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Feds Seized Website For a Year Without Piracy Proof 172

Posted by Soulskill
from the your-tax-dollars-at-work dept.
bonch writes "U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement seized a hip-hop website based on RIAA claims of copyright infringement for prerelease music tracks. They held it for a year before giving it back due to lack of evidence. Unsealed court records (PDF) show that the government was repeatedly given time extensions to build a case against Dajaz1.com, but the RIAA's evidence never came. The RIAA has declined to comment."
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Feds Seized Website For a Year Without Piracy Proof

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  • No surprise (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 04, 2012 @04:23PM (#39896195)
    My favorite part is that one of the extensions was granted one week after the previous extension had expired.
    • by girlintraining (1395911) on Friday May 04, 2012 @04:52PM (#39896521)

      My favorite part is that one of the extensions was granted one week after the previous extension had expired.

      "My master is always right. If my master is wrong... my master is always right. I must please my master. My master never lies. My master only wants what's best for me...." -- FBI, while handcuffed to RIAA's bed. :(

      • Hmm. So the FBI is into bondage...interesting. Wonder if they keep the fuzzy handcuffs in the dashboard compartment.

    • Re:No surprise (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) on Friday May 04, 2012 @05:36PM (#39897017) Journal

      Aren't people who make false claims supposed to go to jail?

      Aren't people in government who seize things without cause, or who deny timely prosecution supposed to go to jail?

      • by Genda (560240)

        Only when the real people in power don't own the government and own the jails.

      • Re:No surprise (Score:5, Insightful)

        by alanshot (541117) <rurickNO@SPAMtechondemand.net> on Friday May 04, 2012 @10:16PM (#39898849)

        Aren't people who make false claims supposed to go to jail?

        Aren't people in government who seize things without cause, or who deny timely prosecution supposed to go to jail?

        The double standards in our justice system make me sick. You or I pull this shit and we get a fine and/or contempt of court. Big business/big media pulls this crap and its no biggie.

        On a related note... See rich/famous people who "...Is expected to start [his/her] sentence in 3 weeks for [insert nonviolent federal crime here] after being convicted 6 months ago."

        Money is power, power is money. You or I get nailed for something and we get thrown in the slammer on the spot, maybe get bond that we can afford, maybe not. Later after the trial, at sentencing we are handcuffed and remanded to custody on the spot. Famous and/or rich person gets nicked for the same/similarly bad (sometimes worse) offense, and because of who they are, they are granted a delayed sentence.

        They wont delay my sentence because I am the only qualified staff member to finish a project for my private employer, but if LiLo has some contract to sign autographs at a car dealership in 3 weeks, do a playboy shoot, etc she can have all the time she needs to fulfill *HER* obligations.

      • Welcome to the USSA.
    • Re:No surprise (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Dishevel (1105119) on Friday May 04, 2012 @06:15PM (#39897397)

      One was on time. The next was two days late. The third was 6 days late.
      They gave back the site almost a month after the third extension expired.

      The FBI is a wholy owned subsidiary of The **AAs.
      Fuck them.

    • by ethan0 (746390)

      my favorite part is that slashdot (and wired) picks this up five months after it was news. much more thorough (and timely) article at techdirt: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20111208/08225217010/breaking-news-feds-falsely-censor-popular-blog-over-year-deny-all-due-process-hide-all-details.shtml [techdirt.com]

    • by hemo_jr (1122113)
      The best government RIAA money can buy.
  • Okay. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BootysnapChristAlive (2629837) on Friday May 04, 2012 @04:26PM (#39896231)

    Why are we seizing websites for copyright-related matters? This is petty, a waste of manpower, a waste of time, a waste of taxpayer dollars, and despite all of this, there is no gain from doing so.

    • Re:Okay. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Friday May 04, 2012 @04:34PM (#39896337)

      there is no gain from doing so.

      Except, of course, the tactical gain for the copyright lobbyists, who can use such seizures as examples of why we need even stronger restrictions on the Internet. They can point to these seizures and say, "See, when we try to enforce our copyrights, the awful common folk just step around the ban! Therefore, we must be allowed to turn the Internet into a fancy cable TV system!"

