thought the US was founded on greater principals, pity they seem to be eroded at every oportunity to prop up the failing business models of the entertainment industries.

         

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      Gabriel Tane (profile), Aug 5th, 2011 @ 11:32am

      Re:

      "It's likely the same logic that will be used to show that a small amount of protected free speech doesn't excuse or cover up for scads of illegal or unprotected speech."
      No, it's not 'the same logic'. Your example doesn't really even come close to the issue here. Think back around the Printing Press analogy... it's a lot closer to the mark.

      And no one here ever said that the small amounts of free speech excuses the (possibly) illegal, and thus unprotected, speech. We're saying that the First Amendment has been upheld that you cannot block protected speech (no matter how comparatively small it may be) in the effort to stop unprotected speech.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 11:37am

      Re:

      It wouldn't be any different from the city roping off part of a public park and saying "you cannot go in here" for whatever reason, or police closing off part of a public roadway for an investigation. There is no first amendment issue, because people are not blocked from expressing their opinions or exercising their rights, just not in that small, designated area.

      I disagree. There is clearly a First Amendment issue when a website with a public forum gets shut down. The issue is whether the burden is permissible.

      It's likely the same logic that will be used to show that a small amount of protected free speech doesn't excuse or cover up for scads of illegal or unprotected speech. It's why these sites will likely never get their domains back, and will very likely face prosecution for criminal copyright offences.

      I agree that in the end, the domain names can be forfeited for those very reasons. The more important question though is whether the domain names can be seized in the first place based on only probable cause without running afoul of the First Amendment. The answer to that question is not so black-and-white.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 11:43am

      Re:

      well, unless that was the area you were using for your speech in the first place. With this ruling there nothing to prevent them from following you around and continuously shutting down your soapbox.... you know, because you can always go someplace else. I can even see this court not having a problem with that because the internet has (effectively) unlimited real estate.

       

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      btr1701 (profile), Aug 5th, 2011 @ 11:47am

      Re: Speech

      > It wouldn't be any different from the
      > city roping off part of a public park and
      > saying "you cannot go in here" for whatever
      > reason, or police closing off part of a
      > public roadway for an investigation.

      The Supreme Court of the United States disagrees with you.

      Given the choice of their legal analysis or yours, I feel confident that the former is both more informed and stands the greater of prevailing.

       

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      Mr. Oizo, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 11:47am

      Re:

      There is a big difference that if I were the owner of the parc and the police would stop me from expressing my viewpoints in my own park, then it certainly is censors

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 11:56am

      Re:

      >> just not in that small, designated area.

      So the entire internet is now a "small, designated area"?

      US Government to US Citizens: If you want to observe our First Amendment, you're free to do so in another country. Just don't do it here.

       

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      Vincent Clement (profile), Aug 5th, 2011 @ 12:19pm

      Re:

      What are "criminal copyright offences"?

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 12:28pm

      Re:

      There is no first amendment issue, because people are not blocked from expressing their opinions or exercising their rights, just not in that small, designated area.

      And planet Earth is but a tiny, tiny speck in the cosmos. There's still a whole universe out there, huh?

      What a shill.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2011 @ 12:12pm

        Re: Re:

        "And planet Earth is but a tiny, tiny speck in the cosmos. There's still a whole universe out there, huh?"

        Yeah, I see how that works.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 11:17am

    It's just the next step in taking away your liberties. Get used to it.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 11:23am

    This ruling is just on the question of whether or not the domain should be returned pre-trial. The judge does note that the First Amendment part can be challenged in the actual upcoming trial, but in the meantime, he's claiming that a clear violation of the First Amendment does not create "substantial hardship." That's quite a ruling and quite a diminishment of the basic principles of the First Amendment.

    I think the judge got it right. Section 983(f)(1)(C) says: "the continued possession by the Government pending the final disposition of forfeiture proceedings will cause substantial hardship to the claimant, such as preventing the functioning of the business, preventing an individual from working, or leaving an individual homeless."

    The problem for your pirate friends is that they are claiming that they make $0 from the page views and ads that are on their site. Of course, this is ludicrous, but the problem for them is that if they claim they don't make any money like that then they can't claim that the seizure is taking away their income and leaving them hungry and homeless.

    The real battle is in the actual forfeiture proceeding, and Rojadirecta's motion to dismiss is due today. The free docket is here: http://ia600501.us.archive.org/31/items/gov.uscourts.nysd.380872/gov.uscourts.nysd.380872.docket.htm l

    And please note that the judge is not saying that this isn't a First Amendment violation. It very well could be. We'll just have to wait for the motion to dismiss to get those answers.

     

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Aug 5th, 2011 @ 11:35am

      Re:

      I think the judge got it right. Section 983(f)(1)(C) says: "the continued possession by the Government pending the final disposition of forfeiture proceedings will cause substantial hardship to the claimant, such as preventing the functioning of the business, preventing an individual from working, or leaving an individual homeless."


      I guess we differ on whether or not trampling the First Amendment represents a substantial hardship.

      The problem for your pirate friends is that they are claiming that they make $0 from the page views and ads that are on their site. Of course, this is ludicrous, but the problem for them is that if they claim they don't make any money like that then they can't claim that the seizure is taking away their income and leaving them hungry and homeless.

      I find it troubling that anyone could think that there's no substantial hardship from a 1st Amendment violation unless it also causes monetary harm. That's not how the 1st Amendment works.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 11:43am

        Re: Re:

        I guess we differ on whether or not trampling the First Amendment represents a substantial hardship.

        It's not our own personal definitions of "substantial hardship" that matter. It's what Congress meant by the term. And from what I've gathered, they meant putting someone out of business, taking food from their children, etc. Shutting down a forum on a website that (probably) criminally traffics in copyrighted materials isn't what Congress meant by a "substantial hardship."

        I find it troubling that anyone could think that there's no substantial hardship from a 1st Amendment violation unless it also causes monetary harm. That's not how the 1st Amendment works.

        Again, the issue is whether this is the type of "substantial hardship" that Congress intended, and I agree with the judge that it's not. I think the First Amendment arguments have merit. I just don't think they are a "substantial hardship" as the term is meant in the statute. We'll get to the First Amendment stuff soon enough, starting later today when Rojadirecta files their motion to dismiss.

         

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          btr1701 (profile), Aug 5th, 2011 @ 11:51am

          Re: Re: Re:

          > It's not our own personal definitions of
          > "substantial hardship" that matter. It's
          > what Congress meant by the term.

          What Congress meant is irrelevant if the Court has already ruled that such actions are not consistent with the 1st Amendment.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 11:54am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            The issue before the judge was narrow: Did the claimed First Amendment hardships rise to the level of a "substantial hardship" as defined in Section 983? The judge could very well believe that the First Amendment is being violated, yet not think that such a hardship is a "substantial hardship" under the statute.

             

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              The eejit (profile), Aug 5th, 2011 @ 12:27pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              See, that makes sense. It's very disturbing, but that seems like the rationale that the judge has gone with.

               

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              Karl (profile), Aug 5th, 2011 @ 4:41pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              The judge could very well believe that the First Amendment is being violated, yet not think that such a hardship is a "substantial hardship" under the statute.

              In theory, if he really was doing this, he should have found that the "substantial hardship" requirement was unconstitutional, at least in speech-related cases.

               

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              btr1701 (profile), Aug 5th, 2011 @ 8:52pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              > The judge could very well believe that the First Amendment
              > is being violated, yet not think that such a hardship is a
              > "substantial hardship" under the statute.

              But he reached the conclusion that it's not a substantial hardship by saying that Puerto 80 was still free to speak elsewhere-- a line of reasoning the Court has rejected in 1st Amendment cases.

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 9:10pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                He reached the conclusion that it wasn't a substantial hardship because no "lives and livelihoods" were "in peril," which is what a "substantial hardship" means.

                 

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                  btr1701 (profile), Aug 7th, 2011 @ 9:46am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  > He reached the conclusion that it wasn't a substantial
                  > hardship because no "lives and livelihoods" were "in peril,"

                  No, he clearly said it was because people could speak elsewhere:

                  "Although some discussion may take place in the forums, the fact that visitors must now go to other websites to partake in the same discussions is clearly not the kind of substantial hardship that Congress intended to ameliorate...."

                  Of course, even if the did use the lives/livelihood standard it's both ridiculous and frightening that we've reached the point where government censorship and restrictions on speech are okay, so long as no one's in danger of death or being wiped out financially.

                  It only took a little over 200 years for us to go from "Congress shall make no law..." to "Congress can do whatever it likes as long as they don't kill anyone."

                   

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                    Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2011 @ 10:55am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    Of course, even if the did use the lives/livelihood standard it's both ridiculous and frightening that we've reached the point where government censorship and restrictions on speech are okay, so long as no one's in danger of death or being wiped out financially.

                    All it means is that Puerto 80 can't get the domain names back temporarily under the "substantial hardship" exception. If these seizures are unconstitutional, then the court will enjoin the government from doing it again. All is not lost just because it's not a "substantial hardship" as the forfeiture statute defines the term. That was just the previews. The main attraction is just starting.

                     

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        Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2011 @ 10:35am

        Re: Re:

        You know Mike, I read an re-read your comment here very closely, because I think it is incredibly telling about the way you look at the laws and how you interpret the way they are written.

        The "substantial hardship" clause is specific. As the judge noted, it's "preventing the functioning of the business, preventing an individual from working, or leaving an individual homeless". Since the Rojo website is up and running right now, none of these parameters is met.

        Quite simply, whatever small free speech restriction that may occur doesn't rise to the level of "substantial hardship". In fact, considering that the Rojo websites are still up, that by itself proves that there may not even be any real first amendment issue.

        Remember also, and this is key: First amendment issues only apply to legal, protected speech, and not to illegal acts. You are aware of course that courts have ruled that a small amount of protected speech may be lost in order to take out unprotected, illegal speech.

        What concerns me is that you are so concerned about ANY suggestion of a loss of free speech that you think any of it is a hardship. Even in face of the law, you are willing to take such a stand, it makes me wonder where else you have put your thumb on the scale of justice to make it balance your way.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2011 @ 1:35pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          The "substantial hardship" clause is specific. As the judge noted, it's "preventing the functioning of the business, preventing an individual from working, or leaving an individual homeless".

          So, you're saying that's it's OK to take away someone's free speech rights as long they can still work and have a place to live? The hell with that. You've just described most prisons. Yeah, I can see your view of the world. Copyright people like you are truly scary and dangerous and make me think that we really do need to just get rid copyright. Period.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2011 @ 2:08pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            So, you're saying that's it's OK to take away someone's free speech rights as long they can still work and have a place to live? The hell with that. You've just described most prisons. Yeah, I can see your view of the world. Copyright people like you are truly scary and dangerous and make me think that we really do need to just get rid copyright. Period.

            You are truly twisting this. He didn't say it's OK to take away someone's free speech rights. He merely said that that possibility is not a "substantial hardship" as that term is defined in the statute.

            You guys (Mike especially) don't seem to understand that when a statute uses a term like "substantial hardship," you can't just use whatever definition of that term you want. You have to look up what that term actually means in that context.

            And in this case, Congress meant that something is a "substantial hardship" if it imperils someone's life or livelihood. Puerto 80 couldn't show that imperilment, so there's no "substantial hardship."

            Whether or not it's "OK" has nothing to do with it.

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2011 @ 4:34pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              You guys (Mike especially) don't seem to understand that when a statute uses a term like "substantial hardship," you can't just use whatever definition of that term you want

              You guys (copyright industry) don't seem to understand that the term "substantial hardship" does not appear in the First Amendment. You can't just use what ever version of the First Amendment that you want.

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2011 @ 7:20pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                You guys (copyright industry) don't seem to understand that the term "substantial hardship" does not appear in the First Amendment. You can't just use what ever version of the First Amendment that you want.

                I'm not exactly following you. I'm a strong believer in the First Amendment. I spend a lot of time thinking about it. I think there's an important First Amendment issue with these seizures, and I'm looking forward to seeing it resolved. But a possible First Amendment violation is not a "substantial hardship" as the statute defines that term. Was anyone's life in jeopardy? No. Was anyone being thrown out on the street unable to feed their children? No. Those are the sorts of things the statute defines as a "substantial hardship." The First Amendment issue here is nothing like that.

