Homeland Security Seizes Another 18 Domain Names, With No Adversarial Hearings Or Due Process

from the can't-stop-now dept

As a bunch of the proprietors of domain names seized in earlier questionable domain seizures are preparing to fight back against the seizures, Homeland Security can’t resist seizing more domain names. This time, it looks like the seizures were more focused on sites selling counterfeit physical goods, and the seizures were purposely timed to Valentine’s Day. Going after sites that sell counterfeit goods makes a lot more sense than some of the other sites that were seized in the past, but there still are serious questions about the legality of such a seizure prior to any adversarial hearing, and with no attempt to even communicate with the site operators. I don’t know if this is the case or not, but how does ICE know that these sites did not believe they were selling legitimate products? What’s wrong with going through an adversarial hearing in which the site’s operators are allowed to defend themselves? If they’re really breaking the law, let that be determined at a trial. At the very least, considering the widespread questions about the legality of these seizures, wouldn’t it make sense for Homeland Security and ICE to wait until the legality of such seizures is reviewed by a court?

Authoritarian

Filed Under: , , , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Homeland Security Seizes Another 18 Domain Names, With No Adversarial Hearings Or Due Process”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
198 Comments
Marcus Carab (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Going to court and getting a judge to sign off on a seizure one kind of due process – specifically, the appropriate process for protecting evidence from being destroyed. It is not intended as a means of achieving your desired results while doing an end-run around a full trial. And it is definitely not sufficient due process when censoring potentially protected speech.

And you know this, as you’ve been told it dozens of times. But you ignore it because your agenda is to oppose Techdirt.

Marcus Carab (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Yup. We’ve been through this before. And every time, you have failed to come up with any compelling arguments.

Average Joe argued this for a long time, using actual knowledge and lots of legal citations – he actually brought new precedents and rulings to the debate, and raised some interesting questions. And yet even he eventually conceded that, under the most detailed reading of the law he could manage, seizures like this are probably unconstitutional.

Meanwhile, you have been repeating the exact same non-argument ad nauseam, and you still insist you are right. Sorry buddy, but nobody’s buying it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

And yet even he eventually conceded that, under the most detailed reading of the law he could manage, seizures like this are probably unconstitutional.

Might want to check back with Joe on that one…

And Terry Hart IS a lawyer, and demonstrated quite clearly that the seizures are perfectly just and legal… at copyhype.com.

Again, educate yourself and stop being willfully blind.

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

And Terry Hart IS a lawyer, and demonstrated quite clearly that the seizures are perfectly just and legal… at copyhype.com.

Ummm…just because someone is a lawyer doesn’t mean they cannot interpret the law incorrectly.

Again, educate yourself and stop being willfully blind.

Yes and you too, except try educating yourself from multiple sources, not just the one source that is completely in-line with the view you have already pre-decided upon.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

I’ve educated myself thoroughly on the subject.

You’ll notice that not once has Masnick had a lawyer on here that was an expert on copyright law, criminal law or civil procedure say that the seizures were unlawful.

He’s just grandstanding and trying to create FUD.

Because he’s the biggest piracy apologist on the net.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

What about Article 1 Section 8? That’s clearly being violated.

Actually, it’s not. Article 1 Section 8 is the copyright clause. It covers copyright and patents. The latest seizues had to do with trademark.

But, more to the point, if it’s “clearly being violated,” file a lawsuit against those violating the law, and let the court declare them guilty.

As far as Due Process, I believe they’re following the rulings by the Supreme Court. You know, the guys who interpret what procedural due process is.

We’ve already pointed to numerous SC rulings that say you’re wrong. Please keep up.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

But, more to the point, if it’s “clearly being violated,” file a lawsuit against those violating the law, and let the court declare them guilty.

Yup, let’s allow them to continue to run their criminal enterprise for the years it takes to get the case into court, and then try to summon them from whatever country they are hiding in, and then try to get a judgement, and then try to enforce it.

Yeah, that sounds like a plan. A really long one.

You do love piracy, don’t you Mike?

Chosen Reject says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Yup, let’s stop them from continuing to run their legitimate enterprise for the years it takes to get the case into court, and then try to summon them from whatever country they are now homeless in, and then try to get a judgement, and realize they were legal all along.

Yeah, that sounds like a plan. A really long one.

You do hate due process, don’t you AC?

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Yup, let’s take their domain allow them to switch to another DNS continue to run their “criminal”? enterprise indefinitely and receive a pat on the back from the content owners who are too stupid to realise that we haven’t done anything effective against piracy at all.

Probably not a bad plan for those involved – but then what’s the point?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Why repeat the arguments? Nothing we say here will convince you.

I’d rather spend my time building a more censor-resistant system than the current ICANN / DNS debacle. Screw the courts. They’re broken.

Unfortunately, I’m aware that a more censor-resistant system will be used and abused by copyright infringers, counterfeit-goods dealers, and other so-called “cyber criminals.” So be it. At this point, I see a bigger danger from judges who refuse to see speech when confronted with proper nouns. And a huge danger from lawyers who think due process is optional.

We can let the Democrats and Republicans censor each other. Good riddance.

CarlWeathersForPres (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

As far as “clearly being violated,” are any of these companies US companies(US jurisdiction)? If not, how do you suggest they proceed with the litigation?

Just as a hypothetical, what do you do if a Chinese company is selling counterfeit goods using the internet as its advertising. There is no physical address to the company which can be found. E-mail is not sufficient for due process notification. Is this company litigation proof because you can’t really comply with due process?

Note: This is not an argument for if we can’t get due process then we shouldn’t try. I’ve made my arguments for due process(prelim injunctions, informing contributory infringers), I’m just pointing out one of the downfalls of following due process to the 9snotification, court hearing, jury trial). As a procedural issue, that later is not needed(since this is not free speech related, IMO), and there are many well defined rules which can get legally enforceable rulings without going through the adversarial process.

CarlWeathersForPres (profile) says:

Question:

By no due process do you mean there was absolutely no notification or the web hosts did not show up in court to defend themselves? The former is bad, the latter is first year civil procedure and ok.

In reality, as one of these websites, it’s more economic to be shutdown and open back up in 3 days under a new domain than to show up and court, fight it, and possibly face copyright charges. Why avail yourself to jurisdiction in the US if it takes 2 days to be back in business?

