Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Congressional Reps Question Feds Over Botched Domain Seizures

Source: Techdirt

Bipartisan Congressional Reps. Zoe Lofgren, Jason Chaffetz and Jared Polis have teamed up to send a letter raising a number of questions about the "Operation in Our Sites" initiative, to both Attorney General Holder and Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano.

The letter focuses on the seizure of a web domain belonging to rapper Dajaz1, and points out their concern with the program, and how it appears to violate free speech rights, ignore due process and destroy legitimate businesses.

The letter goes on to ask a series of important questions for both DHS and DOJ, especially regarding the utter failure of both departments in the Dajaz1 situation.

1. What is the process for determining which sites to target? Who is involved in that process? What specific steps do DOJ and ICE take to ensure that affidavits and other material are thoroughly reviewed for accuracy prior to seizing a domain?

2. To what extent are government agents required to evaluate whether the potentially infringing material to which target sites link -- or which they host themselves -- are non-infringing fair uses, impliedly licensed, and/or de minimis uses?

3. Do government agents consider whether a site complies with the DMCA safe harbors? If so, how does this affect the determination to target a site?

4. How many sites have attempted to retrieve their domains, via any process, judicial or informal, and what is the status of those cases?

5. Have you made any changes to your domain seizure policies or their implementation as a result of the issues arising from the Dajaz1 seizure or any other seizure? If so, what were those changes?

6. What specific steps has the DOJ and ICE taken to ensure that domain name seizure cases proceed without unnecessary delays, and that website owners seeking to restore their domain names have swift access to the officials and documents necessary to resolve their cases?

7. How many more seizures do you anticipate occurring in the next six months and year?

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