Hide Techdirt is off for the long weekend! We'll be back with our regular posts tomorrow.

Breaking News: Feds Falsely Censor Popular Blog For Over A Year, Deny All Due Process, Hide All Details…

from the copyright-as-censorship dept

Imagine if the US government, with no notice or warning, raided a small but popular magazine’s offices over a Thanksgiving weekend, seized the company’s printing presses, and told the world that the magazine was a criminal enterprise with a giant banner on their building. Then imagine that it never arrested anyone, never let a trial happen, and filed everything about the case under seal, not even letting the magazine’s lawyers talk to the judge presiding over the case. And it continued to deny any due process at all for over a year, before finally just handing everything back to the magazine and pretending nothing happened. I expect most people would be outraged. I expect that nearly all of you would say that’s a classic case of prior restraint, a massive First Amendment violation, and exactly the kind of thing that does not, or should not, happen in the United States.

But, in a story that’s been in the making for over a year, and which we’re exposing to the public for the first time now, this is exactly the scenario that has played out over the past year — with the only difference being that, rather than “a printing press” and a “magazine,” the story involved “a domain” and a “blog.”

There are so many things about this story that are crazy, it’s difficult to know where to start, so let’s give the most important point first: The US government has effectively admitted that it totally screwed up and falsely seized & censored a non-infringing domain of a popular blog, having falsely claimed that it was taking part in criminal copyright infringement. Then, after trying to hide behind a totally secretive court process with absolutely no due process whatsoever (in fact, not even serving papers on the lawyer for the site or providing timely notifications — or providing any documents at all), for over a year, the government has finally realized it couldn’t hide any more and has given up, and returned the domain name to its original owner. If you ever wanted to understand why ICE’s domain seizures violate the law — and why SOPA and PROTECT IP are almost certainly unconstitutional — look no further than what happened in this case.

Okay, now some details. First, remember Dajaz1.com? It was one of the sites seized over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend back in 2010 — a little over a year ago. Those seizures struck us as particularly interesting, because among the sites seized were a bunch of hip hop blogs, including a few that were highly ranked on Vibe’s list of the top hip hop blogs. These weren’t the kinds of things anyone would expect, when supporters of these domain seizures and laws like SOPA and PROTECT IP talk of “rogue sites.” Blogs would have lots of protected speech, and in the hip hop community these blogs, in particular, were like the new radio. Artists routinely leaked their works directly to these sites in order to promote their albums. We even pointed to a few cases of stars like Kanye West and Diddy tweeting links to some of the seized domains in the past.

In fact, as the details came out, it became clear that ICE and the Justice Department were in way over their heads. ICE’s “investigation” was done by a technically inept recent college grad, who didn’t even seem to understand the basics of the technology. But it didn’t stop him from going to a judge and asking for a site to be completely censored with no due process.

The Dajaz1 case became particularly interesting to us, after we saw evidence showing that the songs that ICE used in its affidavit as “evidence” of criminal copyright infringement were songs sent by representatives of the copyright holder with the request that the site publicize the works — in one case, even coming from a VP at a major music label. Even worse, about the only evidence that ICE had that these songs were infringing was the word of the “VP of Anti-Piracy Legal Affairs for the RIAA,” Carlos Linares, who was simply not in a position to know if the songs were infringing or authorized. In fact, one of the songs involved an artist not even represented by an RIAA label, and Linares clearly had absolutely no right to speak on behalf of that artist.

Despite all of this, the government simply seized the domain, put up a big scary warning graphic on the site, suggesting its operators were criminals, and then refused to comment at all about the case. Defenders of the seizures insisted that this was all perfectly legal and nothing to be worried about. They promised us that the government had every right to do this and plenty of additional evidence to back up its claims. They promised us that the government would allow for plenty of due process within a reasonable amount of time. They also insisted that, after hearing nothing happening in the case for many months, it meant that no attempt to object to the seizure had occurred. Turns out… none of that was true.

What happened next is a story that should never happen in the US. It’s like something out of Kafka or the movie Brazil, but it should never have happened under the US Constitution. First, you have to understand the two separate processes: there’s seizure and then there’s forfeiture. Under the seizure laws, the government has 60 days from seizure to “notify” those whose property it seized (imagine having the government swoop in and take away your property, and not even being told why for two whole months). Once notified, the property owner has 35 days to file a claim to request the return of the property. If that doesn’t happen, the government can effectively just keep the property, so it tends to rely on intimidation and threats towards anyone who indicates plans to ask for their property back (usually in the form of threatening to file charges). However, if such a claim is filed, the government then has 90 days to start the full “forfeiture” process, which would allow the government to keep the seized property and never have to give it back. If the claim to return the property is filed and the government does not file for forfeiture, it is required to return the property. Thus seizures are supposedly used as a temporary part of the investigation, to stop criminal activity or to prevent the destruction of evidence. However, that’s not how things always play out in real life.

As we’d heard with a number of domain names that had been seized, the government began stalling like mad when contacted by representatives for domain holders seeking to get their domains back. ICE even flat out lied to the public, stating that no one was challenging the seizures, when it knew full well that some sites were, in fact, challenging. Out of that came the Rojadirecta case, but what of Dajaz1?

After continuing to stall and refusing to respond to Dajaz1’s filing requesting the domain be returned, the government told Dajaz1’s lawyer, Andrew P. Bridges, that it would begin forfeiture procedures (as required by law if it wanted to keep the domain). Bridges made clear that Dajaz1 would challenge the forfeiture procedure and seek to get the domain name back at that time. Then, the deadline for the government to file for forfeiture came and went and nothing apparently happened. Absolutely nothing. Bridges contacted the government to ask what was going on, and was told that the government had received an extension from the court. Bridges, quite reasonably, asked how that was possible without him, as counsel for the site, being informed of it or given a chance to make the case for why such an extension was improper.

He also asked for a copy of the the court’s order allowing the extension. The government told him no and that the extension was filed under seal and could not be released, even in redacted form.

He asked for the motion papers asking for the extension. The government told him no and that the papers were filed under seal and could not be released, even in redacted form.

He again asked whether he would be notified about further filings for extensions. The government told him no.

He then asked the US attorney to inform the court that, if the government made another request for an extension, the domain owner opposed the extension and would like the opportunity to be heard. The government would not agree.

And file further extensions the government did. Repeatedly. Or, at least that’s what Bridges was told. He sent someone to investigate the docket at the court, but the docket itself was secret, meaning there was no record of any of this available.

The government was required to file for forfeiture by May. The initial (supposed) secret extension was until July. Then it got another one that went until September. And then another one until November… or so the government said. When Bridges asked the government for some proof that it had actually obtained the extensions in question, the government attorney told Bridges that he would just have “trust” him.

Finally, the government decided that it would not file a forfeiture complaint — because there was no probable cause — and it let the last (supposed) extension expire. Only after Bridges asked again for the status of the domain did the government indicate that it would return the domain to its owner — something that finally happened today. Dajaz1.com is finally back in the hands of its rightful owner. This is really quite incredible, considering the “rush” with which it seized these domain names, claiming the urgency in stopping a crime in progress. But, of course, after realizing that it had no evidence to suggest a crime was ever in progress – there was absolutely no urgency to correct the error.

The level of secrecy in this case makes it sound like a terrorist investigation, not the censorship of a popular music blog. Normally, when there’s a lawsuit, the docket is available on PACER. Even in cases where things are filed under seal or everything is redacted, there’s at least a placeholder for them in PACER. This case does not exist anywhere that anyone can find. The docket was apparently kept hidden in a judge’s office in Los Angeles the whole time. No one knew this was going on, other than the US Attorney and the representatives of Dajaz1 (who still never saw the docket or the extension orders).

