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DHS Seizes 75+ Domain Names 529

Posted by Soulskill
from the going-for-the-gusto dept.
Many readers have sent in an update to yesterday's story about the Department of Homeland Security's seizure of torrent-finder.com, a domain they believe to be involved in online piracy. As it turns out, this was just one of dozens of websites that were targeted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. "In announcing that operation, John T. Morton, the assistant secretary of ICE, and representatives of the Motion Picture Association of America called it a long-term effort against online piracy, and said that suspected criminals would be pursued anywhere in the world. 'American business is under assault from counterfeiters and pirates every day, seven days a week,' Mr. Morton said. 'Criminals are stealing American ideas and products and distributing them over the Internet.'" The TorrentFreak article we discussed yesterday has been updated with a list of the blocked sites.
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DHS Seizes 75+ Domain Names

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  • One of Our Cancers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MyFirstNameIsPaul (1552283) * <myfirstnameispaul@gmail.com> on Saturday November 27, 2010 @03:44PM (#34359296) Homepage Journal

    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."

    "Where the people fear the government you have tyranny. Where the government fears the people you have liberty."

    “the few practice lawful plunder upon the many, a common practice where the right to participate in the making of law is limited to a few persons.”

    Most people in the U.S. wouldn't know they live in a tyrannical state if it walked up and grabbed their junk. We are seeing are the final nails in the Constitution's coffin. Their is no Constitutional justification for the seizing of these sites. It violates the core of the agreements made between the people and the Government. I really wish we could return to being a republic, where each state minds its own business but keep the Federal Government operating within the bounds of the Constitution. The people in Texas can have anarchy or whatever and the people in Massachussetes can have their pristine Government institutions. Those unhappy with their state are Constitutionally guaranteed the right to move.

    I bet dollars to doughnuts that when net neutrality passes, buried deep in the legislation's text will be stronger measures than what we're seeing today.

  • by Ryanrule (1657199) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @03:45PM (#34359302)
    and GIVING them to china
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 27, 2010 @03:47PM (#34359310)

    This is a historic moment.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 27, 2010 @03:48PM (#34359320)

    suspected criminals would be pursued anywhere in the world
     
    Welcome to "guilty before proven innocent"

  • by EmagGeek (574360) <gterich@@@aol...com> on Saturday November 27, 2010 @03:50PM (#34359326) Journal

    Seriously, kids downloading music poses what threat, exactly, to national security?

    One more piece of evidence that our government is just a puppet of deep-pocketed corporations and special interest groups.

    I'm starting to think N. Korea is spot on...

  • by amiga3D (567632) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @03:50PM (#34359330)

    Idiot. It doesn't matter which party runs the White House. This is about money. Money always rules.

  • by dwlovell (815091) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @03:51PM (#34359338)

    The websites in these cases amount to a storefront to distribute fake goods or copyrighted materials. When this happens with physical storefronts, they get shut down. I don't really see how this is any different.

    This isn't about free speech, no liberties were lost, this is about people breaking the law and reasonable steps are being taken to stop them. You shouldn't fear the government as a result of this. Take off your tinfoil hat.

  • by serutan (259622) <snoopdoug&geekazon,com> on Saturday November 27, 2010 @03:51PM (#34359342) Homepage

    Copyright Infringement.
    It's like Communism, only newer.

  • by SonicSpike (242293) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @03:52PM (#34359350) Homepage Journal

    The 5th Amendment says that "no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law". Due process means that one must be found guilty in a court of law by a jury of their peers.

    And since when did the mission of DHS become copyright enforcement? And where did they get the unilateral authority to act as judge, jury, and executioner?

    Last time I checked, "copyprivilege" infringement required a civil suit by the person who held the privilege to begin with? Were these domain holders sued? Were they found guilty (liable) by a court of law?

    Is the US government out of control and operating outside the bounds of the Constitution?

  • Government control (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bonch (38532) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @03:52PM (#34359352)

    Now do you people understand the opposition to net neutrality? The government would "regulate" torrent traffic and other things that high-paying lobbyists didn't like.

  • Sampling the mood (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 27, 2010 @03:58PM (#34359400)
    Looks like they're sampling the mood. Trying to ice to see how much they get away with.
  • by Skal Tura (595728) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @04:01PM (#34359418) Homepage

    What happened to innocent until proven quilty?

