Government Seized Website Without Evidence

Government Seized Website Dajaz1Court documents show the US government seized website for more than 13 months despite a glaring lack of evidence.

Federal authorities released documents related to the government seizure of hip-hop site Papers show that the seizure was extended for several months because the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) couldn’t provide information about the alleged copyright infringements. No charges were ever brought against, and the website eventually returned to the Internet.

The documents discussing the government seizure of DaJaz1 were held secretly for over six months, but released after public interest agencies requested the papers.

Government Seized Website DaJaz1: Federal Possession & Investigation was shut down by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in 2010. ICE is a division of homeland security. The original shutdown is allegedly related to the posts of four tracks that had not yet been released. The owners of and the attorney for the website suggested that the pre-release tracks were given to the site by members of the RIAA.

Both the government’s and the RIAA’s actions in this case are questionable. First there is the government seizure of the website. This seizure was based on information that the RIAA provided government authorities. However, the RIAA failed to follow through with their allegations, and no evidence was supplied to show that actually violated any laws. The government proceeded secretly and refused to return the properly of the site’s owners or provide evidence to support their seizure.

Government Seized Website DaJaz1: Returns To Internet After Insufficient Evidence Of Wrongdoing

In December, 2011, the Federal Government finally allowed to return to the Internet. Until now, the reason why the government seized the website for so long was a mystery. Documents now show that ICE received two secret extensions for the seizure. The government granted the extension while awaiting evidence of wrongdoing from the RIAA and other parties involved in the copyright disputes.

This case raises serious concerns and leads many to wonder just how effective the 2008 PRO IP Act really is. Ultimately, the statute allows the federal government to seize any website; they can shut down and seize Internet pages without any evidence of wrongdoing.

As of today, ICE has an ongoing operation called Our Sites, which has seized more than 750 websites. The federal government also maintains it has the authority to seize and shut down any website that ends in .com, .net or .org — even if the site is hosted outside of the United States.

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