Let’s just take stock here for a second. We have the government clearly censoring free speech in the form of a blog that discussed the music world and was widely recognized for its influence in promoting new acts. The government seized the blog with no adversarial hearing and no initial due process. Then, rather than actually provide some sort of belated due process in the form of an adversarial hearing, it continued to deny any and all due process by secretly (even to Dajaz1’s own lawyer) extending the seizure without any way to challenge those extensions. All in all, the government completely censored a popular web site for over a year, when it had no real evidence for probable cause of infringement, as it had falsely claimed in the original rubber stamped affidavit. As we noted in reviewing the affidavit, the case had been put together by folks who clearly did not understand the law, the site or the music space. But to then double down on that and continue to hold the domain for a year in secret? That just compounds the error and takes it to new extremes.

This was flat out censorship for no reason, for an entire year, by the US government… Everyone should be horrified by this. It also shows what a joke the claims of supporters are that since “a judge reviewed the affidavit,” there’s due process. Without the other party, there is no real due process. Not only that, but the government made sure, at every step of the way, that the other party was not heard. That’s horrifying. It wasn’t just an act of omission in leaving out the party, but actively preventing the party from being heard.

And yet the feds and private companies continue to say we should just “trust them” to get these kinds of things right? Even more bizarre, they want to expand their ability to do this incontestable censorship through laws like PROTECT IP and SOPA? If anything, this massive screwup on the part of ICE, the Justice Department and the RIAA should lead us to go in the other direction. ICE and the DOJ should be investigated and reprimanded, if not directly penalized, for clear First Amendment violations, while the ICE program for seizing domains should be dismantled. John Morton, who led ICE’s domain seizure program, should tender his resignation or be fired. Victoria Espinel, the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, who defended these seizures to Congress, should issue a public apology, and begin a process to revamp the government’s role in such enforcement actions (and consider tendering her resignation as well). The federal government should issue a huge apology to the operators of Dajaz1 and make it clear that it will no longer take such drastic censorship actions. The RIAA should be investigated for providing claims about the site that were not true, and which it had no right to make.

If Congress needs to do anything, it should be to investigate the lawless, unconstitutional, cowboy censorship and blocking of due process by both Homeland Security and the Justice Department. The last thing it should be doing is allowing more such actions. This whole thing has been a disgrace by the US government, starting with a bogus seizure, improper and illegal censorship, followed by denial of due process and unnecessary secrecy. Dajaz1 is currently reviewing its options in terms of whether it can or should take further action as a result of this, but at least it has its domain back. And people wonder why we’re so concerned about these seizures and new proposals to further such censorship.

Filed Under: , , , , , , , , ,
Companies: dajaz1, riaa

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 “Breaking News: Feds Falsely Censor Popular Blog For Over A Year, Deny All Due Process, Hide All Details…”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
378 Comments
Whats goingon says:

Re: Gotta wonder...

The reason they are not being prosecuted publicly or personally is more than likely because the courts are now SO corrupt and SO stacked AGAINST THE PEOPLE that about 99.8% of the time they rule in favor of the STATE and AGAINST THE PEOPLE. It’s all about money, of course, (the love of which is the ROOT OF ALL EVIL). They will go as far as we allow them to go and, since most people are totally ignorant of the law and they DO tend to “just trust” them, they just give up and quit, which, of course is what the “powers that be” are counting on, so that they can keep all of this illegally confiscated property. This is why there were so many “secret extensions” to try to wear these people down so they would just give up, go away, and then they would have won. We should ALWAYS challenge them when they pull this stuff; otherwise it will only get worse. It’s like a man who abuses his wife. As long as she does nothing, he will only be ENABLED to abuse her more and more, sometimes to the point of death, because THERE IS NO RESISTANCE, NOTHING TO STOP HIM and THERE ARE NO CONSEQUENCES for his ABUSIVE behavior! If people do not bring this darkness into the light, there will be NOTHING TO STOP THEM – EVER, and they will continue to abuse us more and more, possibly, eventually even to the point of death. They are counting on people DOING NOTHING when they are abused, because most of the time, people feel totally helpless against this “mysterious FICTION” called the “government,” and they THINK there is nothing they can do about it, so they just give up, which puts a huge smile on Satan’s face, because they have believed his lie and he has won – again. They, (our illustrious “representatives” and “judicial branch”), are like little, naughty children who will go just as far as their parents, (we the people), allow them to go. If that child is not “corrected,” the child will eventually get totally out of hand. This is what has happened with the government. We have allowed this “naughty child” to run amuck while WE ignored everything he was doing, and have just lived our own lives not paying any attention to what was going on in the life of this “run amuck kid.” NOW this “child” has become a teenager and has been allowed to run COMPLETELY amuck. If anyone has ever tried to deal with an out of control teenager, you know how hard it is because, by the time they have been allowed to act badly for that long, it is not easy to change them. Well, this “run amuck teenager,” called the “government” is out of control, but now they are like an out of control teenager with an Oozie, and the parents only have a ruler to spank him with. So now what do the parents do? They are out-gunned by their own out of control teenager, which THEY have created by looking the other way while he was being “naughty,” and believe me, this “teenager” also knows that, and he will not hesitate to use his oozie on his own parents if they don’t like what he does or, God forbid, they now try to correct him. Now the “teenager” even wants to take the “ruler” (privately owned guns), away from his parents, so they will have absolutely NOTHING to keep him in line, (why we have the 2nd Amendment). Now, with the “ruler” gone, he can do ANYTHING HE WANTS, UP TO AND INCLUDING KILLING HIS OWN PARENTS. The “parents” need to take a stand, because this out of control kid, (the government) is about to kill us all – financially, emotionally, and possibly, eventually, even physically, if they don’t like what we do. We must NOT roll over and play dead. We must fight this thing or die trying, because, with what they have planned for us, life will not be worth living anyway, (unless, of course, you LIKE being a slave with no rights and no freedom). Wasn’t it Patrick Henry who said, “Give me Liberty or give me death?” How bad do you want to be free? What are you willing to do in order to be free? If you don’t value your freedom now, it’s time to think about that, because soon it will be too late to do anything about it. The out of control teenager is about to pull out his oozie and aim it at us, (i.e. things like declaring Martial Law and making unreasonable and unconstitutional laws they will use to abuse us further). (Oh, by the way, just as a side note, the GOVERNMENT “THINKS” that it is OUR parents – see the parens patriae doctrine – look it up on the Internet). This is right in line with what Al Gore told a group of kids at a school assembly – that their parents don’t know anything and that they, (the kids), know more than their parents and, therefore, they should not listen to their parents. However, if they don’t listen to their parents, then WHO should they listen to? Oh yeah, I know ….. the indoctrination they are now receiving in Public AND PRIVATE schools! This way they become “good little Comrades,” who do not think for themselves, but only follow orders.

Trails (profile) says:

Re: Re: Gotta wonder...

One trick is to tell stories that don’t go anywhere. Like the time I caught the ferry to Shelbyville. I needed a new heel for m’shoe. So I decided to go to Morganville, which is what they called Shelbyville in those days. So I tied an onion to my belt. Which was the style at the time. Now, to take the ferry cost a nickel, and in those days, nickels had pictures of bumblebees on ’em. Gimme five bees for a quarter, you’d say. Now where was I… oh yeah. The important thing was that I had an onion tied to my belt, which was the style at the time. You couldn’t get white onions, because of the war. The only thing you could get was those big yellow ones…

John Doe says:

What is the penalty for violating the Constitution?

I read there Jodie Foster’s dad was sentenced to 25 years in prison for defrauding people out of $200,000. Yep, just $200,000 is worth 25 years in jail. So I ask, what is the penalty for violating the Constitution, the very foundation of our government, indeed our country?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: What is the penalty for violating the Constitution?