  • by Cederic (9623) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @04:03PM (#34359430) Journal

    At least we can put to bed the suggestion that yeseterday's story was a hoax.

    Next can we please retrieve ICANN from US control and cut off the US DNS masters? I think it's pretty clear they can't be trusted to run the internet :(

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 27, 2010 @04:05PM (#34359438)
  • by MyFirstNameIsPaul (1552283) * <myfirstnameispaul@gmail.com> on Saturday November 27, 2010 @04:14PM (#34359512) Homepage Journal
    By that argument, Google [google.com] should be #1 on their list of domains to seize. However, the first amendment has been violated as it uses absolute terms: "Congress shall make no law...". The sites were linking to other sites that carried the questionable material. This is the same as when a journalist is given illegally obtained information and then prints it. The journalist is not breaking the law and did not conspire to break the law and thus cannot be held liable for the crime.
  • by salesgeek (263995) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @04:15PM (#34359516) Homepage

    As with most crimes in progress, the law allows the police to take action to stop the crime and seize the evidence. The disposition of the evidence and means of committing the crime will be dealt with as part of whatever trial is coming.

    In this case, it looks like a ICE took down a bunch of sellers of counterfeit goods and may have overreached on the torrent site. That said, we'll all soon learn what the relationship of torrent-finder.com is to the rest of the seized domains.

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @04:15PM (#34359522)

    Not to defend what they are doing as I don't like it either... but from TFA it seems they did have a court order to seize these domains. The question is, how those court orders were arrived at.

    The torrent site seemed the most troubling as you can't really see how an order can be issued against what they were doing. The majority of the sites seemed to be selling counterfeit material like clothes and handbags; still iffy but you could see where possibly customs could have a hand in shutting down transfer of illegal goods.

  • by jhoegl (638955) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @04:16PM (#34359526)
    Trickle down economics... the rich just move to another country.
  • by boxo1 (154647) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @04:20PM (#34359564)

    Who determines that the websites in question are distributing copyrighted materials?

    I don't call it due process when your property is seized by way of court order resulting from a hearing in which you weren't allowed to give your side of the story.

    The owner of Torrent Finder found out about the action after the site was seized. (even though the site hosts no torrents and returns search results through embedded iframes) So the site is gone until he can convince the government to give it back.

    Yeah, that's my America. Give the government the power to punish without so much as a public hearing. After all there's no chance THAT power will be abused.

  • by KingAlanI (1270538) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @04:21PM (#34359580) Homepage Journal

    Whatever you think of copyright, and of torrent-assistance sites, it seems that much of what was caught in this sting are sites that sell knockoffs - dealing with that and other clear trademark issues I don't have quite as much of a problem with.

    Were the seizure warrants mentioned in TFA's image actually issued and reasonably sensical? Could have a "bureaucrats who don't understand technology" issue w/r/t the technicalities.
    And let's face it, such sites seem to be aiding and abetting distribution even if they're not doing the actual distribution.

  •     Be careful, you're on the edge of invoking Godwin's law. I'm not saying you are wrong, but I'd hate for a perfectly good statement to be nullified from simple misphrasing.

        Seizes property: check
        Person: check
        Thought: as expressed through action, speech, writing, or art... check.

        We're not so far from sliding into an Orwellian nightmare.

        or...

        Big Brother is watching you. War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.

  • by clarkkent09 (1104833) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @04:24PM (#34359600)

    We don't live in a tyranny but we are moving in that direction. What about having nearly half of our income taken by force and most of it passed on to others whether we want it or not (tax/welfare), how about a tax system so complex that it is impossible not to break the law and where we collectively spend over $250 billion (yes with a b, look it up) on accountants just to comply with it. How about when we are forced to buy a specific health insurance policy even if we don't want one (Obamacare)? How about when we want to start a small business and have to buy a permission (license) to do so, one each from city, county and state, as well as jump through a hundred loops, each one with its own fee. How about when eminent domain is abused to take property from people on the grounds that handing it over to corporate use will bring more tax dollars? The only time kids on this site get worked up about it when their favorite stupid torrent sharing site gets shut down.

  • by NiceGeek (126629) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @04:24PM (#34359610)

    So where in all those quotes does it say that sites selling counterfeit goods are allowable?

  • by arivanov (12034) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @04:25PM (#34359616) Homepage

    A court order is what happened.

    There is a court order for shutting down this sites and the article refers to it.

