Wicked Commentary

 

Apparently the Department of Homeland Security is now authorized to rewrite and enforce copyright infringement laws.  In a stunning precedent, the recent round of domain seizures to shut down websites that allowed illegal streaming of the Super Bowl, also included a few other websites that were seized simply for linking to infringing content.

Mike Masnick of TechDirt, who received and published a DHS seizure affidavit, had this to say in a must-read article:

…the affidavit itself is chock full of legal and technical errors, compounded by assertions-as-facts that seem to have little basis in reality. This is immensely troubling, especially given that the specific legal issues here are hardly settled law, and Homeland Security seems to be acting as if these cases are no brainers, allowing them to flat out seize domains, even when those websites have been declared perfectly legal in their home countries.

The biggest problem is that Homeland Security seems to suggest — without a hint of doubt — that merely linking to infringing content is criminal copyright infringement. That is a huge stretch. The affidavit appears to make it clear that it believes that these sites are guilty of direct criminal copyright infringement, rather than any sort of contributory copyright infringement.As we’ve discussed in the past, the courts have tended to say that embedding and linking can be contributory infringement, but not direct infringement. Homeland Security and ICE may be in for a bit of legal trouble trying to prove that embedding is direct infringement.

Until these unprecedented seizures, online copyright infringement was dealt with by simply asking infringing websites to remove the material and replace it with a link to the source.  Previous cases have normally been battled out in civil court.  Alternative news giant, Matt Drudge, is currently fighting a seemingly ridiculous civil lawsuit over linking to news stories.

These new actions by the DHS and the courts seem to be motivated more by private corporate profits than by actual copyright law. Nonetheless, the agenda seems to be to make nearly every website that links to copyrighted material guilty of criminal infringement, thus justifying arbitrarily blacklisting domains deemed to be in violation of such a broad precedent.  This is yet another Napoleonic guilty-until-proven-innocent action, apparently displaying the corporate state’s lack of concern for the rights of individuals and small businesses.  What’s more, it is also another tyrannical tool being used to control the flow of information.

Additionally, this type of precedent would massively change the Internet as we know it.  What’s next, seizing websites that link to those affiliate sites, like Facebook, Google, or Twitter?  Well, that’s the exact question Masnick investigated in his follow-up article, “Homeland Security Tries And Fails To Explain Why Seized Domains Are Different From Google.” Masnick reports on an interview with a DHS agent in charge of the domain seizures, James Hayes:

In the interview, John Moe asked Agent Hayes a very simple question: given that these domains were all seized based solely on the fact that they link to infringing content hosted elsewhere, and all of the same content is also linked from Google, will the Feds seize Google’s domain name? Well, more specifically, Moe asks if ICE could seize Google’s domain name. Amusingly, right after being asked, Hayes conveniently gets cut off, but he does call back and the question is asked again.

However, once he gets back, he tries to tap dance around this issue. Hayes says “no” that ICE will not seize Google’s domain name and that’s because it’s only targeting sites that “don’t do due diligence” to make sure that the content they’re linking to isn’t infringing. There’s a pretty serious problem with this claim in that it’s wrong on both sides of the equation. First off, Google, as a search engine, does no due diligence to check that links only go to non-infringing content. Second, in at least some of the cases (specifically in the case of dajaz1), we know that it was actually Homeland Security and folks like Special Agent Hayes who “failed to do their due diligence,” so the songs named in the ICE affidavit were, in fact, provided by the labels or representatives of the musicians. In other words, according to Special Agent Hayes’ own criteria, Google is more of a criminal operation that Dajaz1.

Despite the DHS’s obvious distortion of the law, we are rapidly approaching a day where information can no longer flow freely on the Internet.  We better wake up and share these stories with everyone we know, because tyranny is fast approaching.  These words written above belong to nobody but the open-source, free Internet.  Share and re-post at will.

 

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Comments on: "DHS Has Been Seizing Websites Linking To Copyrighted Material" (19)

  1. Pepp,

    Depressing news just keeps pouring out of Dipshit City. With GA’s court ruling; I guess we all might as well brush up on our Russian and pick out our favorite towel to wrap around our head. Sorry for you lady folks, but the towel will have to completely cover your faces. A tidal was is coming and will wash all of us away…either dead or alive.

    Like

    • Dave,

      This article is a year old, but DHS is still taking down sites over ridiculous things. As the Judge calls them “Janet and her goons”.

      So what did it matter that SOPA/PIPA got knocked down? The feds were already doing this on the Internet. We live in a lawless country right now. And when I say lawless I mean the government. Not us.