It isn’t Violating the Constitution when the Fed does it. When they do it, it is “For our protection from (insert hot topic here, terrorism, nuclear war, pedophiles) for the sake of (insert other hot topic here, babies, unicorns, puppies)”

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I’m originally from Illinois.

Previous Governor: Rod Blagojevich (DEMOCRAT)
Soon to be serving 12 year sentence for… corruption.

Prior Governor: George Ryan (REPUBLICAN)
Currently serving six and half years for…. corruption.

That pretty much says all I need to know about both parties these days.

Marcel de Jong (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Meh, they’re all career liars.
I heard Mrs Rodham-Clinton speech today about how the internet should remain free, especially under tyrannical regimes… and then I read this.

The saying “Do as I say, not as I do” springs to mind.

Besides, the US has pretty much a one party system. There aren’t that many differences between the donkey, and the elephant. At least not in US politics. Sure, the talking points are different, but that’s just what they are.

trbussell says:

Re: Re:

I just love it when this kind of comment pops up. Okay, sparky, are you going to be the one to risk your life/limbs/fortune/freedom to lead the crusade? I don’t mean some random, meaningless act of terror that might give you the false feeling that you’re actually doing something when you’re not- I mean a true, organized ‘booting out’- Keep in mind that the true benefits of many revolutions aren’t experienced by the generation that actually revolted.

Ready, Mr. Russell? I didn’t think so.

MRK says:

I would be outraged, but its what I have come to expect from the US Government. I would write my representative, but every time I do I get a form letter explaining how IP protection outweighs the first amendment.

So in 2012, I’m going to vote for change, I won’t get fooled again. I’m voting a straight crony capitalist ticket. But don’t worry, so are you.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

This story needs to spread....

This is really where you can reach musicians, I think. Forget the businesses in music and publishing and movies, and start pointing every true artist you know directly to this, ask them if they have a blog, then ask them to get fucking pissed off.

Stories like this make me think it’s getting dangerously close to pitchforks and mobs time….

Killer_Tofu (profile) says:

Re: Re:

AJ!
You’re back!
Welcome back man.
I don’t really think you left all those months, but it certainly felt like there was a lack of organized thoughts from the other side. Without you it seemed to pretty much just be ad-hominems and worthless drivel.
Glad you have returned. Can possibly have some reasonable debates now.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

I would be more excited about average_joe’s return if he was here to apologize for his previous comments about these seizures and admit that he was wrong in pretty much every way.

I got into several “discussions” with him last time and he took a condescending attitude because there was no way someone understood these issues better than him. Surprise, every legal concept and theory he put forth was incorrect.

average_joe (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I would be more excited about average_joe’s return if he was here to apologize for his previous comments about these seizures and admit that he was wrong in pretty much every way.

I got into several “discussions” with him last time and he took a condescending attitude because there was no way someone understood these issues better than him. Surprise, every legal concept and theory he put forth was incorrect.

Can you be more specific than that I’m “wrong in pretty much every way” and “every legal concept and theory” I’ve ever put forth? That’s a ridiculously broad statement. I’m happy to address any particular claim I’ve made that you feel is incorrect if you tell me what the claim is.

average_joe (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

I’ll add this. Even if the right answer is that Righthaven doesn’t have standing, I don’t think the courts in Nevada got there under the right reasoning. The reasoning out of the court in Colorado was much better. I think that’s the result of the judge not tying to apply Silvers (and mangling it).

Either way, I do my own research and make my own arguments and back them up when I can. That you are insulting me for doing this just makes you look bad. I get stuff wrong all the time and I’m happy to be proved wrong. No need to put me down because I disagree with you on some issue.

Ninja (profile) says:

Nail in the coffin?

One would think that this horrifying news would be the nail in the coffin for SOPA and the likes but I’m not that optimistic when it concerns the US and the copyright idiots.

I’m truly waiting to see some copyright troll with no brains dismiss this as an isolated case and tell us that SOPA should be approved because mistakes (shit) happens. Yea, right, they mistakenly kept everything secret.

Talk about ROGUE. Rogue Govt, rogue governmental departments… I guess we should have our own version of SOPA to seize Govt powers without due process too.

Anonymous Coward says:

“Imagine if the US government, with no notice or warning, raided a small but popular magazine’s offices over a Thanksgiving weekend, seized the company’s printing presses, and told the world that the magazine was a criminal enterprise with a giant banner on their building. Then imagine that it never arrested anyone, never let a trial happen, and filed everything about the case under seal, not even letting the magazine’s lawyers talk to the judge presiding over the case. And it continued to deny any due process at all for over a year, before finally just handing everything back to the magazine and pretending nothing happened.”

Yes, I’m imagining the US under SOPA. Go on…

CG says:

Sourcing

I find this article terrifying and troubling. I’d like to learn more, but there’s zero sourcing in the article.

It seems that Andrew P. Bridges is likely the source, but the phrase “according to” or “said” isn’t included anywhere in the piece.

I’m not here to be a journalism critic, and I *believe* the story, but I can’t *rely on* the story professionally without more definitive sourcing.

ShellMG says:

Re: Re: Sourcing

There’s a lot of threads that can be tied together…Fast and Furious, the judge in Oregon deciding that a blogger isn’t a journalist and no worthy of protections, and now this. When Fuhrer Sam stashes and disappears documents then verification is nearly impossible — yet another reason the press won’t touch it. Why should they put their relationship with politicans and Obama on the line when this ruling could be used against them or even implied that it could be wielded?

ShellMG says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Sourcing

He probably has emails and/or other documentation from those who suffered the loss of the blog and the representing attorney, but unless he has time-stamped and sealed court documentations it’s pointless. The clerk can accept a form but unless there’s a written reply in the form of a subpoena, notice, etc., the case didn’t exist.

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Sourcing

If you get a brown legal sized envelope from the office of the clerk of Court A you don’t release it. If you do you won’t get another one. It’s called a leak.

If the sites decide to follow this up with lawsuits of their own we’ll find out more.

Maybe. Hard to find shredded papers and non-existent recordings. Just ask Richard Nixon.

Marcus Carab (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Sourcing

It appears that the details come from Dajaz1’s lawyer’s account of what happened. That would be quite the string of potentially illegal lies he’s told if it’s all just made up – so if that’s the case, I’d say it’s time for ICE to deny it. I’m as interested as you to see what they say.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Sourcing

Also, repeating an attorney’s position as the gospel truth (especially without disclosing that that’s what your doing) doesn’t strike me as reasonable.

I mean, if it were, Mike could have just run a story explaining the “facts” that all these sites are rogue sites devoted to piracy, etc., etc.

Josh in CharlotteNC (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Sourcing

Also, repeating an attorney’s position as the gospel truth (especially without disclosing that that’s what your doing) doesn’t strike me as reasonable.

If you support SOPA/PIPA, argue or lobby for any of the companies and interest groups that are for it, think the many debunked studies are reputable, then you have won the irony of the year award.

Rev Charlie D (profile) says:

Censorship and Seizure.

Take a deep breath, now hold it? Now breath? You?re going to blow a valve? Calm down. We?re from the government and we?re here to help? Trust me.

You act surprised at the advantage and latitude our government has. You didn?t realize that they can and often do whatever they please for no reason at all and our response to these Gestapo tactics must be ? ?Thank you Sir, may I have another?? If you think this will change, you are wrong. It will not? The Patriot Act and other insidious laws give them carte? blanch and impunity. We don?t need to like it. It is what it is, and we cannot change it. So sit back, grab a beer and some popcorn, and enjoy the show? or? Start the revolution. The choice is yours.