    So can we cut the "freedom", "internet only", etc malarkey. It is all above board and pretty much following proper due process and established procedures. If you sell counterfeit DVDs from a stall at the market you will get shut down. Do not see why you should not be shut down if you sell counterfeit media off a website.

    Now the definition of counterfeit, grey, illegal copying, etc are all an entirely different matter. However, as long as the current definitions stand there is nothing particularly outrageous and illegal here. It is in fact definitely more legal than most DMCA shutdowns.

  • by clarkkent09 (1104833) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @04:48PM (#34359786)

    Is the US government out of control and operating outside the bounds of the Constitution?
     
    No. This is done under Customs and Immigration, which is one of the legitimate jobs of the government, except in this case the products being illegally exported are digital.
     
      Due process means that one must be found guilty in a court of law by a jury of their peers.
     
    Cops do not need a jury trial before they can seize stolen goods. They seized the illegal goods just like they might seize illegal physical goods and shut down the shop selling them with only a warrant while a trial is pending. If you bothered to read any of the linked articles you would find that they had a warrant from a District Court judge.

  • by Mysteray (713473) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @05:06PM (#34359912) Homepage

    No, the police will show up and shut down physical stores for selling illegal things/things illegally. Perhaps they do need a judge to sign off on it, but presumably the DHS had its own paperwork in order.

  • by Pliny (12671) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @05:09PM (#34359938) Homepage

    John Gilmore's quote was always an oversimplification. The net itself doesn't do anything but move packets. The people that use the net are the ones that find ways over, under, and around censorship. And this is censorship. We can argue about whether or not it's justified (and in the case of websites selling Chanel knockoffs as the real thing, it might be) but the fact the ICE and DHS have exerted control over ICANN is not good.

    I'm a US citizen, born and raised here. The prospect of my government having the power to control the web scares me shitless. It's time to start working on a decentralized, cryptographically sound successor to DNS. It's also time to get serious about IPv6 and IPSec (encryption at the network layer) as a way to foil deep packet inspection.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 27, 2010 @05:17PM (#34359986)

    Proof that our government's priorities are screwed. They'll do this but ignore H1-B visa corruption and the fact that US businesses will fire US workers because they can hire Chinese workers at a 3-1 rate and not have to deal with taxes and benefits.

    Seriously, I give up.

  • by Degro (989442) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @05:19PM (#34359996)
    Exactly. We in the other half spent 8 years saying the same about Bush. It's like the whole thing is rigged to flip-flop every 8-12 years, just enough to keep each side in fighting spirits and everyone distracted away from that top 1-2%.
  • by cheekyjohnson (1873388) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @05:19PM (#34359998)

    morally you are a jackass for trying to profit from other people's work and slightly insane for thinking that you are some kind

    I don't get it. What's wrong with torrent seedboxes, now? They aren't necessary always used for copyright infringement (note the proper term there instead of stealing). They're merely services/tools.

  • by LinuxLuver (775817) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @05:20PM (#34360008)
    The interesting part is the anti- terrorism DHS being used for something that has nothing whatever to do with homeland security. That didn't take long. The US can now only be seen as a police state, given how DHS powers make a joke of the US Constitution. Yet most of the sheeple still have no idea the American democratic ideal is now stone, cold dead... and they are Tea Partying for more of the same, believing they will get less. It's perverse.
  • by cheekyjohnson (1873388) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @05:20PM (#34360010)

    and the federal government operates completely within the bounds of the constitution

    Not possible as long as the people have so little power and the large corporations and government have so much.

  • by clarkkent09 (1104833) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @05:26PM (#34360054)

    He provides a service that he knows is being used mostly (let's be honest, almost exclusively) for illegal purposes and he is ok with it. Can you explain to me how is that not wrong?

  • Cut DHS Budget (Score:3, Insightful)

    by syleishere (1811744) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @05:29PM (#34360084)
    Wasting tax payers money protecting music and movie industry instead of all the middle class workers who want file sharing who make up majority of voters! People will fight back on this one, can't arrest every person in north america, and in the process they'll further worsen the american dollar, especially when they are forcing file sharers to secure domains and servers out of country. In grand scheme of things, movie and music industry will have to learn how to make money off banners and online marketing like rest of us, best thing we can do is run them out of money, and cut their abuse of government funding, with no money for lawyers , and hitting them where it counts, we can aspire to true freedom.
  • by munky99999 (781012) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @05:31PM (#34360104)
    What I want to know is if the applicable websites are of AMERICAN registrars and/or AMERICAN servers. As if they hijacked non-american DNS. Then the USA must be removed from all authority in DNS. We have allowed them this position because they were of the position they wouldnt enforce their morality on the world.
  • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @05:40PM (#34360164)

    Probably because they convinced a judge that sites like torrent-finder.com were being used almost exclusively by those deliberately breaking the law, which of course they could argue simply by observing the publicly available content those sites were advertising, while the major search engines are predominantly used by everyday people for legal activities and because of their automated nature may also be used by people looking for other purposes.

