Rep. Lofgren Again Explains How And Why Domain Seizures Violate The Law

from the and-another-lawyer dept

We had just pointed to a lawyer explaining why the domain seizures by the government were likely to be unconstitutional. That was in response to some of our commenters who insist that anyone who actually understands the law would clearly see that such seizures are perfectly fine. Well, here's another lawyer who disagrees -- and she also happens to be a Congressional Representative, Zoe Lofgren. Obviously, we've covered her basic concerns with these seizures, and now she's done an interview with Ars Technica, where she goes into much more detail. She notes that this appears to be outside of ICE's mandate. That the reasons behind the seizures were too broad (such as in the seizure of Torrent-Finder, a search engine, which suggests the government could just seize Google if it wanted to).

Lofgren correctly points out that falling back on the legality of seizures for things like drugs does not apply, because this is a First Amendment issue, and then points out that it appears to be prior restraint:
Ars: So how did these seizures differ from, say, narcotics seizures in which some of the same issues about a non-adversarial hearing apply?

Rep. Lofgren: You're never going to have a free speech issue when it comes to a pile of cocaine.

Ars: The recording industry also objected to the First Amendment concerns you raised, saying that the First Amendment is "not a shield for illegal behavior."

Rep. Lofgren: They completely missed the point, and I would think intentionally so. This is prior restraint of speech, and you can't do that in America.
Nice to see yet another "lawyer" speaking out about this, and especially nice that it happens to be someone in Congress, who can hopefully get more attention on this concerning subject.

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. icon
    Chosen Reject (profile), 15 Mar 2011 @ 1:06pm

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

    Do they also get their phone number confiscated and their mailing address stolen?

    Their tools weren't taken by the government. They still have their servers, their content, their IP addresses, their network connections, etc. All that was taken was a domain name, which it has been pointed out many times, is not infringing. It'd have to be a heck of a long domain name for the domain name itself to be infringing. So the government didn't take away their tools, but they did take away their property.

    This would be similar to asking the UPS to forward all mail to and from a supected drug dealer's UPS mailbox to the police (note that I wrote UPS, not USPS). Doing so doesn't take away the suspect's ability to commit the crimes he's suspected of committing, but it does take away his property and limiting his current avenues for speech.

    So congratulations, you support the government taking away property and using prior restraint all without having an adversarial hearing and so far without even charging them. This is like security theater. They did nothing to actually stop infringement, while still taking property and using prior restraint.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: I Invented Email
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.