osewalrus (osewalrus) wrote,
osewalrus
osewalrus

Dijaz1 and the abuse of Government Power

Whenever we debate modifying the law to give the feds and private actors more power to go after supposed infringers, while reducing the due process rights of those accused, the attitude on the other side is invariably that they are only going after "the worst of the worst" and that these arguments are a mere ploy to protect pirates.

Let us therefore consider the case of Dijaz1, which took place under existing law -- albeit unsettled existing law. As reported in Wired, the Immigrations, Customs Enforcement Bureau (ICE) seized the Dijaz1 website and redirected it to a federal landing page based on RIAA allegations of massive piracy. It did not help, I suppose, that Dijaz1 was a Hip Hop site without a major label collection, which apparently already translates in the minds of many at the RIAA and law enforcement as being a den of scum and villany.

The Feds held Dijaz1.com in legal limbo for 13 months by refusing to file charges. On three occasions, the feds filed sealed documents requesting an extension of time to file charges. In December 2012, 13 months after the seizure ICE returned the domain without apology or explanation.

EFF just got the sealed extension requests unsealed. Turns out the problem was RIAA never coughed up any actual evidence of infringement. Why on Earth would ICE make a seizure without evidence? And why did RIAA make the accusation in the first p;ace if they lacked evidence? All excellent questions. But for me, there is only one relevant question: what would stop RIAA and ICE from doing that again?
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