What story? The one you’ve probably heard nothing about.
Back in late 2010, the federal government seized Dajaz1.com, a popular Internet blog devoted to hip hop. The Justice Department and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) shut down the website domain claiming it was infringing on music copyrights. ICE “put up a big scary warning graphic on the site, suggesting its operators were criminals.”
The government then failed to abide by the legal requirements for filing an asset forfeiture case, conducting a secret legal effort, instead. Motions, hearings, and court decisions were filed in secret and placed under “seal,” denying the website owners and their attorney any opportunity for challenge.
Freedom of speech? Due process of law? Obliterated. And yet, earlier this month, the government admitted it had no legitimate case, no probable cause to go after this website in the first place, and, after a year of censorship, finally returned the web domain to its rightful owners.
That a website can be seized by our government, without a charge being publicly made and the crime proven in a fair and open court of law, is absolutely frightening.
What’s even scarier, though, is that legislation currently being considered by Congress — Protect IP and the Stop Online Piracy Act — would give the federal government even more sweeping powers to regulate and control the Internet.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.