CarlWeathersForPres (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Are you sure, I saw posted on this site the court proceedings(i.e. a warrant), which makes me assume that there was a level of due process in front of a magistrate/judge and there was a minimum threshold that needed to be met before the property could be seized.

Please, don’t confuse due process with a long drawn out court proceedings. These companies are able to get their property back by fighting this in US courts. But, as with any other legal case, preliminary injunctions or seizures of property can apply if certain thresholds are met.

Marcus Carab (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

which makes me assume that there was a level of due process in front of a magistrate/judge and there was a minimum threshold that needed to be met before the property could be seized.

In theory there was, but there are a lot of questions as to whether the proper threshold as described in the law was adhered to, and as to the degree of scrutiny these warrants received from the judges.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

In theory there was…

No.

In theory, the fundamental basis of due process is notice, and the opportunity for a fair hearing before a neutral judge.

? No notice is not due process.

? No opportunity for hearing is not due process.

Due process is fundamental fairness.

Now, sometimes ?sometimes? the notice of the charges can be delayed. Sometimes ?sometimes? it’s ok to take action pending the opportunity for a hearing. Ex parte proceedings are not disallowed. But ex parte proceedings are not a substitute for due process. A one-sided hearing is fundamentally unfair.

CarlWeathersForPres (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

It’s probable cause. I’m pretty sure probable cause, in a piracy case, is showing the video collection on the site and asking the content originator if there was a license. If there’s a pretty strong case for providing unlicensed content I’d think you’d have probable cause.

I’ll ask you the question, what level of evidence do you need to think a website is probably pirating goods(movies, shows, jerseys, toys, etc.)? For me, it’s the pictures of goods offered in comparison with the original(copyrighted or trademarked) goods and the unlicensed nature of the offer.

Marcus Carab (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

The thing is that probable cause is what enables them to perform search and seizure for the purpose of collecting/protecting evidence and building a case.

The domain names themselves – which are what were seized – are immaterial to prosecuting the actual operators of the website. They contain none of the infringing or potentially infringing material. There is, quite simply, no good reason to seize them – and as such, the seizures seem to be a shortcut method of punishing the sites before determining that those sites have actually done anything wrong.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

I see. Leave the sites alone and conducting business as usual until a trial on the merits is completed, which, of course, may very well never occur since the persons operating these sites are beyond the reach of US authorities and the judiciary.

The notion here that “due process” embraces for all practical purposes a full trial on the merits represents a fundamental misunderstanding of what constitutes “due process” under US law. Merely by way of example, the most extreme case of “seizure” has to be the arrest of an individual who under our law is innocent until proven guilty. And yet, pre-trial detention is commonplace. Are persons here really implying that such detention is unconstitutional under due process grounds because no judgement of guilt has been rendered by a court?

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

I see. Leave the sites alone and conducting business as usual until a trial on the merits is completed, which, of course, may very well never occur since the persons operating these sites are beyond the reach of US authorities and the judiciary.

That’s not what anyone is saying. But you know damn well (you are a lawyer, right?) that it’s possible to request a preliminary injunction, in which the other side gets to put forth their argument before the judge grants it, right?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Re:

Motions for a preliminary injunction are filed after both parties have filed their respective complaints and answers. It is not at all unusual, given the legal counter-punching that typically transpires before an answer is filed (e.g., motion to dismiss a complaint, leave to amend a complaint, issues concerning jurisdiction and or venue, etc.), for the motion requesting a preliminary injunction and a hearing on the motion to take place many months down the road.

Years? Never seen one take this long, but there is always a first time.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:10 Re:

No. Merely pointing out that months is not unusual, though years is something I have never seen.

The “e.g.” signified that there are a host of motions that are typically made before a defendant files an answer to a complaint. Only after an answer is filed is a motion for a preliminary injuction ripe for a hearing.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:11 Re:

Even at months (which Mike doesn’t seem to understand) that is a very long time in internet terms. 6 months is a long time to keep a illegal site up, most of them would move along every selling season to a new home, avoiding the issue. By the time you could get an injunction in front of a judge, it would be meaningless.

Let’s let the offender file for an injunction to stop the seizure. That would be way more productive. Oh, wait, nobody likes that because it would take too long!

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:12 Re:

Even at months (which Mike doesn’t seem to understand) that is a very long time in internet terms.

You’re just re-making my point. Lawyers need to become more efficient – without abandoning due process.

It seems to me that all this delay exists only because the legal system exists in a cozy unregulated state.

Legal inefficiency shouldn’t be used to justify unfairness.

If the lawyers didn’t benefit from all this delay then I’m sure that they are smart enough to fix the problem.

Jeff Rife says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

Merely by way of example, the most extreme case of “seizure” has to be the arrest of an individual who under our law is innocent until proven guilty.

It simply amazes me that everyone who thinks these seizures are OK can be so confused about the law, and haven’t ever seen a TV show or movie.

When you are arrested on suspicion of a crime, you get to call a lawyer, and have an arraignment where the charges are read, and then you get a chance for bail. All of this shows what is called the “adversarial” nature of the law…two sides present their case to the court, and the court rules on the matter.

That’s the difference in these seizure cases…there is no opportunity for both sides to present their viewpoint before a ruling is made. Why so many people can’t see that as a problem is beyond me.

I can only hope that everyone who is supporting these one-sided rulings will someday be on the receiving end of something similar. When that happens, remember that it’s “legal” and you shouldn’t complain that you no longer have a house, car, or your life savings. And, if you think it can’t happen to you because you haven’t done anything wrong, Google for “asset forfeiture” mistake and read the horror stories.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

I can only hope that everyone who is supporting these one-sided rulings will someday be on the receiving end of something similar.

I can sympathize with that sentiment.

But, thinking rationally, I cannot endorse it. I believe that people who are treated unfairly by the authorities ? ?treated high-handedly? ? those unfortunate people tend to be more likely to further support unfair and high-handed treatment of others. It’s sort of a Stockholm syndrome.

CarlWeathersForPres (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Sorry, I typed, hit enter, and immediately realized I should have been talking about preliminary injunction(and then had to run) and not the threshold needed for a warrant. I don’t really think it makes it that much harder to meet this burden, at least in terms of what material you could present in this case.

The Supreme Court gives us Winters v. Natural Resources Defense Council(2008) which state that one ?must establish that he is likely to succeed on the merits [i.e. win at trial], that he is likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary relief, that the balance of equities tips in his favor, and that an injunction is in the public interest.?