                 

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                  btr1701 (profile), Aug 7th, 2011 @ 9:52am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  > But a possible First Amendment violation is not a "substantial
                  > hardship" as the statute defines that term.

                  The fundamental question isn't whether it was a substantial hardship, but why Congress thinks the phrase "Congress shall make no law" gives it the authority to set this standard in the first place.

                   

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                    Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2011 @ 10:42am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    That's not exactly the issue. Congress passes lots of laws that impact speech. Courts have devised different tests to determine if that impact is permissible.

                    If the forfeiture statute is a content-neutral regulation of speech, then intermediate scrutiny is applied. The restrictions on speech it imposes will pass muster provided: "that they are justified without reference to the content of the regulated speech, that they are narrowly tailored to serve a significant governmental interest, and that they leave open ample alternative channels for communication of the information Clark v. Cmty. for Creative Non-Violence, 468 U.S. 288, 293 (1984).

                     

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                      btr1701 (profile), Aug 8th, 2011 @ 9:43pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      > Congress passes lots of laws that impact speech. Courts
                      > have devised different tests to determine if that impact is
                      > permissible.

                      Yes, I know. The courts seem to share Congress's peculiar inability to understand the phrase, 'Congress shall make no law...'

                       

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                        Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 6:53am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        Yes, I know. The courts seem to share Congress's peculiar inability to understand the phrase, 'Congress shall make no law...'

                        I think they're simply acknowledging the reality that practically every law in existence has some effect on speech. Take the forfeiture statute for instance. It provides for the forfeiture of certain property used to commit or facilitate crime. On its face it doesn't regulate speech, but in certain instances of applying the law, there is an effect on speech. Courts have to deal with that somehow, and I think the tests they've devised are practical and useful.

                         

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                  Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2011 @ 11:54am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  I'm not exactly following you. I'm a strong believer in the First Amendment.

                  You're lying.

                  Was anyone's life in jeopardy?

                  1. The Bill of Rights protects more than life, it protects rights (or it used to before people like you corrupted things). That's why it's called the Bill of Rights, not the Bill of Life.

                  2. Someone's life certainly could be in jeopardy if they refused to go along with this (it isn't exactly "voluntary"). Trying to fight off government agents sent to enforce it wouldn't likely turn out very well.

                  The world would be a better place without people like you. You make me sick. Abolish copyright.

                   

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                    Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2011 @ 12:48pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    You're lying.

                    How do you figure?

                    1. The Bill of Rights protects more than life, it protects rights (or it used to before people like you corrupted things). That's why it's called the Bill of Rights, not the Bill of Life.

                    Of course the Bill of Rights protects more than life. That's not relevant to whether there is a "substantial hardship" under the statute.

                    2. Someone's life certainly could be in jeopardy if they refused to go along with this (it isn't exactly "voluntary"). Trying to fight off government agents sent to enforce it wouldn't likely turn out very well.

                    But no one's life was in jeopardy here, which was the issue.

                    The world would be a better place without people like you. You make me sick. Abolish copyright.

                    You don't even know me, but yeah, you've got the world all figured out, and you're the saint. Good for you.

                     

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                      Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2011 @ 1:54pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      What is truly funny is to watch people (Mike included) seemingly miss the issue here entirely.

                      Substantial Hardship is the standard for handing back a seized property or item before the completion of the full court case / trial / whatever.

                      This standard does not preclude using a first amendment challenge in court as the case goes on, but it sets a very particular and distinct standard to be used while judging if something should be given back pending trial.

                      Now, if you wanted to, I guess you could argue that the standard somehow violates free speech, but considering the law has been on the books for a long while and nobody has had any success down that road, I would say that the challenge would likely be meaningless and would likely fail.

                      Why? It's a double deal here: First, you would have to show that the there is legal, permitted, and protected speech being violated (good luck on that with a chat board full of pirates), and then second you would have to prove that the standard for "pre trial release of seized property" violates the first amendment because it specifically hurt protected speech in this case - speech which notably continues to this day.

                      It would be a losing battle all around.

                      Yes, you can argue first amendment at every turn in the game, and then you can attempt to climb that mountain. But really, it would be effectively arguing the entire case (which may take years) just to prove if the seizure and holding was legal or not, and then you would still have to fight the entire case again the courts for the criminal aspects of it.

                      Seems to me to be a losing battle, it would be the wrong place to pick a fight, and is unlikely to generate the desired results, and is more likely to delay justice in any form.

                      I am not against first amendment rights. But I do understand that the courts have already allowed that some protected speech may be hurt in the process of taking legal action against unprotected, illegal speech. I doubt that the chat board of a pirate website was filled with people discussing the weather, so I am pretty comfortable that significant illegal speech was happened. While innocent until proven guilty does apply, the standards for obtaining a warrant are lower than absolutely proof.

                      I find it incredibly sad that even Mike doesn't seem to want to understand this.

                       

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                        Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2011 @ 2:10pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        "I am not against first amendment rights."

                        The hell you're not.

                         

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                        Karl (profile), Aug 7th, 2011 @ 6:12pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        Now, if you wanted to, I guess you could argue that the standard somehow violates free speech, but considering the law has been on the books for a long while and nobody has had any success down that road, I would say that the challenge would likely be meaningless and would likely fail.

                        How so? Every time administrative prior restraint of protected speech was challenged, it succeeded. (Ft. Wayne Books v. Indiana, CDT v. Pappert, Ashcroft v. ACLU, etc.)

                        Substantial Hardship is the standard for handing back a seized property or item before the completion of the full court case / trial / whatever.

                        But not the only standard. The judge would have easily been within his rights to examine the prior restraint issue. He chose to simply ignore it, and focus solely on the "substantial hardship" requirement.

                        I am not against first amendment rights. But I do understand that the courts have already allowed that some protected speech may be hurt in the process of taking legal action against unprotected, illegal speech.

                        If you really were "not against" First Amendment rights, you would realize that no court has ever said this. In fact, they've said exactly the opposite: that any laws against unlawful speech must be "narrowly tailored" to impact only that speech. Anything more is "overbroad," and unconstitutional.

                        I doubt that the chat board of a pirate website was filled with people discussing the weather, so I am pretty comfortable that significant illegal speech was happened.

                        Wait, so now discussing sporting events is "illegal speech"? I guess that's what you must mean, since there were not even any allegations that the forums were being used for infringement.

                         

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                          Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2011 @ 6:39pm

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          If you really were "not against" First Amendment rights, you would realize that no court has ever said this. In fact, they've said exactly the opposite: that any laws against unlawful speech must be "narrowly tailored" to impact only that speech. Anything more is "overbroad," and unconstitutional.

                          That's not exactly what "narrowly tailored" means. From the Supreme Court:
                          Lest any confusion on the point remain, we reaffirm today that a regulation of the time, place, or manner of protected speech must be narrowly tailored to serve the government's legitimate, content-neutral interests but that it need not be the least restrictive or least intrusive means of doing so. Rather, the requirement of narrow tailoring is satisfied “so long as the ... regulation promotes a substantial government interest that would be achieved less effectively absent the regulation.” To be sure, this standard does not mean that a time, place, or manner regulation may burden substantially more speech than is necessary to further the government's legitimate interests. Government may not regulate expression in such a manner that a substantial portion of the burden on speech does not serve to advance its goals. So long as the means chosen are not substantially broader than necessary to achieve the government's interest, however, the regulation will not be invalid simply because a court concludes that the government's interest could be adequately served by some less-speech-restrictive alternative. “The validity of [time, place, or manner] regulations does not turn on a judge's agreement with the responsible decisionmaker concerning the most appropriate method for promoting significant government interests” or the degree to which those interests should be promoted.
                          Ward v. Rock Against Racism, 491 U.S. 781, 798-800 (1989)

                           

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                            Karl (profile), Aug 7th, 2011 @ 11:16pm

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                            That's not exactly what "narrowly tailored" means.

                            You're talking about truly content-neutral regulations; that is, regulations that do not discriminate at all between the contents of speech. Noise ordinances would be an example.

                            In order for speech restrictions to be truly content-neutral, they must "leave open ample alternative channels for communication." (Clark v. Community for Creative Non Violence.)

                            That's not what's happening here, and it wouldn't apply to situations where lawful speech is suppressed along with unlawful speech.

                            I'm not saying you're wrong, just that it's not quite the same issue. I thought I remembered a case where the court used the phrase "narrowly tailored" in these situations as well; but I haven't had luck digging it up (I thought it was CDT v. Pappert, but it's not).

                            Perhaps I was wrong in using that specific phrase, but case law is very clear on this point: protected speech should not be suppressed in the process of prosecuting unlawful speech. In fact, it's more difficult to suppress someone's speech rights than it is to actually arrest them.

                             

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                              Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2011 @ 5:22am

                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                              You're talking about truly content-neutral regulations; that is, regulations that do not discriminate at all between the contents of speech. Noise ordinances would be an example.

                              Do you not think that the forfeiture statute is content-neutral?

                               

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                            Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 10:37am

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                            "egulation promotes a substantial government interest that would be achieved less effectively absent the regulation."

                            Now explain to us how an infective measure protects a "substantial government interest", it does nothing to curb piracy but it burdens free speech and you want us to believe that is what the supreme court said there?

                             

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                      Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2011 @ 1:59pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      You don't even know me, but yeah, you've got the world all figured out, and you're the saint. Good for you.

                      Evil is as evil does. It doesn't take a saint to recognize it.

                       

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                        Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2011 @ 3:58pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        Evil is as evil does. It doesn't take a saint to recognize it.

                        Snore. You can't name one thing I've done that's evil, because you don't know me and I haven't done anything evil.

                        All you can do is make personal attacks against someone you don't know personally. It's obvious to me that you can't address any of my points head on, so you've resorted to the only thing you know: ad hominem attack.

                        If you want to actually discuss the issues, I'm glad to. But keep your personal, baseless attacks to yourself. It only makes you look bad.

                         

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                          Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2011 @ 12:03pm

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          Snore. You can't name one thing I've done that's evil, because you don't know me and I haven't done anything evil.

                          So said Joesph Goebbels as well. Promoting evil makes you evil in my book.

                          All you can do is make personal attacks against someone you don't know personally.

                          I'm judging you by your statements, your actions. And I'm glad I don't know you personally.

                          It's obvious to me that you can't address any of my points head on,

                          Actually, I have pointed out several of your lies. Add this one to the list.

                          so you've resorted to the only thing you know: ad hominem attack.

                          Occasionally it is a good thing to point out evil. And I suppose you're trying to claim that you've never personally criticized Mike or anyone else here either, right?

                          If you want to actually discuss the issues, I'm glad to. But keep your personal, baseless attacks to yourself. It only makes you look bad.

                          Oh, you're so concerned about how I look, right? Ha. Or should I take a page from your playbook and call that a personal attack and admonish you to keep it to yourself?

                          I'll continue to occasionally point out your lies, whether you like it or not.

                           

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                            Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2011 @ 2:23pm

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                            I just post what I think to be the proper statement of the law or my personal views on things. If you think someone with views that are different than yours is evil, then I just feel sorry for you.

                             

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                              Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2011 @ 11:53pm

                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                              I just post what I think to be the proper statement of the law or my personal views on things. If you think someone with views that are different than yours is evil, then I just feel sorry for you.

                              Signed,
                              Adolph

                               

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                              Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 1:20am

                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                              "If you think someone with views that are different than yours is evil, then I just feel sorry for you."

                              Classic. That's not it at all. It depends on the so-called "views" themselves. And going around lying isn't just expressing "views". Of course, being the type of person you are, you claim otherwise.

                               

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                                Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 6:56am

                                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                Classic. That's not it at all. It depends on the so-called "views" themselves. And going around lying isn't just expressing "views". Of course, being the type of person you are, you claim otherwise.

                                I'm glad I amuse you. To me, you're a bore. You clearly don't have anything productive to add to the conversation.

                                 

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                    Karl (profile), Aug 7th, 2011 @ 5:49pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    The world would be a better place without people like you. You make me sick. Abolish copyright.

                    You know, I'm generally on your side in this debate, but this sort of obnoxiousness doesn't help anyone. Feel free to vent, but leave the personal attacks out of it, please.

                     

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                      Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2011 @ 12:11pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      "You know, I'm generally on your side in this debate, but this sort of obnoxiousness doesn't help anyone. Feel free to vent, but leave the personal attacks out of it, please."

