Judge Lets Feds Censor Blog For Over A Year So The RIAA Could Take Its Sweet Time

from the no-rush dept

You may recall a few months ago, that we broke the story about how the US government seized and censored the hiphop blog Dajaz1.com for over a year, before suddenly giving it back with no explanation or apology. Among the many problems with the government’s actions, the really crazy part was the fact that despite a legal requirement to either give the “seized property” back by May 15th or file a case for forfeiture against the site, the government appeared to do absolutely nothing. When Dajaz1’s lawyer, Andrew P. Bridges, asked the government about this, he was told that the government had filed for and received an extension, though no one had bothered to inform Dajaz1 or Bridges, or even allowed them to see the filing, the order or to speak to the judge. This “secret” extension process supposedly happened two more times, and all of it was “under seal,” so even when the domain was given back, all we had to go on was claims from Dajaz1 that it had really happened.

The good folks over at Wired, the EFF and the California First Amendment Coalition sprang into action and filed with the court to have those documents unsealed. And while the court agreed to unseal the documents back in March (and then ordered them unsealed “immediately” on April 5th), the documents finally were unsealed yesterday.

The documents are embedded below, and there’s really not that much there. Basically, the government keeps asking for an extension, insisting that it’s in the middle of an important “criminal investigation” and needs more time. It claims, without anything to back this up, that actually doing what the law requires (giving the domain back or filing for forfeiture) would mean alerting those who were being investigated what was up, and might cause them to make a run for it or to destroy evidence. They provide no evidence to support this, and since Dajaz1 was never informed about any of this… they had no chance to refute these ridiculous claims by the government.

The only point that’s brought up to explain the delay is in an affidavit from ICE Special Agent Andrew Reynolds, the slightly befuddled recent college grad who was in charge of the original error-riddled investigation, in which he notes repeatedly that the RIAA has not gotten back to him about whether or not their rights have been violated.

A sampling of content obtained from the DAJAZ1.com website and its purported affiliate websites was submitted for rights holder evaluation and has yet to be returned to HS, SAC/LA. Additionally, a representative with the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has stated that he will provide a very comprehensive statement to ICE’s and CBP’s outstanding questions, in coordination with corresponding rights holders, which will be forthcoming in approximately 30 days.

That was Reynolds statement on September 7th, 2011. Remember, thanks to Agent Reynolds, Dajaz1.com was seized on November 24th 2010. So we’re talking 10 months later, and he’s claiming that the RIAA still hasn’t gotten back to him over whether or not the tracks were actually infringing or with answers to ICE’s questions?!? And yet, in the original filing, Reynolds stressed the importance of completely taking away and censoring this website as quickly as possible because of all the harm it was causing. Yet, the RIAA gets to wait 10 months and never actually confirm that anyone’s rights were violated? Perhaps the RIAA’s reticence to respond was because it started discovering that the songs in question were actually handed over by official representatives of the labels or the musicians. Of course, that’s no excuse for ICE to continue to hold onto the website in question. Just because they totally screwed up and rushed in to censor, doesn’t mean they get to drag their feet in admitting error.

Either way, this is pretty crazy. Basically the documents show that the feds seized first, and then sat around waiting for the RIAA to actually provide evidence…. evidence that appears to have never showed up. As the EFF’s Cindy Cohn told Wired:

“Here you have ICE making a seizure, based on the say-so of the record company guys, and getting secret extensions as they wait for their masters, the record companies, for evidence to prosecute,” Cohn said in a telephone interivew. “This is the RIAA controlling a government investigation and holding it up for a year.”

Even more troubling, however, is that the repeated requests for extension do not (at all) address the key First Amendment issues about the fact that a news publication was completely shut down based on these accusations. The law is pretty clear that the burden for shutting down a publication is pretty damn high, and nothing in the filings comes anywhere close to meeting that burden. Even worse, the judge in the case, Margaret M. Morrow, just rubber stamps the request allowing them to move forward at will. She does not appear to ask any questions. She does not appear to even be curious about the fact that an entire website was shut down and censored without meeting the clear burden under the law. It’s just “request granted,” basically.

