ICE Seizes Another 150 Domains As SOPA/PIPA Debate Heats Up

from the this-is-how-censorship-works dept

Torrentfreak was the first to point out that Homeland Security’s ICE group has ramped up their domain seizures, seizing 131 domains on Friday. They also grabbed one more today. That last one is interesting, since the seizure came on a .com that was actually transferred from a DNS provider in Australia, which raises additional questions about ICE’s jurisdiction here (though may explain why the transfer came two days later). Update: that last one looks like it was a prank. However, ICE has officially announced that it seized 150 domains — and of course, timed it to coincide with “Cyber Monday.” Nothing like the feds propping up a marketing campaign.

It looks like, as it has done recently, most of these seizures focused on trademark issues with sites selling counterfeit goods. These are somewhat less troubling than some of last year’s seizures of blogs and forums that had tons of protected speech — and which appeared to link to content that was sent by copyright holders directly for promotional purposes. Still there are significant questions concerning the legality of such seizures, with ongoing challenges. It kind of makes you wonder if ICE is ramping up these seizures for a reason. The challenges concerning its authority to do so continue, while SOPA and PIPA, which would expand its ability to do these kinds of seizures, has been running into more speedbumps than expected. So might as well seize as many domains as possible before the party ends…

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Comments on “ICE Seizes Another 150 Domains As SOPA/PIPA Debate Heats Up”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Happy Domain Name Seizure Day

That domain name you linked to isn’t seized. It doesn’t have any of the registry lock Statuses in the WHOIS results (serverDeleteProhibited, serverTransferProhibited, serverUpdateProhibited). It’s someone playing a prank.

There was a press release posted this morning on about the seizures with statements from Eric Holder and John Morton.

150 domain names, no arrests.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Happy Domain Name Seizure Day

That domain name you linked to isn’t seized. It doesn’t have any of the registry lock Statuses in the WHOIS results (serverDeleteProhibited, serverTransferProhibited, serverUpdateProhibited). It’s someone playing a prank.

Yup. Updated. Thanks.

There was a press release posted this morning on about the seizures with statements from Eric Holder and John Morton.

Also updated. Thanks again!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Small question

I’m sure Pirate-lover Mike will post the judge’s order as soon as it’s available.

Along with that, he’ll post his usual idiotic blathering about the legality of the seizures, despite the fact that they’re completely legal and no one has gotten a US court to say otherwise.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Small question

How many seizures over the years have there been now, Masnick?

What number are we up to, eh?

I believe it’s pushing 400 now.

When are you going to admit that ICE is perfectly within its jurisdiction seizing these domains?

You are pretty damn impatient. Let’s wait and see what happens. These things take time. Multiple challenges are underway and let’s just see how they turn out.

I can’t wait to see you respond when one of these cases goes completely against you.

:Lobo Santo (profile) says:

Re: Small question

This is nothing new.

Law enforcement steals from people all the time, they just don’t normally refer to it as stealing.

Seriously, look into “police seizures”–it’s where the cops steal your stuff, never give it back (regardless of whether or not you’ve even been charged with a crime) and later sell your stolen stuff at auction for a profit.

This is just more of the same thing that been going on for years; everybody else is making money in the cyber-space and law enforcement is now attempting to make money there too.

Expect “seized domain” auctions any month now.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Small question

I don’t think there will be many challenges the reason being they will go after the little guys so not to spook the real targets and the little guys innocent or not don’t have the resources(i.e. money, time and people) to fight those things and I also believe they don’t even have the will to do so, it is easier to just abandon something and start another, is lke creating email accounts if you get one closed you learn to make backups and how to create a new account and you reseed your location informing your core audience(i.e. family, friends, VIPs in your life).

If it gets absurd people can always create another internet layer that governments will have no control over it, then ICE is screwed since they are drinking people to the unknown waters where everything goes and I mean everything good and bad.

This is why I don’t think people are up in arms just yet, it doesn’t matter, but once they start arresting people things could get volatile, because then you give people a very real good reason to fight it to the end, specially if you live in Canada, UK, Australia or other countries that have extradition treaties with the US.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

They are ramping these up to fit the whole storyline of our IP is being stolen everywhere. That the world does not respect us and we need stronger laws at home so we can try and censor the whole world.

We don’t have enough problems with everything in the country now, we need to focus on the needs and desires of a few corporations who will help fill the war chests for the upcoming elections.

This is not about helping the country, it is about staying in office.

Anonymous Coward says:

“most of these seizures focused on trademark issues with sites selling counterfeit goods. These are somewhat less troubling than some of last year’s seizures”

They’re just trying to prove that they can do it right and not seize anything legitimate as an excuse to pass SOPA which will give them broader powers. Once the bill is passed, though, they will go right back to being lazy and carelessly seizing legitimate material without doing their homework first. This is just a stunt.

