Hans Bader
December 2, 2010

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Law professor David Post notes that the Department of Homeland Security is seizing entire domain names, not to protect national security, but to enforce run-of-the-mill copyrights.  He calls this an unconstitutional due process violation, noting that “80 websites . . . have now been prevented from speaking to US citizens even though the website operators, whose domains were seized, had no notice or opportunity to respond to the charges against them (and to argue, for instance, that they are NOT infringing copyrights or trademarks), no adversary hearing, and certainly no adjudication before a neutral [judge], that anything unlawful is going on at these sites.”

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He also notes that Congress has not yet passed a bill that would have granted the federal government the specific authority to seize domain names.  (Senator Wyden or Oregon has put a hold on a bill known as COICA, the Combating Online Infringements and Counterfeits Act, that would allow U.S. courts to “seize” domain names belonging to U.S. or foreign websites simply upon a charge, by the Attorney General, that the site was “primarily devoted” to infringing activities.)

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