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by zerodl (817292)

      a waste of taxpayer dollars

      One thing good about working in the government is that for anything you want to do, you dont have to foot the bill.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Having worked with large private companies and governments I have not seen any real difference. I know it is popular to say that capitalism encourages efficiency and the government always wastes money but I just don't see it. Capitalism and government are about equally efficient, which is to say not at all.

        Companies burn your money just as happily as the government does, especially large ones.

        • by zr (19885)

          corporatism isnt same as capitalism. companies that forget to keep competitive and efficient go out of existence. happens every day.

          unless the government bails them out that is...

          • companies that forget to keep competitive and efficient go out of existence. happens every day.

            You'd think so based on accepted economic wisdom, but in reality lots of badly run companies go on and on for years.

            My theory is that you can get away with being bad if the competition is terrible.

          • by JDAustin (468180)

            or when the government creates barriers to entry so high, they never have any viable competition.

          • by sjames (1099)

            companies that forget to keep competitive and efficient go out of existence. happens every day.

            Small companies, sure. As for large companies, have you ever looked at one on the inside? They could probably fund a few small companies just by eliminating all the fill, file, and forget paperwork. How many YEARS has SCO hung around with no product, no employees that could potentially create a product and a pile of lawsuits they have no hope of winning? There are other trolls doing much better than SCO that have no intention of ever producing a product or service anyone anywhere wants.

            How many companies bl

        • by rtb61 (674572)

          There is an enormous difference between wasting some (the government) and lying, stealing and cheating every cent they can (corporations). Especially when most of the wastage in government can always be tied straight to corporations lying, cheating and stealing to get it and make it happen.

          The only way to keep government as waste low as possible, was to do as much as possible internally. Once things get contracted out to private the corruption just positively explodes. Lazy government workers wasting mon

    • Why not? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by SuperKendall (25149)

      For the same reason the federal government decided seizing legal medical marijuana pharmacies in California and Colorado makes perfect sense.

      We can't have businesses earning money and generating tax revenue.

      • by Nidi62 (1525137)
        Federal law trumps state laws, as it should. And I say that as a strong supporter of the 10th Amendment.
        • by sjames (1099)

          It's not SUPPOSED to unless there is ACTUAL interstate commerce involved or it is a constitutional issue. In the latter case, it primarily specifies laws that states may not have, not laws that they must have.

  • by cpu6502 (1960974) on Friday May 04, 2012 @04:27PM (#39896247)

    Well somewhat similar. They seized that website and caused millions of people to lose their files, but now the judge is saying the case cannot proceed, because the FBI never had authority to cease the site's servers.

    Of course they don't have to win the case..... WMG tried to use a takedown notice via youtube, and that failed, so they called their politicians in D.C. and used a full seizure action instead. The FBI/politicians have driven the company out of business, just as their boss WMG desired. Yay?

    • They seized that website and caused millions of people to lose their files

      I agree with your sentiments and the overall point you're trying to make. It bothers me when people put all of their eggs in one basket and something unforeseen happens. If I understand your claim correctly when users upload a file to a website, the original file disappears? This is akin to people who don't test backups, while it sucks, it's your own damned fault.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        It bothers me when people put all of their eggs in one basket and something unforeseen happens. If I understand your claim correctly when users upload a file to a website, the original file disappears? This is akin to people who don't test backups, while it sucks, it's your own damned fault.

        So, it's their fault the government destroyed their backups? I mean, how do you "test" that the government won't destroy your backups?

        PS - By definition, a backup is a second copy. Hence, there was more than "one baske

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          So, it's their fault the government destroyed their backups? I mean, how do you "test" that the government won't destroy your backups?

          If you have physical control of your backups, and you put them where someone else can't find them, then no one will destroy them. Any other test ("can anyone find these") is a sham.

