Monday, December 19, 2011

How to Undermine Border Security in a Dozen Convoluted Steps

From TechDirt, a tale of criminal copyright enforcement against the hip-hop blog

There are so many things about this story that are crazy, it's difficult to know where to start, so let's give the most important point first: The US government has effectively admitted that it totally screwed up and falsely seized & censored a non-infringing domain of a popular blog, having falsely claimed that it was taking part in criminal copyright infringement. Then, after trying to hide behind a totally secretive court process with absolutely no due process whatsoever (in fact, not even serving papers on the lawyer for the site or providing timely notifications -- or providing any documents at all), for over a year, the government has finally realized it couldn't hide any more and has given up, and returned the domain name to its original owner. If you ever wanted to understand why ICE's domain seizures violate the law -- and why SOPA and PROTECT IP are almost certainly unconstitutional -- look no further than what happened in this case.

Wait . . . what?

In fact, as the details came out, it became clear that ICE and the Justice Department were in way over their heads. ICE's "investigation" was done by a technically inept recent college grad, who didn't even seem to understand the basics of the technology. But it didn't stop him from going to a judge and asking for a site to be completely censored with no due process.

ICE? The Immigration and Custom's Enforcement ICE? The gang with the job of protecting our borders -- and failing at it -- is using its scarce resources to . . . investigate domestic copyright infringement? And evidently botching that job, too?

Words fail.


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Anonymous said...

If we were to run IP protection like border protection we would:
Declare an amnesty for previous copyright infringement.
Create sanctuary servers where you could host copyright material free of harassment.
Set up a content program that would link any willing pirate and any willing downloader.
Decide that we must create a path towards legality for all sharers (to bring them out of the shadows).
Rename pirates as "undocumented distributors."
Throw our hands in the air and declare that nothing can be done about piracy.
Hear the WSJ, AEI, Cato, etc. explain that piracy makes us stronger and boosts GDP.
Create about 100,000 H1-B licenses per year for pirates that distribute needed and hard to find content (i.e., content that is too expensive to acquire legally such as, say, text books).
Be reminded that diversity of distribution is our strength.