      Like

  2. privbullright said:

    Pepp,

    Thanks for the info, good article. You know what is sort of odd about this? It comes on the heels of a copyright-troll fiasco.
    http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/01/bar-eyeing-righthaven/ This was a company running around suing people over supposed copyright infringement. It was more like a shakedown scheme. It looked like this was their real business model. Anyway, a court finally saw through what they were doing and took them to task. They were looking for the smallest thing they could find and turn it into infringement. Of course, it had a chilling effect. (probably the desired effect) And countless people were put through the ringer or just intimidated enough to pay them off, which is what they capitalized on. They had a pretty lucrative racket. Word spread and the demise of their reputation did not seem to matter to them. Naturally, it appeared they were mostly targeting right-wing bloggers and sites. It seemed like they did not go after the left media, which pretty much does what they want anyway. It eventually was cornered into bankruptcy but possibly will resurface under a new name, but with the same business model. http://www.pbs.org/mediashift/2011/12/copyright-infringement-defendants-turn-the-table-on-righthaven335.html

    Like

    • PBR,

      Thx for the info. Of course it would be right wing sites and they want the flow of info stopped across the Internet. This really boils me.

      Yeah, what you wrote does have a chilling effect on people, just like this thing about linking to others’ articles. Now how may I ask is that copyright infringement? DHS can’t even explain their own “regulations” because it’s pure BS.

      Like

  3. I have to read more on this subject. But Pepp and I have been talking a long, long time about these various departments using and abusing their authority, acting more and more like Germany!

    This some scary stuff because, who’s going to stop them? ? ?

    Like

  4. willibeaux said:

    Mrs. Pepper’awk, the ‘awk, and the “rave”. Vito Obama’s boys strike again. Soon there will be a flurry of horse’s heads in dissenter’s beds.

    ‘ooRah! 😉

    Like

    • Better be polishing de ole Long Gun. And keep da powder dry!

      Like

      • willibeaux said:

        Gos’awk! Iss you itchin’ to go on another mission for de SPOOK? De ole Long Gun gotta a ‘scope on ‘er don’t it?

        Mrs. Pepper’awk could go wit you.

        ‘ooRah!

        Like

        • Willi,

          Intel update: I’ve already got dem shiners workin’ on collecting some horses heads, so jest let me know our next logistical move. I reckon dem shiners is smart enough to ice down dem heads for we needs em. Well…maybe I’d beter call me…

          Like

          • willibeaux said:

            Way to go “rave”. Ah knows ah could count on you when the chips are down.

            Keep de heads on ice. De SPOOK may use a little reverse psychology and turn de tables.

            Like

    • Willi,
      This is not new. I should have put that on the article. This has been going down for almost a year now.

      Like

  5. Gar Swaffar said:

    No surprises in this. D H S is just the 20th century version of the Brown Shirt Gestapo and NOT about homeland or security…perhaps though it is about the Fatherland of the Liberals.

    Like

    • Gar,

      I agree. This is nothing more than a crack down to scare people and keep them in line. The DHS should get a medal from the fuhrer for running their constant crack downs whether it be at airports or the Internet.

      Like

      • privbullright said:

        Pepp, Right. I bet they would not defend your copyright.

        The strange thing is if you get a patent, the patent office tells you the government will not enforce your patent. That is entirely up to you at your expense. It is common knowlege. This was part of my anger at that bill.

        Like

  6. privbullright said:

    This is it. He doesn’t have enough power, he wants more. He needs control of the Internet. And right before elections. What a surprise. A justice department proven incompetent but can close down any site at the drop of a hat. No notice, no nothin’. Where do we go to get our freedom back?

    Like

    • PBR,

      More power is the end game and it involves the NWO too. This is one ruthless and power hungry group of elitists who aren’t going to stop at anything to get us under their control and depopulate us too. I’ve been online reading a lot of stuff about the NWO today and it’s scaring the crap out of me. I really don’t know how we get out from underneath all of this even with a lock and load mentality.

      Getting our freedoms back seems almost impossible at this point. And who knows what the next president will do? We don’t know who all these people are connected to. One thing I do remember during a debate when asked, “Would you have signed the NDDA?” Romney replied immediately he WOULD HAVE. Santorum said NO.

      That bothered me a lot that Romney would have signed that bill which revokes our 5th and 6th amendments and basically makes any of us terrorists, whoever the president “deems” a terrorist. Already on the DHS list of terrorists are the tea party members, recent returning vets, (how horrible!) and all the militias in the country.

      To me, it seems like the feds have us in a vise. If there is a revolt, then everyone gets deemed a terrorist and taken away to an undisclosed place. The military is supposed to arrest and detain us. So, it comes down to in my humble estimation what the military would do. Does the military join us or fight us?

      Like

  7. This is looking more and more like Obama has not only studied Marx,but Hobbes,Engels,and Plato as well. Control the information for the GOOD of the state and all that bullshit. Clean’em,load,em,and get ready. It’s a’gonna get ugly.

    Like

    • clyde,

      Ugly is an understatement. This is going to be so bad what’s coming I don’t even like to think about it. I do think there are going to be mass graves in our future. Obama is not only a Marxist he’s a globalist elite groomed for this position so the NWO can do its’ dirty work inside or country with his permission. But, he’s not the only one, this goes way back to a lot of presidents including the Bushes, the Clintons, etc. This stalking of us on the Internet is just one piece of the puzzle. No law exists now in the federal government. And that includes the whole of it, congress, the judicial branch, all over the country.

      Like

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