Quantcast
Connect with us

On domain seizures over links, DHS faces digital conundrum

Published

on

What makes Google searches any different from websites dedicated to searching out and linking to copyrighted content on other servers?

That’s a question Homeland Security Investigation Special Agent James Hayes had a hard time explaining during a recent phone interview with John Moe of American Public Media.

Last week, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) announced the domain names of ten “linking” websites had been seized for providing access to illegal, pirated telecasts of the National Football League, the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League, World Wrestling Entertainment, and the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

ADVERTISEMENT

In a phone interview, confronted by Moe, Special Agent Hayes didn’t seem too sure if ICE could seize Google’s domain as well.

He responded that Homeland Security would not be targeting Google because the agency was only targeting sites that “failed to do any due diligence to insure that the content they are providing has been authorized by the copyright holders or that the websites that they are linking to have received authorization from copyright holders.”

“There’s a pretty serious problem with this claim in that it’s wrong on both sides of the equation,” Mike Masnick of TechDirt commented. “Google, as a search engine, does no due diligence to check that links only go to non-infringing content.”

The domain names seized by ICE were ATDHE.NET, CHANNELSURFING.NET, HQ-STREAMS.COM, HQSTREAMS.NET, FIRSTROW.NET, ILEMI.COM, IILEMI.COM, IILEMII.COM, ROJADIRECTA.ORG and ROJADIRECTA.COM.

Visitors to these websites now only see a banner that informs them the domain name was seized by the New York office of ICE HSI because of criminal copyright violations.

ADVERTISEMENT

The websites did not themselves host any illegal content, but allowed users to easily browse for links to third party websites that were hosting pirated videos, according to ICE.

“The revenue that these sport franchises make as a result of these sporting events does a number of things,” Special Agent Hayes continued. “One, there is taxes paid on that. And two, they are also able to hire employees through that revenue.

“For instance, the Ultimate Fighting Championship, which charges $44.95 for an event, and you have a million people watching that event that are not paying for that, because the content has been pirated, that’s lost tax revenue and that’s lost jobs. Especially in down economy, that is a big concern.”

ADVERTISEMENT

The domain names were seized as part of “Operation in Our Sites,” an ongoing investigation into websites that illegally offer copyrighted material.

In November 2010, the Department of Homeland Security closed down at least 76 domains. Many of the web domains were sites that trafficked in counterfeit brand name goods and some others linked to copyright-infringing file-sharing materials. At least one of the sites was a Google-like search engine: a revelation that caused alarm among web freedom advocates who worried the government’s move stepped over the line.

ADVERTISEMENT


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

‘You just called me a liar!’: Trump campaign official flips out after he’s fact-checked on Biden ear-piece lie

Published

on

MSNBC host Ayman Mohyeldin attempted to fact-check President Donald Trump's campaign official, Steve Cortes, on the lies coming out of the campaign, but Cortes refused to back down, instead claiming that the host was calling him a "liar."

Cortes began Tuesday by joining other campaign members accusing Vice President Joe Biden of refusing to have his ears inspected by a third party to prove he's not wearing an earpiece. They falsely claimed that Biden agreed to it but then pulled back on the agreement. The Biden campaign has said that isn't true. So, Mohyeldin asked Cortes who made the agreement with the Biden team. Cortes fumbled around, saying it was "the campaign," but Mohyeldin demanded to know what the name was of the campaign official who made the agreement. Cortes said there was a "debate negotiating committee" who made all the demands. He ultimately couldn't name the name.

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

‘Absolutely not normal’: Senator Klobuchar slams her GOP colleagues for trying to ram through Trump’s Supreme Court nominee

Published

on

During a hearing this Thursday, Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) took her GOP colleagues to task over their efforts to push through a new Supreme Court nominee in the wake Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death on the eve of the 2020 election.

Klobuchar pointed out that the last time a Supreme Court justice died so close to an election was during Abraham Lincoln's presidency, adding that he "waited until the results were in" before moving forward on a replacement.

"My colleagues on the other side know that this is their last chance to allow this president to jam through another judicial appointment to the nation's highest court," she said, pointing out that their focus should be on the ongoing pandemic.

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

Federal judge rules Bill Barr improperly redacted part of the Mueller report — and must release them

Published

on

Although the U.S. Department of Justice under Attorney General William Barr publicly released the Mueller report on April 18, 2019, it has only been available to the public in redacted form. But on Wednesday, Judge Reggie Walton ruled that parts of the Mueller report were improperly redacted by Barr — and Walton has ordered the DOJ to release those parts of the report before Election Day.

Continue Reading
 
 
Democracy is in peril. Invest in progressive news. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1. Go ad-free. LEARN MORE