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First Challenge To US Domain Seizures Filed 119

Posted by Soulskill
from the amicus-briefs-at-dawn dept.
An anonymous reader writes "You may recall that the US government, mainly through Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement division (ICE) has been seizing domain names over the past year, based on bad evidence, even leading to the 'accidental' seizure of 84,000 sites. While it has taken some time, the first challenge has been filed to the domain seizures, by the company Puerto 80, who runs Rojadirecta, a Spanish internet forum that was seized because users linked to streaming sporting events. Rojadirecta was declared perfectly legal (twice!) in Spain, but the challenge obviously focuses on US law, and how the seizure was improper and did not meet the qualifications for a seizure, how the seizure violates the First Amendment by being improper prior restraint on protected speech, and how Rojadirecta is not guilty of criminal copyright infringement. This could represent a very important case in determining the government's legal right to simply seize domain names."
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First Challenge To US Domain Seizures Filed

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  • beautiful
  • I could see this case going either way, to be honest.
    • Re:Toss up (Score:5, Insightful)

      by EdIII (1114411) on Monday June 13, 2011 @05:37PM (#36429402)

      Really?

      It's one way. Give the domains back. The Spanish courts have declared them legal.

      How is the Homeland Security Department funded so well in these trying times that they can afford to seize domains and fight legal battles for IP corporations in fucking Spain?

      That's the fundamentals here folks. This the US government acting unilaterally without jurisdiction and a complete disregard for the judicial processes, laws, and sovereignty of foreign nations.

      Let that sink in.

      Then afterwards the rest of the world can get their heads out of their collective asses and take away domain name administration from the US because we clearly do not deserve the ability to do so, and have proven quite remarkably, that we don't have the ethics to do it either.

      • Re:Toss up (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Kjella (173770) on Monday June 13, 2011 @05:54PM (#36429572) Homepage

        This the US government acting unilaterally without jurisdiction and a complete disregard for the judicial processes, laws, and sovereignty of foreign nations.

        And therefore it can't happen? Exhibit 1, history.

        The US has placed half the world on their copyright watch list. And I don't mean rag tag countries like Russia or China but highly developed western countries like Canada and large parts of Europe. They want global IP law and they want to write it. Fits quite nicely with their overall agenda as world police, too. So I wouldn't be surprised if they just kept it, so that keeping a domain name means you have to stay inside both local law and US law. They have the audacity to do it.

        • Re:Toss up (Score:5, Insightful)

          by mirix (1649853) on Monday June 13, 2011 @06:40PM (#36429966)

          At this point they basically have earth minus the US on the copyright watch list. I'm sure the US would be on the list if it wasn't where they are from, also.

          Of the 40 countries listed in the report, the IIPA recommends that 13 be placed on USTR’s “Priority Watch” List in 2011: These include Argentina, Canada, Chile, China, India, Indonesia, Russia, and Thailand, all carried over from last year, with the additions of Costa Rica, the Philippines, Spain, Ukraine, and Vietnam. The other 27 countries are recommended for the 2011 “Watch” list.

          An AC posted this at the time of that story, I thought it was spot on:

          so after a few minutes on google it seems that they've put about half (3,225 million) of the world population (6,775 million) on their must watch list. I'm not going to look for the population of the other 27 countries but it wouldn't surprise me if it totals 6,470 million people which is the worlds population minus the USA population.

          Pretty much.

        • by Zemran (3101)

          And this is because the US has such good clear and well thought out copyright laws...

      • by swb (14022)

        I hope they give admin rights to Iran. It'll dovetail nicely with Libya having been the head of the UN Human Rights commission.

      • I wonder why on Earth an agency founded in the aftermath of 9/11, to protect gainst terrorist threats to the United States is involved in thus kind of thing? May as well have the fucking coast guard policing patent infringements!

        • by N Monkey (313423)

          I wonder why on Earth an agency founded in the aftermath of 9/11, to protect gainst terrorist threats to the United States is involved in thus kind of thing? May as well have the fucking coast guard policing patent infringements!

          I think they'd be of more use watching out for submarine patents.

        • I wonder why on Earth an agency founded in the aftermath of 9/11, to protect gainst terrorist threats to the United States is involved in thus kind of thing? May as well have the fucking coast guard policing patent infringements!

          It happened because the agency in question isn't really an agency in the older sense. It's just an umbrella organization to foster communications within and among a bunch of older agencies.

