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Feds Seize 130+ Domain Names in Mass Crackdown (torrentfreak.com)
121 points by nextparadigms on Nov 25, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite | 97 comments



When they came for the serial registrants of bootleg sports jersey and fashion merchandise domains, I said nothing...


This is after 20 years of them coming after assets of accused drug traffickers, just to note. Since the dawn of the Reagan-era forfeiture practices, federal and local authorities have been seizing cash, houses, automobiles and any other assets they can get their hands on, not only pre-conviction, often without even an arrest!


I want to make a difference. What can I say, and to whom?


I think we need a new Internet that the government doesn't know about. They move slowly and we can get another ten years of freedom if we plan this right.

(Many other posts recommend overthrowing the government. I don't think this will work because it doesn't guarantee that the new government won't be corrupt; the kinds of people that want to be politicians will always exist and will always act in the same interests.)


Most of the seized domains end up hosted on the Feds 'seized domain' server at 74.81.170.110.

As such, it's possible to see a list of all seized domains using a Reverse IP tool - e.g. http://viewdns.info/reverseip/?host=74.81.170.110


First they came for the fake merchandise sites...

> The fact that the authorities have once again launched a large crackdown on “rogue” websites begs the question why this legislation is needed in the first place.

Isn't the difference that SOPA allows them to mandate blocking of non-US domains by service operators? I think it's pretty clear TLDs owned or operated in the US are a lost cause at this point unless other governments oppose the TLD sovereignty claims.


I find it disturbing that as a non-US citizen, US restricts my access to these sites.


The FBI is allowed to seize domains which are US based (e.g. dot com). If you setup your site with a domain from another country (e.g. dot co dot uk) the FBI can do nothing.

From what I have head they want SOPA to fix that by allowing them to block the domains they can't seize from being viewed within the US via a system like the one China uses.

So if you set up your site right the US government cannot stop anyone outside the US from viewing it.


This isn't the FBI, it's customs enforcement (which was moved under DHS).


Thanks for clarifying. I thought the notices had FBI on them, my mistake.


Yet another example of why generic top-level domains (gTLDs) are a bad idea. Country code domains align domain ownership with legal jurisdictions while gTLDs create jurisdictional conflicts.


Well that's one way to look at it, the other way, and the one I favor, is that the internet is a global thing and thus shouldn't be ruled by multiple incompatible jurisdictions.


The internet as a concept may be, but your site isn't. It's located in a physical server somewhere, in a country with laws that regard the internet.

I like his suggestion, and he is right. Nobody would dispute who gets to set the rules for .us or .ca, but the rules for .com and any TLD regarded as international are much muddier. Only having country TLDs would remove that ambiguity. Doesn't matter where the servers are hosted, you are under the jurisdiction of the TLD you choose to use.


> The internet as a concept may be, but your site isn't. It's located in a physical server somewhere, in a country with laws that regard the internet.

And if anyone can figure out what server corresponds to what site, we haven't done enough work to protect anonymity on the Internet.

> I like his suggestion, and he is right. Nobody would dispute who gets to set the rules for .us or .ca, but the rules for .com and any TLD regarded as international are much muddier. Only having country TLDs would remove that ambiguity. Doesn't matter where the servers are hosted, you are under the jurisdiction of the TLD you choose to use.

"Regarded as international" or not, .com .net and .org get administered by US entities. TLDs "regarded as international" has about as much meaning as Internet sites "regarded as independent from country-specific regulation": namely, none unless we take steps to make it that way.


> "Regarded as international" or not, .com .net and .org get administered by US entities.

And people argue about that constantly, insist it's unfair, or shouldn't be the case. And there is some truth to that. In reality we can't truly genericize TLDs, someone will have to be the admin. This at least makes it somewhat clearer who has rights over what.

Does it solve every problem with IP ever? No. However, it would stop countries trying to apply laws to TLDs that they have no jurisdiction over and then insisting the US is playing police when they can't do so.


Two pieces of "random information" (a one time pad and some encrypted data) are located in two or more different countries and are combined together in a third country.

How does jurisdiction apply in this scenario?

This is a real question that has already been partly tested with the DeCSS incident. There are many creative ways to distribute "infringing material" that upset the traditional notion of legal jurisdictions.


No system is perfect, and having no generic TLDs doesn't solve every problem with IP ever. It just removes much of the ambiguity on who's jurisdiction each individual incident is.

Then the US stops getting to play copyright police with the .coms. It doesn't solve this frankly convoluted scenario when you are deliberately trying to be covert and avoid detection.