Anonymous Coward says:

I notice most of those seizures are from counterfeit websites. How funny, those sites are the most impervious to any action taken against them. They always have hundreds, sometimes thousands of different domains and rotate between them all the time. Short of shutting down the whole internet, there is no way you can take them out.

Anonymous Coward says:

I generally disagree with these seizures, but only when dealing with non-digital goods. There is a huge difference between getting counterfeit merchandise and getting a digital copy. While physical “copies” are oftentimes inferior, in the case of digital goods, it’s usually the originals that are inferior. Case in point, Ultraviolet. You never hear anyone say “I just bought an authentic NFL jersey but the god damn DRM on it prevents me from wearing it except on game days at my home stadium!”

Anonymous Coward says:

I don’t particularly care about what happens to counterfeit goods sites, but I’m still concerned about ICE acting as if a law that granted it the right to seize sites had already been passed.

I guess laws are like locks; they only keep out honest men.

ICE already has authority under existing law. They don’t need SOPA to continue seizures like today.

Anonymous Coward says:

I just peeked at the list and decided to use the way back machine on

In the “about us” the site clearly states that they are a Chinese manufacturer and nothing about the site implies that the merchandise is authorized by the NFL. I’m asumming they are using the NFL logo but I doubt that a moron in a hurry would believe these are endorsed by the NFL. Also, China has a trademark office, why are they not pursuing these people through the Chinese legal system? Maybe it’s too much work? There is only so much you can expect from a group that works 1/3 of the year and makes huge sums of money doing so.

:Lobo Santo (profile) says:


I would like to offer to all ICE officers, Congress-persons and Senators the ultimate censorship device: a blindfold/earplug combination. (I call it, the blind-plug.)

The above mentioned persons can easily censor the whole world just by wearing their personal blind-plug for as long as they’d like–remember, if you don’t see/hear it, it’s not there!

Just 15 easy payments of $99.99
Call now to get the 'executive luxury blind-plug' at no additional cost!

Anonymous Coward says:

Seizing websites of counterfeit goods traffickers may work in this day and age. However, imagine a world in which 3D printing evolves to the point that it’s home-use becomes ubiquitous and can be used by infringers who download schematics from file sharing sites in order to print their own counterfeits. We are already seeing such cases as the Super 8 alien cubes that prove this will already be possible. In fact, I will guarantee that this will be the next industry-upsetting technology in the very near future. What then? What business model will the producers of all physical goods adapt once I can print my own NFL jerseys at home that are identical to the ones I can buy from a licensed NFL reseller? You are naive if you don’t think this type of home-production of physical goods will never come to pass.

Someantimalwareguy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

However, imagine a world in which 3D printing evolves to the point that it’s home-use becomes ubiquitous…

It will only be a matter of time before this becomes a reality as people begin realizing that the global ponzi scheme is going to eventually leave them in a bad position (if they are not there already). As politics are local, so shall consumer fulfillment/manufacturing in the future and “sales” will simply be for design schematics/code to reproduce when required or needed.

…In fact, I will guarantee that this will be the next industry-upsetting technology in the very near future. What then? What business model will the producers of all physical goods adapt once I can print my own NFL jerseys at home that are identical to the ones I can buy from a licensed NFL reseller? …

And think of the savings in fuel, materials, labor, and shipping if this were to become possible. We are already headed in that direction so why not get on the bus and put your business models together now?

Life is change – get with it or get out of the way before you get run over…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

And what’s wrong with that? If I can duplicate something, without depriving someone else of the same thing there is no harm done.

I can take the basic frame of a 1990 something Mustang and using it and additional parts, I can easily recreate a 1960 something Mustang. Does that mean I have stolen from Ford? No.

3D printing is in a way comparable. I am taking a few bits and pieces from various sources and using them to create something that is a replica of something else.

There is no harm in that. As long as no one is saying “This IS a Ford Mustang.” Or “This IS an officially licensed NFL jersey.” In fact, I think most people will even go so far as to say “this IS NOT [insert product name/what have you here], but this is a REPLICA/COPY I produced myself using a 3D printer”.

