The Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA) has not been refiled yet, but the US government has continued seizing domain names. It began when the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), seized 82 domain names last November, including a BitTorrent search engine, and four popular rap websites: onsmash.com, rapgodfathers.com, dajaz1.com and RMX4U. The seizure of domain names that merely link to “infringing content” is very troubling and could have implications for more mainline search engines such as Google or Bing. In the case of the rap web sites, they were blogs that artists and labels would often give recordings to in an effort to build buzz for their music. The evidence cited by DHS has tended to be laughable and even included four songs that were given to one blog by the labels so that the blog would promote them.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) continued with a Valentine’s day seizure of sites accused of selling counterfeit goods. DHS also seized mooo.com on accusations of trafficking in child pornography and so took down 84,000 websites. Thankfully that domain was restored.
While the domain names were seized with the approval of a judge, the owners of the domains seized were denied their 5th amendment due process rights since they were never allowed to challenge the seizures before they occurred. These domain seizures, like COICA, have also flown in the face of our 1st amendment guarantee of free speech.
Thankfully some in the Congress such as Senator Ron Wyden and Representative Zoe Lofgren have questioned the domain seizures. However, we haven’t heard that any of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation have stood up for free speech and due process. You can help us to assess where our senators and representatives stand on this issue by contacting them and asking whether they support the Department of Homeland Security’s seizure of domain names without due process. Please add a comment to this page with what you find out or just email us at info at masspirates dot org.
You can reach our Senators at:
You can contact your Representative by email or call them at the numbers listed below:
- 1st Congressional District - John Olver – (202) 225-5335 / (413) 532-7010
- 2nd Congressional District – Richard Neal – (202) 225-5601 / (413) 785-0325
- 3rd Congressional District – James McGovern – (202) 225-6101 / (508) 831-7356
- 4th Congressional District – Barney Frank – (202) 225-5931
- 5th Congressional District – Niki Tsongas – (202) 225-3411 / (978) 459-0101
- 6th Congressional District – Jonathan Tierney – (202) 225-8020 / (781) 595-7375
- 7th Congressional District – Ed Markey – (202) 225-2836 / (508) 875-2900
- 8th Congressional District – Michael Capuano – (202) 225-5111 / (617) 621-6208
- 9th Congressional District – Stephen Lynch – (202) 225-8273 / (617) 428-2000
- 10th Congressional District – William Keating – (202) 225-3111 / (617) 770-3700
To find out who your representative is, please visit Where Do I Vote MA and enter your address.