Marcus Carab (profile) says:

Re: Censorship and Seizure.

So sit back, grab a beer and some popcorn, and enjoy the show? or? Start the revolution. The choice is yours.

You forgot the third option: do everything you can get the word out, and make sure people know what’s going on, so THEY can make THEIR choice as well. That’s the option Techdirt has chosen, and I for one am glad they did.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Ok. That’s nice.

But you can still link to source documents that the story is based on, no? Or embed them in the post? Or at least say where all these factual claims are coming from?

Mike doesn’t need to follow any sort of journalistic practices or canons or whatever if he doesn’t want to. But it’s hard to take everything he says at face value without *any* discussion of how he learned of these supposed secret acts.

This is especially true for me because I feel he regularly mischaracterizes third party documents/stories even when he *does* include a link.

I’m not saying this is all made up or anything, but I’m also not going to take it all at face value without some sort of corroboration from *somewhere*

Ninja (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Dude, he already told us he got it from the lawyer. If some1 from the New York Times comes and rolls the news telling you that they got it from protected sources you’ll probably take it in one fast gulp. But the lawyer of the victim in a breaking story is not enough?

Sure you’d have to have evidence but how can you get any evidence if the Govt itself is hiding everything? Let us wait the development before demanding anything. I’ve come to trust this site enough to believe that he got the story from the lawyer. If the lawyer was telling the truth or not is another issue and it will be investigated for sure.

It’s GREAT that this came to light, true or not. It’ll spark some serious investigations. Or so we hope.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

“Dude, he already told us he got it from the lawyer.”

Where?

“If some1 from the New York Times comes and rolls the news telling you that they got it from protected sources you’ll probably take it in one fast gulp”

No, not really. I’m a pretty skeptical consumer of news/commentary/etc.

Anyway, when the NYT makes factual claims, they say what their source is for those claims, or states that “according to Joe Schmoe” X is a fact.

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

There’s a number of links in the story so you could try to link on those. And, as other posters say, the story is getting picked up and broken elsewhere, the EFF among others. I haven’t checked up on my other source sites when something like this breaks.

As for source documents, did you miss the point that there ARE none? At least other than what ICE has released thus far which are damning enough as it is.

And why would the site’s lawyer lie about things when there’s a lawsuit being considered? While, for the most part, courts ignore the rantings of lawyers to the media where constitutional cases are concerned they tend to pay more attention and in cases such as this a lot of attention as his comments and outline of events amount to evidence.

Actually, Mike’s journalistic standards are pretty good all things considered. But he’s not a journalist in the sense that he’s writing up an “objective”* news story he’s an editorialist and commentator which is different. So your complaints there are “without merit” to use a legal term for such things.

As for your closing sentence you ARE, in fact, accusing him of making this up in whole or part. In a very nice way that isn’t actionable but you are accusing him of exactly what you say you aren’t.

* (objective news) if you believe in that you believe in things like the tooth fairy and think that Nigerian Scam email you saw this morning is real.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

“And why would the site’s lawyer lie about things when there’s a lawsuit being considered? “

Really? Isn’t that *exactly* what Mike is saying the government’s lawyer did?

Lawyers spin things to portray their client’s case in the best light. That is pretty much a lawyer’s JOB DESCRIPTION. That shouldn’t include *lying*, but it often includes a whole lot of spin.

Repeating spin as fact without disclosing that it’s coming straight from the mouth of a lawyer representing one party’s interest is lame.

Dave (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

In the mean time, you could probably consider that distinct lack of information verification in itself. We know:

dajaz1.com was seized and an anti-speech(er, piracy) notice was posted.
There are no locatable court documents relating to the seizure.
dajaz1.com is now available and the notice is gone.

Sometimes the lack of information says as much or more than documentation could.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

So you’re asking for proof that there are sealed documents? Because if there are no sealed documents that would be far more damning but not exactly provable. There are no unsealed documents for court procedures that must have taken place in order for the domain to have been legally seized for this length of time and then returned without a trial. That is evidence that either there are sealed documents, as the story claims, or it’s actually much much worse.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

“So you’re asking for proof that there are sealed documents?”

Not necessarily. I’m asking for more than “X happened” without any citation to any source for the notion that X happened.

If all he’s got is Mr. Y says that X happened, so be it. Then I’ve got to judge the credibility of Mr. Y in addition to whether I believe Mike will faithfully convey what Mr. Y said.

If he’s got a link to some other document or report demonstrating or claiming some of the facts asserted, even better.

Otherwise, it’s just some guy on the Internet (who I don’t entirely trust to provide no-spin characterizations) saying X happened, without any explanation of how he knows this.

btr1701 says:

Re: Re: Re:

> It is hard to have any links when you are the
> one breaking the story.

What’s funny is that newspapers have been writing stories for hundreds of years without ‘links’. No one accuses them of just making them up merely because it isn’t simple to vet their sources from the comfort of one’s living room.

Franklin G Ryzzo (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I understand your concern and while this is “breaking news” it is also an update to previous story:

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20101128/15302012021/who-needs-coica-when-homeland-security-gets-to-seize-domain-names.shtml

Basically it was already reported that the blog was seized without due process. The “evidence” used by ICE was already presented and shown to be completely fictional. The blog itself was down for over a year. This story is Mike saying “the blog is back and here’s what their lawyer told me”.

I would expect more information as it becomes available, but aside from the government’s secret extensions and sealed court documents, most of this story is an historical account of information that has not been disputed.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

“the blog is back and here’s what their lawyer told me”

Where in the story does it say that all the claims are according to one party’s lawyer?

If that’s the case, I would hope both Mike and readers would be a little less eager to swallow an interested lawyer’s version of the facts hook, line, and sinker without question.

Franklin G Ryzzo (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

That’s really my take on it, but it is completely obvious that there were no legitimate reasons for the seizure in the first place. The “evidence” they used to take the site were tracks provided by the content owners for promotion. Do you dispute this? Seizure law has specific timeframes and an adversarial process that was not followed in this case. Do you dispute this? PACER can confirm that there are no court documents available to show that any motions were filed or extensions requested or even the smallest resemblance to anything that could even conceivably be considered due process. Do you dispute this?

The only unsubstantiated assertion presented in this article is that the government specifically denied the lawyer a chance to be heard, a chance to respond, a chance to speak to the court to advise that his client objected to any further extensions, and that they told him to “trust them”.

The matter of the blog being censored for a year is clearly a matter of public record. Thus far there has been no justification shown for this censorship and an overwhelming amount of evidence to show that it was improper and in violation of the constitution. Do you dispute this?

I guess the real question, is which part of the article are actually objecting to? Without documentation due to the alleged sealed nature of any court documents, nothing take what the lawyer asserts beyond a level of hearsay. I concede that point, but again, I’m not really clear what you are saying is unbelievable?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

I’m not saying anything in the story is unbelievable or false.

I’m just asking for some sort of corroboration or explanation of where the factual claims are coming from. Right now, the only source is Mike Masnick, who doesn’t appear to have any connection to the case (so I doubt it’s his own personal knowledge).

Frankly, I think anyone who takes fantastic claims on the Internet at face value without any such corroboration/explanation should be more skeptical.

That doesn’t mean fantastic things never happen, and fantastically bad things do appear to have happened in this case.

fogbugzd (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

>>Notice how late any of the usual trolls were to this post?

I notice that. I figured they were all at the same Christmas part this morning and didn’t see the post right away.

Either that or the story is about something that is so outrageous that there wasn’t much to say about it other than comment about the sourcing. Even if the story is only partially true it should rattle the sensibilities of any American citizen.

So far there has only been one really off the wall post about tin hats from someone that I assume has a large collection of his own.