        • My point was that you don't put all your eggs in one basket. I've had HDs go bad, I've had servers at a hosting facility with no backup fail (which was expendable data, hence why it wasn't backed up at the co-location, and I have several local copies on the network) I have more than one back up for stuff that matters. For extremely sensitive digital stuff gets burned and stored in a safe deposit box and in my safe. One of the hardest to replace things families lose in house fires are photos. This is the sam
  • Not too bad. (Score:5, Informative)

    by wcrowe (94389) on Friday May 04, 2012 @04:28PM (#39896251)

    They only violated four amendments in the Bill of Rights. No big deal.

    • Call me when they get up to 10.

      • by ediron2 (246908) on Friday May 04, 2012 @05:05PM (#39896645) Journal

        Yeah, it's gonna be pretty hard to 'quarter troops' in a website, webfarm, hard drive... maybe in a colo cage!?

        • You know, that recent server replacement... If the Feds left malware that allowed FBI agents to break into the server at will I think that there could be an argument for cyber-quartering of cyber-troops since the hosting company is being forced to provide power, cpu cycles, HDD space and rack space to support the FBI cyber activities..

          • Exactly. The point with the 3rd, I believe, was to limit the 'national security takes priority over everything else' angle.

            And the best part is, it's all true. Those agents or 'cyber-soldiers' as the name may be, are sucking up a fair amount of resources. And if we want to go with the scare angle here, let's suppose that one of those agents ends up where it shouldn't be (a medical device, for instance). Appeasing the security people's lust for power and paranoid desires for spying on Americans inside their

      • by Tarlus (1000874) on Friday May 04, 2012 @05:11PM (#39896733)

        Actually, it goes all the way up to 11.

  • by dragisha (788) <dragisha&m3w,org> on Friday May 04, 2012 @04:28PM (#39896253)

    They will probably make more money from that, than from active site :).

    And RIAA will get wrist/checkbook slap.

  • IMMINENT DANGER !! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 04, 2012 @04:28PM (#39896257)

    Proof ?? If you look like a terroist, act like a terrorist, and shout like a terrorist, we don't need no stinkin warrants !!

  • by Black Parrot (19622) on Friday May 04, 2012 @04:30PM (#39896283)

    ...Dajaz1.com's lawyers are about to make some easy money off the RIAA.

    • by nurb432 (527695)

      I doubt it.

      They might get something from the government if they are *real* lucky but i doubt that too.

  • RIAA math (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 04, 2012 @04:31PM (#39896299)

    Let's do RIAA math:

    The site had the bandwidth potential if they weren't down for users to download an average of 10 songs per second at $1.00 per song..

    So $1.00 * 10 songs * 60 seconds * 60 minutes * 24 hours * 365 days = $315,360,000

    oops.. I meant $250,000 per song..

    So $250,000 * 10 * 60 seconds * 60 minutes * 24 hours * 365 days = $78,840,000,000,000

    seems reasonable.. This math came out of the same place as all other RIAA math.

  • No recourse (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Hatta (162192) on Friday May 04, 2012 @04:32PM (#39896305) Journal

    The real troubling fact is that we have no recourse against this sort of criminal behavior by government thugs.

    • Re:No recourse (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Jeng (926980) on Friday May 04, 2012 @04:47PM (#39896465)

      Well, when you have no recourse then shooting the motherfuckers starts sounding better and better.

      • by geekoid (135745)

        Except we do have recourse. Not that the jack holes on /. would know thta.

      • Re:No recourse (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Genda (560240) <(mariet) (at) (got.net)> on Friday May 04, 2012 @06:23PM (#39897463) Journal

        Oh yeah, that worked so well for the Native Americans and AIM when the FBI came shooting to the reservation [google.com]. Don't get me wrong, despots deserve an ass-kicking, you just have to remember that your government has been busy preparing for your upset now for about the last 15 years and they just about have you dialed in now "Ya big-ol-nasty terrorist you"!

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          The problem that the Native Americans had when we showed up and started taking over in the first place was a lack of unification. Shooting at the bastards doesn't work unless "everyone" (or close enough) is on board. Bread and circuses only go so far, though. Point is, the lone wacko who takes up arms is a lone wacko. Hang together, hang separately, etc etc.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      The real troubling fact is that we have no recourse against this sort of criminal behavior by government thugs.