                      Yeah, especially that "abolish copyright" part. It reminds me of the way everyone jumps all over the occasional person who tries to defend child molesters here, calling them all sorts of things and expressing their disgust with them. All they're doing is making themselves look bad and the child molesters look good. People really need to get over that.

                       

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                        Karl (profile), Aug 8th, 2011 @ 11:19pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        It reminds me of the way everyone jumps all over the occasional person who tries to defend child molesters here, calling them all sorts of things and expressing their disgust with them.

                        Oh, please. I'm hardly a copyright maximalist (most A.C.'s say I'm "pro-piracy"), but this is ridiculous. The particular A.C. that is voicing legal theories may be arguing points I vehemently disagree with, but it hardly rises to the level of promoting child molesting.

                        Honestly, I'm not a copyright abolitionist either. I'm more of a reformer. In general, I think that "all rights reserved" should limited to CC-BY-NC. And, specifically, that copyright law went very wrong starting with 1997's "NET Act," because that's when copyright moved from an industry-specific legal dispute, into an outright war on the general public.

                        And I would like to voice that opinion without being called a Nazi or a child molester, thank you very much. Obviously I can't do anything but ask nicely... still, most people on these forums are pretty sane and rational, and I'd like to keep it that way if I can.

                         

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          btr1701 (profile), Aug 7th, 2011 @ 9:48am

          Re: Re: Re:

          > The "substantial hardship" clause is specific. As the judge
          > noted, it's "preventing the functioning of the business

          You try running an in internet business with the government constantly seizing your domains. Then come tell us how well that business functions.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2011 @ 10:47am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            You try running an in internet business with the government constantly seizing your domains. Then come tell us how well that business functions.

            I think the fact that they were already back up and running on new domain names factored against finding that their business wasn't functioning. I do agree that the judge should have given this part more analysis though. Obviously their business of running a website was prevented from functioning in a significant way, even if they could relocate later.

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 10:43am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Now explain why seizures have to happen when the measures are ineffective as you acknowledge already gloating about it now, which contradicts your own post of the supreme court ruling saying the government should have a functional measure that protects its interests absent of that they should not be able to seize anything that threatens free speech.

               

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          btr1701 (profile), Aug 7th, 2011 @ 9:49am

          Re: Re: Re:

          > Even in face of the law, you are willing to take such a stand

          Yeah, heaven forfend anyone should question the law.

          Damn that Rosa Parks. In even in the face of the law, she was so uppity that she took a stand against it.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2011 @ 1:55pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Ahh yes, the final stand of the freetards. Piracy and Racial Equality will always be about the same, right?

            Tard.

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2011 @ 2:07pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Ahh yes, the final stand of the freetards. Piracy and Racial Equality will always be about the same, right?

              Exactly. If you want to change the law, the proper way to go about it is to hire lobbyists, not just go out and break it. Of course, freetards want everything for free, so they're not willing to pay for laws either. They just don't get it.

              Tards, indeed.

               

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                Karl (profile), Aug 7th, 2011 @ 5:47pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Exactly. If you want to change the law, the proper way to go about it is to hire lobbyists, not just go out and break it.

                Sadly, I can't tell if this was sarcasm or not.

                 

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              btr1701 (profile), Aug 8th, 2011 @ 9:47pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              > > > Even in face of the law, you are willing to take
              > > > such a stand

              > > Yeah, heaven forfend anyone should question the law.

              > > Damn that Rosa Parks. In even in the face of the law,
              > > she was so uppity that she took a stand against it.

              > Ahh yes, the final stand of the freetards. Piracy and Racial
              > Equality will always be about the same, right?

              So you're saying that unless we're dealing with racial injustice, questioning the law is inappropriate in a free society?

              What a peculiar notion of liberty you have.

               

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          Mike Masnick (profile), Aug 8th, 2011 @ 12:49am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Quite simply, whatever small free speech restriction that may occur doesn't rise to the level of "substantial hardship".

          Anyone who thinks this does not understand the Constitution. A violation of the 1st Amendment is, by *definition* a substantial hardship.

           

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      Rich Fiscus (profile), Aug 5th, 2011 @ 11:41am

      Re:

      I think the judge got it right. Section 983(f)(1)(C) says: "the continued possession by the Government pending the final disposition of forfeiture proceedings will cause substantial hardship to the claimant, such as preventing the functioning of the business, preventing an individual from working, or leaving an individual homeless."
      What Congress has to say about it is irrelevant. The Supreme Court has already said it's not allowed. That carries nearly the same weight as the Constitution itself, with the exception that it may be reversed by future Supreme Court decisions. It may not be overruled by Congress, the President, or the combined efforts of both by merely creating a federal statute.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 11:46am

        Re: Re:

        What Congress has to say about it is irrelevant. The Supreme Court has already said it's not allowed. That carries nearly the same weight as the Constitution itself, with the exception that it may be reversed by future Supreme Court decisions. It may not be overruled by Congress, the President, or the combined efforts of both by merely creating a federal statute.

        I disagree. The First Amendment argument might well win the day in the motion to dismiss, but it's not what Congress had in mind when they created the "substantial hardship" claim in 983(f)(1)(C). The judge can't unilaterally decide that the First Amendment issue qualifies as a "substantial hardship" when Congress has defined it otherwise.

         

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          Rich Fiscus (profile), Aug 5th, 2011 @ 1:25pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          The judge can't unilaterally decide that the First Amendment issue qualifies as a "substantial hardship" when Congress has defined it otherwise.
          You're getting it backwards. The real issue is that neither Congress or a lower court judge may overrule the Supreme Court. For purposes of judicial rulings, the Constitution says whatever the Supreme Court says it does. All lower court decisions are bound by Supreme Court precedent.

          If a law cannot be interpretted in such a way that it conforms to Supreme Court precedent, it is unconstitutional. If it can be interpreted in a way that it's consistent with those precedents, it must be. The Constitution, and by extension the Supreme Court's interpretation of the Constitution, trump all other considerations. And yes, that includes Congressional intent, an issue which is specifically addressed in Marbury v Madison.

          It is also not entirely unworthy of observation that, in declaring what shall be the supreme law of the land, the Constitution itself is first mentioned, and not the laws of the United States generally, but those only which shall be made in pursuance of the Constitution, have that rank.

          Thus, the particular phraseology of the Constitution of the United States confirms and strengthens the principle, supposed to be essential to all written Constitutions, that a law repugnant to the Constitution is void, and that courts, as well as other departments, are bound by that instrument.

          Existing precedent from the Supreme Court states that the government must prove a compelling public interest for prior restraint. Fort Wayne Books v Indiana specifically says probable cause does not qualify as proof. Since the law states there are exceptions, either violating the Constitution must be an exception or the law is unconstitutional. In either case the seizure is unconstitutional.

          The only unilateral decision being talked about here is the one this judge made to ignore the Supreme Court, and by extension the Constitution.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 1:34pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Be that as it may, a First Amendment violation is not a "substantial hardship" under 983(f)(1)(C). It's really that simple. This is true even if the seizures are unconstitutional. The judge isn't overruling the Supreme Court in any way. Nor is he ignoring anything that they've said.

            The judge is only saying that the First Amendment issue is not a "substantial hardship" under the statute. Nothing more.

             

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              Rich Fiscus (profile), Aug 5th, 2011 @ 1:40pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Sure, as long as you ignore the entire history of judicial review from Marbury v Madison forward.

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 1:54pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                I'm just not following you at all. Whether these seizures are unconstitutional has nothing to do with whether Rojadirecta has suffered a "substantial hardship" under the statute.

                The constitutionality of these seizures was simply not the issue before the judge. Marbury and the power of judicial review are alive and well.

                 

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                  Rich Fiscus (profile), Aug 5th, 2011 @ 3:08pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  A ruling based on the Congressional intent behind a law, while ignoring Supreme Court precedents which specifically forbid that interpretation is beyond the judge's authority. Decisions from the Supreme Court are the same as the Constitution itself for this purpose. They are the law, and just like any other time 2 laws come into conflict, the judge is required to consider both. Since the Constitution always takes precedence over a statute, when they come into conflict he is required to either interpret the statute in a way that eliminates the Constitutional conflict or, if that's not possible, declare it unconstitutional.

                  Once again, from Marbury v Madison
                  So, if a law be in opposition to the Constitution, if both the law and the Constitution apply to a particular case, so that the Court must either decide that case conformably to the law, disregarding the Constitution, or conformably to the Constitution, disregarding the law, the Court must determine which of these conflicting rules governs the case. This is of the very essence of judicial duty.

                  If, then, the Courts are to regard the Constitution, and the Constitution is superior to any ordinary act of the Legislature, the Constitution, and not such ordinary act, must govern the case to which they both apply.

                   

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                    Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 3:16pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    A ruling based on the Congressional intent behind a law, while ignoring Supreme Court precedents which specifically forbid that interpretation is beyond the judge's authority.

                    The judge did not ignore any Supreme Court precedents. The issue before the judge was whether this was a "substantial hardship" on Puerto 80. The constitutionality of the seizures was not the issue. That issue will be coming up next.

                    Decisions from the Supreme Court are the same as the Constitution itself for this purpose. They are the law, and just like any other time 2 laws come into conflict, the judge is required to consider both. Since the Constitution always takes precedence over a statute, when they come into conflict he is required to either interpret the statute in a way that eliminates the Constitutional conflict or, if that's not possible, declare it unconstitutional.

                    Again, you seem to be missing the fact that the constitutionality of the seizures was not the issue the court was addressing. These seizures may be unconstitutional, but that is a separate issue.

                     

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                      Rich Fiscus (profile), Aug 5th, 2011 @ 3:23pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      Which is what Marbury v Madison specifically says he is not allowed to do. Constitutionality is a separate issue, but it is one he is required by the Constitution to address.

                       

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                        Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 3:28pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        I'm sorry, but I'm not understanding you. What exactly did the judge do that Marbury says he couldn't? And the judge has said that he will address the constitutionality of the seizures in Rojadirecta's motion to dismiss. Nowhere does it say that he had to address that here in the 983 petition.

                         

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                          Rich Fiscus (profile), Aug 5th, 2011 @ 4:05pm

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          If, then, the Courts are to regard the Constitution, and the Constitution is superior to any ordinary act of the Legislature, the Constitution, and not such ordinary act, must govern the case to which they both apply.
                          He must apply the Constitution. Period. Not may, not can, but must. That means he must apply relevant Supreme Court decisions. Instead he answered the 1st Amendment question with a red herring. He claimed the speech didn't qualify for first amendment protection because a legislator didn't intend it to be covered by substantial hardship exclusion. In other words he admitted that his ruling on a Constitutional question was dictated by Congress, which directly contradicts Marbury.
                          Those, then, who controvert the principle that the Constitution is to be considered in court as a paramount law are reduced to the necessity of maintaining that courts must close their eyes on the Constitution, and see only the law.

                          This doctrine would subvert the very foundation of all written Constitutions. It would declare that an act which, according to the principles and theory of our government, is entirely void, is yet, in practice, completely obligatory.

                           

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                            Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 4:17pm

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                            He claimed the speech didn't qualify for first amendment protection because a legislator didn't intend it to be covered by substantial hardship exclusion.

                            But that's not what he said. He only said that Puerto 80 hadn't demonstrated a "substantial hardship." Their protected speech still qualifies for First Amendment protection, and as he indicated, that will be the issue he addresses next after the briefs are in on the motion to dismiss.

                            In other words he admitted that his ruling on a Constitutional question was dictated by Congress, which directly contradicts Marbury.

                            All he said was that the issue before him was whether there was a "substantial hardship." Having decided that there wasn't, he said he'd look at the constitutional issues in the motion to dismiss, which was already in the works. The parties met the other day with the judge, and they already agreed on a briefing schedule. The judge will use all the power Marbury gives him to decide whether the Constitution has been violated in the motion to dismiss.

                             

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    Comboman (profile), Aug 5th, 2011 @ 11:23am

    Backup?

    Mike, do you have a non-American backup URL just in case? Techdirt.ca is available.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 11:24am

    After months of being told there was no first amendment issue, a judge finally slaps down Masnick's idiotic FUD.

    Sorry freetards.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 11:29am

      Re:

      I don't think that's accurate.