Last year: 82 domains seized This year: 130 domains seized ..waiting to see if this game goes exponential..

The funny thing is that a large percentage of those domains contain trademarked names. Can't the trademark owners go through normal channels (get court judgement, then file with ICANN) to grab the domains?


>Can't the trademark owners go through normal channels (get court judgement, then file with ICANN) to grab the domains?

That involves tiresome due process.


Flashback to javanco.com... (search 'Javanco sun' if this doesn't ring a bell)


Thanks for that. It does seem like Javanco would have prevailed in court had Sun insisted on pursuing the domain. It does make me wonder, if that exact situation arose today, whether the outcome would have been different!


It's really stupid to register domain names with "louis vutton", "NFL" or any other obvious trademarks in the name if you're planning to make money on it. Even if you're not planning to sell unauthorized goods by that company on that site, they'll still come after you within weeks, if not days. I've learned that the hard way ...


While you are correct, there is due process that is supposed to happen for the trademark owner to claim that domain name back. That's part of what ICANN does.

The US government simply taking them by force is not the way these things are supposed to go down.



The difference is Nissan.com is not selling knockoff Nissan cars.


The point is, they're still getting sued.

The laws are being misused by the party with deeper pockets.


IANAL, and am not familiar with the procedures of law. I do know that the courts can seize property in an entirely legal fashion via due process. So this would seem to me to be analogous to seizure of a business building being used for selling counterfeit clothing.

I suppose (to my mind) the real question here is the due process.


I'm not a fan of domain name seizures, but, looking at the list of 131 domain names they have there, these ones probably aren't going to be missed.


I think that's what they call "establishing precedent."


Yep, that's why it's so clever. Make the first cases either against someone everyone hates, on that no one cares about. Child abusers in the first case, counterfeit handbag salesmen in the second.

Precedent established, then the net widens.


Lack of due process is the new bully government.

Warrantless everything, seizures without oversight, treat everyone like a criminal when they travel, simply live or go near the border and lose many constitutional rights, heavily arm law enforcement under the guise of "anti-terrorism" but instead use those weapons against peaceful protesters etc. etc.

What's strange and counterintuitive is that under democrat leadership it gets worse than republican because they are always afraid of being perceived as being "weak" so they overcompensate and are even more aggressive.

What's more ironic is we are critical of other governments who do these things.


Surprise! I did WHOIS lookups on some of the domains, and ALL were from China. Sometimes there is no name or address data but a phone number, and that is Chinese of course (+86...).


Why seize the domain names when they could nab the people behind the domain names selling counterfeit merchandise?


Recent legislation allows the seizure of domain names effectively by fiat, without any tinge of due process. Arresting a physical body and putting them on trial is still burdened by such ancient, outmoded traditional ideals, and so is rather more difficult.


Does anyone know the citation of the statute they used?



Those people are probably not in the US, and presumably their crimes are not serious enough to interest local (possibly corrupt) law enforcement.


Because the people are outside the U.S. and thus outside the U.S. government's jurisdiction.

The domain name is registered through a U.S.-based registrar so it is subject to U.S. jurisdiction.


The people are in China, while their domains are purchased and controlled in the US.


What a waste of government time and resources.


Ok, I'm going to take the other side of this issue.

Private property rights for commercial use is one of the reasons why developed nations are developed. If I start a business in the US, I generally don't have to worry about someone else taking my trademark and selling fake versions of my stuff. From the viewpoint of a business owner, that's one reason why you'd setup a company in the US/Canada/Europe vs. China/Russia/etc.

I don't agree with the lack of due process, but I do think that securing economic rights to private property is a pretty dam good use of government resources.

RF


Of course, they can simply buy a new domain for $10, so this didn't actually stop anything.


What happens to FBI if SOPA doesn't actually pass and this kind of thing is found illegal?


This has nothing to do with SOPA or the FBI. This is done by ICE, an agency under the Department of Homeland Security, and by the DOJ, and it's been happening for over a year now: http://torrentfreak.com/u-s-government-seizes-bittorrent-sea...


I find this extremely alarming. I don't engage in piracy or serve files or anything like that. But I consider domain names to be a form of property, and to see the US government taking property without giving he owners recourse is extremely troubling.

The US system is founded in innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. The requirements for this proof have been laid out and refined over 200 years. I think those requirements are not strict enough, but these seizures don't even include an actual trial, and thus deny the victims the right to defend their position, or make their case before a judge.