      You have recourse. Vote the bastards out!

      • Re:No recourse (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Hatta (162192) on Friday May 04, 2012 @05:26PM (#39896909) Journal

        You assume we still have a functioning democracy, and not a sham. This is a bad assumption. There's less variation between Democrats and Republicans than there was internally in the Communist Party in the USSR. The electoral system is locked down to ensure that no third party ever arises. We have no voice whatsoever.

        • Vote Ron Pau... yeah, no, that doesn't quite work in this situation since he's still at least a (R) by choice.

          Vote Americans Elect!

          • by Genda (560240)

            To paraphrase George Carlin "Americans live a sham, a lie, you think you have choice, you have no choice, you are given the freedom to make meaningless choices like Paper or Plastic, with or without fries, scrambled or sunny side up, all so you don't notice that where it matters your say has been gone a long time now."

        • by rmstar (114746)

          We have no voice whatsoever.

          Wrong. I mean - no voice whatsoever? Aren't you making it too easy for yourself?

          You can enter the parties and change things from within, at least locally. That is a possible way to start effecting changes.

      • by shentino (1139071)

        Getting to choose between Kodos and Kang is not a democracy.

        Particularly if there's no way to get rid of them once the wolves take off their sheepskin suits and can only be thrown out of office by their fellow wolves by impeachment.

    • The RIAA isn't a government organization. Maybe the government should at least stop to do anything the RIAA wants until after a court case has run it's course and the RIAA has actually won, including all the possible appeals. That would save a lot of time and money, both in the court and outside.
    • Is there a way for us to file a complaint to get a website shutdown on behalf of the RIAA? Lets shutdown every damn website on behalf of the RIAA, and make people wake up.
  • by IonOtter (629215) on Friday May 04, 2012 @04:52PM (#39896533) Homepage

    1. Your Master is angry at a website, and they are telling you to break the law and take that website down.

    2. They pay your salary. They make sure the bosses who give you all your toys and paychecks get elected. They have so much money, they could not spend all of it if they spent 10 million dollars a day, for the next 20 years.

    3. If you do not obey, you will not have a job. And you might even wind up in jail on some trumped up charge, much like the trumped up charges you arranged for others you didn't like very much. Oh, and your Master knows about those trumped up charges against an innocent person, so maybe the charges against YOU won't be so trumped up after all.

    And the final kicker...

    4. You are the US government. YOU get to decide if someone can sue you for something. [wikipedia.org]

    So. You have...

    100% immunity
    100% profit.
    100% job satisfaction.
    100% power.

    See? Math is easy.

    • by elbonia (2452474)
      The US government does not have full immunity and you can sue it since 1948, see the The Federal Tort Claims Act. The site's best bet is to see if the RIAA provided false or inaccurate information and sue them directly, ie say for liable. http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/suing-government-negligence-FTCA-29705.html [nolo.com]
      • by IonOtter (629215)

        1. Only federal employees can be sued under the FTCA, not independent contractors hired by the federal government (unless they are treated like employees).

        2. The negligent or wrongful conduct must have been done within the scope of the defendant's employment.

        3. In general, only claims of negligence -- as opposed to intentional misconduct -- are allowed (though some claims for intentional misconduct can be brought against certain federal law enforcement officers).

        4. The claim must be based on -- and perm

        • by muridae (966931)

          1. Only federal employees can be sued under the FTCA, not independent contractors hired by the federal government (unless they are treated like employees).

          2. The negligent or wrongful conduct must have been done within the scope of the defendant's employment.

          3. In general, only claims of negligence -- as opposed to intentional misconduct -- are allowed (though some claims for intentional misconduct can be brought against certain federal law enforcement officers).

          4. The claim must be based on -- and permitted by -- the law of the state in which the misconduct occurred.

          1. The FBI can't say "Contractors did this", however, they could point the finger back at the RIAA and say, "They gave us bad info!"

          File for discovery, get buried in paperwork, find evidence that FBI knew better, file to block dismissal.

          2. Yeah, that meets the criteria. Of course, the FBI can also say that they were "acting in good faith" on the information they were provided by the RIAA. End of lawsuit.