Showing the nature of what is sold on the site(illegal goods), and the irreparable harm(the unlikelihood of foreign defendants being availed to US courts for copyright infringement) would probably suffice for likelihood to win an irreparable harm.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re:

By no due process do you mean there was absolutely no notification or the web hosts did not show up in court to defend themselves? The former is bad, the latter is first year civil procedure and ok.

It’s the former. No notification whatsoever. In the past seizures, the websites themselves tend not to hear from the government at *all* for at least two months. The domains seized in November *first* heard from the government in January.

CarlWeathersForPres (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

That’s a slightly different situation. I guess my second question is were the hosting companies notified?

Really, this is just a procedural issue that I’m not sure would have much difficulty being rectified(really, these companies are destroying copyright law and there really wouldn’t be much difference if you forced them to send some sort of notice).

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

That’s a slightly different situation. I guess my second question is were the hosting companies notified?

No. Only the top level registrar.

Really, this is just a procedural issue that I’m not sure would have much difficulty being rectified(really, these companies are destroying copyright law and there really wouldn’t be much difference if you forced them to send some sort of notice).

Do you know that for sure? In one of the seized domains, we provided counter-evidence that showed that all four songs that DHS/ICE used as evidence had actually been provided by the copyright holder or a representative of the copyright holder.

Multiple such domain holders are about to fight these seizures (months later) in court, so we’ll see just how legal they really were soon…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

we provided counter-evidence that showed that all four songs that DHS/ICE used as evidence had actually been provided by the copyright holder

Oh look! Mike Masnick lies about the facts again!

The four songs you refer to were not all the evidence used.

Multiple such domain holders are about to fight these seizures (months later) in court, so we’ll see just how legal they really were soon…

oh promises, promises…

Marcus Carab (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

The four songs you refer to were not all the evidence used.

They were all of the “example evidence” submitted against dajaz1, one of the targeted domains. A judge signed off on seizure of that domain without having seen a single shred of viable evidence, and in fact having been presented with four articles of fraudulent evidence.

You don’t see a problem there?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

The agent said in the beginning of the affidavit that it didn’t “purport to set forth all of my knowledge of, or investigation into the matter”.

Do you really think they would seize a domain over FOUR SONGS?

If the warrant was issued under the pretense that the four songs were the ONLY cases of infringement, there might, maybe, be an issue, but the problem is that despite those songs being given to the site, they were still copyrighted material.

But that is moot, as they were not the only examples of infringement occurring on the site.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

The agent said in the beginning of the affidavit that it didn’t “purport to set forth all of my knowledge of, or investigation into the matter”.

Do you really think they would seize a domain over FOUR SONGS?

The issue is that this was to establish probable cause. If all four songs were sent by authorized players, that sorta undermines the entire probable cause argument, doesn’t it? All of that would have been made clear if there were an adversarial hearing held. But there wasn’t. Hence the lack of due process and a clear case of prior restraint.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Re:

The issue is that this was to establish probable cause.

And the Government specified quite clearly at the beginning of the affidavit “I have not included in this affidavit the details of every aspect of this investigation.”

The 4 songs were not the end-all, be-all in regard for the warrant request.

If any of the sites’ lawyers are trying to hang their hat on that, they are most certainly screwed.

Modplan (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:9 Re:

Ah, it’s justified because there’s evidence no one else has seen other than the agents involved. That is such a great basis for probable cause – the evidence we’re actually showing you to justify this is shit and doesn’t prove anything, please ignore it in favour of the evidence we haven’t shown you.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:10 Re:

Look guy, I said you would have a point if the site was only infringing with those 4 songs. But the affidavit makes it clear that the examples given are not the entirety of the evidence. And it wasn’t; there were tons of infringing files on that site.

The wording of that affidavit was intentional. Government lawyers know what they’re doing; in his press conference Morton even spoke about how careful they were. Why someone would imagine that they wouldn’t be is beyond me.

Jay says:

Re: Re: Re:11 Re:

Reducing 130 sites to 80, then prosecuting without even allowing said sites to challenge the takedown is not to say that ICE knows what they’re doing.

ESPECIALLY when they answer no questions on the accuracy of these takedowns and don’t even know the law regarding it themselves.

Oh, and if you have to have the MPAA/RIAA to say that these are bad laws? You got a problem.

Marcus Carab (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:11 Re:

Even though it’s not all the evidence, do you not see ANY problem with the fact that all four “examples” were not actually examples at all, since all were authorized?

If they have such a huge body of evidence, shouldn’t they have been able to find four examples that were actually infringing? And are you really saying it’s appropriate otherwise?

Or, to put it simply, if these four songs are a representative sample of the larger body of evidence, it means the majority of the evidence is likely also bad. And if they aren’t a representative sample, then isn’t the affidavit an attempt to mislead the judge?

CarlWeathersForPres (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

It might only be necessary, under contributory infringement, to notify the top level registrar. I don’t necessarily agree with it, but the opposite is finding the physical developers who created the website to serve process, which is almost infringing due process on the opposite side(if someones harming you, you should be able to sue to stop/alleviate the harm, which under the current Federal Rules of Civil Procedure might not be possible because process can’t be served).

Either way I disagree with the legal conclusions you’ve arrived to, just because I don’t necessarily think Fort Wayne applies to copyright. There may also be some sort of loophole(although I think this is a very tenuous argument) where it’s impossible to reach those people so posting somewhere is the only thing that is necessary.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

They aren’t criminals – they are “new business model” distributors of non-patent pharma products. They are the strong future, the new business models.

No more big pharma, now all the drugs will be sold by your friends, you know, they can promote it on facebook and twitter, and not worry about things like government approval! Get your weed, meth, and viagra knock offs on all the same street corner! Cut out the middle men! Get rid of all the horrible government regulation! Free the people, because you know that the information wants to be free!

CommonSense (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

@ 87: That’s not the same thing. Drug dealers in the street sense are obviously breaking the law, therefore giving the authorities probable cause on sight to arrest, and bring for trial.

If you wanted a valid comparison to this scenario using drug sellers, it would be “I wonder if Masnick thinks that the corner pharmacy should be warned and the owner arrested for trial before they get shut down on the suspicion of selling counterfeit prescriptions?” And I can’t speak for him, but I would say “YES” myself… They should really be proven guilty before they are treated as such, that’s the root premise of our justice system.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Drug dealers in the street sense are obviously breaking the law

ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

OIC, so those drug guys are obviously breaking the law, but the sites that traffic in hundreds or thousands of illegal copies of music in full plain view on the web aren’t just as “obviously breaking the law”?

