Did Dijaz1.com Suffer A 'Digital Guantanamo?'
May 8, 2012 at 3:54 AM (PT)
The government's anti-piracy efforts have come under increased inspection recently, and now CNET reports critics of the policy have "new ammunition to support claims that authorities are too eager to do the bidding of copyright owners. Authorities seized DAJAZ1.COM, a music blog, and held onto it for more than a year before returning the domain to the owners. This only occurred after the government repeatedly failed to produce evidence that the site had violated copyright laws."
It was the "secrecy" involved in the seizure that had groups such as THE ELECTRONIC FRONTIER FOUNDATION complaining that the law allowed the government to shut down sites and "muzzle" site owners without due process.
"The whole story is, in a word, appalling," EFF wrote on their blog. "U.S. taxpayers and their representatives have an object lesson, if one were needed, in why the government should not be granted new IP enforcement powers and why we need to reconsider the inclusion of copyright infringement as a basis for civil seizure and forfeiture."
DAJAZ1.COM is a blog focusing on Urban and Hip-Hop, which was shut down by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Bureau in NOVEMBER 2010. CNET notes "over and over again, the court asked the government to produce evidence and fails to do so -- largely because the RECORDING INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA didn't provide the information to ICE officials."
The owners of DAJAZ1.COM posted on their site:
"The owner of DAJAZ1.COM appreciates the fact that the U.S. Government, on studying the matter further with all the information the RIAA could furnish, determined that there was in fact no probable cause to seek a forfeiture of the domain it had seized and held for a year.
"That exoneration, however, did not remedy the harms caused by a full year of censorship and secret proceedings -- a form of 'digital Guantanamo' -- that knocked out an important and popular blog devoted to hip hop music and has nearly killed it.
"The original seizure was unjustified. The delay was unjustified. The secrecy in extensions of the forfeiture deadlines was unjustified."