Apparently All That Stuff About Needing SOPA To Go After Foreign Sites Was Bogus

from the just-saying dept

Tim covered the story of ICE doing its annual censorship binge in seizing domain names without adversarial hearings (as we still believe is required under the law). However, there were a couple of additional points worthy of a followup. First off, if you remember, one of the key reasons why we were told SOPA was needed was that for all of ICE's previous domain takedowns it was "impossible" for it to take down foreign domains. Except... as ICE's own announcement here shows that was completely untrue. It seems to have had no difficulty finding willing law enforcement partners around the globe to seize websites without any due process:
...recognizing the global nature of Internet crime, this year the IPR Center partnered with Europol, who, through its member countries, executed coordinated seizures of foreign-based top-level domains such as .eu, .be, .dk, .fr, .ro and .uk. This effort is titled Project Transatlantic and resulted in 31 domain name seizures.

"This operation is a great example of the tremendous cooperation between ICE and our international partners at the IPR Center," said ICE Director John Morton. "Our partnerships enable us to go after criminals who are duping unsuspecting shoppers all over the world.
Yeah. Apparently it's possible for ICE to censor those sites if it actually does a little work and calls up its law enforcement pals. Another example of why SOPA was never necessary in the first place.

The other issue? ICE's own release shows that ICE appears to have no understanding of the intellectual property laws it's seeking to enforce. From that release:
During this operation, federal law enforcement officers made undercover purchases of a host of products; including professional sports jerseys, DVD sets, and a variety of clothing, jewelry and luxury goods from online retailers who were suspected of selling counterfeit products. If the copyright holders confirmed that the purchased products were counterfeit or otherwise illegal, seizure orders for the domain names of the websites that sold these goods were obtained from federal magistrate judges.
Note the confusion (or ignorance) here. Counterfeits are about trademarks, not copyrights. Most of what they discuss are items covered by trademark. But then they say "if the copyright holders confirmed that the purchased products were counterfeit." Yes, there may be some copyright claims mixed in here (especially with "DVD sets"), but for the most part this is about trademark. Why say "copyright holders" unless you're either willfully misrepresenting what's happening... or ignorant of the law you're supposedly helping to enforce?

We've complained before about ICE boss John Morton's apparent deliberate conflation of copyright and counterfeits in the past -- but usually it's just lumping them together. To confuse the two here, in an official release from a government group that's enforcing the law, suggests some serious problems. ICE is either ignorant of the law it's supposedly enforcing... or maliciously misrepresenting itself. That seems like a problem.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Atkray (profile), Nov 27th, 2012 @ 7:49am

    Deja Vu

    "Why say "copyright holders" unless you're either willfully misrepresenting what's happening... or ignorant of the law you're supposedly helping to enforce?"

    or both.

     

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

  2.  
    icon
    rw (profile), Nov 27th, 2012 @ 8:17am

    We don't need no stinking law...

     

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

  3.  
    icon
    G Thompson (profile), Nov 27th, 2012 @ 8:39am

    There's something else strange here when talking about International sites and Trademark law.

    Unlike copyright which is basically a worldwide coverage (Berne Convention covers it) Trademark is a per country situation and has to be actually applied for in EACH individual country, There is no worldwide registry (same as patents actually).

    So what might be "unlawful" (or counterfeit) in one country is NOT unlawful in another. I don't think the Mexican iPhone is legal under trademark laws anywhere else in the world other than Mexico, but on the same thing Apple Inc's trademark on their iPhone is unlawful in Mexico.

    This is the whole problem with cross jurisdictional warrants and seizure orders from Federal judges. the 'copyright' holder (or IP owner) who resides in the USA has NO nada nix jurisdiction in the rest of the freakin world. And this is even more telling if there is actually NO trademark at all for that product from anyone - like ummm professional sports jerseys and jewellery for example.

     

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

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 27th, 2012 @ 8:51am

    I wonder if SOPA and all that crap didn't have a thing to do with the current ITU proposal.

     

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

  5.  
    icon
    Zakida Paul (profile), Nov 27th, 2012 @ 8:58am

    Unnecessary legislation is what governments are good at and it distracts from the fact they are so woefully inept at creating necessary legislation. Eg Just look at public sector pension reforms in NI or Ireland's inability to legislate for the ex case on abortion rules for 20 years.