Prokofy Neva (profile) says:

But Dajaz1 *is* a pirate site, derr

Yeah, we get it that the evil cruel ICE with its chilling evil name has done an evil thing. Yadda yadda.

So…you have one case like this, Mike? Just one? Oh, maybe two? Awful, AWFUL! But edge cases, as we all know. No one should have to wait a year, guilty or not, to have their case adjudicated. But could it be that there are just so many cases like this of in fact real piracy even you would have to concede, so they can’t get to them? And could it be that it is completely obvious that this is indeed a pirate site? And could the ICE have given it back merely because it was just too much bother to prosecute even the obvious? Because there are just too many?

More to the point, Mike, why do you LIE about the nature of this web site? It’s not like we can’t go to the Wayback Machine and see what this site was all about:

http://web.archive.org/web/20080511230605/http://dajaz1.com/

Oh, what Dajaz1 was all about was people uploading hundreds and hundreds of Youtubes that were protected by copyright as you can quickly see.

These weren’t scrappy young start-up musicians trying to get their own unique CDs heard, poor blacks that you’d like to exploit to get what you imagine to be fearful white liberals guilt-tripped into opposing SOPA. (In fact, I don’t see a single upload like that, but I have to work through several years).

There wasn’t just “sampling” or “fair use” either.

Oh, no, Mike. That’s fake. And you *know* it’s fake. Lyndsey Lohan isn’t a poor black hip-hop star trying to get a DJ or music critic to hear her. Nor is Lil Wayne. nor is Busta Rhymes. Nor are hundreds of artists who are famous and whose Youtubes were uploaded to that site, and who don’t want to give away their work for free to masses because they need to get paid and have a right to get paid, — as do their producers, who go to a lot of trouble to produce them and advertise them.

Honestly, Mike, *you are ridiculous* with these fake claims.

Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile) says:

Re: Re: But Dajaz1 *is* a pirate site, derr

Well, if I’m reading PN right, first you have to be “famous” and have some Youtubes laying around. And then someone else, preferably “not famous,” breaks into your house and takes these Youtubes and posts them at Djaz1.com, thus depriving you of your potentially money-making Youtubes, which are now gone forever and solely the possession of Djaz1.com.

You can see why the government needed to get involved. This sort of Youtube theft steals jobs away from boom mike operators for cat videos. If all of the Youtubes are no longer on Youtube, the site itself would have to close down, eliminating nearly 14 million jobs at a loss of $severalB to the US economy.

The other tragic side effect is that people will turn to counterfeit Youtubes, like YouPorn or Redtube, both of which are known to be harmful to our fighting men overseas and whose income directly benefits both the Russian mafia AND Somalian pirates. (The latter also receives income from Huffington Post.)

Jeff (profile) says:

Re: But Dajaz1 *is* a pirate site, derr

really? Thats what you’re going with? Mike tries to tell the story of the egregious fuck ups taking place in the name of “Justice” and all you can spew is more

“But But But PIRACYS ARE KILLIN US!!!1!”

I really could give a flying fuck about the piracy, it is a luxury industry… What I do care about are fucktards like you lining up with the sociopaths, and fascists putting their jackboots on our throats because they can’t find a way to make millions of dollars from the same people they’ve been raping and pillaging from for the last 60 odd years… Seriously examine your priorities… which is more important – a shiny plastic disc with some lame, shitty music on it, or the ability of people to voice their concerns? As far as I’m concerned you can take your shiny plastic discs and eat them for all the good it will you do your lost and withered soul… Have a pleasant day Mr. Fascist

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: But Dajaz1 *is* a pirate site, derr

So…according to you, the government just allowed a bunch of criminals to go free?

I don’t know what’s worse: Mike’s conspiracy theory or the breakdown of mechanisms that are supposed to keep society sane (because it’s too hard to after criminals apparently).

I’ll go with conspiracy theory.

** Puts on tinfoil hat **

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: But Dajaz1 *is* a pirate site, derr

Even if Dajaz IS a pirate site with no redeeming qualities whatsoever, that doesn’t matter (much). Due process is, much, much more important than whether a site is guilty or innocent in one particular case. We can’t just ignore due process for the guilty. The government, by definition, thinks anyone it’s prosecuting is guilty.

Also, I’m trying to think of one good reason why everything needed to be filed under seal to the point where the lawyer could not even get a redacted copy to prove that the court had even done the things the government said it did. Even if there was some horrible unimaginable thing in those files that could absolutely never be seen, couldn’t they have at least shown the part where the judge in fact grants the extension?

“And could the ICE have given it back merely because it was just too much bother to prosecute even the obvious? Because there are just too many? “

Ever drive 66 MPH down the freeway right past a cop? They don’t bother to prosecute everyone. But that doesn’t mean that they get to stop you and impound your car for over a year without even having to bother with not only the speeding trial, but the forfeiture proceedings themselves. If there’s too many to prosecute, either get more lawyers and judges, or choose your targets more carefully.

Trails (profile) says:

Re: But Dajaz1 *is* a pirate site, derr

What a racist, idiotic screed you have resorted to.

You realize in his article, Mike discusses the site being used by Kanye West and Puffy?

Also, how in the world do you “upload a youtube”? Are you sure you understood anything about the site? Or are you just pointing and screaming “PIRATE” even though the gov’t didn’t have enough evidence to proceed?

Snyder says:

Re: But Dajaz1 *is* a pirate site, derr

Whether it is a pirate site or not, what about due process? What if the government thought you were using your bank account for illegal means and put a hold on it for a year? What if they thought you were manufacturing drugs in your house and took that for a year?

Whether the site was a pirate site or not it should have been up and running until the government proved in open court – with arguments from both sides – that they had the right to shut it down.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: But Dajaz1 *is* a pirate site, derr

I won’t even go that far. I’ll even say the government can seize in certain cases without needing an adversarial hearing – if you notify someone that evidence is going to be seized, they may just destroy it. Or if someone is accused of trying to build a nuke in their basement, please, seize the thing and deactivate it without telling the person first. But if the government is going to do this, they should ALREADY have enough evidence that they could go to court the NEXT DAY and defend their actions. If their case is such that they need to keep filing extensions after the 60 day notification period plus the 90 day response period, they clearly should not have been seizing anything.

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

Re: But Dajaz1 *is* a pirate site, derr

Ignoring the detail that poor Lindsay Lohan is something between a slow motion train wreck and a bad comedy these days did you not see that waiting a year to get a case adjudicated ISN’T the story but the direct denial of due process IS.

And did you miss the minor detail that, perhaps, the videos you see are exactly the ones sent to them by a label for promotional use? As admitted to in the story? Ahh, missed that, didn’t you. Either that or words didn’t engage brain because you refused to see them.

You do manage, however, to make what is as close to the most blatantly racist remark I’ve seen on this site in quite some time with your statement regarding poor blacks. But then, I guess you feel that poor blacks aren’t as able to make up their own minds about the value of something as poor WASPs are. Sorry, I forgot about that after going almost 40 years since the last time I saw it expressed in that way. Me bad!

Oh and just how does one “pirate” a YouTube? Linking you can do, embedding you can do but I’ve never heard about pirating them. Is this something similar to pirating LOLCatz?

As others have commented we’ve love to find all the illegal sites that have pirated YouTubez and a lot of us would like to increase our pirated collection of LOLCatz as well.

(Actually the guy who first posted LOLCats has no problem with them being “pirated” just leave his copyright and website intact and he’s happy. Drives more visitors to his site, you see.)