Earlier this year I heard about a hip-hop blog that was seized which engaged in no piracy... though it did offer songs that the record companies had given him as a form of promotion.

So, not only is this being done without due process, but it is being done incompetently to boot!

I have zero expectation that this won't become-- like the "drug war" and the "war on terrorism" -- an ever widening net to where it effectively becomes seizure of politically-incorrect domains (e.g.: write a post critical of the government on your blog? have no blog the next day...)

This is literally a form of government censorship of speech. Even if some speech is "illegal" (I don't think even pirate spreading domains are illegal, though there is a good civil case against them) the act of speaking is protected, and this right is acknowledged by the first amendment.


Indeed. Where's the due process? Where's the right to a trial? The right to face ones accusers and see the evidence presented?


You can sue to get your domain back, but that doesn't seem like a fair process.


They're seized pursuant to a warrant issued by a Federal court. The owner is more than welcome to challenge the warrant, but why would you? A DNS name is cheap and challenging a Federal warrant is not.


And this is the problem, the whole "we're the government, we'll do what we like, legal or not, and make the process of challenging it _technically_ possible, but practically unusable for regular people due to the cost."

This is to me, very similar the whole #OWS movement's complaint - justice for all _who can afford it_...

Where do I sign up to the "Occupy the Root Nameservers Movement"?


> This is literally a form of government censorship of speech. Even if some speech is "illegal" (I don't think even pirate spreading domains are illegal, though there is a good civil case against them) the act of speaking is protected, and this right is acknowledged by the first amendment.

No it's not. It's analogous to the police acting on a warrant to close a store front selling counterfeit goods. This is something that occurs constantly in large cities all over the country.

If a judge would ever issue a warrant to remove a DNS name based upon speech, and it's upheld, we have bigger problems than seizing DNS names.


This is something that occurs constantly in large cities all over the country.

From the horse's mouth: http://www.ice.gov/doclib/news/releases/2011/110316washingto...

19,959 seizures in FY2010, with an average value[1] of $9,425. In addition to things you might expect (footwear, pharmaceuticals, watches, optical media) this includes things like cigarettes and ball bearings. The report cites a 42% increase in seizures at express consignment/mail facilities due to "continued growth of websites that sell counterfeit and piratical merchandise", which goes some distance toward explaining why these domain seizures are being brought.

(Incidentally, there's plenty of ammo for "government gone wild" arguments in the report, but people that expect it to be about torrents will be surprised and/or bored. There's more to the world than the Internet.)

[1]:"Domestic Value", by which they mean the something like the street price, rather than the MSRP of the non-counterfeit good.


I'm not sure what a "DNS name" is exactly. DNS stands for Domain Name Service, and I can't figure out for the life of me what it is you are referring to.

The burden of proof for these seizures was far less than a judge-issued warrant, which is the problem with which most of _us_ are concerned. Slowly eroding constitutionally protected rights reminds me of the boiling frog that never jumps out of the pot as the temperature is raised ever-so-slightly.


The burden of proof for these seizures was far less than a judge-issued warrant

Meaning what, exactly?


I think he meant DNS zone.


  It's analogous to the police acting on a warrant to 
  close a store front selling counterfeit goods
There is no warrant. This is not a civilian police force acting legally. This is an arm of the federal government acting unilaterally implementing authoritarian control over public communications and information.

I'm amazed that Americans are comfortable with their leaders going down this road. It's been done before and has rarely ended well.


There is no warrant.

Yes, there is. The issue is whether anybody should have the power to grant such a warrant, not that warrants were not obtained.


It confuses me that this particular comment was found objectionable by at least six people. You guys are weird, sometimes.

Here is an example of a warrant of seizure issued by the United States District Court, Southern District of New York to "Any Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement Special Agent or any other law enforcement officer authorized by law" to seize certain domains:

http://www.courthousenews.com/2010/06/30/Warrant.pdf

I apologize for not expending the energy to produce a copy of every warrant for every domain ever seized, but I am not personally burdened with such indomitable doubts as to their existence that others seem to be.


Thanks for finding this. I was under the impression the FBI was just moving in like thugs.

Still reading this warrant, it is so vague what the charges are. And I wonder, among all the people that had domains seized, were any found not-guilty and had their domains returned? Somehow I doubt it.


What warrant? Nobody is being charged with a crime. The government is just shutting down websites it wants to without any due process.


What warrant?

A seizure warrant, as signed by a judge. (Compare "search warrant", "arrest warrant").