     

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

  6.  
    icon
    SolkeshNaranek (profile), Nov 27th, 2012 @ 9:02am

    Honesty in Politics? (Needing SOPA To Go After Foreign Sites Was Bogus)

    How long would Diogenes have to search amongst the politicians?

     

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

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 27th, 2012 @ 9:03am

    Re: Deja Vu

    Its pretty clear they're pandering to the copyright lobbyists that get them money. Its not like the lobbyists know the difference. ICE: Dear RIAA/MPAA, please give us more funding! We're stopping copyright infringement, see?

     

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

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 27th, 2012 @ 9:04am

    Herr President

    With Obama in power you can expect four more years of this bullshit. All I can say is I'm glad the US has term limits.

     

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

  9. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Nov 27th, 2012 @ 9:07am

    ICE itself didn't "take down foreign domains"

    I note the point because you end up wandering... into complaining that "copyright" covers several somewhat disparate items -- when it's probably just easier for whoever writer to lump them together, NO further significance. But it's all Mike has for today's episode of Extreme Semantics.

    Meanwhile, Mislabeling Mike blithely mis-uses "censor" when in fact the sites were selling counterfeit goods.

     

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

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 27th, 2012 @ 9:14am

    Re: ICE itself didn't "take down foreign domains"

    It's a good thing we don't have to take their word for it. After all, there was clearly a trial where evidence and arguments were presented before a judge, who then decided if the website was in violation of the law.

    Oh... wait.

     

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

  11.  
    identicon
    Beech, Nov 27th, 2012 @ 9:14am

    Re: ICE itself didn't

    Allegedly. They were allegedly selling counterfeits. Thats the important part what with "innocent until proven guilty" thing.

     

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

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 27th, 2012 @ 9:15am

    Re:

    The United States of Earth has jurisdiction in all of its member states, including England, Australia, and New Zealand, among others.

     

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

  13.  
    icon
    ECA (profile), Nov 27th, 2012 @ 9:20am

    I pointed out an interesting

    I pointed out an interesting point long ago, probably in another blog..
    Could the USA block access to an international site? YEP.
    Very easily.
    DNS and the MAIN links to other nations are easy to use, as blocking services.
    ITS WHAT OTHERS DO..

     

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

  14.  
    icon
    weneedhelp (profile), Nov 27th, 2012 @ 9:26am

    Re: ICE itself didn't "take down foreign domains"

    "when in fact the sites were selling counterfeit goods."

    Dajaz1 was too; Right?

     

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

  15.  
    icon
    weneedhelp (profile), Nov 27th, 2012 @ 9:32am

    Re: Re: ICE itself didn't "take down foreign domains"

    OOTB needs a TD award for quickest flagged comments. LOL.

     

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

  16.  
    icon
    Trails (profile), Nov 27th, 2012 @ 9:38am

    Re: I pointed out an interesting

    Not quite. ICE is seizing american-managed domains. Sites are still often accessible by IP or alternate domains.

    What the great firewall of china and similar do are much more complex, involved and invasive. The US does not have similar capabilities (that we know of).

     

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

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 27th, 2012 @ 9:39am

    Re: ICE itself didn't "take down foreign domains"

    OOTB: Techdirt's version of the senile old man screaming senselessly into the corner.

     

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

  18.  
    icon
    Trails (profile), Nov 27th, 2012 @ 9:40am

    Re: Re: I pointed out an interesting

    Just to add though: what ICE has done is in the same vein in terms of results, but is decidedly different, and less oppressive, though being less oppressive than China is hardly an accomplishment.

     

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

  19.  
    identicon
    PRMan, Nov 27th, 2012 @ 10:02am

    Re: Re:

    You forgot Sweden...

     

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

  20. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 27th, 2012 @ 10:10am

    Mike Masnick just hates it when lawbreakers are busted. What a classy guy.

     

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

  21.  
    identicon
    MrWilson, Nov 27th, 2012 @ 10:12am

    Re: Re:

    They recently changed the name actually. The country is now called Oceania, and we've always been at war with copyright-violating counterfeiters.