Not only that, but with the last two extensions, she granted them late. That is, they were both granted after the deadline, by which the government legally had to give back the domain. The first extension needed to be in place by May 15th, and indeed, was granted on May 13th. But after that, perhaps, someone realized that without anyone on the other side even having to know about this, they could take their time. The first extension only went until July 15th. But the second extension wasn’t granted until July 18th. Legally that seems to mean that the government illegally held the domain for those three days when it had no right to do so. Similarly, the second extension expired on September 13th. But the judge didn’t sign the next extension until September 19th. Again, it would appear that the government was then holding onto property it had no legal right to for about a week after the earlier extension expired.

Either way, for all the promises of a big criminal investigation that was going to turn into a big criminal lawsuit just as soon as the RIAA got back to Special Agent Reynolds, it appears the whole thing fizzled into absolutely nothing, leading the government to quietly hand the domain back to Dajaz1 in December… almost exactly a month after the final extension expired on November 11th. There isn’t much enlightening in the unsealed documents other than a pretty clear reminder that the feds seized and censored a website on questionable legal reasoning and then refused to give that website the ability to have its day in court to protest that First Amendment violation.

Filed Under: , , , ,

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

Comments on “Judge Lets Feds Censor Blog For Over A Year So The RIAA Could Take Its Sweet Time”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
135 Comments
Rikuo (profile) says:

Hey guys, remember a while back, when we had that troll Out_of_the_blue? Remember how he kept gabbing on about how to make back the $100 million dollars he spent making a movie and I kept responding with “Why spend $100 million making a movie?” Eventually he disappeared.

Surely we can do the same here. Any time the RIAA has a press conference or ICE does, get someone to loudly ask why we should believe them when they did all this harm to Dajaz1.com? Keep on asking, keep on demanding answers, let them dig themselves into a pit of lies and deception so obvious that they can never be trusted again.

A Guy (profile) says:

Sue

Sue the labels for making libelous/slanderous accusations. (I assume that someone somewhere had to make a libelous/slanderous statement to get the prosecutors to go along with this.)

Sue the government for denying due process, illegal takings, and first amendment violations.

I’m not sure what would make this right for the owner of the website, but make them give it to you.

This is why we have courts.

Anonymous Coward says:

Sue

“Sue the labels for making libelous/slanderous accusations. (I assume that someone somewhere had to make a libelous/slanderous statement to get the prosecutors to go along with this.)”

Good luck.

The inability for the feds to make a 100% clear enough case to take to prosecution doesn’t in any way suggest that there was nothing here. It only suggests that they couldn’t put all the pieces together in manner that would allow them to get an indictment and work from there.

Suing the labels would be a waste of time, and the website would actually have to prove that the claims of the labels are ENTIRELY unfounded – otherwise they would be made in good faith.

It’s not a winning hand to play, sorry!

Franklin G Ryzzo (profile) says:

Sue

Fair enough… without proof of the slander or libel, fighting the RIAA on this one is a shot in the dark at best.

Suing the government on the other hand should be a slam dunk case. They clearly violated the 1st amendment rights of the blog owners and now there is hard proof that they acted well outside of their own procedures. Whether or not they acted in bad faith is no longer a question… The only remaining questions are how much money do they owe Dajaz1 and who will be fired or prosecuted for their illegal actions?

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re:

Perhaps you would like to try again, this time by asking the right people instead of taking quotes from the biased EFF group (you know the one you work with).

So your only objection to this story is the fact that Mike used a quote from EFF?

Not going to say anything about the main focus of the story? You know, all that stuff about how the government, the judge and the RIAA really screwed the pooch on this one and were actually violating the law by holding the domain name? Nothing?

Anonymous Coward says:

Even more troubling, however, is that the repeated requests for extension do not (at all) address the key First Amendment issues about the fact that a news publication was completely shut down based on these accusations.