Nobody is being charged with a crime.

That's not what a warrant is. Warrants are issued on the basis of probable cause. You probably understand this already with regard to search warrants: a prosecutor doesn't have to have filed charges against a person before the police can obtain a search warrant in the course of investigating the crime. The police only need to show that there is cause to conduct the search.

But more to the point of people not being charged: I'm not conversant in every relevant detail, but I presume the reason nobody is being charged in these cases is that the owners of these domains are unknown and outside of the US, besides. But again: nobody being charged doesn't mean warrants weren't issued for the seizures. The two are not the same thing.


Please don't assume every American is comfortable with this. On the contrary, I and most of my friends are fucking pissed. I've written my representatives, but I doubt it will do any good. I feel pretty helpless honestly.


Of course writing to your representatives will do no good.

This whole world is completely insane. "Your" representatives couldn't fix it even if they wanted to. Revolution is the only way out of this mess.


What kind of revolution? Why do you think this time things will end up different, when revolutions have brought us to where we are?


Revolutions (and maybe more importantly: the threat of revolt) have brought us quite far from the days of absolute rulers that could do whatever they liked to the population.

In other words: things will end up different because revolutions (amongst other change agents) have brought us to where we are, which still is a lot better than were we started.


"Every revolution evaporates and leaves behind only the slime of a new bureaucracy."


The United States needs to be stipped of DNS root privileges immediately. This regime is completely out of control, and when SOPA passes the internet is going to require some new infrastructure to route around the US.


The DNS has to stay being controled by one or more democratic countries. As much as I like international organizations within the UN framework, but giving control of the DNS to a UN committee would make it too easy for China to just give a number of poor countries some more money to by their votes for whatever China wants to see banned from the net. Not paranoia, that is common practice, Western countries are doing it too. But at least Western governments are controlled by their populations to some extent.


Switzerland seems the only sane choice, IMHO. ;)


Why does it have to be controlled by anyone? If you mean to keeping the existing infrastructure as-is sure, but I think that's not such a great idea anyway.


China agrees with you. Take down counterfeit websites but not political ones? Congress over reaches so that it can hit a middle ground, getting most of what they want... which is to take down more sites that hurt those who give them donations.


I don't know how to feel about this. I really wish I could get people from both sides of the issue to educate me.

From what I see and read it seems piracy is running pretty rampant. In light of that, these efforts to stop it (except SOPA, which I strongly disagree with) don't bother me. This list of domains makes it pretty obvious what they were up to. And I'm one of the few who still believes that content creators (including more than just music and movies but also software) should be able to choose how they distribute their work and how much to charge, if anything. Piracy is taking these creations and distributing them freely or for your own profit while the creator is getting screwed out of the money they should get for their work.

I also see how this sets a dangerous precident and law makers are heading down a slippery slope. There's obviously much room for abuse and cronyism.

So my question is, are we framing this the right way? The torrent sites seem to be bringing up these issues in an effort to deflect, distract from what they're doing, and sometimes even excuse it. Their actions and the actions of other illegal operators are what is causing the crackdown and creating a space for large companies and law makers to exploit with overreaching laws.

So while this stuff is definitely dangerous, how come we don't talk about making the pirates irrelevant so we can remove their excuse? If piracy wasn't so prevalent online then we could strengthen our argument while weakening theirs. The post would be more credible from any other site but coming from torrentfreak it comes off as propaganda even though I agree with them (just not what they do)!


I was strictly against piracy a few years ago. Nowadays it's a daily activity. What happened?

I realized what the media companies were actually doing, how DRM hurts the people who actually pay for the product and all these enormous sums they force people to pay for a few cases of infringement.

I don't want my money to go to these corporations, that's why I'd choose to pirate over buying today.

That said, my 6 terabytes of content contain no illegal music and just a few large American-produced movies. It's mostly anime, documentaries and Swedish TV. The anime and documentaries I have because I simply can't buy them here. There's no way for me to consume this content legally in a way that I prefer. The Swedish TV I store so that I, one day, can show my favourite shows to my future kids (I'm doing backup on backup), and I'm not even sure if that's illegal, considering I pay TV-license and all.

Well, that's my case, I'm not sure which kind of pirate I am, but I know that as long as the media companies take a large slice of the money that's supposed to go to the artists, and use it to fight against the public, I don't want them to get a single penny from me.


Sorry, but while I understand the intention, I don't buy the argument that your dislike of the corporations gives you a moral right to have the stuff they've got rights to without paying.

