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Published On: Sun, Nov 28th, 2010

Homeland Security, without due process or warreant seizes over 70 websites

Homeland Security under attack for seizing over 70 websites over copyright and trademark violations without any due process or proper warrant.

From Mashable.com, comes an article by Joli O’Dell detailing the U.S. government’s crackdown on file sharing and counterfeiting taking a disturbing turn.

“…Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement office had seized Torrent-Finder.com, a site that linked to other sites that hosted and shared torrent files of copyrighted material. The news itself was not too unusual; what struck us as out of order was that the site had been shut down without the owner being notified and without a court conviction or, to our knowledge, any other legal proceedings.”

The article notes that “…as many as 77 different websites have been seized and shut down, all without any notification or warning to the owners.”

photo Charles Fettinger via Flickr

As the owner of Torrent-Finder.com said, the sites were seized “without any previous complaint or notice from any court… While I was contacting GoDaddy I noticed the DNS had changed. Godaddy had no idea what was going on and until now they do not understand the situation, and they say it was totally from ICANN.”

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is seizing sites directly from ICANN because of complaints filed against them; the agency is not doing so under the auspices of the Digital Millenium Coptyright Act (DMCA) or a more recently introduced, so-called “censorship” bill, the Combating Online Infringements and Counterfeits Act, or COICA, which was created specifically to address the issue of piracy.

While both of these acts have serious issues that many free-web advocates find disturbing, the implementation of either law might be better than no law at all.

The article notes that “If copyrights are being infringed upon and goods are being counterfeited, the government does have the authority to put a stop to those activities.”

“The DHS is bypassing typical laws and procedures to quickly stamp out file-sharing and counterfeiting — perhaps in time to thwart knock-off holiday shopping, we could speculate. We might also speculate that the reason for the rush job has something to do with the impending passage of COICA, which would create a longer process for closing these sites.”

 

 

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- Stories transferred over from The Desk of Brian where the original author was not determined and the content is still of interest of Dispatch readers.

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