      Here's what the judge said about the First Amendment:
      Puerto 80’s First Amendment argument fails at this juncture as well. Puerto 80 alleges that, in seizing the domain names, the Government has suppressed the content in the “forums” on its websites, which may be accessed by clicking a link in the upper left of the home page. (Pl. Mem. 10.) The main purpose of the Rojadirecta websites, however, is to catalog links to the copyrighted athletic events — any argument to the contrary is clearly disingenuous. Although some discussion may take place in the forums, the fact that visitors must now go to other websites to partake in the same discussions is clearly not the kind of substantial hardship that Congress intended to ameliorate in enacting § 983. See 145 Cong. Rec. H4854-02 (daily ed. June 24, 1999) (statement of Rep. Hyde) (“Individuals lives and livelihoods should not be in peril during the course of a legal challenge to a seizure.”). Puerto 80 may certainly argue this First Amendment issue in its upcoming motion to dismiss, but the First Amendment considerations discussed here certainly do not establish the kind of substantial hardship required to prevail on this petition.
      What's he's saying is that even if there are First Amendment issues, that doesn't rise to the level of a "substantial hardship" under Section 983(f)(1)(C).

      He most certainly did NOT say "there was no first amendment issue" as you are claiming.

       

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Aug 5th, 2011 @ 11:33am

      Re:

      After months of being told there was no first amendment issue, a judge finally slaps down Masnick's idiotic FUD.


      Lovely when someone cheers on the removal of free speech rights. You must be so proud.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 12:51pm

        Re: Re:

        Lovely that you run a site cheering the removal of artist's rights. You must be so proud.

        I actually believe in people's rights far more than you, little man.

         

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          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 1:27pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Artists have rights? Are they inalienable? Are they inherent and self-evident? Are their rights more than the rights of non-artists?

           

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          Planespotter (profile), Aug 5th, 2011 @ 1:43pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          OMG.... A troll with blinkers on and one who reads things that aren't there... Please let us know where we can find this information on Techdirt where Mike cheers the removal of artists rights? I for the life of me cannot find it... I can find numerous posts where Mike tries to help artists come up with new 21st century business models and tries to explain to industries how they can counter the "pirate/freetard model" with innovative products that offer the customer something of value... but, but... you're not interested in any of that are you?

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 2:23pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Nice irony there in a thread where Masnick bitches about the law enforcing artist's rights.

            You're an idiot.

             

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              Planespotter (profile), Aug 5th, 2011 @ 3:52pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              lmao... still making shit up I see, bitching about artists rights? you reading the same thread? Where in his post does he talk about artists rights then?

               

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          JMT (profile), Aug 5th, 2011 @ 2:42pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          When you say "removal of artists rights", you really mean removal of the legal but morally questionable rights that provide you an undeserved income as a middleman, right?

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2011 @ 12:00pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Lovely that you run a site cheering the removal of artist's rights. You must be so proud.

          Except, he doesn't and you're a big liar. You must be so proud, and fine example of what copyright breeds.

          Abolish copyright.

           

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          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2011 @ 12:09pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Lovely that you run a site cheering the removal of artist's rights. You must be so proud."

          I don't recall *ever* seeing Mike advocate treating "artists" differently from everyone else. Please point it out, or I'm calling you a liar.

          I actually believe in people's rights far more than you, little man.

          You believe in "people's rights"? Ha, hardly. You believe in whatever the industry associations that pay you tell you to believe in. You make me sick.

           

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        Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 1:08pm

        Re: Re:

        There is no removal of free speech rights, rather a judge who can clearly read the law and understand what is in it. Since there is no proof of "substantial hardship", there is no first amendment issue at this point.

        You need to understand Mike that the first amendment issues may yet come to the fore later in the discussion, but for the porposes of opposing a seizure pending a legal process, they don't make it to the standard set by congress.

        What you would be asking the judge to do is to ignore the standards set and upheld over the years by various courts, and to create a whole new free speech issue, which would essentially make any seizure of anything by law enforcement illegal.

        There is a line drawn in the law, and supported by the courts. Stop whining when a court enforces the law.

         

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          The eejit (profile), Aug 5th, 2011 @ 2:00pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          So you're saying that a lower court can overrule SCOTUS?

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 2:05pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            SCOTUS has never said that a prior restraint rises to the level of a "substantial hardship" under Section 983(f)(1)(C). So the judge is not overruling anything.

             

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            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 3:11pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            He's saying you're a gullible, kool-aid drinking fool that has the IQ of a doorknob.

             

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            Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2011 @ 12:02am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            SCOTUS has made no ruling that I am aware of in this case. The law is the law, clear as a bell. Can you clearly say that there is "substantial hardship", as defined by law, in this case? The judge was unable to find such a hardship, and ruled accordingly.

            Can you explain why you think this ruling overrules something from SCOTUS?

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 10:54am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              If the judge can't see the hardship is because he doesn't want to, because being forced to find a lawyer in another country to defend oneself from things that are legal in ones own country sure as hell doesn't look like the good life to me.

               

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        Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 5:50pm

        Re: Re:

        More like cheering on the removal of free loading rights. I'll send some hankies.

         

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      Gabriel Tane (profile), Aug 5th, 2011 @ 11:36am

      Re:

      Didn't read into that too far, did you?
      "This ruling is just on the question of whether or not the domain should be returned pre-trial. The judge does note that the First Amendment part can be challenged in the actual upcoming trial, but in the meantime, he's claiming that a clear violation of the First Amendment does not create "substantial hardship." "
      The judge here is saying that it's not clear whether it's a First Amendment violation... just that even if it is, it does not represent a 'substantial hardship'.

      But hey, gives you a chance to take another swing at Mike and all us 'freetards', so who cares about facts, right?

       

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 12:08pm

      Re:

      Just out of curiosity, when was the last time someone said (or wrote) "I agree with you."?

      Don't be afraid to use scientific notation to tells us how long ago it was.

       

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      Karl (profile), Aug 5th, 2011 @ 12:25pm

      Re:

      After months of being told there was no first amendment issue, a judge finally slaps down Masnick's idiotic FUD.

      The judge did not say there was no First Amendment issue. He said that, whatever the First Amendment issues may be, they don't raise to the level of "substantial hardship" required to return seized property.

      In fact, he specifically said there could be First Amendment issues: "Puerto 80 may certainly argue this First
      Amendment issue in its upcoming motion to dismiss..."

      So, the only one spreading "FUD" here is you.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 12:53pm

        Re: Re:

        They're *free to argue* whatever they want. They still won't get anywhere.

        Your buffoonery on this issue is also legion...

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 11:28am

    If this isn't a substantial hardship...

    ... then why did the government seize the domain in the first place? Wasn't the ENTIRE purpose of the seizure to make it harder for the website to operate?

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 11:30am

      Re: If this isn't a substantial hardship...

      But since they claim to make no money from the site's ads and page views, how is a 1/3 drop in traffic a substantial hardship?

       

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        ComputerAddict (profile), Aug 5th, 2011 @ 11:47am

        Re: Re: If this isn't a substantial hardship...

        Why does there have to be a monetary element to hardship?

        Why can't my hardship be my inability to express myself among the Puerto 80 community?

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 11:52am

          Re: Re: Re: If this isn't a substantial hardship...

          That could certainly be considered a hardship, but it's not the type of "substantial hardship" that's implicated in the statute. The statute gives these examples of substantial hardships: "preventing the functioning of the business, preventing an individual from working, or leaving an individual homeless." An inability to express yourself on one website just isn't "substantial" enough.

           

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            Nicedoggy, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 12:21pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: If this isn't a substantial hardship...

            So the first amendment is just for show then?

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 12:23pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: If this isn't a substantial hardship...

              The First Amendment is important, but a violation of the First Amendment is not what Congress had in mind when they provided for the return of seized property pending the outcome of forfeiture hearing when there's a "substantial hardship."

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 10:55am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: If this isn't a substantial hardship...

                Then that law is violating the first amendment and it is unconstitutional.

                 

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        btrussell (profile), Aug 5th, 2011 @ 11:52am

        Re: Re: If this isn't a substantial hardship...

        I don't make any money here, but to lose 1/3 of the posters randomly, means I miss a lot.

         

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        Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Aug 5th, 2011 @ 11:57am

        Re: Re: If this isn't a substantial hardship...

        I notice you didn't address the first AC's question. Care to try again?

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 12:00pm

          Re: Re: Re: If this isn't a substantial hardship...

          They seized the domain names to take the website down. I think that's pretty obvious.

           

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            Planespotter (profile), Aug 5th, 2011 @ 1:50pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: If this isn't a substantial hardship...

            Please explain, given your answer "seizure of domain name = website taken down" how the webiste stayed up and after a brief blip saw its page views and usage increase?

            Do you know much about how the internet works?

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 1:56pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: If this isn't a substantial hardship...

              Sigh. They seized the domain name as a way to take down the website and its traffic. Can you type "rojadirecta.org" into your browser and get to the website? No.

              Why do you think they seized the domain names?

               

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                Planespotter (profile), Aug 5th, 2011 @ 2:04pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: If this isn't a substantial hardship...

                I don't honestly know why they seized a domain name from an organisation declared legal in its home county using servers based in another... I use the site to watch sports that no one wants me to pay for here in the UK, I've offered to pay but then just say I can't as I don't live in the US...

                The didn't manage to take down the site or curtail its traffic did they. They just removed one of the many ways to get to it. If you want to take a site down you have to actually take the servers it runs on, what ICE did was take the number plates off the car but didn't take the car.

                 

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                  Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 2:29pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: If this isn't a substantial hardship...

                  The didn't manage to take down the site or curtail its traffic did they.

                  Rojadirecta is claiming that their web traffic is down by about a third.

                   

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                    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 10:58am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: If this isn't a substantial hardship...

                    So for very little gains the government now has the power to silence who they don't like?

                    Ok I got ya!

                     

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                Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 2:12pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: If this isn't a substantial hardship...

                Why do you think they seized the domain names?


                The government is seizing domain names in order to demonstrate a capability.

                If you remember, Bank Julius Baer v Wikileaks generated controversy and headlines. It ignited a slashdot mini-rebellion. People demonstrated the government did not have the power to seize that domain name, at that time.

                In the present case, the government is now demonstrating that they can be patient, and more effective over the long term than the fickle mob. The government will probably win—in the short term. Not enough people see or care. And if the government does not overreach themselves...   ... But once a government tastes censorship, it usually becomes intoxicated. Reaches for more. So the government will overreach.

                Then we will see if the internet press has the power to ignite a furious rebellion.

                It will be interesting.

                 

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                  Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 2:33pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: If this isn't a substantial hardship...

                  It will be interesting. I think it's important to keep in mind that they seized these domain names because they believed the websites were being used to commit crimes. I don't think it's an attempt to take away our constitutional rights. In fact, I'd say the aim is to protect people's rights. If the method they've chosen violates anyone's rights, they should be held to task for that. I don't think that's their intent by any measure though.

                   

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                    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 10:59am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: If this isn't a substantial hardship...

                    When you say people you are saying the legal fiction that calls corporations people right?

                    Because no one, absolutely no one buys that talk of yours.

                     

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                Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 10:57am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: If this isn't a substantial hardship...

                You was just gloating about how Rojadirecta was able to find a new domain and it is up and running, now you say the objective was to take the website down?

                That is crazy talk dude.

                 

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    out_of_the_blue, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 11:29am

    Implications not "huge" or "immensely troubling".

    "This ruling is just on the question of whether or not the domain should be returned pre-trial." -- So it's easily reversible and has no obvious effect on justice obtainable.

    Puerto 80 is accused of using a particular soapbox to facilitate -- well, I omit so as to not show prejudice -- to do something; the gov't has seized that soapbox as evidence besides means. But Puerto 80 is free to set up another soapbox identical in function to first (at least so far as 1st Amendment goes), no more difficult of access, so it is not prevented from complaining about the 1st or of saying whatever it wants.

    I use "soapbox" because physically a 2nd could be placed right next to 1st without the least problem for listeners, and it's close as analogy can get (though all analogies are bad). The web makes broadcasting easier, yet if one is selling contraband, the associated means doesn't get excluded because of the magic of "teh internets".

    Puerto 80 will get its day in court, and if the underlying charges are sustained, then it surely doesn't get the "property" back. As the /value/ of the website name looks on the surface to have come from facilitating -- whatever -- then it's inextricably linked. -- That's just the way things work: when you get charged, the gov't gains advantages. -- I've no worries from /this/ that courts will suddenly go wild as Mike alleges; quite narrow and specific circumstances.