You won't change "the system" by making their "we need stronger laws and stiffer penalties" arguments stronger.

If you don't like the system, refuse to participate in it - even if that means you don't get to listen to the music they sell. There's an enormous amount of legal nonDRM music available, either at "regular market prices", much less expensive than that, or completely free.

I _strongly_ recommend magnatune.com for a strongly artist supporting yet still inexpensive music resource.

Bandcamp, Soundcloud, there's many many ways to get free music online legally.

Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber have every right to choose to sell ownership of their "creative output" to the traditional music industry for whatever deal they can cut - and the new owners really do have every right to control and profit from the subsequent distribution of that music. If you don't like their business model, great - don't buy from them. But don't pretend that makes it ok to download that music.

The more people who buy into alternative music distribution channels, the more likely it is that either a) the traditional music industry will change into something you can choose to support, or b) more musicians will choose better alternatives (where "better" here means "more aligned with your personal ethics/morals/preferences)


Thanks for the Magnatune tip!

From their site:

"For just $15/month, you get unlimited music downloads in a variety of MP3 and lossless formats as well as unlimited online music streaming. Our library of 15,000 songs (1100 albums) [...]"

They have free downloadable one-hour example podcasts at http://magnatune.com/podcasts/ for all genres.

Right now I'm expanding my musical horizons by listening to a diversity of internet radios, using streamripper to save the songs in mp3 format with the correct title so that I can look up the artist name when I hear a song I like. I can then hunt for other songs from the same artist. Also see the small python program at http://www.michielovertoom.com/hobby/somafm-playlists which I wrote to download some playlists. I prefer raw stream URLs over obscure webbrowser-based radio players.


I may not have made it clear in my post, but I have never downloaded music illegally for two reasons:

1) Spotify entered the market about the same time as I started sharing files, and that was good enough for me

2) I mostly listen to music that artists choose to distribute for free

I have also bought a few albums from Bandcamp.


I tend to buy music and movies where available, then if it's too locked down (blu-ray) I "pirate" a clean copy. The one they should have sold me in the first place.


I get that. I have heard of how DRM hurts people and I do know that artists get screwed by their labels. But is piracy really a solution? Are you really protesting or are you using that as an excuse to make yourself feel better? Though the artists do get screwed by labels, piracy also hurts them. I admit that a few years ago I acquired a large collection of movies of music through piracy. These days I feel differently.

This is tricky because I see your point but there also has to be a better solution. I feel like these reasons stifle progress that may solve your problems. Do you think if piracy were curbed a lot then maybe some company would take advantage of a space In the market and somehow let you get content you can't in the US? Maybe even these companies supporting SOPA may do it? Maybe I'm naive. Ive got some reading to do for sure on this. Thank you for honestly answering my question.


> I have heard of how DRM hurts people and I do know that artists get screwed by their labels. But is piracy really a solution?

In the UK it is a criminal offence to bypass copyright protection measures, but it is a civil offence to download a movie. Thus, it is more illegal for me to go and buy a DVD which I then play on my Linux laptop than it is for me to just torrent it. (Whether anyone bothers to actually enforce these laws is another matter)


> Thus, it is more illegal for me to go and buy a DVD which I then play on my Linux laptop than it is for me to just torrent it.

Huh. I have several hard drives filled up with dvds that I've ripped. I always that it was at least slightly less illegal (if not completely legal) for me to do that than it would be for me to just torrent the content.

On the other hand, I'm in the US, so things may be completely reversed here.


Didn't they declare DVD ripping legal recently in UK?


I think skymt got it right. Polls have shown that as Spotify has been growing on the Swedish market during the recent years, music-piracy has declined enormously.

What they did right, was to provide a service that was easier to use than piracy, with the right price. That's the key. It may not get everyone to pay, but it'll get you the large majority.

Now, we're all just waiting for a Spotify-for-movies. There's no Netflix or Hulu over here, as Sweden is far down on the priority-list.


I think you're putting the cart before the horse. Wouldn't making more content easily available curb piracy? Look at the examples of Spotify, Netflix & Steam. There's plenty of anecdata about pirates going legal once the legal services are convenient/cheap enough.


Yeah, I agree and I've made that point before. So why doesn't it happen?

Edit: I mean why don't more companies get into it and how can we tell that to the authorities in a way they'll listen to


There's an unwillingness to adapt within the music and film industry. Spotify (and for those who live in the US, Netflix and Hulu) is a great start, and last time I checked, they were dominating over piracy.