News publication? That’s a laugh. During your SOPA snivelathon they were a “hip-hop blog”. Now, for affect you categorize them as a “news publication”.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

They’re a hip-hop blog that publishes news… how that doesn’t make them a news publication? Argument’s are week today…

Say, corporate shill, I have a question. Do you guys know that every time you view and comment here, you increase traffic to the site, making it rank higher on searches, and draw more people here?

So to better accomplish your objective, wouldn’t be better if you guys stopped coming here? Oh wait, you’d loose your job… ah, I get it. Sucks to be you.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

None of the classic issues regarding censoring of journalists even remotely apply. It’s an affront to to even suggest that they engage in journalism. And to the best of my knowledge this site has been universally described here and everywhere else as a hip-hop blog…….. until today of course when Yosemite Sam decided that there are grave threats to news reporting implicated in this case.

Anonymous Coward says:

Sue

Actually, no. They would have to convince a jury of regular people–people that would likely see crowds outside the court with “Screw the RIAA”-type signs–that it is more likely than not that the statements were unfounded. The tracks were officially released by the very label that claimed they were unauthorized. Good luck with a “Well we didn’t know we released them” argument when the jury hears that the RIAA abused the powers of government, who people already dislike, to silence a website.

The MAFIAA are vastly underestimating the rage and disgust that has built up in the public against them over the last decade. Get that same public on a jury? I see large awards.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

Claiming to be “a journalist” does not provide you immunity from unlawful conduct. As far as I’m aware, Dajaz1 has never even claimed any sort of journalistic immunity or asserted that the site was seized for anything other than questions regarding the music it made available. Chief Justice Masnick seems to be the only one making this claim, which is bullshit otherwise Dajaz1’s lawyers would have been all over it.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re:

from the biased EFF group (you know the one you work with).

Just to respond to this bit of lying, I have no relationship with EFF and I don’t “work with” them. I like what they do most of the time and have met a few of the people there (not that many really), but you’re making up the claim that I work with them. I’m not sure why other than a weak attempt to try to attack yet another story I wrote, as you do with every story.

Just a suggestion: when your line of attack is so weak that you have to resort to out and out making up stuff, perhaps it’s time for you to declare (yet again) that you’re “leaving this site for good” and to go away.

Logan2057 (profile) says:

Re:

The RIAA DOES have a fuckin’ clue, they actually have TWO clues, but one’s lost and the other one’s lookin for it.
Basically, they are so completely clueless that they couldn’t come up with a legitimate case if they had a map, seeing eye dog, indian guide, a GPS, or even the biggest bottom feeding law firm on the planet helping them out. Yet, they manage to subvert the laws to their way of thinking and this so-called judge should be called up before an ethics board and have her license to be a judge and a lawyer stripped from her.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

Shutting down a public display that hasn’t been proved to violate the law and without due process is really close to journalism censorship.

The fact that they’re not a printed press doesn’t detract from the fact that they published news and they were illegally shutdown because allegations of infringement without proof.

Cowardly Anonymous says:

Re:

It’s an affront to to even suggest that they engage in journalism.

Your personal opinion on the quality of the news that they produce is irrelevant. If they report facts about hip-hop than they are covered under the same freedom of the press as any journalist. Declaring them to be “lowly” bloggers rather than journalists does not grant the government the right to censor them.

“When they came for the bloggers, I did not speak up, for I was not a blogger.”

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

Really? None of the classic issues apply?

“The term ‘prior restraint’ is used ‘to describe administrative and judicial orders forbidding certain communications when issued in advance of the time that such communications are to occur.'” Alexander v. U.S., 509 U.S. 544 (1993).

“The special vice of a prior restraint is that communication will be suppressed, either directly or by inducing excessive caution in the speaker, before an adequate determination that it is unprotected by the First Amendment.” Pittsburgh Press Co. v. Pittsburgh Comm’n on Human Relations, 413 U.S. 376 (1973).