    Fortunately, unlike a significant proportion of Slashdot posters, the average judge does understand the difference, can identify when a group of law-breakers is taking the piss, and will authorise the relevant authorities to do something about it where the law permits.

    It's odd how the freeloaders are always quick to claim that IP is not real property, infringing copyright is not theft, they wouldn't have bought it anyway, etc., yet just because the authorities changed a few records in a DNS database after seeking a court order and acting with full judicial oversight, the sky is falling and it's some profound invasion of their fundamental human rights or something. Hypocrisy, meet Denial; Denial, this is Hypocrisy.

  • by emt377 (610337) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @05:41PM (#34360168)

    I certainly agree with the quote in theory, but I also feel that it has to be broken because of the nature of society. In my town, there were some pretty nasty red-light runners. I was almost hit several times. So when they came to take away part of my liberty by installing red light cameras, I wasn't so upset. It was a trade off that would make the world better.

    Yes but red light runners don't just have their property seized. They can go to court and argue it wasn't them, demand to see evidence, and generally defend themselves. Your PD's traffic enforcement doesn't collect names and then go seize their cars because they were used in the commission of a crime. Even red light runners have a right to due process. I have no problem with red light cameras either - or law enforcement in general. I have a problem with just rampantly interfering in civil disputes. Illegal distribution and bootlegging denies the property owners income, but isn't theft since that denies use of tangible property. Unless you steal the sole manuscript it's a bit rich to call it theft; it's generally not something that requires active prevention since it doesn't deny the rightful owner use of it. Nor is it a matter of public safety - it's strictly a civil dispute over distribution rights and compensation.

  • by biryokumaru (822262) <biryokumaru@gmail.com> on Saturday November 27, 2010 @05:43PM (#34360186)
    So if I made a perfect copy of a Prada purse, it would be legal for me to sell it for $2000? I don't think exactitude is the best standard to differentiate copyright infringement...
  • by borcharc (56372) * on Saturday November 27, 2010 @05:45PM (#34360200)

    A Domain name is personal property, a court order taking it from someone without notice of the opportunity to respond to a complaint violates the second principle of natural justice, Audi alteram partem, a important backbone to our legal system. The concept of Audi alteram partem is extremely sacred in common law and requires the other side at least the opportunity to be heard before any action is taken. This is reinforced by several portions of the US Constitution and endless relevant case law. Any action, in any common law court, requires notice to be given and a reasonable time to respond to the allegations prior to and decision made by a court. You cant take someone property in absentia without at least giving them reasonable notice. PERIOD.

  • by Xtifr (1323) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @05:54PM (#34360248) Homepage

    Now do you people understand the opposition to net neutrality?

    Nope. Opposition to net neutrality remains idiotic, ill-informed and/or evil. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume #2 in this case.

    The government would "regulate" torrent traffic and other things that high-paying lobbyists didn't like.

    They already do. Anyway, pointing to this as an example of the "evils" of net neutrality when we don't have net neutrality yet is some pretty funky logic (using the term very loosely).

    I gather that what you're worried about is that they may attach riders to any net neutrality bill. Well guess what? They can (and do) attach riders to all sorts of bills, even bills that are completely unrelated. So if what you're worried about is riders, opposing net neutrality won't help. It'll simply block the good stuff (actual net neutrality) while leaving them free to add all the bad stuff they want to other bills.

  • by ShiftyOne (1594705) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @05:57PM (#34360272)
    I find it hard to say that a one sided argument to a judge of DHS's choosing is due process.
  • it's whack-a-mole! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by circletimessquare (444983) <circletimessquare&gmail,com> on Saturday November 27, 2010 @05:59PM (#34360300) Homepage Journal

    knock down 1, 10 sprout up, knock down 10, 100 sprout up

    intellectual property+internet=no more intellectual property. some people just need to learn the hard way. keep whacking the moles, government friends!