Also, the Super 8 alien cube was created entirely off an image from the movie. The actual cube was NOT being manufactured or released in any way, shape or form by the creators of the movie. Someone took it upon themselves to do that. Should they have licensed it? Perhaps. If what they were selling was claiming to be officially licensed. Otherwise, it’s just a really well done replica of something from a movie. (In case you aren’t aware, people do create such things all the time. There is a pretty well done paper machete, if memory serves me correctly, replica/costume of the War Machine armor from Iron Man 2. People have done at home, amazing versions of the Portal gun. And so on and so forth, no harm done in any of those cases. None of those were/are products that are being distributed by the original creators. Should all the people who created those things be sued or jailed for having the audacity to create something that wasn’t in existence at the time beyond a mere sketch/photo/video still? The answer is a most certain “NO”. Unless you just want to start getting ridiculous. As in “if it can be made, and I originally came up with the idea which never led to me actually making something, which you then took way too many steps forward and ACTUALLY made a product, you owe me you thief!”)

As for your question, what business model will they adapt once you can print your own NFL jersey at home identical to the ones you can buy from a licensed NFL reseller?

Well, they can adapt a new one or stick with the same one. Not everyone will be doing 3D printing at home, much the same way not everyone downloads a song, movie, tv show or book. Much the same way I can get great world class recipes online, but much rather just try and come up with something similar on my own OR just buy the meal from a restaurant or in a pre-packaged form from the grocery store.

No one is saying this type of home-production won’t come to pass. But people are saying just because technology is evolving and making things easier to produce/replicate DOES NOT mean you should outright ban the use and creation of said technology in the first place just because you may not like the technology itself or the fact that some people may use it for purposes you do not approve of.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I see, and your point is…?

So if it’s all a copy, including that which is produced for consumption by the public, aren’t in fact, by the logic used by you and your ilk, the studios/labels guilty of copyright infringement? Thus, shouldn’t they be held to the same standards as John and Jane Doe?

Or do the rules not apply to them?

Because you just said, all content, any whatsoever, is already a copy.

Which leads me to think that since the studios/labels are PROFITING off of their “works”, they’re guilty of copyright infringement (for profit) on a massive scale. Thus they should be in even more hot water than any person/group/company that they’ve brought charges against.

Let’s not play the semantics game, you won’t win against me. Besides, I saw up above somewhere you write something about “pirate mike” and what have you. You’re not even worth having a serious discussion of ANY kind with. Ignore my comments, I’ll ignore yours. K, sweetheart?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

I am certainly not defending his comment as I see the studios and labels as making money off the work of others, which fits with your “they are guilty of infringement too” argument. But the difference is that these labels and studios have agreements with whom they steal, er infringe, from. They legalize their copy infringement through lopsided contracts.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

I, as the original poster to bring up 3D printing above, was not doing so to decry the “pirating” of physical goods that 3D printing will allow. I was thinking more along the lines of “if you think it’s bad now, just wait, you haven’t seen nothing yet.”

Look at how the dinosaur music and movie industries are crying now and how the government reacts. Imagine how bad the government will act once 3D printing hits the soon-to-be dinosaur manufacturing industry. The current wrangling over “jobs lost” due to piracy of digital goods will pale in comparison.

zzz says:

who knows about any of that, the point is that copyright laws have gotten out of hand. while blatantly doing a copy-paste and handing it in as ones own work is wrong the steps to prevent that have become retarded. the exchange of ideas is how civilization advances and the “people” in power have always tryed to censor and inhibit this exchange. now with computer networking through EM data signals the exchange of ideas is faster paced than ever.
just like how in the 1930s cannabis was made illegal because hemp was a better agricultural product that was economicly feasible than lumber, and the lumber industry stood to lose in paper production so lobbyed to outlaw the best crop humans have ever cultivated. or more recently new energy technology and research has been sanctioned fined and unfairly taxed world wide because of oil lobbyists, today the status quo want to extend that to free information.

free information does not hurt anyone besides gross corporations profits and oppressive social systems (personally as a comic book artist i wouldnt care if my work was scanned and read on the internet because people would be reading my work i dont care about money) also i would never work for marvel or dc drawing someone elses ideas as copyrighted art for a salary, fuck that
the world will never change untill money is taken out of the equation and for that we need to solver hunger and disease (both fields of research are devoted to making money and not solving the problems)

all these issues are why world war 3 will happen and most of us will die because of it….. [to those to survive its up to them to make the first warp flight and make first contact with the Vulcans]- this is a joke and i dont believe that warp travel will end up being feasible because if u look at the math, the warp vessel will have to be a train… look it up (lol)
but alot of ideas from star trek are good ones ( like the replicator) and it will be invented in the future

if u can “3D print” a football jersey than why not food or medicine? then the medical industry can work on research that isnt 99% copying existing drugs and will consist of finding new cures and preventions to all pathogens

the coveting of wealth which has served to bring us this far now is inhibiting our further growth and by making everything readily available we can focus on pure advancement

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