          Basically, we were surprised by 9/11. Therefore we added an extra layer of bureaucracy to f

      • by onepoint (301486)

        if all the domains are .com's then it's within the rights since it's controlled by an American firm, that's why a few years back they were trying to get rid of that control and have it transferred to Switzerland.

        I wish I had the link reference

      • by Coren22 (1625475)

        By having a .com, .org, .net or .us address, they are effectively doing business in the US. When you do business in the US, you have to follow US laws. as the web site seized is rojadirecta.org, I don't see a problem here. .org is a TLD of the US. Now, as there is a rojadirecta.es, I don't see what the problem is. Now, if the seizer is overturned (which it should be, a forum where people post is not liable for what is posted...slashdot.org should be just as exempt for all those counterfeit product troll

      • by julesh (229690)

        This the US government acting unilaterally without jurisdiction and a complete disregard for the judicial processes, laws, and sovereignty of foreign nations.

        I don't think foreign nations enter into the equation here. A domain name, in the end, is a contractual agreement with a registrar to provide resolution services. If that registrar is a US corporation, then the contract is fulfilled in the US and is therefore subject to US law.

        Now, whether the seizures were legal under US law is another matter entirely.

  • Dear U.S.A. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 13, 2011 @05:25PM (#36429302)

    Stop trying to fucking police the whole godamn planet on all levels.

    Besides entertainment and some software development, you are now irrelevant.

    Signed, everyone.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Stop trying to fucking police the whole godamn planet on all levels.

      Besides entertainment and some software development, you are now irrelevant.

      Signed, everyone.

      The problem is that it IS entertainment that is behind the whole thing.

      Next time you talk to anyone in the commercialised (*) entertainment industry - make them part of this. Just tell them you don't agree with "you guys" grabbing internet domains. And don't let them slip-and-slide-away ("oh that's not us, that's the government") because we all know the truth.

      (*) this excludes indie music, film, and software developers but people that work for/as RIAA, MPAA and BSA members are explicitly targeted.

    • Dear World (Score:2, Insightful)

      Our lawyers, guns, and money make anything you say or try to do irrelevant... yes, to this day

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Dear, everyone:

      We're very sorry. Our current government doesn't represent us. They just do whatever the hell they want, without regard for anything or anyone who didn't contribute massively to their campaigns - especially not our constitution. We can't stop them without a revolution.

      Signed, the U.S.A.

      • Re:Dear U.S.A. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by vegiVamp (518171) on Tuesday June 14, 2011 @03:27AM (#36433152) Homepage

        Dear U.S.A.,

        You've been claiming this during the previous 8 years of Bush administration, too; which was supposedly from the opposing party. Frankly, we don't see the difference, but that's probably a cultural thing.

        Stop making excuses and get that damn revolution started already, before we are forced to come over and, how do you guys call it, spread some democracy.

        Signed, everyone.

        • by Shagg (99693)

          Dear everyone,

          There is no opposing party. It's a one party system, it just has two names.

    • by Coren22 (1625475)

      Dear rest of the world,

      If you want to do business on the internet under your own laws, don't buy a fucking US TLD.

      Signed, the US.

  • How about those working for ICANN grow some balls, and don't cave to every whim of agencies like ICE?

    • It's much easier to let someone else go to court than to be detained for "obstruction of justice" or whatever else DHS and ICE pinned on them.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        So if employees of ICANN can be arrested or detained by U.S. law enforcement for obstruction of justice, what is the point of being an international, autonomous organization?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 13, 2011 @05:33PM (#36429356)

    I have to apologize to the international community. When you started clamoring for international control of the domain system, my summary reaction was, "Whiners. Do you seriously not trust the United States to handle DNS in a fair manner? We do not mess with free speech without due process. Would you really trust international oversight more?"

    Now I see that the US cannot in fact be trusted to fairly manage the domain system. You were right. I was wrong. I'm sorry.

    • by Toonol (1057698) on Monday June 13, 2011 @05:42PM (#36429452)
      Now I see that the US cannot in fact be trusted to fairly manage the domain system. You were right. I was wrong. I'm sorry.

      I'm similarly disappointed in the US... but I'm still not sure what nation or organization would be BETTER. UN? EU? Industry organizations? Those would all be even worse.

      Heck, I'd rather give it to anonymous to handle.
      • by mirix (1649853)

        We should give control to a computer, in a bomb shelter on the novaya zemlya islands, with a HW random number generator that it consults for decisions.