That’s a classic one, pal. Thanks.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

but the sites that traffic in hundreds or thousands of illegal copies of music

How does one know if the songs are “illegal”? Already different content companies have filed lawsuits in error, where it was later shown that the content company had, in fact, authorized the content.

It pains me to see someone so stupid struggle so valiantly to prove how little he understands.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I wonder if Masnick thinks drug dealers should be notified when the cops are on their way over to seize their car or boat…

Seizing actual physical evidence that can be destroyed or hidden makes sense. We’ve said that before.

Why is i that you have so much trouble understanding basic concepts? It might explain why the bands you work with are failing. I’ve offered before, and I’ll offer again: give us a call, and I’m willing to help your failing band do better.

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I wonder if Masnick thinks drug dealers should be notified when the cops are on their way over to seize their car or boat…

Actually they should in that case – although I would expect that they would be in prison already by then.

The object of the unannounced police raid would be to obtain evidence and/or to detain the suspects – not to seize the proceeds of crime.

Once arrested they would be entitled to due process within hours.

If the police simply came and took your car and didn’t even tell you for two months then you would assume it had been stolen by criminals right?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

If the police simply came and took your car and didn’t even tell you for two months then you would assume it had been stolen by criminals right?

If I wasn’t involved in illegal activity I would…

Nonetheless, the sites know exactly why their domain was seized, as ICE was nice enough to leave a nice notice on the front page of their website. ๐Ÿ™‚

BigFN-J (profile) says:

All I really see, is the lack of any domains registered that fall under US control. I know that our clients are quickly snatching up all of the “.co” domain extensions for their products and I wouldnt be surprised if more and more companies just use the .com to re-direct to a site that is hosted elsewhere.

The US is quickly showing that it can and will do whatever it wants, regardless of the laws in place to protect the innocent. I am scared for our future.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

The US is a democracy, but you feel justified in claiming the government has nothing to do with you?

People living under dictatorships,
they get to say the actions of their governments have nothing to do with them,
people in democracies who try to make that claim can expect to be told to grow up.

Your government isn’t just your problem, it’s your responsibility.

CommonSense (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

That’s a huge overreach to try and say we’re claiming the government has nothing to do with us. My words simply said that the Government does not always do what the people wish it would do. That’s a pretty simple concept to grasp, and merely serves to suggest that anyone who disagrees greatly with the U.S. policy on something, should think twice before blaming the average citizen for it.

TheStupidOne says:

“What’s wrong with going through an adversarial hearing in which the site’s operators are allowed to defend themselves?”

Everything is wrong with allowing them to defend themselves. I mean piracy! and Terrorism! oooohhhhh scared now aren’t you … Don’t worry, we’ll protect you from the pirate terrorists. Trust us.

-ICE

Marcus Carab (profile) says:

Re: Re:

ooh I like this idea… “We have evidence of the systematic abuse of the legal system by private companies, enacted through the complicity of government agencies. We believe this represents a targeted attempt to slow U.S. innovation, interfere with fair trade, dissuade foreign companies from operating in America and extort the public with artificially inflated prices. Please contact us for more information.”

Thomas (profile) says:

What is this..

“Due Process” you speak of? Why in the world would Homeland Security worry about Due Process when it is absolutely necessary to act quickly to prevent hundreds of thousands of Americans experiencing horrible deaths as a result of file-sharing terrorists downloading music and videos? This is so so so much worse than the possibility of a group of terrorists unloading AK-47s on people walking around New York City.

The DOJ firmly believes they do not need to do such things as follow the law; after all, they are the law. They don’t need to ask to be forgiven since they maintain they are doing nothing improper. The DOJ is not on the side of American citizens unless the citizens are executives for entertainment companies.

Overcast (profile) says:

“Please, don’t confuse due process with a long drawn out court proceedings. These companies are able to get their property back by fighting this in US courts. But, as with any other legal case, preliminary injunctions or seizures of property can apply if certain thresholds are met.”

So in other words – they are GUILTY until proven innocent?

Yes, that’s exactly what concept that is – no amount of spin can change that simple fact.

CarlWeathersForPres (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Due process just requires a showing in front of an impartial arbiter(judge). You have to meet thresholds(in this case it is likelihood to win at trial and irreparable harm will be done without the seizure), for a warrant(another case where the government takes something or enters a private place without your consent) it is probable cause.

I guess technically they are guilty until proven innocent, except for the fact that they were originally shown to have a high probability of guilt. Let’s put this in a different situation, if there was someone dumping raw sewage into the local river is it realistic to wait until a trial is completed before you stop the dumping(preliminary injunction) or if you show that they’re breaking laws at the beginning(almost no probability that they’re doing it legally) is it reasonable to tell them to stop until the legal process is complete?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Let’s put this in a different situation, if there was someone dumping raw sewage …

The first amendment guarantees free speech and a free press. Raw sewage is an inappropriate analogy.

Over the course of the last several weeks, we have repeatedly cited Supreme Court precendent, such as Fort Wayne Books, for the proposition that speech must not be entirely suppressed on a mere ex parte showing of probable cause.

CarlWeathersForPres (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

And Article 1 allows Congress to promote science and the useful arts by granting a limited monopoly to the inventors and authors. These are competing constitutional principles, and copyright analysis is done in light of the principles of free speech(dissemination of information).

Free speech and free press doesn’t mean you can say anything you want without repercussion(see Libel, obscenity, fighting words, child porn, commercial speech).

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Free speech and free press doesn’t mean you can say anything you want without repercussion(see Libel, obscenity, fighting words, child porn, commercial speech).

Nobody has argued otherwise. Why even bring that up?

The commenter above pointed you to Fort Wayne books. Why not look up that ruling.

All we’re asking for is an initial adversarial hearing prior to an injunction.

CarlWeathersForPres (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

But this isn’t necessarily a free speech issue. Fort Wayne is a case that derives the taking as an obscenity issue(in the realm of free speech) while here we’re in the mandate of IP and copyright, which although related, probably don’t have the same justifications(having not reviewed every piece of case law, I can’t speak for certain). I understand the justifications for not enjoining during an obscenity case, but it’s a different justification for copyright infringement.

Sorry for going off on the free speech thing, I’ve just seen other people bring up free speech as a justification, and having not read or understood why there was a link between the two I thought it was a BS justification that people threw out.