“The fact that for approximately one hundred and fifty years there has been almost an entire absence of attempts to impose previous restraints … is significant of the deep-seated conviction that such restraints would violate constitutional right. … The importance of this immunity has not lessened.” Near v. Minnesota, 283 U.S. 697 (1931).

“Any prior restraint on expression comes to this Court with a heavy presumption against its constitutional validity. … [P]rior restraints on speech and publication are the most serious and the least tolerable infringement on First Amendment rights. A criminal penalty or a judgment in a defamation case is subject to the whole panoply of protections afforded by deferring the impact of the judgment until all avenues of appellate review have been exhausted. Only after judgment has become final, correct or otherwise, does the law’s sanction become fully operative. A prior restraint, by contrast and by definition, has an immediate and irreversible sanction. If it can be said that a threat of criminal or civil sanctions after publication ‘chills’ speech, prior restraint ‘freezes’ it at least for the time.” Nebraska Press Ass’n v. Stuart, 427 U.S. 539 (1976).

Wow, I guess I’ve misunderstood the entire history of free speech law. Thanks for straightening me out.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re:

Ah, but you see, you don’t actually need to have a clue as long as you’ve bought enough government people to make yourself untouchable.

You can bet at least a good number of the top people know that what they’re doing is at the very least bending, if not flat out abusing the law in cases like that, but given they will never see the inside of a courtroom as defendants, they simply don’t care.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

“Claiming to be “a journalist” does not provide you immunity from unlawful conduct.”

No one, except you, is bringing this up.

Masnick is the one who all of a sudden conjured up the term ‘news publication’ in referring to Dajaz1. No one, not even Dajaz1 is claiming wrongdoing on those grounds. Dajaz1 claims that they weren’t infringing. I’m not aware of anyone else advancing this absurd theory…. other than Techdirt’s own version of Yosemite Sam who- having watched his mindless fanboys flame out over CISPA- is now seeking to stir up a new (and groundless) outrage.

Focus on the issue, son. The government is clearly in the wrong here. But not for any of the (Masnick) reasons you’re parroting. It’s likely that the material cited as infringing was provided Dajaz1 by one part of the company unbeknownst to another part of the company and/or the RIAA.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

“otherwise Dajaz1’s lawyers would have been all over it”

You know jack shit nothing about what they are or are not all over. You only know what you’re told when you’re told on a time table that gives no fuck about your speculation.

I read what you read (momentarily giving you the benefit of the doubt that you’re not simply another of Masnick’s ventriloquist’s dummies). I haven’t heard anyone- including Dajaz1’s lawyers spout this absurd drivel about the government censoring a (giggle) “news publication”. That’s a pure Masnick fabrication.

Pipe down you obnoxious windbag.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

Actually they had to file at least 12 of them(60 day extensions). Six for each domain name.

(C) Upon motion by the Government, a court may extend the period for sending notice under subparagraph (A) for a period not to exceed 60 days, which period may be further extended by the court for 60-day periods, as necessary, if the court determines, based on a written certification of a supervisory official in the headquarters office of the seizing agency, that the conditions in subparagraph (D) are present.

Scott (profile) says:

Names...

I think this might be a product of a judge that is overworked because congress (more like the R’s in the senate) cant see fit to approve judicial nominees. There is nothing in this judges background to suggest that she is a government pushover, or a hack for the RIAA/MPAA (she was the first female president of the CA bar, Clinton appointee, and she is from LA). I really think she has a clerk who IS an industry hack. Of course, this is speculation on my part but it seems to make sense

Digitari says:

Names...

well it’s quite Obvious this shill might be into kiddie porn, I saw a teddy bear on his bed, it may have been the pedo bear, I think we should give the FBI his IP address, ya know, JUST in case, then his life can be put on hold for a year, then given back, with NO explanation,No apology; Sounds fair right AC shill??

Of course you will deny it, but we should check anyways…..
(cause you just may be protesting a bit too much)

My Father always told me the best way to get an ass’s (mule) attention is to hit them between the eyes with a 2X4, seems he may have been correct. (No offense to mules)

Anonymous Coward says:

The REAL question is...

Inquiring minds want to know: what are the qualifications for keeping a job at ICE? Number of seized domains per year? Happiness of RIAA/MPAA execs? Big words in bogus takedown justifications? How difficult it is for defendants to figure out they were lied to?

But then, one wonders this about a lot of government agencies.

Watchit (profile) says:

Re:

yep, the EFF did just summarize the situation and did not put words into the ICE’s mouth, but you could defiantly tell there was some venom in that statement. I agree whole heatedly and would probably use just as much venom, but it is important to recognize biases even if they are your own.

N.B. biases are not a bad thing, they are a fact of life, everyone has them.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

The seizure had nothing to do with news. It had to do with allegations of infringement. A seizure is an arrest of property. If these guys were operating a a printed newsletter and allegedly selling bootleg DVD’s out of the back door, the business would be subject to seizure and the free speech claim would not serve as a shield.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

I don’t really care if you’re impressed; you’re wrong. This is a classic prior restraint situation. How the site is characterized is irrelevant because virtually everything that takes place on the Internet with the exception of child porn is protected speech or speech acts. If they were doing nothing other than distributing music and having people review it publicly, wiping it out is still a prior restraint. Any government act that directly or indirectly results in prevention of speech before it occurs is a prior restraint.

As for dajaz1’s lawyer(s), I’m not sure what mistake (s)he’s making. To go after the DoJ actors, he’d have to bring a Bivens action (the 42 USC ? 1983 equivalent for officials acting under color of federal law), and he has three years for that. It’s not something you’d discuss openly in advance. Going after a powerful agency like the DoJ, especially on their turf (federal court) is a fight you better be prepared for.

Oh and just so you know, I selected broad, simple quotes because I wasn’t about to write a full-out brief for you and just wanted to get a point across. If this were a real court and you argued that shuttering a website without accusation or trial on the say-so of a corrupt dying lobbying group and ignoring all statutes in the process isn’t a prior restraint, I’d just move for Rule 11 sanctions against you for making frivolous arguments; it would take a lot less time. Don’t assume so much next time and you might learn something. Sometimes people dumb their responses down to the level of the original post.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

BTW, It seems like the judge, the prosecutor and Dajaz1’s attorney all see it differently. Pffft.. what do they know, right Professor Dershowitz? I keep pointing out that a seizure is an arrest of property and you keep ignoring it. And as long as you’re pretending to be a lawyer, feel free to move for pretend Rule 11 sanctions. I’m sure pretend judge Masnick will grant your pretend motion. Then you two wankers can pretend that you have accomplished something.

Violated says:

Lazy Crazy

The only saving grace in this whole shameful affair is that at least interested parties have managed to get these super secret extension orders unsealed to confirm the truth in this case.

What we now see frankly disgusts me. This is nothing more than laziness, failure to follow the law, then a misplaced trust in the wrong people who then failed them.

Judge Margaret M. Morrow has acted shamefully in this case simply by rubber stamping their requests with no questions or consideration that ICE could be wrong. She has completely forgotten that the Justice system is independent from the Government and she does need to weigh the case through hearing both sides of this story. Sure the first extension was valid but with each extension she should place conditions to ensure that the case proceeds efficiently towards trial. Then when it was becoming clear that ICE was getting lazy over the case she should certainly have invited both sides to Court to plead their case. Instead due to her laziness she has turned the US Government into a dictatorship with her “Yes master let me rubber stamp anything you want and keep this ultra secret so no one knows”

Then ICE did even worse and not just because they listen to the damned RIAA without suitable evidence to conduct this raid. Or more correctly once the initial claims of the RIAA were proven false then they should have terrorised the hell of the RIAA with “prove mass infringement or bye bye case”.

It is clear to see the Government has been pure lazy with their extension orders including making them sealed when they do not need to be. These are not acts by a Government that aims to be open and accountable. Then getting their extension orders late is yet more laziness. What is most shocking is that they well know the rules and here they are simply being too lazy to follow them. This situation is unacceptable leading to the conclusion to uphold the rule of law that their laziness must be punished. If not punished all that happens is that laziness and failure to follow the law becomes common and that does explain a lot.

The only people who seem to have acted valid in this Dajaz1 case is the RIAA who are well known to shoot first and to see if they have a valid victim second. False claims are quite natural in their technical incompetence and clearly their left hand does not even know what their right hand is doing. Dragging their feet and failing to admit mistakes are also two of their well known attributes. It is only a shame these maggots have wormed their way into the political and law enforcement systems.

The RIAA are scum and it does take quite a fool to believe them just like certain ICE members did. Then let us not forget that only one month following this Dajaz1.com domain return they went after MegaUpload instead. I have already seen enough of that case to spot more fools listening to MPAA/RIAA scum. I now only have one remaining hope in that case namely that the US Government… FOLLOWS THE BLOODY RULES!!!

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Wouldn't this also mean

The government had to file 22 secret extensions to hold onto torrent-finder.com and onsmash.com up to this point? I’m not using special agent math though so it might only be 20.

This isn’t clear. It is possible that those two sites chose a slightly different process than Dajaz1, which may have, effectively granted the gov’t as much time as it wants to hang onto the domains.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re:

Claiming to be “a journalist” does not provide you immunity from unlawful conduct.

No one claimed it did. But a publication does have First Amendment rights to stop prior restraint. Those issues were not brought up in this instance because no lawsuit was actually filed, but you can bet good money that if a lawsuit did proceed, that would be at the top of the list.

If you want proof, you might want to look at the Rojadirecta case, which had a similar fact pattern (and was a forum, so even less “newsy” than a blog — yet is clearly arguing the prior restraint point).

As far as I’m aware, Dajaz1 has never even claimed any sort of journalistic immunity or asserted that the site was seized for anything other than questions regarding the music it made available.

Dajaz1 has not claimed or asserted anything because it never had a chance to go to court to claim or assert anything. All it did was, as allowed under the law, request its property back from the government. After that, everything was done in secret.

otherwise Dajaz1’s lawyers would have been all over it.

Again, rest assured that if a lawsuit actually happened, this would have been one of the claims.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re:

Sorry.. “work with” or perhaps “idolize”.

Weird. I don’t idolize the EFF either. While I respect them and agree with much of their work, I’ve also disagreed with them and gone up against them on things (in particular, their support of a collective license as a solution to music piracy.

Again, making shit up is a pretty weak move. Don’t you have something stronger to come at me with? It’s pretty boring when you just make shit up that’s wrong. You used to at least try to sound intelligent, and that was more fun.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re:

Does an arrest violate due process?

You should try reading the case law on this. When it involves shutting down the equivalent of a printing press without an adversarial hearing, then, why yes, it does.

Look, I know you’re trying to appear intelligent, but the fact that you’re totally uninformed isn’t helping.

http://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/489/46/case.html

Beech (profile) says:

Re:

Doesn’t matter what it was. It was speech, and it was legal. They could have just been posting the F word 7000 times a day and it would still be a first amendment violation.

Also, a hip-hop blog. What did they blog about? Maybe the latest happenings in hip-hop, AKA hip-hop news? AKA, news? Not like anything on Inside Edition or the Today show is more newslike…

Marcel de Jong (profile) says:

Re:

UNFOUNDED allegations of infringement.

A whole site was taken down because according to the recording industry a few files on that site might have been infringing on their copyright.

Meanwhile the actual owners of the site were kept in the dark of what was happening.

What’s wrong with DUE PROCESS?! Offer the defendant their day in court to disprove any of the allegations.

Oh, no, wait, the constitution goes right out the window as soon as the recording industry gets involved. Who cares about freedom of speech, and freedom of the press, we’re dealing with hardened copyright infringers here! Proof? What bloody proof? We don’t need no proof, we can wait a year or so, while keeping an innocent blog/news site offline.

You state a lot of if’s, and’s, or’s and but’s, but offer no real evidence that Dajaz1.com actually did what you (and your RIAA-masters) claim they have done.