        Mr. President, it is not only possible, it is essential. That is the whole idea of this machine, you know. Deterrence is the art of producing in the mind of the enemy... the fear to attack. And so, because of the automated and irrevocable decision making process which rules out human meddling, the doomsday machine is terrifying. It's simple to understand. And completely credible, and convincing.

        err, something like that.

        • by gmhowell (26755)

          We should give control to a computer, in a bomb shelter on the novaya zemlya islands, with a HW random number generator that it consults for decisions.

          Mr. President, it is not only possible, it is essential. That is the whole idea of this machine, you know. Deterrence is the art of producing in the mind of the enemy... the fear to attack. And so, because of the automated and irrevocable decision making process which rules out human meddling, the doomsday machine is terrifying. It's simple to understand. And completely credible, and convincing.

          err, something like that.

          Mein Fuhrer!

      • by rahvin112 (446269)

        If the US loses control the only organization to handle it would be ITU under the UN. If you think it's bad under the US wait until the worlds dictators have a say under ITU. Domains that are offensive to the world dictators will be revoked, domains that offends Muslims will be revoked. You name it, the system will be destroyed. The solution is a legal block against the US doing what they are doing not to hand the system over to a bunch of nations that don't believe in free speech.

        • No. Technical solutions are always superior to legal solutions. The solution is weighted web-of-trust DNS, with a great deal of caching.
        • by JustNiz (692889)

          >> hand the system over to a bunch of nations that don't believe in free speech.

          As a Brit now living in the US, I was surprised by the large difference between the EU and the US in what is considered "allowable speech". People are MUCH more restricted in the US than in the EU both by police and worse, societal norms as a whole. Also I was surprised by how US police act like thugs and bullies even as a first response. EU cops wouldn't ever do that.
          For example look what happened at your Lincoln Memorial

          • by pacinpm (631330)

            At least we can peacefully protest and say what we want without fear that our cops would or could kick our heads in then get away with it.

            Unless you live in UK:
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Beanfield [wikipedia.org]

            • by JustNiz (692889)

              Read your own citation. A later court trial found the police guilty of wrongful arrest, assault and criminal damage.

              Even though US cops apparently often use brutal tactics as a first option, you NEVER see the police in the US getting hauled into court and found guilty of assault.

              • by JustNiz (692889)

                actually let me take that back. I've done some research since I wrote the above response.
                Its not never, its almost never.

              • by pacinpm (631330)

                Which doesn't really help if you have got beaten in the first place. Also they weren't really THAT successful:

                After four months of hearings, twenty-one of the travellers were successful in their case and were awarded £24,000 in damages. The judge refused to award them their legal costs, thereby significantly reducing the amount received.

                Their barrister, Lord Gifford QC (Anthony Maurice Gifford, 6th Baron Gifford), stated "It left a very sour taste in the mouth."

          • EU cops wouldn't ever do that.EU cops wouldn't ever do that.

            It not common here. But it does happen. EU cops are thugs sometimes too.

          • When you Americans say you live in the "The Land of the Free" do you REALLY believe it? If so, you need to get out and see the world and get a reality check for yourselves.

            Well, see, back when it was the cops using their "leeway" to roust out the blacks, hippies and other undesirables, that was fine. They didn't used to mess with honest, upright citizens. Then the War on Drugs came along, and everyone became an undesirable. That is why cops so often are thugs and bullies (besides the obvious b/c they c
      • by GaryOlson (737642)
        Israel.
        Seriously. Large percentages of the planet either disregard them as largely irrelevant; or want to remove them from the planet. But, they have the support of powerful but inept allies. The perfect compromise. The domain administration fees they receive could easily exceed foreign financial support.

        And, the Israeli's are smarter than the US government. They would not seize domains; they'd track connections and sell the data to everyone.
    • by Fyzzler (1058716)
      I sadly have to agree with this post. I too was wrong. DNS needs to be removed from US control.
  • by ForexCoder (1208982) on Monday June 13, 2011 @05:37PM (#36429408)
    Fourth, Fifth and Six Amendments

    12/19/1791 - 1/1/2011

    . Requiescat in pace
    • by cdrudge (68377)

      Do the 4th, 5th, and 6th Amendments apply to non US citizens?

