Web Site Falsely Accused of Illegal Copyright Shutdown SOPA Style
Under a program called "Operation in Our Sites" run by the U.S. Office Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), over 130 domain names were seized this year, and 82 were seized last year right before Black Friday, the biggest retail day of the year. Just yesterday ICE has admitted to mistakenly seizing the domain Dajaz1.com, and keeping that domain for over a year without due process or proof that the domain had participated in any copyright violation, causing the blog to miss two consecutive Black Fridays, the day most retailers count on to make their living for the year.
In this case it appears that Dajaz1 was the victim of a poorly conducted investigation, it is easy to see how a malicious actor, or a corporation looking to eliminate the competition, could use domain seizure to their advantage.
While the legal justification of the "Operation in Our Sites" program hasn't been made clear, recently proposed legislation; the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) are steps to make this type of domain seizure legal. Both pieces of legislation have created quite a controversy. An alternative to SOPA and PIPA, called OPEN, that does not include domain seizure has been submitted by a bipartisan group of legislators.
Dajaz1.com is back online, with a homepage banner asking visitors to sign the petition to stop SOPA.