As far as current law I think AP v. INS gives a good rundown of the fundamentals at work(and what would probably be a pretty good guess of where some courts would start with analysis), although the copyright(and it was misappropriation not copyright, but it was made up on the spot to rectify what was going on because of the framework at the time) and 1st amendment law has changed, it does a good job of giving the underlying policy concerns. I think you could also look to the underlying principles of the fair use doctrine and how courts have come out on preliminary injunctions (although I didn’t agree with the decision the injunction from Sarah Palin on the first publication of some of the segments of her book).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

… a different justification for copyright infringement.

As has been pointed out repeatedly, the actual things seized here ?the domain names? are not even allegedly material covered by a copyright registration.

Whatever justifications there may be for enjoining publication of presumptively copyrighted material at the request of the registered copyright owner?those justifications cannot apply to publishing information that is not only not registered, but further is not at all copyrightable material.

CarlWeathersForPres (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

They seized the means for contributory infringement. It’s an analogous(although slightly more removed) step to seizing infringing material as it enters the country.

In terms of the injunction, I think it’s actually a pretty good example of copyright law trumping the freedom of press/speech, and why this injunction is not abridging the freedom of speech. As for the actual specifics, the court in the one situation probably screwed up(having not dug through every single blog post to research this, I will not comment on probability). It happens, but does that mean that every seizure is destroying free speech, is copyright/trademark infringement something that might be a means for the government limiting speech(i.e. does free speech outweigh the other legitimate concerns), those are the underlying concerns that you’d have to weigh against the economic concerns from not enjoining almost certain infringers.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

They seized the means for contributory infringement. It’s an analogous(although slightly more removed) step to seizing infringing material as it enters the country.

Read the affidavits. They did NOT argue contributory infringement, but direct infringement.

Throughout this thread, you keep making claims that we then have to tell you’re wrong about.

Please read up.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

And it’s been shown before that Fort Wayne books doesn’t work.

In that case, before any judgment on the merits of the obscenity charge, the ENTIRE bookstore was shuttered! Definitely not cool.

That isn’t what is happening with the ICE seizures. After the US goes to court with evidence, a warrant is issued by a judge. Then a domain, merely one cog in a website’s wheel, is seized.

Anonymous Coward says:

My standard answer is domain seizures are like police stopping you for expired tags and towing your car away. You don’t get an adversarial hearing for that either – until a later date. In the mean time, your car is impounded, have a nice day.

Collection of evidence and the stopping of the crime in progress is only the first steps towards legal action. Seizing the domain stops the ongoing crime, and the case is built from there.

If you waited for an adversarial challenge for each of these seizures, these sites could be up for years until it wends it’s way through the legal system, all the while illegal acts would continue and consumers would continue to be ripped off.

The government has it right on this one.

Kingster (profile) says:

Re: Re:

That’s not true at all. First, the police are your first “adversarial hearing”. If you can show that your tags aren’t expired (by way of a registration, or similar object) then you will likely be allowed to go on your merry way. Second, I find it highly unlikely that your car will get towed just for expired tags. It might get towed for something like expired tags, DUI, and a pound of cocaine inside.

Now if you want to try and equate this to some “police action” where they may instantaneously seize the car, then I would say that it could be something like one has been under police scrutiny for drug trafficking, they set up a sting operation, and the owner drives the vehicle with drugs in the car to the sting. Then, they would seize the vehicle for evidential purposes.

But guess what… There’s no evidence in a domain name. None.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

The investigators bring the evidence of infringement to a judge who signs off on a warrant for seizure. That’s due process. The domain is seized as something used in the act of a crime. Happens all the time.

This is basic stuff. You people here on Techdirt don’t like it because you support piracy. Next.

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

The domain isn’t used in the act of a crime. You don’t know how networking works do you? The servers are used in the act of the crime (Assuming there is one to begin with). Why don’t they confiscate those instead of letting them in the hands of the supposedly guilty where they can be destroyed with all the real evidence?

Kingster (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

I read what you posted over there on CopyHype. There’s nothing that indicates anything different than what I’ve said. They aren’t seizing anything that stops them from doing business. NOTHING. The domain name provides no more evidence than what could have been gathered without seizing the name. As ChurchHatesTucker mentioned below, they have done nothing but take the dealer’s name out of the directory listing – without turning off the phone number.

So, go ahead, seize the domain. It does NOTHING, other than make the owner spend another $7.

keiichi969 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

What’s being seized is evidence in the commission of a crime.

Can you seriously be that stupid? Do you even understand whats being seized?

They aren’t seizing the servers that actually HOST the content. they’re just making it so http://www.ICESEIZEDTHISPAGE.com points to the that little warning page they have, instead of the actual server.

Let me demonstrate.

To access the TD homepage, you type in http://www.techdirt.com.
The request goes out to what we call a DNS.
They have a big phonebook that says Techdirt.com = 208.53.48.33.
Your request then gets forwarded on to the server located at that address. it then gives you back the Techdirt home page.

What ICE is doing, is making it so that TechDirt.com points to a different IP address and server.

If they seized TD’s domain today, you can still access the site by going to 208.53.48.33 in your browser.

Go ahead, try it.

Do you see the problem now? No actual evidence is being siezed. The servers are still up and running, you just don’t have a nice URL that points to them any more.

And since a lot of sites that were siezed are based OUTSIDE the US, there never WILL be any kind of trial, because US law doesn’t apply to them!

So basically, the feds are trying to make the bad stuff go away, by putting their hands in front of your eyes. Yeah, thats going to be real effective.

Someantimalwareguy says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

No, from reading all posts to almost every article here at TD I would say your rhetoric does not meet reality.

The vast majority of serious posting and discussion centers around the implications and problems with copyright and the abuses of those who seek to twist the law into their own vision rather than what it actually is…

Just saying that everyone who objects to or finds fault with the current legal system are pirates ignores their fundamental right to express that opinion and seek appropriate redress from their Government; so your pithy assertions that they only say so because they are criminals is beneath contempt…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

“Second, I find it highly unlikely that your car will get towed just for expired tags.”

You dont get out to Jersey (or the east coast) much, do you? They will impound your car ANY time they can. They have a cozy relationship (read: kickbacks and bought legislators) with the towing companies that charge such exhorbitant rates, in many cases the cars never get out of pound. Guess what then? They get to keep them and sell them. A citizen loses his car over a $50 registration and the state gets several thousand dollars. Most states arent like this, but the ones that are are corrupt to the core.

