Feds Seize 9 Domains For Copyright Infringement, But Based On What Law?
According to the Wall Street Journal, federal authorities seized 9 domain names of sites that were offering pirated movies.
The nine domain names were registered using U.S.-based registrars, allowing authorities to take control of their site addresses.
Some of the sites themselves were run on computers based in the U.S, in Colorado, Florida and Illinois, but others used computers based in Germany, the Netherlands, the U.K. and the Czech Republic.
The domain names seized according to the report were:
TVSHACK.NET, MOVIES-LINKS.TV, FILESPUMP.COM, NOW-MOVIES.COM, PLANETMOVIEZ.COM, THEPIRATECITY.ORG, and ZML.COM, NinjaVideo.net and NinjaThis.net.
These sites allegedly allowed visitors to stream or download popular television shows and movies.
The report did not cite under what law the domain names were seized.
As far as I know there is no federal law that allows the seizure of domain names.
That of course is the troubling part.
Although I have no love for sites that allow the distribution of protected works for free, when the federal government starts making up their own remedies for violation of laws, its a problem.
Moreover all that happened here was a claim by the government of improper conduct by the site.
There does not appear to been a hearing where any of the domain owners got notice or what you would call due process, which is an opportunity to defend themselves prior to the domain seizure
It is unclear whether the domains could have or would have been seized as quickly had they been registered with a non-US registrar.
The following notice is now on at least of the seized domains, zml.com: