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Owners Of Hiphop Blogs Seized By Homeland Security Still Haven't Been Told Why

from the prior-restraint? dept

The saga of the domains seized by Homeland Security's Immigrations & Customs Enforcement (ICE) group continues to get more and more bizarre. We'd already noted that among the domains seized were a bunch of hiphop blogs that artists and record labels regularly used to promote their works and that at least the search engine Torrent-Finder was planning to fight back. As we noted at the time, it seemed like the blogs would have a much stronger case, as there's pretty clear First Amendment problems with the governments' actions.

While it's still not entirely clear what the owners of those blogs are going to do, the NY Times has spoken with some of them and it appears they're certainly exploring their options. I would imagine that the EFF and others have all reached out to them as well. I'm also guessing that the RIAA -- who told ICE to take down these sites -- may actually be getting nervous that it may have pushed too far here. They have to realize that they're going to lose these lawsuits if the domain owners push back. It's classic prior restraint.

What's really scary, though, is that the article notes that the domain owners still have been given no indication of why their sites were seized and may need to wait another 30 to 60 days before they're able to even see the seizure order. That seems ridiculous. You shouldn't just be able to seize a domain name and then tell the owners that they'll find out why nearly three months later. What happened to due process?

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  1. icon
    Gabriel Tane (profile), 15 Dec 2010 @ 8:04am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Are you suggesting that a store that sells 95% infringing products cannot be shut down by the government if 5% of the sales are of products that constitute protectable expression? "
    It depends on wether or not that store can successfully make the case that the selling of music is an expression. If they can and the government agrees that selling music is an expression, then no, the store itself cannot be shut down if that action would block the protected expression of the legal content.

    "Put another way, if my website consists of nothing by infringing activity, do I get around criminal copyright enforcement by simply adding a forum?"
    Thank you... My head is spinning from all of the other analogies floating around here.

    In answer, you cannot get around copyright enforcement by hosting a forum in that same space... but you CAN get around having the whole site taken down. That's the whole point of prior restraint. We have plenty of other laws (DMCA, for one) to force down the infringing content in a targeted manner without affecting the protected speech.

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