Domains Seizures Violate First Amendment, Court Hears

At the end of January 2011, the U.S. authorities kicked off yet another round of domain seizures, this time against site connected with sports streaming. This third round of action in ‘Operation in Our Sites’ took control of the domains of Rojadirecta, one of Spain’s most popular sites.

Last week the company behind the site, Puerto 80, filed a petition in the Southern District of New York for the return of its domains. This call is now supported by The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), The Center for Democracy and Technology and Public Knowledge who submitted an amicus brief on Monday.

“This misguided intellectual property enforcement effort is causing serious collateral damage to free speech rights,” said EFF Intellectual Property Director Corynne McSherry. “These domain seizures should cease unless and until the government can fix the First Amendment flaws inherent in the program.”

“Neither the government nor rightsholders should fear a copyright enforcement process that complies with the rule of law,” said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Matt Zimmerman.

“Valid claims of copyright infringement can be pursued in a manner that allows the accused parties to defend themselves. The unilateral seizure of domain names without a court ruling — which obstructs access to all of a website’s content — is improper and should be strongly opposed by free speech advocates everywhere,” Zimmerman added.

The Brief


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