    And -- as you guys so frequently say: Puerto 80 can just open up another website and continue! So why isn't that touted ability enough /while/ the legalities are being settled? (I also predict that the trial will go adversely to Mike's views and render this yet more academic.)

     

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      ComputerAddict (profile), Aug 5th, 2011 @ 12:02pm

      Re: Implications not "huge" or "immensely troubling".

      "I use "soapbox" because physically a 2nd could be placed right next to 1st without the least problem for listeners"
      In the physical world if you planned an event in a park only to find an hour before your planned even the police roping off the area saying that you can't make your speech here you can set your soap box right next to the barrier, your listeners can easily find you, they know roughly where to go look.

      In the ONLINE world, yea you can easily setup another soap box up on the same server, on the same hard drive, or one IP address off from your original, but your listeners will have NO IDEA where to find you. Other than typing in random strings of text into their browser URL and hoping to get lucky THERE IS NOT ONE SINGLE METHOD for an average person to follow you. To head off the obvious, Bing and Google other search engines DO NOT COUNT as a method of redirecting people because they are private companies.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2011 @ 7:35am

        Re: Re: Implications not "huge" or "immensely troubling".

        So you deny the existance of twitter, facebook, linked in, and thousands of other social sites which could spread the word of a new domain in minutes?

        It isn't as if the Rojo people had to go and call each user personally, or perhaps send someone to knock on the doors to be able to explain to them the address change. Whatever harm may have happened is easily repairable and easily taken care of. They claim their traffic is down 30%, well, perhaps its people realizing that the site may be illegal and are just staying away.

         

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    DogBreath, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 11:41am

    Segregation is back

    a district court judge has decided that there's simply no First Amendment issue at all at this time because someone whose domain is seized by the US government can simply set up shop somewhere else

    I wonder if this is the same kind of judge-logic that could believe "Separate but equal" didn't violate the U.S. Constitution when it came to keeping African-Americans out of white schools.

    Sounds like the judge is saying, "You still have your First Amendment rights, but their just a little segregated, for the good of the children" (The "children" being the MPAA & RIAA, of course).

     

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    Karl (profile), Aug 5th, 2011 @ 12:02pm

    Terrible, but not as terrible as it could be

    Yeah, this is certainly a bad ruling. The dismissal of First Amendment hardship directly contradicts several Supreme Court rulings; not only VA State Pharmacy Board v. VA Citizens Consumer Council, but also Schneider v. New Jersey. Probably more. Also bad is that the judge didn't even address the fact that protected speech cannot be shut down merely with a warrant.

    The judge seemed to focus solely on the strict definition of "hardship" that requires the return of seized property (other than speech-related property). That is a high bar, requiring that the seized property e.g. result in the entire shutdown of a business. But even here, he makes some mistakes. For example, read the judge's ruling about the economic hardship suffered by Rojadirecta:
    Puerto 80 does not explain how it generates profit or argue that it is losing a significant amount of revenue as a result of the seizure. Specifically, Puerto 80 states that it does not generate revenue from the content to which it links, and it does not claim to generate revenue from advertising displayed while such content is playing. (Seoane Decl. ¶ 5, 10.) Accordingly, the claimed reduction in visitor traffic does not establish a substantial hardship for the purposes of § 983(f)(1)(C).

    That is a bit disingenuous; Puerto 80 is not claiming that it doesn't make any profit, simply that the profits it does make are unrelated to third-party streams. Puerto 80's petition does say that it makes profit from other sources, though it does not say what those sources are, or how the loss of traffic would impact them. This is, perhaps, an oversight on Rojadirecta's part, but you would think the judge would at least consider it.

    Furthermore, he does not even consider the idea that Rojadirecta's activities - even if the Government's allegations are true - are not criminal. Nor does he address how none of the other conditions necessary for seizure are present.

    There is some good news, though. Judge Crotty does not dismiss the First Amendment arguments out of hand. Nor does he decide that the alleged activities are criminal. In essence, he's punting until Puerto 80's motion to dismiss. Furthermore, Puerto 80 can now quote the judge himself to show that there's no commercial infringement.

    So this decision, bad as it is, is just a small bump in the road. It's terrible, but not as terrible as ICE and the "IPtards" would like. It's still pretty likely that Puerto 80 will ultimately prevail.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 12:06pm

      Re: Terrible, but not as terrible as it could be

      The dismissal of First Amendment hardship directly contradicts several Supreme Court rulings; not only VA State Pharmacy Board v. VA Citizens Consumer Council, but also Schneider v. New Jersey. Probably more.

      But none of those cases say that a First Amendment hardship is a "substantial hardship" under Section 983(f)(1)(C), and that was the issue before the judge. Sure, there might be a First Amendment hardship, but the point is that it's not a "substantial hardship" under the statute.

       

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        Karl (profile), Aug 5th, 2011 @ 12:46pm

        Re: Re: Terrible, but not as terrible as it could be

        But none of those cases say that a First Amendment hardship is a "substantial hardship" under Section 983(f)(1)(C), and that was the issue before the judge.

        True, but both flatly contradicted the reason why the judge found the seizures did not constitute "substantial hardship."

        Let's take a hypothetical situation. Let's say the Government did not seize the domain names only, but also the servers, so that the forums are blocked altogether. For the sake of argument, assume there is no financial hardship involved. Would First Amendment concerns, by themselves, justify a finding of "substantial hardship" in that situation?

        For the judge to be consistent, he would have to answer "no." Because according to the Supreme Court, there is no fundamental difference between shutting down a single source of particular speech, and shutting down that particular speech altogether.

        In fact, if this ruling stands, I'm betting that's exactly what will happen. ICE or the DOJ will seize entire servers full of protected speech, and cite this ruling as evidence that there are no First Amendment concerns at all.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 1:08pm

          Re: Re: Re: Terrible, but not as terrible as it could be

          Would First Amendment concerns, by themselves, justify a finding of "substantial hardship" in that situation?

          For the judge to be consistent, he would have to answer "no." Because according to the Supreme Court, there is no fundamental difference between shutting down a single source of particular speech, and shutting down that particular speech altogether.


          Right, the answer would be "no." It's because even if this offends the First Amendment, it's not a "substantial hardship" for purposes of 983(f)(1)(C). Whether or not the Supreme Court says "there is no fundamental difference between shutting down a single source of particular speech, and shutting down that particular speech altogether" is irrelevant.

          The issue here is quite simple: Was the alleged hardship here the type of "substantial hardship" that Congress intended when they wrote the statute. The answer is "no."

          Notice how Puerto 80 didn't cite a single case that says otherwise. Nor can they.

          In fact, if this ruling stands, I'm betting that's exactly what will happen. ICE or the DOJ will seize entire servers full of protected speech, and cite this ruling as evidence that there are no First Amendment concerns at all.

          I believe they are seizing servers when possible. But they won't point to this and say "that there are no First Amendment concerns at all," since, as you already indicated, the judge did not in any way, shape or form actually say that.

           

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            Karl (profile), Aug 5th, 2011 @ 1:42pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Terrible, but not as terrible as it could be

            Right, the answer would be "no."

            And here you see how this is a terrible ruling. According to Judge Crotty, any First Amendment concerns about ex parte seizures must meet the high bar set by the "hardship" requirement. Anything less is not prior restraint.

            If allowed to stand, it pretty much does away with Ft Wayne Books v. Indiana, Quantity of Books v. Kansas, and maybe even Near v. Minnesota itself.

            But they won't point to this and say "that there are no First Amendment concerns at all," since, as you already indicated, the judge did not in any way, shape or form actually say that.

            That won't stop ICE or the DOJ (or whoever) from claiming that he did, and acting accordingly.

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 1:49pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Terrible, but not as terrible as it could be

              And here you see how this is a terrible ruling. According to Judge Crotty, any First Amendment concerns about ex parte seizures must meet the high bar set by the "hardship" requirement. Anything less is not prior restraint.

              That's not what he's saying at all. It can still be prior restraint and yet not be a "substantial hardship" as Section 983 defines the term.

              If allowed to stand, it pretty much does away with Ft Wayne Books v. Indiana, Quantity of Books v. Kansas, and maybe even Near v. Minnesota itself.

              This ruling doesn't contradict those cases in any way.

              That won't stop ICE or the DOJ (or whoever) from claiming that he did, and acting accordingly.

              I don't see much use in speculating about such things. Let's look at what they actually are saying, and not at what they maybe could one day argue.

               

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                Karl (profile), Aug 5th, 2011 @ 2:29pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Terrible, but not as terrible as it could be

                It can still be prior restraint and yet not be a "substantial hardship" as Section 983 defines the term.

                He's also saying that "substantial hardship" is the only reason to return seized property at this point, even if that seizure results in prior restraint. In other words, prior restraint cannot be used as a reason to return seized property prior to a motion to dismiss.

                You don't find this problematic? I certainly do. I could be wrong, but I believe it was at this stage in the proceedings that the Ft. Wayne (&etc) seizures were declared unconstitutional. If so, then the judge flatly contradicts those rulings.

                Let's look at what they actually are saying, and not at what they maybe could one day argue.

                I would, but that would just lead to another argument about Arcara (which ICE is citing).

                 

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                  Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 2:48pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Terrible, but not as terrible as it could be

                  He's also saying that "substantial hardship" is the only reason to return seized property at this point, even if that seizure results in prior restraint. In other words, prior restraint cannot be used as a reason to return seized property prior to a motion to dismiss.

                  That's true for the moment, but don't worry. Just because a prior restraint is not a "substantial hardship" doesn't mean that prior restraint can't win the battle. If this is in fact prior restraint, the government won't be able to do it any longer.

                  You don't find this problematic? I certainly do. I could be wrong, but I believe it was at this stage in the proceedings that the Ft. Wayne (&etc) seizures were declared unconstitutional. If so, then the judge flatly contradicts those rulings.

                  It was a different scenario in Fort Wayne Books. There, the store was closed pursuant to an injunctive order. This doesn't contradict those rulings in any way.

                   

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                    Karl (profile), Aug 5th, 2011 @ 3:51pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Terrible, but not as terrible as it could be

                    If this is in fact prior restraint, the government won't be able to do it any longer.

                    That is not what this ruling suggests. Even if it is in fact prior restraint, the government will be able to do it whenever they like, and it can only be "undone" after (and if) the defendants file a motion to dismiss.

                    Sure, the seized domains might be eventually returned - but there's nothing preventing ICE (or whoever) from seizing them in the first place.

                     

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                      Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 4:01pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Terrible, but not as terrible as it could be

                      That is not what this ruling suggests. Even if it is in fact prior restraint, the government will be able to do it whenever they like, and it can only be "undone" after (and if) the defendants file a motion to dismiss.

                      Sure, the seized domains might be eventually returned - but there's nothing preventing ICE (or whoever) from seizing them in the first place.


                      Can't the judge enjoin the government from doing it again?

                       

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                        Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 4:03pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Terrible, but not as terrible as it could be

                        He can certainly rule that the forfeiture statute as applied is unconstitutional, right? That would prevent the government from doing it again.

                         

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                          Karl (profile), Aug 5th, 2011 @ 4:22pm

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Terrible, but not as terrible as it could be

                          He can certainly rule that the forfeiture statute as applied is unconstitutional, right?

                          Yes, but it seems that if he was going to do that, this would be the time when he would.

                          It may still be (and I hope it is) that he will find this particular seizure unconstitutional - but that may or may not apply to the other seizures. In other words, it may be that he will find that its constitutionality be decided on a case-by-case basis (which would lead to the situation I described above), and not be unconstitutional on its face (which would prevent the government from doing it again).

                          We'll find out, I suppose.

                           

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                            Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 4:38pm

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Terrible, but not as terrible as it could be

                            It may still be (and I hope it is) that he will find this particular seizure unconstitutional...


                            Karl,

                            I am not optimistic. This judge will probably side with power and favor monopoly.

                            Even if he doesn't, the damage is done, and can't be fixed.

                            So, what to do? At this point, a significant number of the world's nations favor transferring the DNS root to international control. In the past, those people in favor of the current ICANN/Commerce Department arrangement have pointed to the strong US record in protecting free speech. That argument is now shattered.

                            As an American, I now agree that our courts cannot be trusted to uphold the first amendment in DNS matters: Thus, I have changed my former position. I am now in favor of international control of the DNS root zone.

                            Is it enough to simply withdraw support for American dominance, or can something more be done? If so, then what?