You people make me sick, and make me even more hardened in my lifelong boycott of anything MPAA and RIAA related. You people aren’t going to see a cent from me ever again!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

Hear hear.

If there is anything you cannot accuse them of it is having no clue. They have been changing and corrupting law since their inception, with only their own interests in mind. Not those of creators, and certainly not those of the public. They know what they are doing, and it has been working.

And it will get worse before it gets better.

from Europe says:

dajaz1

You know, from overseas (Europe) your country looks even more dangerous and stupid than any other country that you declare war to. Its slavery and downpressing is so big and right under your noses that 90% of your people don’t see it. The baddest part is that Europe dances to the US’s demands so it’s getting worse and worse here as well. Today we remember the WWII victims, but freedom my ass! Occupy everywhere….. I truly feel for you guys (and for us – no n?t “the US”)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

An arrest CAN violate due process. Especially if you’re being arrested and NOT being charged. Of course, there is a 24 hour window where they can hold you, but after that your rights have been violated.

You’re not the sharpest tool in the shed and you’re bad analogies, personal attacks against everyone, etc. are very much proof that you’ve taken an indefensible and rather wrong position.

Here’s a thought. Before you start talking, think about the fact that YOU refuse to back up anything you say with actual facts/evidence/etc. Then realize that a large majority of people on this site (trolls/shills notwithstanding) are willing to go out of their way to prove you wrong and cite sources while doing so. At that point, just back away from the keyboard and go outside and play. You’d be a lot better off for doing that and you’d look like a lot less of an idiot, son. (Also, just because you call someone “son” doesn’t automatically make you more intelligent/wiser. It just means you’re very much a condescending asshole who’s trying to put others down in as condescending manner as possible. Do avoid doing that. Or don’t. Your reputation on this site couldn’t possibly get any lower. So it’s not like it matters.)

Ninja (profile) says:

Re:

ALLEGATIONS WITH NO EVIDENCE.

That said, let us suppose CNN publishes infringing material by mistake (never happens to big media outfits, right?) a few times. Would you support a full seizure of CNN domain? Now, let us suppose MTV does that. Since it’s not about “real” news I suppose it’s ok to seize their domain, right?

Your printed example is pretty good except that it doesn’t apply to Daj1az. If you read the article carefully there’s a link to a story that details how the content on the blog was actually PROVIDED BY THE STUDIOS AS PROMO MATERIAL.

While you are a damn shill and facts don’t matter to you, it’s pretty clear for everyone else that this was blatant censorship and complete dismissal of due process. 4th Amendment? BS.

Rikuo (profile) says:

Re:

Just so we can understand, say whether or not you agree with what’s happened here, as defined below.

The government has seized the domain of a Hip Hop news site, kept it for over a year, using extremely shaky legal grounds, all on the say so of a third party and most importantly here…never actually allowed the case to move to trial!

That’s what’s happened.

You keep on gabbing on about what Dajaz1’s lawyers should do. They can’t do anything. The government never permitted a trial. It just seized their site and then only reluctantly gave it back. AFTER A YEAR.

Anonymous Coward says:

Names...

The university where you graduated says nothing about how good of a student you were during your stay there.

I know quite a few former-students of pretigious universities – some of them my colleagues – that aren’t worth of their diplomas, yet they are hired solely on the name basis of the place they graduated and because they knew how to use a tie for a job interview instead of the quality of their job.

Ironically, the most promissing intern here comes from a community college.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

Please define law school. Where your opponent got their eduction is irrelevant if your argument loses to theirs. Some of our most important cases were brought and won by pro se parties. Instead of trying to attack my qualifications, why don’t you explain to us how this is not a prior restraint because it’s a blog. Support your argument with convincing valid caselaw and I’ll concede if you can pull it off.

RD says:

Re:

“Oh my God, what a stinging rebuke. Sorry if I disrupted the harmony of the Techdirt echo chamber. Go back to playing keyboard anarchist or shithouse lawyer. I’m finished pointing out the obvious for now.”