     

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

  22. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 27th, 2012 @ 10:14am

    Re: Re: Re: ICE itself didn't "take down foreign domains"

    You misspelled 'censored' as 'flagged'.

     

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

  23.  
    identicon
    MrWilson, Nov 27th, 2012 @ 10:15am

    Re: Re: ICE itself didn't "take down foreign domains"

    The irony is that he's the old man who comes onto Mike's lawn to yell at everyone to get off of his lawn.

     

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

  24. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 27th, 2012 @ 10:18am

    Re: Re: ICE itself didn't

    No, not allegedly.

    There was prima facie evidence of counterfeit goods being sold. It wasn't a matter of interpretation or open to opinion.

    You're a slimy piracy apologist and you and all the others here need to do the world a favor and go die in a fire.

     

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

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 27th, 2012 @ 10:27am

    Re: Re:

    Greetings, fellow Earthicans!

     

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

  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 27th, 2012 @ 10:31am

    Re: Deja Vu

    Actually knock off products can easily have been a copyright issue rather than trademark if the name-tag is purposefully misspelled or the logo is altered enough to not get into Trademark territory.

    Then I am obviously alluding to copyright as an inferior IPR to trademarks, but in punishment-land that is not really the case. Oh, no! In other words, they can easily use copyright as the primary reason for seizings since it covers a wider variety of goods than the trademarks laws.

    Copyright is a flypaper for any economic or moral offences taken by creators and especially their employers. Trademark is too narrow for most companies to use. Second to trademark is patents, but they cannot be used for anything. Copyright on the other hand...

    Therefore I do not think Mike is correct in claiming that it is a trademark issue(tm). On the other hand it would have been logical to think so.

     

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

  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 27th, 2012 @ 11:04am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: ICE itself didn't "take down foreign domains"

    Could you click on a site blocked under SOPA and view it normally?

     

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

  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 27th, 2012 @ 11:05am

    Re:

    So was SOPA needed or not? Answer the question.

     

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

  29.  
    identicon
    Silver Fang, Nov 27th, 2012 @ 11:29am

    Re: Herr President

    Like Romney would've done any different!

     

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

  30.  
    icon
    ECA (profile), Nov 27th, 2012 @ 11:44am

    Re: Re: Re: I pointed out an interesting

    Trails,
    But we are OVER reaching into other nations..
    ITS THERE LAWS, that we are trying to change, and According to USA LAW, that is against the law..It was anyway.

    Its like going to Taiwan, and spitting on the sidewalk, and being sent to JAIL..

    Didnt Sopa DIE??
    ICE has NO jurisdiction in OTHER COUNTRIES...lets ask the UN.
    Or do we have an international police force?

    Yes we can setup our servers to NOT register ANY location outside the USA..not hard. but you will restrict a WHOLE BUNCH/BANK of computers.

     

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

  31.  
    icon
    ECA (profile), Nov 27th, 2012 @ 11:54am

    Re:

    Pssst..
    you have rights also..
    Until things are made LAW, you retain those rights.
    Copyright isnt a LAW. it has many flaws. which makes it invalid..
    its not like shooting a person. Its the idea/concept..NOT the real thing.
    How would you like to be prosecuted on 'THOUGHT', 'IDEA'?? Even if you made something BETTER.
    You shouldnt become a target if you can MAKE something, or make it BETTER..
    Do you know how MOST ideas come around? YOU PLAY with what is available. Edison did it..Einstein DID it..
    HOW do you restrict INNOVATION? restrict the products of building NEW products. the PARTS, then copyright Everything in your box. You should lookup the copyrights on cellphones..and the lawsuits, and WHO owns what in a cellphone. ITS STUPID.

     

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

  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 27th, 2012 @ 12:15pm

    Simply to refresh my recollection, do you recall where within the amended bill the USG was authorized to seize websites located and registered overseas?

     

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

  33.  
    icon
    nelsoncruz (profile), Nov 27th, 2012 @ 12:36pm

    Who cares?

    Copyright, trademarks... who cares? It's all "intellectual pooperty" like Nina Paley says.

     

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

  34.  
    icon
    silverscarcat (profile), Nov 27th, 2012 @ 12:44pm

    Re: Re: Re: ICE itself didn't

    "No, not allegedly.