Kingster (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I should also say that seizing the name does *not* stop the ongoing crime. It just stops it under that name. But so what? The server is still up and running, and if I’m a server op, people know how to get in touch with me. You better kill my twitter, my facebook, my IRC on some random network, etc. Because all they have to do is put the new name up (not really – just use the IP address!) and they are back in business.

This is like seizing a drug dealer’s phone number. And nothing else.

benthic (profile) says:

Path of least resistance

You are looking at this the wrong way.

Why should they bother with due process? That takes work filing all those briefs, issuing summons, assuring proper delivery of said summons, scheduling dates, dealing with responses.

By and large, the only reason that people subject themselves to jumping through hoops is because the alternative to jumping through those hoops is worse than the hoop jumping.

The FBI, TSA, NSA, DHS have been shown time and time again by Congress that there is NO downside for them to ignore proper channels or do things in a way that even vaguely conforms with due process.

So why should they bother? There will be no repercussions to their actions. Not so much as a slap on the wrist.

The have shown, by deeds and actions, that they feel that they know what is best for the rest of the citizens of this country and laws to the contrary be dammed. The are doing it for OUR good after all, so they feel that it gives them the right to engage in pretty much any illegal activity they choose.

Laws are for the ignorant masses, not for the people we charge with upholding and enforcing those laws. For them, they are merely suggestions to be ignored as needed in order to insure the common good.

The long term consequences of this sort of behavior are chilling. When you don’t punish someone for stealing they don’t steal less . . .they steal MORE. These people are not being punished for any of their actions. This will embolden them to increase both the frequency and the egregiousness of their transgressions against the laws of the country and the rights of it’s citizens.

Anonymous Coward says:

[T]he most extreme case of “seizure” has to be the arrest of an individual who under our law is innocent until proven guilty.

Except when Congress has, in time of rebellion or invasion, suspended the Great Writ of habeas corpus, then indefinite detention without speedy trial is unconstitutional.

“Pre-trial&rdqo; imprisonment is not made constitutional merely by some official’s press statement that the government might hold a trial someday.

average_joe says:

Going after sites that sell counterfeit goods makes a lot more sense than some of the other sites that were seized in the past, but there still are serious questions about the legality of such a seizure prior to any adversarial hearing

And what exactly are these “serious questions about the legality” in these counterfeit goods cases? I understand that you don’t like the seizures in general, but what specifically is illegal about them? Please cite the precise legal source for your claim that an adversary hearing is necessary before the domain name of a site that sells counterfeited goods may be seized. Your unsupported, conclusory claims of “no due process” are getting rather old. I know you can’t prove there is “no due process” in these in rem forfeiture actions because you are simply wrong. But rather than learn and understand what the law actually is, you just keep saying that it’s illegal. Your mind is so completely closed that you can’t accept the fact that seizing property under a court order that is used to commit crime is completely legal and completely comports with due process. How you can claim to have an open mind defies all logic.

I don’t know if this is the case or not, but how does ICE know that these sites did not believe they were selling legitimate products?

Really? Is that the best you can do? Whether or not the site operators believed that they were not breaking the law is irrelevant to the legality of the seizures. Besides, do you think the guy selling $20 “Rolexx” watches from China is somehow a victim of fraud himself? Your need to defend these pirates is absolutely disgusting. I expect no less from you, though. Anything to defend the pirates, right? Somehow “piracy is not OK,” yet you will go to great lengths to defend it using arguments that make no sense, all the while ignoring all other arguments to the contrary. The depth of your hypocrisy is for all practical purposes bottomless, and your denial of being a pirate apologist is a ridiculous lie that everyone who looks at can see right through.

We all know that you do not think that “piracy is not OK.” Why not just fess up?

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Please cite the precise legal source for your claim that an adversary hearing is necessary before the domain name of a site that sells counterfeited goods may be seized. Your unsupported, conclusory claims of “no due process” are getting rather old

I’ve written multiple blog posts with detailed cites.

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20101229/01381312444/yes-legal-technical-errors-homeland-securitys-domain-seizure-affidavit-do-matter.shtml

Why pretend I have not?

I know you can’t prove there is “no due process” in these in rem forfeiture actions because you are simply wrong. But rather than learn and understand what the law actually is, you just keep saying that it’s illegal. Your mind is so completely closed that you can’t accept the fact that seizing property under a court order that is used to commit crime is completely legal and completely comports with due process. How you can claim to have an open mind defies all logic.

And yet, when I have presented the evidence you attack me with unfounded assertions and blatant lies and attacks on my character. Do you think that’s convincing over the actual evidence of what the case law says?

I’m sorry that you disagree with my analysis. Thankfully, we’re about to see what real lawyers in real courts have to say about this. You’ll see the details soon, but many of the previous domain seizures are about to be fought in court, and there are some very impressive lawyers involved.

Really? Is that the best you can do? Whether or not the site operators believed that they were not breaking the law is irrelevant to the legality of the seizures.

Wait, you’re actually suggesting that innocent until proven guilty is not a good standard to use?

We all know that you do not think that “piracy is not OK.” Why not just fess up?

Because, despite your insipid need to claim otherwise, I do not think piracy is okay. How difficult is it for you to separate the messenger from what’s happening? It’s a little scary.

average_joe says:

Re: Re: Re:

I’ve written multiple blog posts with detailed cites.

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20101229/01381312444/yes-legal-technical-errors-homeland- securitys-domain-seizure-affidavit-do-matter.shtml

Why pretend I have not?

Once again you duck the issue. Please explain the exact legal reasoning for why the seizure of these suspected trademark-infringing domain names violates due process. No links, no waffling,,, the exact analysis. If you cannot give this analysis, then admit it.

And yet, when I have presented the evidence you attack me with unfounded assertions and blatant lies and attacks on my character. Do you think that’s convincing over the actual evidence of what the case law says?

Show us the exact case law to which you are referring. Otherwise, you’re blowing smoke.

I’m sorry that you disagree with my analysis. Thankfully, we’re about to see what real lawyers in real courts have to say about this. You’ll see the details soon, but many of the previous domain seizures are about to be fought in court, and there are some very impressive lawyers involved.

What analysis? You do realize that trademark infringement is different than copyright infringement, right?

Wait, you’re actually suggesting that innocent until proven guilty is not a good standard to use?