                             

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                              Karl (profile), Aug 5th, 2011 @ 4:49pm

                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Terrible, but not as terrible as it could be

                              I am not optimistic. This judge will probably side with power and favor monopoly.

                              I am a little more optimistic than you. Judges (unlike Congressmen) are not paid off by corporate interests. Will he still do the right thing? I don't know, but I hope so. The judges in the Righthaven cases certainly are doing good things.

                              I have changed my former position. I am now in favor of international control of the DNS root zone.

                              I am also American, but I have always favored international control of the DNS root zone. Or, more accurately, that control should reside outside of any government whatsoever. Kind of like the W3C.

                              Up until now, the government has actually been pretty good (though not perfect) about keeping a hands-off approach to the Internet infrastructure. The last couple years have seen a push towards what I believe is disastrous. Even if the U.S. government does retain control, moves like this will just push the worldwide tech sector to set up something outside of the U.S. That certainly won't help our country in the least.

                               

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                                Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 4:52pm

                                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Terrible, but not as terrible as it could be

                                Judges (unlike Congressmen) are not paid off by corporate interests

                                G. Thomas Porteous

                                 

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                                Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2011 @ 12:24pm

                                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Terrible, but not as terrible as it could be

                                Judges (unlike Congressmen) are not paid off by corporate interests.

                                One way for federal judges to cash out is to spend a few years on the bench, and then return to private industry to collect a handsome reward.

                                 

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                            Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 4:45pm

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Terrible, but not as terrible as it could be

                            In one sense he did punt the issue. Not to worry, though since he'll be addressing that issue next. The first brief is due today, and the final brief by Sept. 2. We'll have an answer from the judge squarely on the First Amendment issue here soon enough.

                             

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        Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 1:18pm

        Re: Re: Terrible, but not as terrible as it could be

        If the abridging of Constitutional rights are not a "substantial" hardship, I'm not sure what actually is.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 1:22pm

          Re: Re: Re: Terrible, but not as terrible as it could be

          If the abridging of Constitutional rights are not a "substantial" hardship, I'm not sure what actually is.

          That's been my whole point. It doesn't matter whether we think that something sounds like a substantial hardship. The judge is constrained by how Congress defined the term "substantial hardship." The law doesn't work if judges get to make up their own definitions of things. You have to look at what the definition is, not at what you think it should be.

           

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            Modplan (profile), Aug 5th, 2011 @ 2:38pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Terrible, but not as terrible as it could be

            The law uses the term "such as", not "only" or "limited to". The listed hardships are likely examples, not strict definition and limitation on when something can be considered substantial hardship.

            This is a case where a large part of any definition of harm that can be attributed to the seizures will involve speech. the idea that abridging of speech ex parte cannot be considered substantial does indeed appear to counter the rulings pointed out earlier, in which various forms of the argument "you cannot limit speech without determination that the speech is infringing/obscene" are now made less important than a slightly vague definition of substantial hardship in a seizure law.

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 3:21pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Terrible, but not as terrible as it could be

              Yes, the list in the statute is illustrative. And what it illustrates is that a possible prior restraint is not what Congress intended to mean a "substantial hardship."

              A prior restraint may be a hardship that is substantial, but that does not mean it is a "substantial hardship" under the statute. The judge cites to the congressional record as further evidence of what Congress intended, and a prior restraint just wasn't it.

               

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    Overcast (profile), Aug 5th, 2011 @ 12:32pm

    R.I.P. Free Speech

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 12:50pm

    Let's go at this another way, using Mike's own logic here:

    When the domains were seized, there was a lot of discussion here. For the most part, it seems that the seizures weren't of anything significant (no servers, no content, no "printing press" as it were, just that the sign on the front door with the address was taken down (but still accessible to anyone who knew where to look, the IP remained the same).

    But not that a judge rules that this is in fact the case, that whatever inconvenience may have occured didn't stop any free speech, but may have caused it to be made in a slightly different manner.

    So now, which one is it Mike? Is the seizure of the domain just "taking down a street sign" or did they somehow take away their virtual printing press? Please choose one so we can figure out what side of the debate you are really on, and then you can tell us that either this post is full of beans, or your previous ones are.

    thanks ahead of time.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 1:07pm

      Re:

      The point I believe is that when a domain name is seized the publishers behind the site can still put their content out onto the web. If the purpose of seizing the domain is to remove the content then it is effectively "taking down a street sign". The content is still out there for any who know how to get there.

      But thats the catch. If you take down the street signs then most people will not know how to find you. To keep the printing press vs street sign analogy going... a domain name seizure does not remove the virtual print press, it just moves you into a vast and incredibly isolated field where few people if any will ever find you (unless they are exceptionally persistent and technically inclined).

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2011 @ 12:49pm

        Re: Re:

        Seizing a printing press does not keep anyone from publishing, either, does it? It just makes it a "little" harder.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 1:16pm

      Re:

      When the domains were seized, there was a lot of discussion here. For the most part, it seems that the seizures weren't of anything significant (no servers, no content, no "printing press" as it were, just that the sign on the front door with the address was taken down (but still accessible to anyone who knew where to look, the IP remained the same).

      I think that's misleading. The IP address that the domain name pointed to remained the same, but you couldn't reach the site by typing in the IP address. The government took control of both the domain name and the underlying IP address.

      Try it: http://rojadirecta.org/ AND http://74.81.170.110/

      Both lead you to the seizure notice.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 1:20pm

        Re: Re:

        Only because the IP address points to a US based hosting company. More indications perhaps that the operation was running in the US, and not in Spain?

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 1:27pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          The domain name was registered in the U.S. The servers were in Canada. Not sure about the hosting company.

          Either way, I think there's been some confusion about whether the Rojadirecta website was still accessible after the seizure of the domain name via its IP address. I've seen Mike and others say that the site was available by typing in the IP address. I tried doing this right after the seizures and I got the seizure notice. I'm not sure exactly what the deal is with that.

           

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            Planespotter (profile), Aug 5th, 2011 @ 1:57pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            It was, I spent the afternoon and following day streaming US sports that I can't get in the UK, I'd have prefered to pay for them but living in the UK no one in the US wants to take my money, they just tell me I can't view the streams... ho, hum.

             

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            Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 1:58pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            caro.net (who the block of IPs is assigned to) shows their data center in North Carolina. If the IP address was "US based" it isn't shocking that it wasn't available. It would be a clear indication that the "legal in Spain" argument doesn't hold anywhere near as much water as it might have, does it?

             

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        Hans, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 7:14pm

        Re: Re:

        "The IP address that the domain name pointed to remained the same, but you couldn't reach the site by typing in the IP address."

        How do you know the IP address didn't change? Do you know what the IP address was before the domain was seized?

        It seems most likely to me that the rojadirecta.org name was changed to point to an IP address under control of ICE, not that they "seized" an IP address.

         

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    bob, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 1:21pm

    Stealing someone else's work is not FREE SPEECH

    What is free speech: Writing a letter to a congressman. Holding a demonstration. Writing a book.

    What isn't: Telling someone how and/or where to commit a crime. Telling someone how to screw over the free speech rights of someone else by explaining how not to pay a fair share.

    Don't insult the memory of Martin Luther King, Peter Zenger, Thomas Jefferson, Daniel Ellsberg, and many others who fought for REAL free speech rights. Distributing the instructions for how to commit a crime is NOT free speech.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 1:35pm

      Re: Stealing someone else's work is not FREE SPEECH

      Don't insult the memory of Martin Luther King, Peter Zenger, Thomas Jefferson, Daniel Ellsberg...



      Some people remember John Wilkes, and are conscious of the deep relations between the first, fourth and fifth amendments.

       

       

      “It is a fair summary of history to say that the safeguards of liberty have frequently been forged in controversies involving not very nice people.”

               ——Mr Justice Frankfurter

       

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      Jay (profile), Aug 6th, 2011 @ 9:31am

      Re: Stealing someone else's work is not FREE SPEECH

      "Writing a letter to a congressman."

      Which has turned into a form letter from Congress

      "Holding a demonstration."
      Which is turned into an arrest

      "Writing a book."
      Which can be banned

      " Telling someone how to screw over the free speech rights of someone else by explaining how not to pay a fair share."

      There's no artist rights in law. If you can't incentivize people to buy from you, you;re doing it wrong.

      "Don't insult the memory of Martin Luther King..."

      Let Freedom Ring!

      "Peter Zenger"
      1st Amendment

      "Thomas Jefferson"
      If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so.

      "Daniel Ellsberg"
      ... Are you sure you want to discuss a man who felt it right to leak the Pentagon Papers while we hold Brandon Manning without conviction, and compare that to the current situation of filesharing where people still make money but complain that piracy is costing sales?

      "Distributing the instructions for how to commit a crime is NOT free speech"

      Who's committed a crime, bob? Look at Thomas Jefferson's quote, then get back to me.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2011 @ 1:02pm

      Re: Stealing someone else's work is not FREE SPEECH

      Don't insult the memory of Martin Luther King, Peter Zenger, Thomas Jefferson, Daniel Ellsberg, and many others who fought for REAL free speech rights. Distributing the instructions for how to commit a crime is NOT free speech.

      How about *you* don't insult the memory of Martin Luther King, Peter Zenger, Thomas Jefferson, Daniel Ellsberg, and many others who fought for REAL free speech rights by by using their names to do the opposite while pretending otherwise. Your type makes me sick.

       

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    Hugh Mann (profile), Aug 5th, 2011 @ 1:23pm

    Yeah, not really . . . .

    Your newspaper analogy might work better if the printing press were owned by a car dealer, and the printing press was used to print a newsletter about the cars he's got for sale now and then. The court rightly called "bullshit" on the claim that a movie/TV download/streaming site was engaged in important First Amendment activity merely because there was an online forum as part of the web site. Should every web site now just slap up a forum and therefore be able to defeat on First Amendment grounds any interference with the operation of their site?

    Personally, I think the lost business argument is much stronger than the First Amendment argument, though the court pretty quickly dispensed with that, too.

    The court pointed out not only that the service COULD go elsewhere online, but actually HAD DONE SO, and, at least in the view of the court (which may have been wrong factually, but nobody's claiming the facts are wrong here), seemed to be plugging along, albeit perhaps not as strongly as before.

    Nobody was saying the users of the site were prohibted from engaging in their discussions. They just weren't able to do so at a place that was shut down because of a criminal investigation. If someone was running an illegal gambling operation in a building, and the cops shut it down, should the operator be able to raise a First Amendment defense against the shut-down, arguing that his patrons liked to gather in his building to discuss aspects of the horse races they were betting on?

    HM

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 1:29pm

      Re: Yeah, not really . . . .

      If someone was running an illegal gambling operation in a building, and the cops shut it down, should the operator be able to raise a First Amendment defense against the shut-down, arguing that his patrons liked to gather in his building to discuss aspects of the horse races they were betting on?

      Exactly.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 1:36pm

        Re: Re: Yeah, not really . . . .

        I like the bookstore analogy better. Let's say that a bookstore sells legal books, but it also has a section that sells child porn. Can the whole bookstore be shut down without a prior adversarial hearing? I'm not so sure.

         

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          Karl (profile), Aug 5th, 2011 @ 4:27pm

          Re: Re: Re: Yeah, not really . . . .

          Let's say that a bookstore sells legal books, but it also has a section that sells child porn. Can the whole bookstore be shut down without a prior adversarial hearing?

          Since I believe child porn is, legally, a subset of "obscenity," I'd say that falls under the Ft. Wayne ruling, so the answer would be "no."

          Even if I'm wrong about that, CDT v. Pappert says "no" as well.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 5:56pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Yeah, not really . . . .

            CDT v Pappert has *nothing* to do with such a scenario. I have no idea where you dream up this garbage.

             

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              Karl (profile), Aug 5th, 2011 @ 10:41pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Yeah, not really . . . .

              CDT v Pappert has *nothing* to do with such a scenario.

              I think you need to read the ruling again.

              Essentially, blocking sites because they might be providing child pornography is against First Amendment principles, and is therefore unconstitutional.

              In effect, they ruled that sites that have child pornography on them, but also First Amendment protected speech, cannot be shut down merely because of the child pornography there. At least not without an adversarial hearing, where those sites are allowed to present their cases.

              That seems to answer the question of booksellers who also have material on the shelves that includes "child pornography." CDT says shutting those sites (or bookstores) down is unconstitutional.