  • by fishexe (168879) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @06:02PM (#34360316) Homepage

    It didn't matter, but it might in the future. The Tea Party is the last hope for a government that actually stays in its Constitutional box. I don't care what you think about particular people involved with it, just get out there and support less government.

    Bullshit. I know quite a few Tea Partiers and they will take away every last right I have as soon as they get the chance. These are people who only make a stink when the party they don't like is in power, doing the EXACT SAME THINGS that the party they do like was doing before. How many Tea Partiers do you know who said anything at all about the Bush admin's declaration that Americans only have freedom of speech within "Free Speech Zones"? It's not about liking or disliking the people involved in it, it's about recognizing that the Tea Party Movement ITSELF is a movement of hypocrisy and cynicism that claims to be about less government but really works towards more government by the proper group of mostly old white men (with the occasional token minority or female) who put large corporations first and everyday citizens second. If you participate in the Tea Party believing otherwise, you're a sucker and a patsy.

  • by WitnessForTheOffense (1669778) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @06:07PM (#34360344)

    ...and will authorise the relevant authorities to do something about it where the law permits.

    Feel free to quote the laws to which you're referring in which DHS is permitted to seize domains and also feel free to explain how the ICE are "the relevant authorities."

    It's odd how the freeloaders are always quick to claim that IP is not real property, infringing copyright is not theft, they wouldn't have bought it anyway, etc., yet just because the authorities changed a few records in a DNS database after seeking a court order and acting with full judicial oversight, the sky is falling and it's some profound invasion of their fundamental human rights or something.

    There's no cognitive dissonance in what you described. IP is not real property and copyright infringement is not theft. The DHS/ICE overstepping their authority and jurisdiction does not suddenly make IP real property or make copyright infringement theft. And while your characterization of the people with whom you disagree is a straw-man, they are perfectly justified in feeling outraged that the fundamental basis of the rule of law is being undermined for the sake of big companies with obsolete business models.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 27, 2010 @06:08PM (#34360366)

    Ah... but Bamster often talked about the Constitution's fundamental flaws (stuff he'd like to change), being that it only talked about what the government couldn't do to you... and not what it should do on your behalf.....

    I guess protecting you from yourself is one of those things.

    Be a good worker and go back and pay your taxes.

  • by Sepodati (746220) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @06:12PM (#34360402) Homepage

    requires the other side at least the opportunity to be heard before any action is taken

    Where does that last clause come from? Where is "audi alteram partem" when I'm given a ticket for speeding? Where is it when a search warrant is issued for my house? I'm no lawyer, but doesn't that happen in court?

  • by fishexe (168879) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @06:18PM (#34360442) Homepage

    The 5th Amendment says that "no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law". Due process means that one must be found guilty in a court of law by a jury of their peers.

    When there's a criminal proceeding, items which are evidence in the proceeding have always been subject to seizure prior to trial. The 5th Amendment has never affected that. Also, items being used in an ongoing criminal act are subject to seizure. It's no different from the cops finding a robber in the act and seizing his gun, or catching a drug-runner and seizing the car with a secret compartment hollowed out in the seat that he was using to hide his cargo.

    Last time I checked, "copyprivilege" infringement required a civil suit by the person who held the privilege to begin with? Were these domain holders sued? Were they found guilty (liable) by a court of law?

    There are both civil and criminal statutes for copyright infringement. Criminal sanctions basically apply to large-scale commercial infringement operations. I'm guessing if DHS is involved then the operators of the sites are now awaiting criminal prosecution.

    Is the US government out of control and operating outside the bounds of the Constitution?

    Out of control? Maybe. Operating outside the bounds of the Constitution? Definitely not. As I said before, the 5th Amendment doesn't protect property directly used in the commission of a crime, and large-scale commercial infringement is a criminal matter. Also, the Copyright Clause of the US Constitution doesn't say anywhere that enforcement has to be through civil suit brought by the copyright owner. It merely says that Congress can award the exclusive rights in order to advance "Progress in Science and Useful Arts" and that these rights can only be given "for limited Times". Come to think of it, they are outside the bounds of the Constitution on that point: copyright duration has now become basically unlimited. But that's a different story for a different thread.

  • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @06:25PM (#34360498)

    Apparently a US court has issued a warrant permitting this action. Given that they are presumably far more qualified to interpret US law than I am as a non-lawyer from outside the US, perhaps you should take the matter up with them?

    And the cognitive dissonance is not in sticking meticulously to the distinction between physical property and IP, it's in basing much of the advocacy for infringing copyright on the distinction, but then crying like a baby just because the government flipped a few bits that also did not harm anyone's personal property, put anyone in jail, or otherwise cause any actual, demonstrable harm to anyone. Either control of data can have a real world value worthy of legal protection or it can't, but the position of the freeloaders in this discussion appears to be that information they want to take has no value but the information they want to control is sacrosanct. I can't see that as anything but transparent hypocrisy.

  • by Antique Geekmeister (740220) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @06:45PM (#34360622)

    Do not ever assume that the Department of Homeland Security could find its own bottom with a strip search and a full body X-ray. Due to various laws such as the Patriot Act, they've been protected from having to actually pay attention to civil rights. They are _extremely_ careless of "having their paperwork in order".

  • Whereas... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jshuford (1948776) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @06:48PM (#34360648)
    Le silence est d'accord...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 27, 2010 @07:11PM (#34360812)

    John T. Morton:

    'Criminals are stealing American ideas

    Thomas Jefferson:

    If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea

    How disgusting. How far the USA has fallen.

  • by Icculus (33027) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @07:31PM (#34360938)
    Please don't feed the troll. Anyone using the phrase "you people" should be automatically put on some kind of slashdot-posting probation.


    doh!
  • by Foobar of Borg (690622) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @08:21PM (#34361218)

    A Domain name is personal property, a court order taking it from someone without notice of the opportunity to respond to a complaint violates the second principle of natural justice, Audi alteram partem, a important backbone to our legal system. The concept of Audi alteram partem is extremely sacred in common law and requires the other side at least the opportunity to be heard before any action is taken. This is reinforced by several portions of the US Constitution and endless relevant case law. Any action, in any common law court, requires notice to be given and a reasonable time to respond to the allegations prior to and decision made by a court. You cant take someone property in absentia without at least giving them reasonable notice. PERIOD.

    Well, considering that the US government has gone so far as to throw out the nearly 800 year-old requirement of Habeus Corpus, it is not surprising that they are doing all they can to destroy any and all vestiges of civilized law. All that corporations and the US government ultimately wants is "fuck with us, or have something we want to take, and we will destroy you" kind of law.

  • by Anthony Mouse (1927662) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @08:44PM (#34361336)

    Please look into "asset forfeiture", especually for drug related offenses. The ACLU is already active in this, as described at http://www.aclu.org/blog/racial-justice/easy-money-civil-asset-forfeiture-abuse-police [aclu.org]. Neither a conviction, nor a court order, is required for these seizures, and you _can_ have your assets or vehicle seized without a charge ever being filed.

    And people say there is no slippery slope.

    The War on Drugs has brought some of the most serious abuses of government power in this country. It demands to be rolled back, not pointed to as precedent to be emulated.

  • by icebike (68054) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @09:13PM (#34361480)

    The websites in these cases amount to a storefront to distribute fake goods or copyrighted materials. When this happens with physical storefronts, they get shut down. I don't really see how this is any different.

    If they get shut down (debatable), they get shut down by courts of law. After due process.

    Not by the Homeland Security gestapo.

    If you can't see the difference I cry for this country.

  • by Shark (78448) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @09:57PM (#34361706)

    Changing a DNS entry does not deprive anyone of "life, liberty or property".

    You're mistaken on the purpose of the Constitution. It isn't there to provide life liberty and prosperity. It is there to limit the federal government to a specific set of powers. This is the federal government overstepping by a pretty broad margin the scope of powers defined in the constitution by exploiting either of the two loopholes: the general welfare clause or the interstate commerce clause.

    Trying to argue that this falls under national defence wouldn't hold water either.

  • by AudioEfex (637163) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @10:19PM (#34361798)

    The part I don't get is "Homeland Security".

    WTH are they doing messing with copyright issues? This has nothing to do with "Immigration and Customs" either.

    Homeland Security should be protecting us from all these supposed "DANGER DANGER DANGER!" things that are out there that we are so scared of we are supposed to be letting the pervs at the TSA play with our junk and feel up our kids for.