They are innocent until proven guilty. That does not mean that the domain names cannot be seized prior to an adversary hearing. Try again.

Because, despite your insipid need to claim otherwise, I do not think piracy is okay. How difficult is it for you to separate the messenger from what’s happening? It’s a little scary.

Piracy’s not OK, yet you defend it every single chance you get. Do you think your readers are stupid?

Look, Mike, you can put this to rest right now. Prove right here, right now that these seizures violate due process.

Killer_Tofu (profile) says:

You would think ..

.. that anyone buying from REPLICA-HANDBAGS-ONLINE.COM just might, just maybe, realize they are not buying the real thing? The website itself says it is replica handbags. How is that counterfeiting when they state right up front that they are fake? (that was one of the sites seized by ICE this time on their list on their webpage -> http://www.ice.gov/news/releases/1102/110214washingtondc.htm )

Gwiz (profile) says:

Summation

To sum up the arguments of the people supporting these seizures:

– Terry Hart says it’s lawful, so it must be.

– ICE has seized more (and more) domain names, so it must be lawful (even though they haven’t waited to see if the first ones actually are lawful)

– A judge signed (rubber stamped) them and judges NEVER make mistakes.

– And the best one yet: These are legal, trust me, no need to look deeper into these, trust me, this is for YOUR protection, trust me.

Anonymous Coward says:

Beyond Copyright now...

On Friday, ICE seized 7 domain names and added a CHILD PORNOGRAPHY warning

fears33.com
gejotyz.com
gidenig.com
gland15.com
kosapo.com
nifexob.com
mooo.com

That last one on the list is a FreeDNS host and ICE made it seem like all users of it (83,000+ subdomains) were pedophiles, when there was probably only one bad apple on the service. ICE unseized the mooo.com domain on Sunday and decided not to tell the public about it in Monday’s press release.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Beyond Copyright now...

The seizure warning only spoke about the child pornography. Add “74.81.170.110 mooo.com” to your HOSTS file or search for “seized mooo.com” w/o quotes on Bing and view the cached copies while you still can. The filename shown is “C3_Banner_2011_02.gif”(same file that’s on the other 6 domain names). It’s not the copyright warning jpgs and gifs that are on other names. They targeted mooo.com for child porn and everything else was collateral damage.

These other seizures have only really been a few at a time. They add up to over 125 now, but that’s small in comparison to 83K subdomains on a hosting provider. It’s chilling for all free/shared hosting providers and users.

Imagine waking up one day and your Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, or Blogpress page is seized due to child pornography… Here’s one user’s reaction:

http://stop-error.xanga.com/741136585/from-the-blithering-idiots-department/

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Beyond Copyright now...

Are you trying to divert attention from the mooo.com part of the seizures?

ICE knew they seized that domain name without enough evidence to seize it, and the only reason it was given back was when they realized the backlash would be too high if they left it like that. The fact they were able to seize it in the first place is incredibly disturbing.

Hell, the even the name of this new operation is disturbing. “Operation Protect Our Children”? Seems like their next move is to play the “but… but.. think of the children” card to Congress.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Beyond Copyright now...

It’s not a website, it’s a domain name that anyone can freely add subdomains to, if they have a FreeDNS account.

ICE took it down, likely because a single account holder was doing something with child pornography. Then ICE gave it back because 83,000+ wrongly applied child pornography seizure notices would be bad for them in the press as well in the courts. Users reputation and lives were put at stake. Ever heard of vigilante justice when it comes to pedophiles?

FreeDNS’s news page talks about the seizure and how the owner never allowed that stuff. ICE could have contacted him to remove the subdomain. Instead they went to Verisign behind everyone’s back. If ICE can’t tell the difference between a user of a service and the service itself, why should they be given the power to seize domains???

“FreeDNS(sic) has never allowed this type of abuse of its DNS service.”

https://freedns.afraid.org/news/

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Beyond Copyright now...

“Quick Mike… make out an argument that because there were chat rooms and forums on these sites, the seizures constitute prior restraint!!”

Quick AC… make out an argument for how taking away the domain name while not doing anything to deal with the apparent crimes helps children.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Beyond Copyright now...

Actually I am not sure that an explanation would not be needed for sending a site undercover, rather than monitoring it and acting on any criminality discovered.

But we are not talking about shutting down the site, we are talking about taking a domain name which as has been discussed here already in other contexts, does absolutely nothing to shut the site down, nothing to seize the servers, but does mean that they won’t know what name it will be going by within a few hours or days. All the while, if children are being abused, they will still be being abused.

But way to miss the point and try to make yourself out as the moralist while you have your head in the sand for no apparent reason, other than perhaps, to block out the sure and certain knowledge that nothing has been done to prevent children from actually being abused.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Beyond Copyright now...

See there is providing a surface pretence of dealing with child abuse and actually dealing with child abuse.
The pretence is certainly easier and cheaper, but doesn’t help anyone: see the catholic church for how successful an approach this is.

Genuinely addressing the problem, more costly, more time consuming and more distressing but most people who weren’t intrinsically wired to be moronic antagonists would prefer that approach as it actually helps people who are being victimised and exploited.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Beyond Copyright now...

Thanks for clarifying. Of course you make a few assumptions of your own. First, that law enforcement is incapable of doing more than one thing at a time. Seizure is not necessarily the only remedy to be taken against these sites. It gets the website down while they continue their investigation of the criminal activity taking place. If you have evidence to the contrary, please provide it.

Second, and more fundamentally, of course seizing the domain names has an effect on these sites’ ability to drive traffic to the site, sell ads, and profit from child porn. Torrent-finder lost 90% of its traffic almost immediately (link). I can’t believe I actually have to point that out to you.

Any other arguments in defense of leaving the poor child porn proprietors alone?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Beyond Copyright now...

So I expand to take account of your simple mindedness,
you thank me for clarification before then implying that anything or indeed everything I said was in defense of “leaving poor child porn proprietors alone”

If law enforcement were winding up an investigation they would be seizing servers and arresting people, leaving absolutely no need for the domains to be seized.

As they are only talking about seizing domains, then that is all we can assume they are doing right now.

Which means whatever children are being exploited are still being exploited and nothing has actually changed, but cretins like you will be satisfied that “something is being done” and accuse anyone who feels that actual abuse is considerably more important than domain names of supporting the exploitation of children.