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2011 @ 3:08am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Yeah, not really . . . .

                CDT v Pappert had to do with inadvertently blocking websites that had no connection whatsoever with child porn.

                That's it.

                That case has absolutely nothing to do with the example the above poster originally gave, and absolutely nothing to do with websites that practice copyright infringement.

                And if you and your fellow piracy addict Mike Masnick were not so desperate to find any caselaw, anywhere, that might give a glimmer of hope of protecting your precious music piracy, you'd see that.

                But the reality is that you're a delusional idiot that more than likely thinks he could effectively argue that the Easter Bunny exists.

                 

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                  Karl (profile), Aug 6th, 2011 @ 8:14am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Yeah, not really . . . .

                  CDT v Pappert had to do with inadvertently blocking websites that had no connection whatsoever with child porn.

                  That's it.


                  There was a lot more than that in CDT v. Pappert. Some excerpts:
                  The Act and Informal Notice process are not prior restraints in the traditional sense. They do not prevent speech from reaching the market place but remove material already available on the Internet from circulation. However, they are administrative prior restraints as that term has been interpreted by the Supreme Court. According to the Court, "only a judicial determination in an adversary proceeding ensures the necessary sensitivity to freedom of expression, only a procedure requiring a judicial determination suffices to impose a valid final restraint." Thus, if material protected by the First Amendment is removed from circulation without these procedural protections, the seizure is invalid as a prior restraint.

                  Defendant argues that fewer procedural protections are required for the removal from circulation of child pornography, as compared with obscenity, because the child pornography determination is easier than the obscenity determination. The Court rejects this argument.

                  Defendant argues that the Informal Notice process is not subject to constitutional scrutiny because it is informal and not coercive. The Court begins by noting that an informal process cannot be used to effectuate an unconstitutional Act. Thus, because the Court concludes that the Act is unconstitutional, defendant will be enjoined from sending Informal Notices pursuant to the Act. However, even if the Court had upheld the Act, the Informal Notice process would not have survived First Amendment scrutiny for several reasons. First, the Informal Notice process provides even less procedural protection than the statutory system because the determination of pornography is made by law enforcement officials, not a judge. Second, the Informal Notice system is closer to the system of state censorship found unconstitutional in Bantam Books than the "informal contacts" permitted by that case.

                  That all seems completely relevant to whether "the whole bookstore [can] be shut down without a prior adversarial hearing."

                  I'm not even going to address the "piracy addict" and "delusional idiot" comments, because obviously you're a Satan-worshipping Nazi mongoloid who rapes kittens.

                   

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          Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2011 @ 7:40am

          Re: Re: Re: Yeah, not really . . . .

          WIthout a doubt, the entire book store would be shut down, at least for a time, while it's entire contents are checked for any other illegal material. It is very likely that all of it would be removed and taken as evidence, and searched before being returned.

          The store likely would be allowed to re-open, but it might take them weeks or months to get their inventory back, as each piece would have to be checked.

          However, and this is key: If the police / enforcement people are able to show cause, they could seize the premises or even take control of the "corrupt enterprise" and put it into a sort of administration status. There are plenty of options here.

          In the Rojo care they didn't seize the store or the content, they seized the sign outside. There is very little to say that their free speech rights were significantly harmed, more so that this is a company based in Spain, and I am not sure exactly what free speech rights they even have in the US.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2011 @ 7:52am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Yeah, not really . . . .

            I think the better analogy is that they chained up the front door, not that they took down the sign outside. Rojadirecta.org and Rojadirecta.com are two websites that no one can go to anymore. Those "bookstores" are shut down. Sure, they can move the "bookstore" to a new location, like they did when they got new domain names, but the original locations are no longer accessible.

            While I agree that the bookstore could be shut down while they search for evidence, I don't agree that they could unilaterally shut down the bookstore indefinitely (under a nuisance theory or what have you) awaiting a hearing on the merits. And that's what the government has done here. They've shut down the whole "bookstore" when only part of the "bookstore" is the problem. If the government concedes that the forums are not a problem, then what right do they have to shut them down?

            Rojadirecta is arguing that it's their users' First Amendment rights that are being violated, not theirs. It's an interesting argument, I think.

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2011 @ 1:16pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Yeah, not really . . . .

              I think the better analogy is that they chained up the front door, not that they took down the sign outside. Rojadirecta.org and Rojadirecta.com are two websites that no one can go to anymore. Those "bookstores" are shut down. Sure, they can move the "bookstore" to a new location, like they did when they got new domain names, but the original locations are no longer accessible.

              Exactly. Arguing that their free speech isn't harmed because they can go do it elsewhere is ludicrous. Like the poster above suggested, banning someone from speaking on planet Earth just because there's a whole universe left would likewise be ludicrous. But, that's the kind of mentality copyright breeds.

               

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            Karl (profile), Aug 6th, 2011 @ 8:23am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Yeah, not really . . . .

            WIthout a doubt, the entire book store would be shut down

            Without a doubt, it would not be shut down. That would be unconstitutional prior restraint under Ft. Wayne Books v. Indiana, CDT v. Pappert, Bantam Books v. Sullivan, Freedman v. Maryland, and a ton of other case law.

            You really have no idea how the First Amendment works, do you?

             

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    •  
      icon
      btrussell (profile), Aug 5th, 2011 @ 4:09pm

      Re: Yeah, not really . . . .

      Location, location, location.

      Isn't that the first rule of marketing?


      So if someone has a location I want, I can just make some video of what looks like a drug transaction at this persons location...

       

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2011 @ 1:10pm

      Re: Yeah, not really . . . .

      If someone was running an illegal gambling operation in a building, and the cops shut it down, should the operator be able to raise a First Amendment defense against the shut-down, arguing that his patrons liked to gather in his building to discuss aspects of the horse races they were betting on?

      If discussion was all that they were doing, then no. But you already said that they were actually engaged in illegal gambling, not just discussing it. Similarly, if a site is just discussing possibly infringing materials, then that's different from actually engaging in infringement. Clear enough?

       

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  •  
    icon
    hmm (profile), Aug 5th, 2011 @ 1:30pm

    hehehe

    lawful protests being forcibly displaced into a "designated protest area"

    Thats the politest way I've ever seen of someone describing how the police will happily (and quite literally) crush peoples skulls (as has happened to many dozens of people across the US) or have them shot by snipers if they insist on their basic democratic rights!

     

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  •  
    icon
    hmm (profile), Aug 5th, 2011 @ 1:34pm

    money

    Of COURSE those in power assume that if it doesn't hurt you monetarily then there is no hardship.

    These are people who've never had to work hard in their lives, born into money.

    If its not money-related its not important....

    Babies dying of Starvation in New York? not important.

    A bank is in trouble? OMG!!!! roll out the bail-outs!!!!!!!

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 2:23pm

    Let me get this straight...

    The judge is essentially saying that domain seizures do not violate Free Speech...because they do absolutely nothing to prevent access to the websites and their content?

    I thought that was the entire point of the domain seizures.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 2:34pm

    Rojadirecta is still on line. It never went off line, even with the seizure of the US domain as Rojadirecta also has a Spanish domain. The only thing ICE could seize was the US domain.

    Rojadirecta can be found at http://209.44.113.146/ . A simple search turns up the site with the first hit.

    Since the owners of the site had already stood two Spanish court cases which ruled them in compliance with Spanish law, I wonder just what diplomat they contacted over treaties before seizing the domain?

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 5:29pm

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2011 @ 8:10pm

      Re:

      It's really strange that in today's motion to dismiss memo Rojadirecta is not arguing any First Amendment issues.

      In this 983 petition order, the judge even invited them to make their First Amendment arguments in the motion to dismiss: "Puerto 80 may certainly argue this First Amendment issue in its upcoming motion to dismiss, but the First Amendment considerations discussed here certainly do not establish the kind of substantial hardship required to prevail on this petition."

      Yet, there's no First Amendment arguments to be found in the motion to dismiss. Weird. I know the arguments are going to come, but I'm quite surprised that they weren't laid out today. It just adds to the suspense all the more...

       

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      •  
        icon
        Karl (profile), Aug 5th, 2011 @ 11:10pm

        Re: Re:

        Yet, there's no First Amendment arguments to be found in the motion to dismiss.

        Perhaps because such motions are required to be presented on the same day that the seizure was contested, leading Puerto 80 to file motions related to the facts that it did know.

        By the way, does anyone else find this alarming? That ICE is allowed to stall for months on end, yet the defendants are required to submit their motion to dismiss on the same day that they receive a major decision in the case?

         

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        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2011 @ 5:56am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Perhaps because such motions are required to be presented on the same day that the seizure was contested, leading Puerto 80 to file motions related to the facts that it did know.

          I don't exactly follow you. The initial motion to dismiss from Rojadirecta was due yesterday. The judge had invited them to argue the First Amendment issues in that brief. They didn't do so.

          By the way, does anyone else find this alarming? That ICE is allowed to stall for months on end, yet the defendants are required to submit their motion to dismiss on the same day that they receive a major decision in the case?

          The parties got together last week with the judge, and they all agreed on a briefing schedule. Rojadirecta agreed that their initial motion to dismiss would be turned in on the 5th. Meanwhile, in the other case between these same two parties, the judge just so happens to issue his ruling on the 983 petition on the 4th. No big deal. It's just briefing schedules and rulings on motions. Happens all the time. Not sure why you thinks it's unusual or unfair.

           

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          •  
            icon
            Karl (profile), Aug 6th, 2011 @ 8:30am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            The parties got together last week with the judge, and they all agreed on a briefing schedule.

            How do you know this? That may be the way it's usually done, but the timeline in this case is anything but "usual."

             

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            •  
              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2011 @ 9:00am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              It was on the docket and it's been mentioned by the parties. What's unusual about the timeline?

               

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              •  
                icon
                Karl (profile), Aug 6th, 2011 @ 9:16am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                It was on the docket and it's been mentioned by the parties.

                If it was in the docket then I missed it (which is entirely possible). I'm not aware of Puerto 80 mentioning it, though.

                What's unusual about the timeline?

                Obviously, the point I raised above would be one issue. But a larger issue is in how ICE responded to Puerto 80. You can read Puerto's petition for details. Even if ICE's actions are lawful, their timing is unusual - to say the least.

                 

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          •  
            icon
            Karl (profile), Aug 6th, 2011 @ 8:39am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Sorry, meant to also reply to this:

            The judge had invited them to argue the First Amendment issues in that brief.

            My point was that Puerto 80 probably thought (reasonably) that the appropriate place to raise First Amendment issues regarding the seizure was when they contested the seizure. The seizure itself has nothing to do with their guilt or innocence, so it simply wouldn't make sense to raise issues regarding the seizures in this brief.

            Yet the judge declared that's where those arguments must be raised, and he did so the day the brief was due.

            That's probably the explanation: a dick move by the Judge.

             

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            •  
              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2011 @ 9:10am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Rojadirecta had already told the judge that they were planning to brief the First Amendment issues in their motion to dismiss. The prosecutor said that the MTD was the proper place. The judge invited them to make those arguments in the MTD. Everything was lined up for them to make the First Amendment arguments in that brief, yet there's not one mention of it in the brief.

              I know these arguments are going to come out, but why didn't they come out in the MTD as all three parties indicated they could/would/should?

              Perhaps they'll file an amended MTD, or perhaps they'll raise the issue in a separate lawsuit against the government. I don't know. Seems to me that the time to make those arguments is exactly right now.

              The 983 petition that the judge denied was really a narrow issue: Was the seizure causing hardship to anyone's life or livelihoods? That's not the place the challenge the constitutionality of the seizure itself. The forfeiture hearing is the place, and here we are at that place, and NOTHING.

              Did you read the motion to dismiss memo? It completely misses the mark, and I think, has 0% chance of being granted. The whole brief goes on and on about how the government can't show that the people behind Rojadirecta are criminal infringers. That may be so, but it's completely irrelevant to the actual issue, which is whether the domain name is property used to commit criminal infringement. The owners of Rojadirecta can be innocent of any crime, yet the property they own be subject to forfeiture if others are using it to commit crimes. Don't they understand this?

              Rojadirecta has what, six lawyers working on this? Why are they trying to prove their clients aren't criminals when their clients are not even charged with a crime? That makes no sense to me.

               

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              •  
                icon
                Karl (profile), Aug 6th, 2011 @ 9:36am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Rojadirecta had already told the judge that they were planning to brief the First Amendment issues in their motion to dismiss.

