Owners Of Hiphop Blogs Seized By Homeland Security Still Haven't Been Told Why

by Mike Masnick
Dec. 15, 2010

The saga of the domains seized by Homeland Security's Immigrations & Customs Enforcement (ICE) group continues to get more and more bizarre. We'd already noted that among the domains seized were a bunch of hiphop blogs that artists and record labels regularly used to promote their works and that at least the search engine Torrent-Finder was planning to fight back. As we noted at the time, it seemed like the blogs would have a much stronger case, as there's pretty clear First Amendment problems with the governments' actions.

While it's still not entirely clear what the owners of those blogs are going to do, the NY Times has spoken with some of them and it appears they're certainly exploring their options. I would imagine that the EFF and others have all reached out to them as well. I'm also guessing that the RIAA -- who told ICE to take down these sites -- may actually be getting nervous that it may have pushed too far here. They have to realize that they're going to lose these lawsuits if the domain owners push back. It's classic prior restraint.

What's really scary, though, is that the article notes that the domain owners still have been given no indication of why their sites were seized and may need to wait another 30 to 60 days before they're able to even see the seizure order. That seems ridiculous. You shouldn't just be able to seize a domain name and then tell the owners that they'll find out why nearly three months later. What happened to due process?

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