Say That Again

by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
censorship, dajaz1, domain seizures


RIAA Doesn't Apologize For Year-Long Blog Censorship; Just Stands By Its Claim That The Site Broke The Law

from the well,-look-at-that dept

Following our story this morning about the government censoring a popular blog for over a year and denying them basic due process, before finally failing to find probable cause and returning the domain, it appears that the RIAA is trying to quickly absolve itself of responsibility for the whole thing. As we noted in our post, the government relied on an executive at the RIAA to claim that the works it used as evidence to seize the domain were infringing -- despite the fact that the RIAA was in no position to know if the rightsholders had authorized the music sent to the site (and, in one case, despite the fact that the musician was not affiliated with the RIAA). now has a story about the whole mess as well, with a quote from the RIAA that ignores the lack of due process, the lack of probable cause, and just sorta shrugs its shoulders with a "well, we thought it was infringing."
For a year and a half, we monitored the site, identifying instances where its operators had uploaded music to unauthorized file-sharing services where the recordings could be freely downloaded -- music that artists had created with the expectation that they would have a chance to sell before it was leaked. Dajaz1 profited from its reputation for providing links to pre-release copies, and during that time nearly 2300 recordings linked to the site were removed from various file-sharing services. We are unaware of a single instance where the site operator objected by saying that the distribution was somehow authorized.
I'm not even entirely sure what that means. Considering that the music was sent by representatives of the label itself for the express purpose of having it promoted, it's unclear how or why the RIAA believes Dajaz1 was infringing. And whether or not Dajaz1 objected to the RIAA throwing around DMCA notices really has nothing to do with what happened to the site. If there really was such evidence, wouldn't the government have actually used it in court, rather than stalling for a year and finally admitting that there was no probable cause?

Either way, this response from the RIAA appears to ignore the horror that they helped allow the US government to flat out censor a web site that was used to promote their works. You'd think they'd be a little more careful and at least apologize. Either way, the RIAA might want to reconsider claiming that freedom of speech is a core RIAA value. Its "statement" here certainly suggests otherwise.

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  1. icon
    Nathan F (profile), 8 Dec 2011 @ 1:27pm


    I'd say that the fact that the government dropped the case after having a full calendar year to build the case speaks for that. Hell, they did't even have the other lawyer horning in on things making it difficult for them by filing motion after motion in opposition to them.

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