So, Torrent-finder lost 90% of it’s traffic and to you that’s a win?
So the 90% it lost no longer download torrents?
Clue you in, they didn’t stop downloading files, they just got them elsewhere, I don’t know where, but you might.
If those other sites get shut down, those who would download files will go elsewhere, eventually, you won’t know where or how but it will still happen.
Exactly the same applies to child porn websites, monitor them, track the users, track children at risk and get them out of there would all be good things.
Seizing the domain names while the rest continues, moronic.
It’s giving up your best access for some headlines.
Guess it’s just the headlines that count with you.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Beyond Copyright now...

Guess it’s just the headlines that count with you

Zing! God you’re good.

So your evidence that law enforcement isn’t doing anything else to investigate and/or prosecute those involved with these sites is… that no servers have been seized yet? Got it. Very persuasive.

And your follow-up argument is that shutting down some child porn sites means people will go elsewhere? That’s a success in my book. Do you expect any law enforcement action to immediately eliminate every act of that specific criminal activity? Good luck with that.

Honestly, you’re arguing in favor of child porn sites because you think it doesn’t act as a magic bullet in wiping out all of the criminal activity at once? Really, it’s okay to say you are wrong sometimes.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Beyond Copyright now...

“Honestly, you’re arguing in favor of child porn sites because you think it doesn’t act as a magic bullet in wiping out all of the criminal activity at once?”

1) I am not arguing in favour of child porn sites, I am arguing about the best way of dealing with them to protect children from abuse and exploitation and to bring those who do abuse and exploit children to justice.

2) I am not opposed to the seizure of these domain names because it doesn’t act as a magic bullet in wiping out all of the criminal activity at once, but because it doesn’t wipe out any criminal activity at all.

You are arguing that a fraud that gives the impression of tackling child abuse, while not doing anything of the sort and which would actually hamper the ability to discover abusers and their victims is a good and useful thing, when it clearly is nothing of the kind.
Just like when the Catholic church would move an abuser from one parish to another, that was doing something!
It just wasn’t useful or helpful and the abusers replacement had a fair chance of being an abuser moved from another parish to take up where the first one left off.

” Really, it’s okay to say you are wrong sometimes.”

You should try it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:9 Beyond Copyright now...

but because it doesn’t wipe out any criminal activity at all

What?! Shutting down 90% of a site’s traffic or more has NO EFFECT on the amount of ad revenues coming into a proprietor of one of these sites? Let’s walk through this in baby steps for you: if law enforcement shuts down the domain, users can’t visit as easily, owners can’t make as much money… law enforcement shuts down significantly more sites and the owners continue make less money, don’t buy ads, thereby reducing funding going toward exploitive content… and, hopefully, the net result is less content produced thereby helping children. AT THE SAME TIME, law enforcement continues to investigate and prosecute those who use the sites, further curbing the unlawful activity.

How you can argue against these seizures is beyond me.

which would actually hamper the ability to discover abusers and their victims

Where do you come up with this stuff? The servers, including all of the data are still there, remember? So how is any investigation hindered? You think law enforcement will forget where to find it without a domain name? Or that they haven’t mapped and saved the entirety of the sites’ content already?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Beyond Copyright now...

“Seizure is not necessarily the only remedy to be taken against these sites. It gets the website down while they continue their investigation of the criminal activity taking place”

2 points,
a) seizure of the domain names is not a remedy at all
primarily because
b) it does not get the websites down, the websites remain up
but now the users of the website know to hide, destroy or otherwise make unavailable any evidence that there might be.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:10 Beyond Copyright now...

If someone posts links to kiddy porn in a techdirt comment could the feds use that as pretense to seize the site for 26 hours like mooo.com?

These seizures for the most part have been executed by newer agents that don’t do enough research. They are probably told by their superiors what to seize and when it’s due (every major holiday and event). If you go back and read the seizure warrant from November, there’s a page in there where the agent communicates with RapGodFathers’ ISP and twice states he didn’t disclose and information to the ISP about the investigation. Why are they so afraid of working with ISPs? Have their big media funded IPR Center “teachers” told them not to?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:11 Beyond Copyright now...

If someone posts links to kiddy porn in a techdirt comment could the feds use that as pretense to seize the site for 26 hours like mooo.com?

This site, despite my complete disagreement with it’s owner, is well maintained. I doubt such a thing could happen. It’s seriously difficult to even imagine such a scenario.

I’m not sure what legal responsibilities afraid.org have over what happens on their sites; that’s obviously a lot of ground to cover for them, but I’m sure their TOS does not allow porn, so the matter should have been dealt with through them.

While I realize that mistakes happen, whoever was in charge of the mooo.com investigation at ICE should be fired tomorrow.

keiichi969 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Beyond Copyright now...

I’m going to point this back at my earlier comment, which you seem to have missed.

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110214/16451913091/homeland-security-seizes-another-18-domain-names-with-no-adversarial-hearings-due-process.shtml#c1594

They aren’t shutting down anything. they’re just removing the name from the phone book. meanwhile, the sites are still perfectly accessable to anyone with the IP address.

And since child pornography is such an underground topic, I can tell you they probably don’t use domains, instead hiding their wares behind IPs and not letting the web-spiders crawl them.

So again, the feds are trying to make the bad stuff go away, by putting their hands in front of your eyes.

Hear no evil, see no evil, there must be no evil, right?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Beyond Copyright now...

Exactly. ICE is either that stupid or they just want to rack the domain seizures up and compare the decrease in hits as a victory to Congress. They might pretend the new domain names don’t exist at all and cite the number of abandoned ones that aren’t fought for in court.

Then one day when the new COICA bill goes in front of Congress they will say “You wouldn’t stop us from protecting the children would you?” instead of crying the message “Big media is losing billions of dollars here!” which has been getting the most backlash.

Well played ICE, well played…

Anonymous Coward says:

It, is not just the fact that the domains owners may/may not have been engaged in nefarious acts. Rather, what gives ICE the authority to do what they’ve started doing only recently ? Among many others I am sure, I personally do not recognize this organizations authority.

Strip searching American citizens in airports, flying in, or out of america. Now seizing domain names for questionable reasons.

What kind of twisted reasoning is this ? Where an organization is put into place for “Homeland security”, and yet, seems to be practicing the complete opposite ? Not to mention the fact that, I do not even recall being given the opportunity to vote on said groups existence at all.

Yeah, so much for freedom, and the American way of life . . .

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop ยป