Saturday, December 10, 2011

Federal domain seizure raises new concerns over online censorship

It's been a little more than a year since the US government began seizing domains of music blogs, torrent meta-trackers and sports streaming sites. The copyright infringement investigation, led by US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) authorities, quickly raised eyebrows among many free speech and civil rights advocates, fueling a handful of legal challenges. Few are more compelling, or frightening than a case involving As TechDirt reports, the popular hip-hop blog has been at the epicenter of a sinuous and seemingly dystopian dispute with the feds -- one that underscores the heightening controversy surrounding federal web regulation, and blurs the constitutional divide between free speech and intellectual property protection.

Dajaz1 was initially seized under the 2008 Pro IP Act, on the strength of an affidavit that cited several published songs as evidence of copyright infringement. As it turns out, ,any of these songs were actually provided by their copyright holders themselves, but that didn't stop the government from seizing the URL anyway, and plastering a warning all over its homepage. Typically, this kind of action would be the first phase of a two-step process. Once a property is seized, US law dictates that the government has 60 days to notify its owner, who can then choose to file a request for its return. If the suspect chooses to file this request within a 35-day window, the feds must then undertake a so-called forfeiture process within 90 days. Failure to do so would require the government to return the property to its rightful owner. But that's not exactly how things played out in the case of Dajaz1. For more details on the saga, head past the break.

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Federal domain seizure raises new concerns over online censorship originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 09 Dec 2011 15:21:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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