    There was prima facie evidence of counterfeit goods being sold. It wasn't a matter of interpretation or open to opinion."

    Not allegedly, huh?

    Ever hear of "innocent until proven guilty in a court of law"?

    Until then, it's all alleged stuff.

    "You're a slimy piracy apologist and you and all the others here need to do the world a favor and go die in a fire."

    Wow, just wow...

    If I saw you, I would punch you in the face.

     

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

  35.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 27th, 2012 @ 1:14pm

    Re: Re: Herr President

    He might have. Take a look at the RNC's copyright memo and ask yourself "what if".

     

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

  36.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 27th, 2012 @ 1:29pm

    Re: Re: Re: Herr President

    Then take a look at the retraction less than 24 hours after it was announced. There's your answer to the "what if"

     

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

  37.  
    icon
    JMT (profile), Nov 27th, 2012 @ 1:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: ICE itself didn't "take down foreign domains"

    Have you scratched out the word MUTE on your TV remote and written "CENSORED!" in it's place?

     

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

  38. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 27th, 2012 @ 2:01pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: ICE itself didn't

    Wow, just wow...

    If I saw you, I would punch you in the face.


    That's a laugh. You may be a "badass" in your LARP league, but your history of getting wedgies, surrendering your lunch money and wearing KICK ME signs suggests that you are still a pussy.

     

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

  39.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 27th, 2012 @ 2:20pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: ICE itself didn't

    Wow, I haven't heard someone use "dweeb" stereotypes as an insult in years. What is this, the '90s?

     

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

  40.  
    icon
    silverscarcat (profile), Nov 27th, 2012 @ 2:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: ICE itself didn't

    Actually, people went out of their way to avoid pissing me off since I was known for having a violent temper.

    I never got a wedgie, had to wear a KICK ME sign and I never had any money stolen from me.

    I played defensive lineman in highschool and was on the wrestling team.

    You REALLY think I couldn't deck you for being an asshole?

     

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

  41.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 27th, 2012 @ 2:54pm

    Re:

    Simply to refresh my recollection, do you recall where within the amended bill the USG was authorized to seize websites located and registered overseas?

    In the manager's amendment, section 102 defined "foreign infringing sites" which allowed for seizure and forfeiture a la how domestic sites were seized.

    And we were told repeatedly that this was necessary since ProIP did not allow them to go after those foreign sites.

     

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

  42.  
    icon
    silverscarcat (profile), Nov 27th, 2012 @ 4:22pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    MORBO WILL DESTROY YOU!

     

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

  43.  
    icon
    Alana (profile), Nov 27th, 2012 @ 7:42pm

    Re: Re: Re: Herr President

    Anyone who thinks Romney would have handled a single thing better than Obama is bullshitting themselves, in my opinion. Obama was clearly the lesser of two evils. To me, at least. But feel free to have your own opinion. I disagree.

     

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

  44.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 4:44am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: ICE itself didn't

    Actually, people went out of their way to avoid pissing me off since I was known for having a violent temper.

    Oooooooooo....... we're scared.




    What a loser.

     

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

  45.  
    icon
    martyburns (profile), Nov 28th, 2012 @ 5:00am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: ICE itself didn't

    What is this, the '90s?

    He wishes it was, that way we'd all still be only dial-up and there would be 'no' piracy.

     

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

  46.  
    icon
    Niall (profile), Nov 28th, 2012 @ 6:14am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: ICE itself didn't

    I'm pretty sure most LARP 'badasses' could pummel you bloody, even with a rubber sword. Not like lardass fantasy football players...

     

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

  47.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 7:26am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: ICE itself didn't

    Well, look who's under a Level 5 Delusion Spell.

     

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

  48.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 9:56am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: ICE itself didn't

    +1000

    Come find me, scaredcat. I'll knock you on your ass and leave you with the wedgie you never got.

     

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

  49.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 3:33pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: ICE itself didn't

    Yes, very mature of you. You'd probably get a job as a prison warden.

     

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

  50.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 3:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: ICE itself didn't

    Well, look who had a point to prove and failed at it.

     

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

  51.  
    identicon
    whens, Jun 2nd, 2013 @ 11:10am

    obama

    With Obama in power you can expect four more years of this bullshit. All I can say is I'm glad the US has term limits.

     

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This