      • by julesh (229690)

        It's hard to see how the 4th and 6th apply in this case, to be honest. The fifth is quite clear though:

        [...] nor shall any person be [...] deprived of [...] property without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

        (emphasis mine)

  • This is why (Score:5, Interesting)

    by vga_init (589198) on Monday June 13, 2011 @05:39PM (#36429422) Journal

    This is why we don't to have the US in control of the DNS master servers on the Internet. It's high time that we architect a new, global, and decentralized domain name service network that thwarts tampering by any government or institution.

    • by trampel (464001)

      I buy the "decentralized" part, but regarding the non-US part: rojadirecta.com has been registered with godaddy.com (a US company for all that I know) since 2005. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I assume that they could have used a non-US registrar, and further assume that that would have made it more difficult to seize the domain.

      • by idontgno (624372)

        .com "belongs" to Verisign. [icann.org] I suspect it doesn't matter what sub-registrar you buy your domain from; if it's .com, it's easily in the reach of US law enforcement action, by virtue of ultimately being controlled by a U.S. company whose headquarters is practically within walking distance of the headquarters of the DoJ and ICE.

    • by guruevi (827432)

      It's time we started accepting non-ICANN approved TLD's. ICANN is the main problem since it is based in the US. Verisign and 'corporate control' of any TLD is unacceptable.

    • by melikamp (631205)
      Not necessarily decentralized. But thinking that one domain name system would be enough for everyone was clearly a pipe dream. Just one problem from the top of my head is what to do with generic words like "apple", "ford", and "good", or common proper names. What is a fair way to assign "john.net"? FIFO? Surely, you are joking. We were doing great with one authoritative DNS, and we will do even better with several. We actually already have them, but we are slow to realize their name-resolving nature. Wikipe
  • I hope Rojadirecta wins this big, and everyone else then files suit and nails the government.
    • Only if "the government" refers to the actual assholes pulling this shit, instead of the rest of us tax-payers. I didn't vote for those idiots at ICE: why should I have to pay for their screw-ups?

  • .com .net .org is going to die slowly because of US domain seizures

  • by v1 (525388)

    Any (reputable) place to contribute to this legal fight?

  • In case you haven't noticed, the United States has essentially ceased the manufacture of tangible goods (unless you count foodstuffs). All we really have left to base our wealth upon is intellectual property. Problem is, you point to a hammer and see value: iron, wood, and the energy to mold them. With IP, especially media, the only value is that which the customers choose to give it. We MUST force our laws and perceptions regarding IP on the world. We have no choice.

    • I feel that the U.S. (my home) having this much control is unacceptable.

      In regards to your comment, you are completely wrong. The US still manufactures many things. Trains, Planes, Automobiles, Farming machinery, Space explortation vehicles/bots, etc. Sure we dont make tires or coffe pots, but we have moved on beyond those things. It makes more sense to have developing nations produce those for us.

      In the future, those nations will build the planes, trains, etc. And we will be building X.

      And yes, w
    • by JustNiz (692889)

      Actually the US is the worlds largest manufacturer and exporter of weapons but let's save that for another post.

      It seems to me that when a government itself corrupts own legal system, especially just to further protect already rich mega corporations, you have already lost your country.

  • Rojadirecta is by no means limited in it's ability to free speech. They could easily put another domain name on their servers and be up and about in no time. Yes, it's rather nasty that they had their USA domain confiscated, but since they aren't a USA site, it shouldn't matter that much. It'd be different if they were filtered off the Internet, but some rogue non democratic country seizing a domain name shouldn't stop free speech now, should it?
  • It's about time someone fought back against these no-trial, no-evidence seizures.
  • If not the courts strike down the very concept of seizing/stealing domain names the future of the internet is very dark indeed,

    None of the laws used to justify this seizure have any moral merit. Why should a company in Spain be subject to some US customs or IP law?

    The US waste enormous amounts of money on enforcing the unenforcible, like stupid gaming laws (native Americans can build and run casinos, other Americans cannot, people in the US can gamble in non-American casinos, not in casinos run by or for Am

  • All those domains that do not end in .com work just peachy.

  • IMHO seizing a domain belonging to any individual outside of the United States should constitute an Act of War, provided the domain in question is legally registered locally within the user's own country.
  • ok, we all know that there is a single problem here, one location controls every domain name resolution. the idea that _everything_ should be decentralized has plenty of issues. a solution is to have a daemon/service that updates your hosts file/whatever windows uses on a weekly basis (or forced update) from multiple random locations from a list of IPs. the reason for checking multiple locations is that one location could get hacked. so you would need some sort of checksum to quickly check the integrity

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