                I don't know where you're getting this stuff. I just re-read the judge's order, and nowhere was that even claimed.

                Puerto 80 raised these issues in its petition on the seizures, but I also re-read that, and they did not claim they would be raising these issues in the motion to dismiss itself. I don't see how they could, since the briefing schedule was set on August 2nd, weeks after that petition was filed.

                Did you read the motion to dismiss memo?

                Many, many times. Did you?

                The whole brief goes on and on about how the government can't show that the people behind Rojadirecta are criminal infringers. That may be so, but it's completely irrelevant to the actual issue, which is whether the domain name is property used to commit criminal infringement.

                Did you read ICE's memorandum in opposition to returning the seized domain? It goes on and on about how Rojadirecta is directly infringing. They do not even raise the possibility that Rojadirecta could be innocent of infringement, but that their site is still used for criminal activity.

                ICE may make your argument in the future, but they haven't as of yet.

                 

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                •  
                  identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2011 @ 9:44am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  I don't know where you're getting this stuff. I just re-read the judge's order, and nowhere was that even claimed.

                  It wasn't in the judge's order. I'm not sure which document it was in, but it was one filed by Puerto 80. It doesn't really matter though.

                  Puerto 80 raised these issues in its petition on the seizures, but I also re-read that, and they did not claim they would be raising these issues in the motion to dismiss itself. I don't see how they could, since the briefing schedule was set on August 2nd, weeks after that petition was filed.

                  I don't understand how it is you think they had time to make all the arguments they made in the motion to dismiss, but they didn't have time to make the First Amendment arguments (again) in that motion. If they weren't ready to file the motion, they wouldn't have agreed to the briefing schedule that they did. I don't think the issue is a lack of time. Clearly, they have some other strategy in mind.

                  Many, many times. Did you?

                  It just came out last night, so I was simply asking if you've had time to read it. You can tell that I read it because I started describing what I thought was wrong with it. How could I comment on its substance if I hadn't read it?

                  Did you read ICE's memorandum in opposition to returning the seized domain? It goes on and on about how Rojadirecta is directly infringing. They do not even raise the possibility that Rojadirecta could be innocent of infringement, but that their site is still used for criminal activity.

                  If I were Rojadirecta, I would have argued two things in my motion to dismiss: (1) prior restraint, and (2) there's no evidence that the domain names were actually used to commit criminal infringement by anyone.

                  Instead, they chose to argue irrelevancies. I don't get it.

                   

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                  •  
                    icon
                    Karl (profile), Aug 6th, 2011 @ 4:03pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    It just came out last night, so I was simply asking if you've had time to read it.

                    Apologies - I was confused, I thought you were asking if I'd read the petition to return the seized domain names, not the motion to dismiss. But, yes, I did read both.

                     

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              •  
                icon
                Jay (profile), Aug 6th, 2011 @ 9:37am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                It makes no sense to others either.

                If RD isn't charged with a crime, then why take the domain name in the first place? Perhaps a circular logic is going on here, but it revolves the domain being taken, RD committed a crime on their domain, but there's little way to prove it.

                 

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                •  
                  identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2011 @ 9:49am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  If RD isn't charged with a crime, then why take the domain name in the first place?

                  The issue is whether the domain name is being used to commit crimes, not whether the owners of Rojadirecta were the ones committing the crime. It's like if the cops find the murder weapon at a crime scene. They're going to collect it as evidence, even if it doesn't belong to the killer.

                  I think Rojadirecta should be focusing on the argument that there's no evidence that anyone uses that site to commit crimes. They shouldn't be focusing on proving their personal innocence when they aren't even being charged with anything.

                   

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                  •  
                    identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2011 @ 1:23pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    The issue is whether the domain name is being used to commit crimes, not whether the owners of Rojadirecta were the ones committing the crime. It's like if the cops find the murder weapon at a crime scene. They're going to collect it as evidence, even if it doesn't belong to the killer.

                    If a murder occurs in a hotel, the cops don't seize the whole hotel and turn it into a new cop station.

                    Besides, I think your comparison of copyright infringement to murder in the first place is pretty telling of how the copyright industry is trying to twist things.

                    Abolish copyright.

                     

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                    •  
                      identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2011 @ 1:36pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      I wasn't saying that copyright infringement is like murder. I was making an analogy pointing out that ownership of the alleged instrumentality of crime doesn't matter. The domain name can be forfeited even if its owners aren't the ones committing criminal infringement.

                       

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                      •  
                        icon
                        Jay (profile), Aug 6th, 2011 @ 5:46pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        But you see the problem here right?

                        "We aren't committing crimes, and yet we have the police convinced that our domain is used to commit crimes"

                        It's rather circular logic that's neither here nor there.

                         

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                        •  
                          identicon
                          Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2011 @ 7:30pm

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          I see what you mean. I think the Rojadirecta guys are probably criminals, but under an accomplice or conspiracy theory. I don't think they are direct infringers--they aren't the principals. I get what they're trying to argue. They're saying we're not direct infringers, and the forfeiture statute only applies to direct infringement. But that's not the point. Whether they are the principal, the accomplice, or the conspirator, the property itself--the domain names--is still property used to commit direct infringement, and that makes it forfeitable. The person who owns the property is immaterial. Whether it's seizable in the first place, based on only probable cause (and not an adversarial hearing) is another matter. That's the part I think to be more interesting.

                           

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                          •  
                            identicon
                            Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2011 @ 4:27am

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                            ... the property itself--the domain names--is still property used to commit direct infringement, and that makes it forfeitable.


                            Except that what was actually seized was the NS record for the domain, and associated A record glue.

                            NS records are not HTML pages containing hypertext links. Simply not. No matter how much you accuse those hypertext links of being goods used as instruments of criminal infringment, the NS records seized —removed from circulation— are not those goods.

                            You lawyers and judges can wordsmith and handwave around: You can all agree that the actual details of the technology are "just too geeky" for you refined lords and ladies.

                             

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                            •  
                              identicon
                              Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2011 @ 6:48am

                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                              I'll leave the details to you tech guys, but from a legal perspective, I don't see how a domain name isn't property that can be seized and forfeited. The exact technical details don't really matter.

                               

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                              •  
                                identicon
                                Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2011 @ 7:06am

                                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                The exact technical details don't really matter.


                                Which is exactly why you are being unreasonable.

                                We don't have to listen to these clueless judges. The only thing you got going for you are guns. And I noticed how worried the military was about not getting paid during the recent debt-ceiling crisis.

                                 

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                                •  
                                  identicon
                                  Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2011 @ 7:48am

                                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                  Which is exactly why you are being unreasonable.

                                  How does that make me unreasonable?

                                  We don't have to listen to these clueless judges. The only thing you got going for you are guns. And I noticed how worried the military was about not getting paid during the recent debt-ceiling crisis.

                                  Are you planning a revolution?

                                   

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                                  •  
                                    identicon
                                    Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2011 @ 8:12am

                                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                    That court has infringed upon the First Amendment.

                                     

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                                    •  
                                      identicon
                                      Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2011 @ 9:45am

                                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                      The court hasn't addressed the First Amendment issue yet, but it will soon. Relax.

                                       

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                                      •  
                                        identicon
                                        Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2011 @ 12:07pm

                                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                        The court hasn't addressed the First Amendment issue yet, but it will soon. Relax.

                                        Relax, sheeple. That wolf isn't interested in you, he just wants to be your friend! Now, please look the other way and go back to grazing.

                                         

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                                        •  
                                          identicon
                                          Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2011 @ 12:53pm

                                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                          Relax, sheeple. That wolf isn't interested in you, he just wants to be your friend! Now, please look the other way and go back to grazing.

                                          What I mean is stop whining and wait for the court to actually address the constitutional issues before freaking out. Since a possible First Amendment violation is not a "substantial hardship" as the statute defines it, then they lost this petition. That's got nothing to do with whether there is a constitutional issue that remains to be addressed.

                                           

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                                  •  
                                    identicon
                                    Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2011 @ 12:04pm

                                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                    Are you planning a revolution?

                                    Eeek! He's criticizing the copyright industry! He's a revolutionary terrorist!
                                    /s

                                     

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                          •  
                            icon
                            Jay (profile), Aug 8th, 2011 @ 12:29am

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                            " I think the Rojadirecta guys are probably criminals, but under an accomplice or conspiracy theory."

                            And I disagree emphatically. They are *ONLY* linking, which does not make them anything but another user on the internet. Now explain why it is that they are criminals for finding content and providing services on the internet that the copyright holders are not providing themselves.

                             

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                  •  
                    icon
                    Mike Masnick (profile), Aug 8th, 2011 @ 12:42am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    I think Rojadirecta should be focusing on the argument that there's no evidence that anyone uses that site to commit crimes. They shouldn't be focusing on proving their personal innocence when they aren't even being charged with anything

                    But even the gov't seems to be entirely focused on Puerto 80 being guilty of criminal copyright infringement. So I think I understand the reasoning for Puerto 80 to point out that it is not.

                     

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                    •  
                      identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2011 @ 5:19am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      But even the gov't seems to be entirely focused on Puerto 80 being guilty of criminal copyright infringement. So I think I understand the reasoning for Puerto 80 to point out that it is not.

                      I get it to a point. But even if they can show that the owners of Puerto 80 are not themselves criminal infringers, that doesn't mean the property isn't still forfeitable. I think they should have also argued that the government didn't sufficiently plead that anyone used the domain names to commit criminal infringement. That argument might actually win the MTD.

                       

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              •  
                icon
                Mike Masnick (profile), Aug 8th, 2011 @ 12:31am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Rojadirecta had already told the judge that they were planning to brief the First Amendment issues in their motion to dismiss. The prosecutor said that the MTD was the proper place. The judge invited them to make those arguments in the MTD. Everything was lined up for them to make the First Amendment arguments in that brief, yet there's not one mention of it in the brief.

                I think the lack of prior restraint in the MTD is because they're now debating the forfeiture, not the seizure. You can make a prior restraint article that forfeiture happened sans trial, but that doesn't make sense in the trial over forfeiture. The government can just argue that the 1st amendment is meaningless in a forfeiture trial, because they're planning to prove that the site is illegal and forfeiture makes sense.

                The time to raise the 1st amendment issue was in challenging the seizure, which is why it's troubling that the judge is saying otherwise.

                 

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                •  
                  identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2011 @ 5:14am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  I think the lack of prior restraint in the MTD is because they're now debating the forfeiture, not the seizure. You can make a prior restraint article that forfeiture happened sans trial, but that doesn't make sense in the trial over forfeiture. The government can just argue that the 1st amendment is meaningless in a forfeiture trial, because they're planning to prove that the site is illegal and forfeiture makes sense.

                  You bring up a good point. I don't think there is a First Amendment issue with the forfeiture once there's been a full hearing. The First Amendment issue is only with the initial seizure. But still, I don't see what's stopping them from making that argument now. The point isn't moot, so I don't see the government being able to successfully argue that it doesn't matter.

                  Perhaps their plan is to bring a separate action over the deprivation of their rights. That way, they could have a separate case that focuses solely on the First Amendment issue, rather than mix that issue up with the other issues they want to raise in this case. I dunno. I am really surprised though that they didn't bring it up in the MTD, especially after the judge invited them to.

                   

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2011 @ 12:47pm

    Free Speech

    Seizing a printing press does not keep anyone from publishing. They can still write out what they want to say manually. This is proven by the fact that books existed long before the invention of the printing press.

    Right.

    And yet, the First Amendment protects the freedom of the press despite the fact that there are other ways for someone to publish something. It is therefore obvious that the intention was to prohibit the government from imposing such restrictions even if they didn't completely silence someone. So, to claim otherwise is demonstrably false. Therefore, seizing a domain name can be a clear first amendment violation even if it doesn't completely silence someone anymore than seizing a printing press would completely silence someone.

    Federal judges are sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States, something the judge in this case isn't doing. I don't know if it is due to ignorance or corruption, but in either case this judge should be removed from the bench. Period.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2011 @ 7:55am

    • LIBERTY! •      • LIVE FREE OR DIE! •

    zone "rojadirecta.com" {
          type forward;
          forwarders {
              213.239.192.240;
              89.107.66.225;
              76.74.236.21;
              50.22.254.159;
         };
    };


    • DON'T TREAD ON ME! •

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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