    Homeless and starving families right here on our own soil, health care is a mess, bridges are falling apart, all of our "national defense" is half-way across the world, we are borrowing all our operating money from Asia...but hey, who cares, someone is downloading last week's episode of "Bones" they missed - send out Homeland Security!

    What a joke.

  • by blackraven14250 (902843) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @10:54PM (#34361936)
    No, they (the owners) have access to the original via their hosting provider, and direct via IP, and possibly via physical access to the hosting servers. They didn't shut down the servers or change the data on them in any way, just seized the domain names that other random people use to access it.
  • by WitnessForTheOffense (1669778) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @11:41PM (#34362134)

    they are presumably far more qualified to interpret US law than I am as a non-lawyer from outside the US, perhaps you should take the matter up with them?

    That's a big presumption. You're also presuming that they act ethically, reasonably, and neutrally in their interpretations of the law. That certainly isn't always the case. Even if individuals are just doing their jobs properly, the system itself is built on laws written by lobbyists. The appropriate people to "take it up with" don't listen to anything but money. Money equals free speech in America and having more money than others means that you have more free speech than others.

    the government flipped a few bits that also did not harm anyone's personal property, put anyone in jail, or otherwise cause any actual, demonstrable harm to anyone.

    This is a part of a series of extralegal actions by government agents with corporate representatives "advising" on the operations. Previous actions in this series have involved arrests and confiscations of property and violations of due process and, worst of all, the systemization of such actions with little opposition from the other branches of the government that supposedly serve to balance power and restrict abuses.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 28, 2010 @01:18AM (#34362586)

    Creating an extra digital copy of something, as in pirating, does not impede anybody's access to the original.

    Hijacking someone's domain does deprive the owner of access to the original, which certainly qualifies as "harm" in my book.

    When will this idiot cliche die the horrible painful death it deserves...you do harm to creators when you freeload their work. You turn the wonderful blessing of easy digital copies and distribution into a selfish, irrational entitlement, as though you were the most important person in the world and everything is done for your benefit. When the condition of owning a copy of a work is that you pay for it, you are stealing plain and simple when you don't pay.

    I know, in real life it's more complex than that because creators are not always the rights holders, and it does not address fair use. I'm just sick of assholes thinking they are entitled to everything for free. That's just as corrupt as the MAFIAA.

  • by ScrewMaster (602015) * on Sunday November 28, 2010 @01:23AM (#34362614)

    This is one of the complaints about ICE and DHS.. they tend to exempt themselves from silly things like courts and constitutional amendments because they claim things that cross the boarder are not protected. This is why they can do things like search your laptop without cause even though normal police can not do this.

    The Supreme Court has generally backed them up on this, so it's not hard to understand why. The real question is this: since the disease of unaccountability has a one hundred percent infection rate of organizations that suffer from it ... why do we continue to allow it? I do not care who you are, I do not care how honorable you may think you are, if you have power over me you require effective oversight, and you must be held accountable for whatever actions (or inactions) you perform in my name, and the name of my fellow citizens. That is so goddamn basic to civilized society (human nature being what it is) that any law, or ruling, that successfully eliminates such protections should be enough to have a lawmaker or a judge removed from office

    Period. Governance by Patriot Act does not work, not if you want to live in anything resembling a free society, not if you want to live unafraid of your own leaders. Let's face a few facts here: Americans are more at risk from amoral or criminal acts on the part of their various governments (local, State and Federal) than they are of terrorism or outright war. That's not how the Founders intended us to live.

  • by ScrewMaster (602015) * on Sunday November 28, 2010 @01:43AM (#34362716)

    just because the government flipped a few bits that also did not harm anyone's personal property, put anyone in jail, or otherwise cause any actual, demonstrable harm to anyone.

    As a U.S. citizen who lives here, I'm going to disagree with you, primarily because you comparing apples to ... well, to something that isn't even a fruit.

    Many, many business owners depend for their livelihood upon a functioning Web site. So don't try to tell me that a potential sale lost due to a copyright infringer's making an illegal copy is in any way the same as closing the doors on someone's business. Because, for a Web-based operation, shutting down DNS for their site is just what you've done. Put them out of business: hell, you might as well have just pulled their license and been done with it. Understand, that's actual, provable harm, and the Feds had best have a goddamn good reason for why they did it.

    And if they do not ... heads should roll.

  • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @10:45AM (#34364436)

    Several people seem to be making an argument like yours, so let's step back for a moment and analyse what you're saying.