          File for discovery, get buried in paperwork, find evidence that FBI knew better, file to block dismissal.

          3. That's kinda ambiguous. Does the FBI qualify as "certain federal law enforcement officers"??

          I believe they are practically the definition of "certain federal law enforcement officers".

          4. That's the killer. Where exactly did this happen? Los Angeles? (This is where the servers were.) New York? (The address of the site owner.) Who has jurisdiction, and does that state allow such a lawsuit to proceed? If they both allow it, which one will actually permit it to go ahead? Remember, "allow to go forward" does not mean "will go forward". They can still say no.

          File the suit as a violation of federal rights. That has jurisdiction in all the states, and any state law that blocks them is another violation to tack on to the paperwork when you file it a second time. Or if

  • Fines? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by h4x0t (1245872) on Friday May 04, 2012 @04:56PM (#39896565) Homepage
    Why are they no fines for fraudulent "claims of copyright infringement?" Heavy fines for repeat offenders.
  • The RIAA is Scum (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Friday May 04, 2012 @05:04PM (#39896623)

    The RIAA is scum, and the Obama administration (who has appointed too many of their minions to the Justice Department) are their toadies. So who is surprised that this kind of crap is happening? It's all about fat contributions to the incumbent's election and reelection campaigns and screw over the rest of us.

    Or should I tell you what I really think about all of this?

    • by hey! (33014)

      Well, he did try to put somebody in charge of an agency who wasn't a tool of the crony capitalists: Elizabeth Warren. Didn't work out that well, did it? Because we bitch and moan about corporate tools being in bed with the government but we still sit up and bark when the plutocrats tell us too, because the whole corporate puppet thing goes way beyond Washington. We're the biggest bunch of sheep on the planet, and we let the wolves herd us.

  • Why not clearly and explicitly implicate the First Amendment?

  • Its just that simple.

    There has not been a single FBI investigation of congress since the Carter administration.

    Why? Because Reagan signed a law banning such investigations.

    Why are congress members afraid of being investigated and audited unless they're taking bribes?

  • by PhantomHarlock (189617) on Friday May 04, 2012 @05:41PM (#39897061)

    It IS censorship, because invariably the list of sites to block includes many that have nothing to do with porn, including fine art nudes, nude paintings. Will Deviantart be on that list?

    One only has to look at the leaked proposed Australian list to see how bad it is in real life.

    The only way that you could begin to do this is to have an open list that's published, with a redress mechanism for people who's sites have been wrongly blocked. The censors hate this because then it gives people a phone directory for all the naughty sites.

    • Of course, you don't have to publish the list if you have a redirect that states that it has been blocked by so and so, then you know that it is specifically blocked rather than just turning up a 404.

    • Even better, go to a country that DOES filter porn (and other things immoral) and do a google image search for porn. I have done so (Kuwait). Yes, there were quite a few blocked images but there were still thousands upon thousands of blatant porn images still displayed. The only search that shows absolutely NOTHING, even in countries without filtering/blocking, is kiddie porn (why is my door getting smashed in?) **NO CARRIER**

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 04, 2012 @06:30PM (#39897519)

    Let me understand the RIAA **PUBLICLY** accused the owner/company of this web-site of criminal wrong doing. But after a year, no charges were brought. And the company suffered damages and loss of its website.
    Sounds like a pretty good lawsuit (against the RIAA) to me. I hope the EFF tears them a new one.

  • by Shavano (2541114) on Friday May 04, 2012 @06:38PM (#39897577)

    This is a great illustration of why copyright should be dealt with only in civil courts. That way they'd have to prove their case first and tale action later.

  • by sdnoob (917382) on Friday May 04, 2012 @09:54PM (#39898741)

    if a person (who is not a terrorist, and piracy is not that) can only be held for 48 hours without being formally charged. that web site should've also been returned within that same time frame if no charges were brought. a year is fucking ridiculous and if the feds held a random citizen who did nothing wrong for that long, lawsuits (big ones) would surely follow.

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." -- Albert Einstein

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