MM_Dandy (profile) says:

Re: But Dajaz1 *is* a pirate site, derr

More to the point, Mike, why do you LIE about the nature of this web site? It’s not like we can’t go to the Wayback Machine and see what this site was all about:

http://web.archive.org/web/20080511230605/http://dajaz1.com/

Oh, what Dajaz1 was all about was people uploading hundreds and hundreds of Youtubes that were protected by copyright as you can quickly see.

So, let me get this straight. It takes you all of a minute to “see” that dajaz1 was a chronically infringing site, yet the government sat on it for a year before deciding that they could not come up with enough evidence to charge them with anything? And you call Masnick’s claims ridiculous?

Franklin G Ryzzo (profile) says:

Re: But Dajaz1 *is* a pirate site, derr

It’s quite amusing that you would sit there and try to defend the seizure of the site and defame the site as a criminal entity when the government has essentially said they totally screwed this up, dismissed the charges, and returned the blog as legal business while sealing away all evidence of its own impropriety…

Whatever your using seems to good to keep to yourself… puff puff, pass, bro!

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Note that the error says HostMonster. That means their using Binding to respond to HTTP requests. The only way you will see it is if your browser requests Dajaz1.com.

This is another reason why seizing a domain name is a restraint of trade. Lots of websites share one IP address and cannot be accessed outside of that one name.

Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile) says:

Maybe it’s all part of some ridiculously complicated anti-terrorism push. You know, the terrorists “hate us for our freedom.” If we remove those pesky freedoms? Voila! Less hate. And if there’s less hate, then perhaps the terrorists will just resort to an angry op-ed periodically rather than the other stuff they haven’t been doing for over a decade.

IAmNumber813 (profile) says:

Go straight to second base

Why didn’t the blogger’s lawyer immediately file a writ of mandamus with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mandamus

The Ninth circuit has some computer literate judges.

Mike: When this happens to you (or any other blogger), hit the double, go straight to second base and file the writ of mandamus so that we can continue reading your blog.

John says:

just gotta expect it ...

Just the feds playing by the same rules the IP thieves are … completely ignore the law.

Now if the community supporting IP thieves were not feeling all self satisfied by supporting Robinhood types, that are just stealing from large corporations, but rather vocally complaining about them being stealing little trash they really are … then they might have a right to complain about government goons.

Frankly … both need to go to jail in my opinion … but if we are rewriting the rules to ignore the law … then lets all get a free pass to do so …. not just the robinhood thieves.

The eejit (profile) says:

Re: just gotta expect it ...

You mean like the megacorps that paid NO taxes on their profits, like JPMorganChase?

Or like BREIN, the IFPI-funded anti-piracy group that considers contracts to be worth less than a Eurocent?

Or like WMG, whose accounting methods for royalties for artists can best be summed up as “outright theft from artists’ pockets”?

Yeah, pull the other one, it’s got songs on.

Anonymous Coward says:

For those of you who need reminded

First: Congress shall make no law….abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press;
Fourth: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated
Fifth: nor shall any person….be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
Sixth: In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury

Marcel de Jong (profile) says:

just gotta expect it ...

Dear John, can I call you John?
Copyright infringement is not stealing. It never has been, never will be. Because the original owner still has access to his/her own work. Yes, it’s illegal, no it’s not theft.

What the ICE did, however, was stealing. They took a domain name its rightful owner. Now, that’s theft. Because the original owner did not have access to his/her own domain and website anymore.

Anonymous Coward says:

The government is in a phase cycle of censorship where they thing this is acceptable.

Pirates are not Osama Bin Laden, nobody will accept the loss of free speech as people accepted the killing of another human being, specially when those laws only benefit one tiny minority that makes up a tiny fraction of the total market at the expense of everyone else.

Marcus Carab (profile) says:

Sourcing

I feel like a lot more is going to be coming out over this story for the next few days, and I plan to follow it, so while there are more details I’d like to know I’m also confident we will learn much more. At present I trust Mike’s account – we’ll see if I have reason to doubt it in the future.

This is certainly not the “traditional” way to break a story – but Techdirt has never been a traditional news outlet. Between what we already know about the ICE seizures, and the fact that I trust Mike not to fabricate anything, I can’t say I find myself particularly dubious here.

Marcus Carab (profile) says:

Sourcing

(especially without disclosing that that’s what your doing)

A lot of people seem to feel that way so I guess it should have been more explicit. But I don’t think there was a lack of disclosure. In all honesty, when I read the post, I thought it was clear that it was coming from Bridges. This line –

“After continuing to stall and refusing to respond to Dajaz1’s filing requesting the domain be returned, the government told Dajaz1’s lawyer, Andrew P. Bridges, that it would begin forfeiture procedures (as required by law if it wanted to keep the domain).”

– to me marked the start of the lawyer’s account. It was surprised to read the comments and find out some people were unsure.

Anonymous Coward says:

Sourcing

That may in fact be the case, but Mike usually (or at least often) says something along the lines of “if XYZ’s account is true, that’s some total bullshit” or something like that, when repeating legal filings or attorney statements.

As an attorney, I would never take the word of another attorney *representing a client* at face value when discussing that client’s case. Not because I think he is likely fabricating anything, but because I can be certain he’s trying to present the facts in the best possible light for his client, rather than objectively.

RowdyRebel49 (profile) says:

Gotta wonder...

You all are a tad off the main subject. Censorship of public domains and war criminology are two totally different forms of justifiable justice. Maybe, one should look into the original affidavit that stated said site was unlawful, and hit the courts with a diminished jurisprudence suit. Otherwise, that the government willingly and unlawfully violated the Constitution of the United States by using its Gestapo-like force to disuade the usage of a public site for artists. As per the “Freedom of Speech” argument, that won’t fly. Freedom of Speech is only prudent provided said speech is used AGAINST or FOR the US Government as a whole; it has very little to do with personal opinions stated against or for an individual. The Bill of Rights is the statement that ALL citizens have rights to utilize against a GOVERNMENT that depicts, or issues, or stands-for anything that doesn’t resemble the freedoms it was created with. With that said, any action taken by the government against any citizen or business that is considered prejudicial or biased, in any form, is illegal.

What does this mean? It means, a citizen is unable to use the Freedom of Speech motiff to call another citizen names or falsely accuse said citizen of violations of copyright, but a citizen CAN use Freedom of Speech to do said name calling of any governmental objectification, (aka the Prez, VP, HSA, NASA, etc).

So, is the government guilty of violation of Freedom of Speech? No. Is it guilty of violation of FREEDOM OF THE PRESS? YES.

Connor says:

I think it’s funny how throughout the article, the word “falsely” is used. I was expecting from the title to read an article about an article that accused the government of censorship that wasn’t read, because that’s what false means. But after having read the article, the word that should be used is wrongly. Poor writing skill. The article feels to me like a rant and rage, and that makes me think maybe there are exaggerations. And if so, what can be believed?

Franklin G Ryzzo (profile) says:

Re:

Fair enough, and I agree completely that the internet isn’t always the most reliable source of information. That being said, I think the part of this story that focuses on the lawyer and what was or was not said to him by the government is really the smallest part of the story. I would hope that Masnick is able to corroborate the assertions with some sort of document, but if the story is true, then it seeds like that will be impossible, and the lawyers take on what happened will again be hearsay. (I will say that I do tend to believe that the events portrayed are what actually happened in this case, but I would never claim them to be fact without proof.)

I still think we are focusing on the wrong part of this story though. The behavior of ICE and the government in this case is inexcusable and warrants investigation of the constitutional violations, the abuse of authority, and (if what the lawyer said is true) a blatant attempt to cover up their wrong doing.

What happened here (that can be proven by the established facts) is improper censorship. Whether or not the lawyers version is true will not change the rest of the material facts. If what he says is true it makes the case even worse based on the governments conduct, but even he is a bold faced liar it doesn’t excuse the government’s behavior in the least. They dropped the ball on this and violated the founding principles of our society. I don’t think there is any way to dispute that, but if anyone has an argument I’d be happy to debate it.