    In one sentence, you say that many business owners depend on having a functioning web site for their business. Sure, I'll buy that; I run businesses with on-line elements myself, and downtime is no fun.

    In the next sentence, you make a common anti-copyright argument about "potential" lost sales. Again, there is some merit there: I certainly wouldn't claim that every illegally distributed copy of a work results in an actual lost sale.

    The trouble is, you can no more prove that a web site going down cost a sale (or caused some other form of damage to a non-commercial site) than you can prove that giving someone an illegal copy of some music/movie/software did. We could probably agree that some significant amount of damage is being done in many such cases, but we couldn't accurately quantify that damage in any objective way.

    Given that people who are almost certainly infringing copyright are frequently getting away with it on legal technicalities, and awards of damages in the few cases that have gone to court have been either limited initially or reduced on appeal because the original award was disproportionate to the proven actual damages, I find it hard to have much sympathy with hypothetical arguments about how knocking out domains that are probably being used mostly or entirely for illegal purposes is somehow causing some huge loss to some legitimate business.

  • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @11:06AM (#34364556)

    I think that the grandparent's argument of the boils down to the fact that stealing physical goods deprives the owner of those goods, whilst copying it does not deprive them of the ability to use it.

    The trouble is, while the anti-copyright crowd keep making that argument, it isn't really true.

    Suppose you make your money by producing creative works. Typically, the up-front cost of that creation is high, but the marginal cost of copying and distribution is low. In most cases, you will market the product at a relatively low price, in order to amortise the sunk costs over the entire consumer base and sell at a cost the market will bear.

    The major advantage of copyright over most other legal frameworks that I have seen proposed is that it supports this sharing of costs among the consumer base, so that many people can each contribute a small part of the overall cost but all can benefit from the entire work. This makes the creation and distribution of many works viable where relying on direct funding seems unlikely to work.

    The economics of the entire industry depend on this mechanic working. However, while copying does not deprive the original holder of the material of their own copy, it certainly could have a potential impact on the market. If you reduce the size of that market, then you reduce the number of people contributing to the pool that pays (or doesn't pay) for the original cost of the work, which affects the financial viability of the product in the first place. Equally, for works that are going to break even anyway, reducing the size of the market will reduce the profit that the work makes, which is a disincentive to invest more in order to produce better works.

    Some people claim that content providers are making enough from paying customers anyway, but that's a silly argument for several reasons. Firstly, it ignores the fundamental unfairness of the law-abiding subsidising the law-breaking. Secondly, it doesn't work in the limit: if we legalised copying and everyone behaved as the law-breakers do today, then the creators would have no income stream and the incentive to create and share new works would be gone. Thirdly, "content providers" in these claims usually actually means Big Media/"MAFIAA", and ignores the fact that many small organisations and individuals create valuable content and are just trying to make a living from it, and many small businesses and individual careers come to an early end because they can't make enough money.

    Some people claim that you can't assume every illegal copy represents a lost sale. Well, no, of course you can't. But it's equally absurd to pretend that everyone who would have bought a work legally still does so even though they already have an illegal copy of the material. People used to claim that they were "just trying" works to "see if they like them before they buy", but since these days we have hard statistics from things like recent games with on-line elements and the popularity of specific works on P2P networks, we know very well that huge numbers of people are ripping products that are new/popular and continuing to use them well beyond just trying them out.

    Some people claim that they are somehow doing content providers a favour by "marketing" their product for free. It's a good job not everyone takes that view, or there would be a whole lot of marketing but still no sales, and marketing is a cost centre rather than a revenue generator. And of course, content providers have the option to distribute taster material or even entire products for free if they wish to do so; if the marketing argument really does work, then those providers who give their work away for free will benefit and market forces will promote this behaviour in the long term. Given that this hasn't happened in the past decade, I won't hold my breath, though.

    In short, while copying a work illegally may not deprive the original holder of a copy, it most certainly can deprive them of their ability to use it.

  • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @11:10AM (#34364590)

    You're also presuming that [courts] act ethically, reasonably, and neutrally in their interpretations of the law.

    That is true, but you have to start with some implicit trust for any civilised legal system to be worth anything.

    If your courts are not going to act in a fair way according to the law, then you have far bigger problems than the current state of copyright law or a government agency rerouting a few DNS entries. I'm sure in some places in the world that is true, but I think it's rather outside the scope of this debate.

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