Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Groups Vow to Fight Gov't Takedowns of Websites

The Electronic Frontier Foundation and the operator of Torrent-finder.com have separately vowed to fight domain-name seizures by two U.S. agencies in recent days.

The U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced Monday that they have obtained court orders to seize the domain names and shut down 82 websites suspected of trafficking in copyright-infringing materials, including music, movies, sunglasses and handbags.

But representatives of the EFF and the Center for Democracy and Technology, two digital rights groups, questioned whether the domain-name seizures are legal. In some cases, the sites shut down had discussion forums that should enjoy free-speech protections under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, said Peter Eckersley, an EFF staff attorney.

Some of the websites had "huge amounts of user commentary, virtually millions of posts worth of discussion," Eckersley said. "We'll be looking into that and seeing whether there are any legal steps that can be taken to help these websites."

One such site taken down was Torrent-finder.com, a search engine for BitTorrent files operating since 2005. Operator Waleed GadElKareem of Alexandria, Egypt, promised to fight the domain-name seizure, even though he had his website operating at Torrent-finder.info on Monday.

"My domain was seized without any previous complaint or court notice to me or to the domain registrar GoDaddy," he wrote in an e-mail. "I still have my server running in USA with a new domain ... because they are 100 percent sure I am not doing anything wrong."

GadElKareem questioned the legality of the DOJ and ICE shutting down a search engine. "I only open other search engines in iframes, so I do not host or link to any illegal contents," he said. "These actions are not responsible or legal." ...

via Groups Vow to Fight Gov't Takedowns of Websites - PCWorld Business Center.

1 comment:

Ann said...

Please, this is very serious.

If these authorities find something specifically wrong now and take down a site, who or what will stop them when they decide some other reason is wrong?

Laws sometimes exceed their initial intentions. (Such as the RICO Act - originally intended for mafia - and the Patriot Act - originally intended for international terrorists)

These seizures can be stopped!

You can, at least, sign a petition.