The new technologies are competing with piracy. Make a better service, with better conditions than the pirates can offer, and you win the battle.

In the end, the media companies need to choose between using the new technology that's being offered or disappear from the market. By the looks of it, some have gone with the latter option, and that is why we see these anti-piracy crackdowns.


The prevalence of piracy is a separate issue from any damage caused by piracy. Even if piracy is rampant, the damage caused by it isn't enough to prevent the entertainment industry from showing record profits. Some comedians' careers have been made by people uploading bootleg videos of their performances to YouTube. As such, I don't believe the entertainment industry's vicious and destructive response to piracy is at all warranted.

A similar, but weaker, argument can be made in the case of counterfeit jerseys. A sports jersey is meant to show affiliation and identification with a particular group of people. Maybe people should be able to demonstrate that identification "unofficially."


Study finds pirates 10 times more likely to buy music: http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2009/apr/21/study-finds-pira...

Wisely, the study did not rely on music pirates' honesty. Researchers asked music buyers to prove that they had proof of purchase.


The government should not be able to take things without a trial in a court of law.


That's the essence of it, right there. This is especially troubling, for those of us who aren't American, because the US is claiming ownership over all .com, .net, and .org TLDs, and thus considers it just fine to seize the domains of foreign sites. So as a Canadian, with no say whatsoever as to what laws are passed in the US, I am nonetheless bound by them and can have my business property seized if a foreign government doesn't like what I do, with absolutely no ability to defend myself in court or seek redress for wrongful seizure.

That's horseshit.


Maybe it's time people start taking local TLD seriously then, redirecting from .com/.net/.org to safer places.

They all sound so '90s anyway.


Local TLDs just kick the can down the road, as now you're beholden to the whims of some other government. The only one I trust at this point is .is.


Agreed. I don't see how anyone can argue with that. You're right. But doesn't it bother anyone that torrent sites that are pretty well known for providing access to pirated content (whether a link constitutes infringement is not the issue here) are hiding behind freedom? I feel like they shouldn't be on the front lines of this. They're going to hurt and make us look bad more than they help. Maybe if some well known people or companies took the lead on this it would make the whole opposition look better and give us more credibility. TorrentFreak is exactly the kind of site that is the poster child they use to claim these measures are necessary. They should hang back and be quiet, right? If I'm wrong I'd like to know. I read so much about this and I thought my position was solid but now I'm wondering.


TorrentFreak is a news site, much like Ars Technica or zdnet. Yes, they focus on torrents, but they themselves can in no way be claimed to be offering infringing content (even if you believe a .torrent is covered by copyright).

Yes, I agree with you that the general public may be dismissive of what they say due to their championing of a technology largely used for copyright infringement. It certainly is a PR issue. That said, TorrentFreak is not really in the business of trying to convert skeptics. They're a site that specializes in preaching to the choir, much as boingboing does. There's a legitimate place for sites like that. They get the knowledgeable masses fired up about opposing bad legislation and illegal government seizures, which is never a bad thing.

As for torrent sites in general 'providing access' to pirated content, that's a pretty fuzzy area. Google itself offers a torrent search [1]. Are not they, too, 'providing access'? Where do you draw the line? Yes, sites like thepiratebay are well-known for their brazen encouragement of piracy. That does not, however, mean that they are guilty of copyright infringement. My concern with making simple links illegal is that it breaks the Internet. It imposes upon site maintainers the responsibility to ensure that no links on their site direct people to content that the US Government deems unlawful, which is crap.

When we accept facilitation of a crime as a crime unto itself, we are conferring upon the authorities the trust that "facilitation" will not be overly broadly interpreted. I don't think we can do that, given the USG's behavior. Thus, I resist any attempt by them to claim more power to decide what content is and is not acceptable.

[1] http://www.google.com/cse/home?cx=003849996876419856805:erhh...


How do you feel about arrests?


How do you feel about oranges?

An arrest is chiefly an investigative tool, accompanied with (ideally) a legal proceeding that presumes innocence. Civil forfeiture is nothing like that.


Don't much like those either. They use arrests as a way to harass innocent people, hence the phrase, "You can beat the rap but you can't beat the ride."


This safely falls under the idea of "legal plunder".

Could you imagine the screaming and wailing if a .gov domain got jacked?


The Internet is under attack. We need Eben Moglen's freedom box:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lgu8NUm5Zxk

Forcing a website off the internet is like snatching my vocal chords out of my neck when they are about to vocalize something objectionable.




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