Homeland Security now seizing domain names

By J. DeVoy

ICE appears to be targeting sites that help Internet users download copyrighted music, as well as sites that sell bootleg goods, such as fake designer handbags.

The sites are replaced with a note from the government: “This domain named has been seized by ICE, Homeland Security Investigations.” (source.)

Upon trying to access 51607.com, one of the affected domains, one is treated to this:

On one hand, this is good for antipiracy efforts, but where do the criminal penalties go?  While content producers may be grateful for the seizure of a particularly egregious pirate, more will step forward to take its place, and shutting down one site doesn’t put money in the producers’ pocket for past infringement like a civil suit does.  Furthermore, the government seizure of a site makes it difficult to see prior pages and build a case for copyright infringement.  For smaller producers, it seems like this action is little more than the government taking money out of their pocket and using potential legal fees to line its own coffers.  It’s not like the Federal government is solvent in any meaningful sense.

5 Responses to Homeland Security now seizing domain names

  1. Randazza says:

    While I am all in favor of kicking the crap out of thieves, this goes too far. I don’t see how it is the proper role of the government to shut down websites it doesn’t like. I am even further troubled by this being done by homeland security.

  2. I think the department of Homeland Security has done more copyright infringement actions than they have anything terror related. The Patriot Act allows the government to access people’s library records which is scarier than terrorists in my mind.

    I have some unused domain names like http://www.obombarded.com I should put up the same page as is on 51607.com and pretend like the government seized it.

    Where this is troubling to me is how do we know the sites were engaged in these activities? How do we know they were even seized?

    That page is a visual abortion. Drop shadows were so 2000. It’s also ironic that this is a government produced page that fails governmental standards of accessibility: http://www.access-board.gov/sec508/guide/1194.22.htm

    No alt tags, text in images, etc.

    It also looks like they plan to go this for a while as the image is called: IPRC_Seized_2010_11.jpg

    They are using google analytics andPiwik to see how popular their page is, because you know, once you steal someone else’s shit you’re going to want to know what kind of traffic you’re getting.

    They should have a link to another page that tells someone what to do if their site has been taken, or what will happen to the site in the future. Will it be auctioned off? The whois data for 51607.com remains the same.

    Troubling stuff.

  3. Fireinyourhole says:

    NOOO – i want pirated music!

  4. MikeZ says:

    Not to mention how pointless it is. They took tvshack.com off the web a few months back but prior to taking it down tvshack posted their new domain name tvshack.cc. I had never even heard of 501607.com but 15 seconds of googling tells me that items-trade.com is the new website. tvshack.cc has been up and running for months with no action. Seriously if your point is to combat pirates who have figured out the ‘secret’ website to get pirated stuff from, don’t you think they will figure out the new website name when it changes?

  5. […] the government shuts down a site, it doesn’t preserve and disable it – it throws its logos up and tells the world that it has been taken over by the Feds.  For those in the process of building a case, or considering one, the information needed for that […]

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