Copyright Claims Shut Down Websites With No Proof or Due Process08/05/2012 04:21
Who needs SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) or the international ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) when companies can have websites or YouTube channels removed simply by claiming their content has been infringed?
That is exactly what happened to the hip hop blog Dajaz1.com when the US government seized and censored it for over a year at the behest of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). RIAA claimed, while providing no evidence, that Dajaz1 was infringing on their copyrights and demanded they be shut down.
The government obliged the request before receiving any proof of the infringement. As it turns out, the RIAA couldn't provide any evidence and the government was forced to return the website with not so much as even an apology. Fortunately, Dajaz1 had their property returned to them, but not before they lost a year of revenue plus the aggravation involved in battling false claims.
This case illustrated that the burden of proof was not needed, nor was due process, to censor and seize properties that are accused of copyright crimes.
In the past, the Department of Homeland Security has committed mass seizures of websites and domains suspected of copyright piracy, and even shut down sites for merely linking to to copyrighted material confirming that the government and judges will do the bidding for large corporations with or without the authority to do so.
Incidentally, using this draconian tactic appears to be the only way that "authorities" can seize websites accused of copyright violations. Every single case where copyright trolls like Righthaven have attempted to use proper court channels (i.e. due process), the lawsuits were either dismissed or ruled in favor "fair use rights."