Let me ask you… Aside from the lawyers version of the story which can’t currently be substantiated, do you feel there is any defense to excuse the government’s behavior that we can prove?

Anonymous Coward says:

Sourcing

Quick, quick, who is this quote from?:

”That’s not the way the world really works anymore,” he continued. ”We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

Two cookies to the winner.

IAmNumber813 (profile) says:

Go straight to second base

‘Basically, this doesn’t happen anymore.’ is false.

One recent example of a Writ of Mandamus…

Federal Circuit Grants Writ of Mandamus in False Marking Case

http://ipwatchdog.com/2011/03/15/federal-circuit-grants-writ-of-mandamus-in-false-marking-case/id=15776/

“Ultimately, given that a ? 292 sounds in fraud and there were no particularized facts alleged in the complaint the Federal Circuit had little difficulty in finding that the district court erroneously failed to dismiss the complaint and issued the writ of mandamus.”

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re:

You rolled your eyes about 5 times over those comments didn’t you.

I’m watching you.. you bully you!!! o_O

On another totally different question.. Have you had the intellectual displeasure of reading anything that out_of_the_blue has commented on yet? Hopefully you haven’t and this serves as a warning, if not well.. welcome to the new wall of weird at TD

G Thompson (profile) says:

But Dajaz1 *is* a pirate site, derr

It seems if you click on the profile u will then come across an extremely long and detailed about page (and there is nothing wrong in that its refreshing actually) where you can see this persons ideas, fears, moralities, weirdness and other funky stuff on display (with an intriguing insight into writing blawgs that I sorta agree with)

Though if you click on this newest blog post.. you will see that The Tinfoil is strong in this one

G Thompson (profile) says:

Go straight to second base

Wow haven’t seen a Mandamus writ since looking at old historical archives in Law School.

They got taken away from Australia (and most common law countries) decades ago and now all we have is misfeasance, nonfeasance or malfeasance to fall back on which are about as useless as tits on a bull.

Ordering a lower court or govt to do something is fine and dandy when that lower court or entity would comply. In this situation there is no way they would of complied, or even admit that they received one, and then the higher court has to fall on its own petard since… well how do you punish a government?

Zenarchist.Swordsman says:

Gotta wonder...

The only way to force the State to waive Sovereign Immunity protection on those individuals who committed these acts is to show that they acted “Under Color of Law”.. meaning they took actions which they back by claiming State granted authority, when in fact they did not have the legal authority to take those actions.

If you can nail them on that, then you can sue the person (and the person’s Office as Agent of the State) directly and not have the case thrown out on Sovereign Immunity claims.

john mcclain says:

imperial perogative

wow! like your the first to have your stuff stolen by the imperial pig? check the records on the original Detroit Free Press. check the records on John Afriica’s MOVE. Me? I spent 3 years writing a massive computer program to runn under MS; the pentagon blackholed my >> application – stole my work, and never paid me a dime. I had no advocates. My solution: CREATE NOTHING; INVENT NOTHIING; DO NOT ENTERTAIN THE HYPNOTIZED CLONES. (And steralize the pig!) jack m

Taswad says:

I have no idea how Americans aren’t rioting in the streets right now. The past decade has seen the destruction of the very freedoms and ideals the country was founded on int he first place. Your government has funneled 7.7 trillion dollars into the banks at 75 cents a dollar, and then borrowed that money back from the banks with interest. Millions are living below the poverty line, while the assholes who orchestrated all of this are getting richer by the minute.

You’ve shown incredible restraint for a country that’s been labeled as war-mongering and violent. If ever there was a time to become that stereotype, I would think it’s now. There is something fundamentally wrong with the government, it’s a cancer that’s eating your livelihoods.

mattgmd (profile) says:

The chickens have come home to roost

The blogs can queue up behind those who underwent rendition to ‘black sites’ without due process. We the Sheeple tacitly approved the egregious overreaching when the door was first cracked open. But we didn’t want to get up from the sofa to keep answering the door. The Govt decided to just remove the door from the hinges.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

“Let me ask you… Aside from the lawyers version of the story which can’t currently be substantiated, do you feel there is any defense to excuse the government’s behavior that we can prove?”

I’m not sure if I have a full understanding of what is “provable” and what is not, so I’m not sure if I have an answer to that question.

In general, I don’t think you should have your property seized without an opportunity to argue before a judge that you didn’t do anything wrong for a year. I’m not sure if it’s undisputed what opportunities dajaz1.com had during the seizure period.

DC says:

FoIA?

What’s the statutes of limitation for ICE/DoJ cases? I wouldn’t imagine it would exceed 12 months especially in cases where criminal procedures weren’t entered into. I assume someone’s already made the FOIA request on behalf of dajaz1, but under OPEN Government techdirt can equally make a legitimate petition for information. In fact, all procedures in the case of a seizure should have been documented and be open for FOIA. Witholding of any portion of this (excluding Exemptions, which are unlikely to apply in this case) can result in the agency being brought to a federal court to answer.

nasch says:

Gotta wonder...

Freedom of Speech is only prudent provided said speech is used AGAINST or FOR the US Government as a whole; it has very little to do with personal opinions stated against or for an individual.

There is no limitation of freedom of speech to only speech about the government; you are way off base.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Prokofy Neva (profile) says:

But Dajaz1 *is* a pirate site, derr

Yeah, really! Because Mike is lying about the nature of this website. A look at its record in the Wayback shows lots of youtubes of artists with copyrighted material uploaded to this site. The attorneys — and he just parroting them — make a tendentious and narrow claim that their client only had free materials supplied by artists who supposedly wanted their content given away for free, or critics just making “fair use” of clips, or something…But that’s only part of the use case of this site — the infringing content appears to be the bulk of it.

Er, I’m finding it hard to see any jackbooks here except by you thugs, who steal people’s livelihoods away from them by condoning piracy and engaging in theft content yourselves. I fail to see why people can’t “voice their concerns”. The feds closed a site because it had loads of copyrighted stuff on it. Too bad, so sad. They took way to long to adjudicate the case. We get that. It’s not good. But at the end of the day, the nature of the site here is being covered up outrageously by the ideology Mike Myasnick, and he knows it, and we know it. The police gave the site back because they had too many cases, or some lawyer cut some deal with them, or they’d figure they’d get back to it and prosecute it another day. That’s all. It’s not about fascism, it’s about the right of people to make a livelihood. Say, how do YOU make a living, big guy?!

Prokofy Neva (profile) says:

But Dajaz1 *is* a pirate site, derr

No, of course it matters. Because if the feds could easily establish that it had loads of infringing copyright on it, it was justified to shut it down, because it was a piracy site. Due process is a great thing, and of course it must be upheld. But all that’s happening here with this story is outrageous and tendentious manipulation and propagandizing around this facet of it — the violation of due process ostensibly involved — without any honest portrayal of what the nature of the site was.

It’s the hope of Myasnick and the propagandists and the attorneys hired by copyleftists of course to be able to distract everyone with the due process issue, and make these people out to be horrible victims of injustice! the horror! and distract everyone from seeing that indeed they are pirates.

Trying to cast around to analogies like car impounding is beside the case. It’s clear from a simple look at the nature of the site that they had loads of infringing content. The feds felt justified in shutting them down. Who knows why they dragged it on or sealed something? Maybe they didn’t fill out all the proper paperwork or do everything by the book and didn’t want to lose their obvious case over the kind of technicalities that lawyers can and do pounce on to get a case thrown out even of someone obviously guilty. Whatever. That shouldn’t distract from the fact that ICE is doing its job by and large to pursue piracy, and that’s a good thing. If they botch some cases, hey, let the lawyers due for damages *shrugs*. This is America.