Oh thank CHRIST!! Now if you would just STFU, DIAF, or just plain JOAP, we could on with the actual issues instead of constantly correcting your blatant lies, falsehoods, misdirection, and specious arguments that keep pulling everyone away from meaningful discussion.

Margaret M. Morrow says:

crooked judge

it is clear to me that the “judge” Margaret M. Morrow is a government shill who will blindly rubberstamp any government document put in front of her, in other words she is simply an agent of a government bent on breaking the laws set forth in the constitution. What is 1000 dead lawyers at the bottom of the ocean? A good start.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re:

So are you suggesting that under the Copyright Act that federal law does not allow the government to seize property if it is being used for willful copyright infringement?

You really ought to try reading and learning a little.

The law allows the government to seize limited amounts of property, for the purpose of preserving evidence. *If* that seizure impacts protected speech, in addition to *criminal* expression, then the law is pretty clear that a high bar is set for seizure. At no point did the government even try to meet that bar. Furthermore, if it is possible to seize the illegal content without seizing the protected content, the law is pretty clear that this is the way things should be.

The government did none of that.

Finally, in answer to your specific question, no, the law does not allow the seizure of property for willful infringement. It allows the seizure of *certain* property for *criminal* infringement. Willful is one element for showing criminal infringement, but it is also possible to have willful civil infringement, for which no seizure is allowed. But that’s besides the point because you appear to be arguing something different.

Either way, the law is clear, despite your ignorance of it. You can’t seize an entire website just because you think there may be some infringement on there. You *can* take certain steps to shut the site down, but those steps were never taken. That’s why this is a clear due process/first amendment violation.

Anonymous Coward says:

In summary… the government “seized” a domain name, which didn’t actually take down any infringing content or preserve any evidence, but just made the site harder to find. There was supposed to be a deadline where they had to provide a justification or return the domain name, but the government filed for secret extensions. In the extensions they claimed that they were working on a criminal investigation and revealing the investigation might hamper it (while providing zero evidence of anything.)

Does anyone really think that the company didn’t think there might be some sort of criminal investigation going on, considering the seizure? So, even if the government was correct that providing certain information regarding the investigation might hamper it… there was no reason not to reveal the existance of the investigation itself. Everyone already knew about it. Therefore, there was no reason to seal the motions for extension.

And even if the MOTIONS for extension still needed to be sealed, there is no excuse for sealing the GRANTING of the motions. They say nothing more than that the motion was granted. This is where it gets ridiculous.

“Since you didn’t file for forfieture by the deadline, you have to return my property.” “No, we got an extension.” “Really? Let’s see it.” “No! Trust us, we got one!” “Can we talk to the judge?” “NO!” “OK, now it’s 2 months later, your extension must have expired.” “No, we got another one! And you can’t see this one either!” “Well, OK, now it’s another 2 months later, your last extension must have expired, right?” “We got another one! And we totally didn’t get it after the deadline, trust us!” “You know, we actually DON’T trust you…” “Too bad! Everything’s under seal so you can’t prove anything!”

In what universe is that acceptable?

AND, when the extensions expired, the property needed to be returned THAT DAY. Since the “property” was a domain name, it would only take a few mouse clicks, right? It’s not like we’re even talking about something that could be evidence, or actual allegedly infringing material, or even something that was possible for them to hide if it needed to be seized again.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

I want the DA, who declared under penalty of perjury that the investigation would be hampered by revealing that it existed, to justify what he wrote, in court. (If you didn’t want them to know you were investigating them, maybe you shouldn’t have seized the domain in the first place! Because that was kind of a tip-off when you said right in the seizure warrant that you were doing it for reasons of criminal copyright infringement.) I want anyone involved in denying access to the judge removed from whatever position they are in. I want the judge removed from the bench entirely, for not ordering that Dajaz1 be provided with a copy of the order.

People who think this sort of thing is appropriate belong nowhere near our judicial system.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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

Comment Options:

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

What's this?

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

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...
Loading...