There *are* too many to prosecute in this fashion, and that’s why a good universal law like SOPA needs to be established and precedents built up and practices established so we can move through these cases more quickly and more effectively.

Prokofy Neva (profile) says:

But Dajaz1 *is* a pirate site, derr

Um, it’s not racist to point out when other people are playing the race card, BIG TIME, by insisting that this site is an innocent little site helping black kids break into hip hop big time by enabling them to put up their work for free.

Of course I understood the site, and I went and looked at it, and I see it shows youtubes that have copyright on them, and people even writing things like “I hope this doesn’t get removed”. Derr. My God, this is obvious, just go and look.

I don’t see that the government “didn’t have enough evidence to proceed”. I don’t buy that at all, having looked at the site in past years now. I think that the government found it might have difficult in making its case because aggressive lawyers were going to play the race card on them. That would be my estimation of the situation.

That’s great if Kanye West and Puffy use this site. Are they happy to have their material stolen and endlessly copied without any revenue?

Prokofy Neva (profile) says:

But Dajaz1 *is* a pirate site, derr

I’m not going to keep whining about lack of due process. There are plenty of people whining about that artificially-amplified aspect of this hugely tendentious case. Sure, due process is a great thing and it was violated here. And? And you’ve also distracted from the fact that it was indeed a pirate site and the feds had more than probable cause to close it down. That they couldn’t make their case later is mysteriously and we don’t have enough information about their possible botching of paperwork or filings, or about backroom deals with aggressive lawyers maybe playing the race card, or playing whatever cards they have to play.

We do not have transparency on this case. As another reader asked, where are the court papers, eh?

Prokofy Neva (profile) says:

But Dajaz1 *is* a pirate site, derr

Again, herr, derr, I “got it” that the story here is being tendentiously played, with a very cunning and manipulative copyleftist agenda, to make us all gasp in horror at the lack of due process.

We got all that.

AND it’s a pirate site where lots of content was obviously uploaded. And now that fact has been drowned out in a sea of tendentious crap about due process that really is beside the point, as when the feds went for this site, it was OBVIOUS what it was. But then — as I already said — either they didn’t do their paperwork right or something else happened or there was some shady backroom deal with lawyers or they were threatened by the race card or SOMETHING, and they let it go. So what? It’s not like they arrested a person and put them on death row and Mike Myasnick came up with a DNA test to prove the suspect innocent.

What it’s about is a pirate site that got legitimately closed down, and then with a lot of lawyering, got opened back up.

This is why we need SOPA. To have the rule of law, so that individual adjudications like this don’t take so long, and don’t wind up the prey of predatory lawyers with agendas, but are resolved by judges.

Thanks for helping to make that obvious point!

Prokofy Neva (profile) says:

But Dajaz1 *is* a pirate site, derr

Hey, that’s great that you concede that after five minutes, anyone would have to agree this is a pirate site!

The government obviously saw the same thing and felt perfectly justified in closing it down. They felt that due process was merely an add-on.

That’s wrong, and we get all that.

This became a highly lawyered-up cause celebre, and now we’ve all been distracted from seeing that this was an infringing site.

Thanks for putting the focus back on that fact : )

Prokofy Neva (profile) says:

But Dajaz1 *is* a pirate site, derr

Because I don’t buy the story. I sense there’s a lot more to the story here. I don’t think AT ALL it’s about the government suddenly saying “oh, we goofed, awful, let’s let it go.” I think lawyers merely scarified them.

Say, if the lawyers REAAAAAALY think their client was so innocent and a victim of lack of due process, they should go the full monte and SUE FOR DAMAGES. Why aren’t they doing that in this awful, awful heinous violation of due process THE HORROR!!!!

In fact, the government should go hurry and get the Wayback copies because knowing Google, and their sentiments, they may destroy the evidence.

But that’s the open question to me. Here Mike has written about this AWFUL AWFUL THE HORROR THING of people impounded an ENTIRE YEAR but their lawyers aren’t suing for damages over that grave injustice. Why?

Prokofy Neva (profile) says:

But Dajaz1 *is* a pirate site, derr

If you upload lots of youtubes that are pirated and then create a giant links site with hundreds of links to lead people to that stolen property, of course you are complicit in piracy yourself.

Or — let’s see — you’re going to try to pretend this is about First Amendment freedoms lol. The First Amendment doesn’t extend to posting the address of a house with the door open and the people gone on a bulletin board urging people to steal.

Prokofy Neva (profile) says:

just gotta expect it ...

that’s one of those lame arguments copyleftists always trot out as if they’ve discovered America.

It’s a ridiculous notion because digital content doesn’t come in the form of discrete commodities, but are obviously copyable online due to the analogue hole and the properties of the Internet.

But it is still theft because it *deprives the artist of livelihood* he would otherwise have if people PAID to download the tune instead of viewing it FOR FREE. Duh.

The domain name company likely has a TOS about not breaking the law and uploading infringing content. Even if it didn’t, you can’t yammer on about your right to a warehouse where you are holding stolen property to distract from your theft.

The thuggish dishonest and lying is what is always the worst about Mike Myasnik’s articles and the comment section.

btrussell (profile) says:

But Dajaz1 *is* a pirate site, derr

“There *are* too many to prosecute in this fashion, and that’s why a good universal law like SOPA needs to be established and precedents built up and practices established so we can move through these cases more quickly and more effectively.”

Too many to prosecute?

Maybe there is something wrong with the law and it is what needs to be changed.

Claire Solt says:

I went through something like that

Redistribution may sound like a great idea until it happens to someone you love. Glowing green eyes of envy by the politically connected use law enforcement tools to eliminate competition. It happens often (about 12 times a month, I was told) is a violation of the 4th amendment, but the ACLU doesn’t get involved because there4 are too many case. WE got a jury verdict that what the cops did was unconstitutional, but the jury declined to award any money for damages, even though 40 people lost their lives.

Anonymous Coward says:

But Dajaz1 *is* a pirate site, derr

Actually there are no “youtubes” let alone music files “uploaded to this site”. In fact it’s been stated the site doesn’t host content at all, they called it a “linking site.”

Having said that, there are 4 such cases involving 5 domain names. Of those 4 cases the only one has gone into forfeiture proceedings that I’m aware of. That would be the case of Rojadirecta.com/.org

Furthermore if you took the time to actually pay attention let alone click on those pretty blue links you would see that one of the songs listed on the affidavit was sent to the site owner directly by Busta Rhymes.

You cannot look at the site and clearly see obvious infringement based solely on the fact that you do not know the conversations, communications or requests that occurred behind the scenes with the operator of the website and the content owners and artists. All you can do is assume and well you know what they say about assuming making an ass out of you.

The police didn’t give the site back because there were too many cases, there are 4 cases. Are you insinuating that the DOJ is not capable of fighting more than one case at a time because there is only one case that is known to have reached judicial proceedings out of the four and it was dropped because they couldn’t even get that one right.

Windmill away sweetheart, stomp your feet, scream and yell like a toddler who just got his shiny new toy taken away. It won’t change reality, it just makes you look stupid.

DogBreath says:

just gotta expect it ...

If the U.S. Government is not going to obey their own laws, then how in the hell can they expect any of their citizens to? Who does the U.S. Government think they are, President Nixon?

“When the President does it, that means it is not illegal.”

Now it’s: “When the U.S. Government does it, that means it is not illegal. But, if it somehow is ruled illegal, we’ll pass a some trumped-up cockamamie law to make it legal.” and “Two wrongs do make a right, as long as the U.S. Government says so.”