It was bad enough when Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) seized a number of domains without any due process simply by telling VeriSign to redirect the domains to a new DNS address, but this time they have stepped across the line.
Word comes via Mike Masnick at Techdirt that ICE has seized the domain for the Spanish streaming site Rojadirecta.
Let that sink in for a second.
A US government agency made the decision to seize a domain that has been declared as legal by the country where the company does business. It was a legal decision arrived at after a three year court battle in Spain but totally ignored by US Customs agents.
As Mike said in his post:
And the timing is especially ridiculous, given that the US has been pushing very, very hard for Spain to implement a new copyright law, driven in large part by Hollywood. With many in Spain already furious about US meddling in their own copyright laws, I can’t imagine that having US customs agents reaching across the Atlantic to just out and out seize a Spanish company’s domain name is going to go over very well.
Imagine if a Spanish law enforcement agency did that to a US company? How quickly would we see American politicians screaming about this “international incident.” Yet, here we have Homeland Security reaching out to seize the domain name of a foreign company that has been explicitly declared legal, after going through a lengthy trial and appeals process in its native country. And, in typical Homeland Security fashion, no one bothered to contact the company and let them know or express its concerns. Instead, it just seized the domain.
This is a perfect example of the arrogance that DHS and ICE have, especially when acting as the police for for the entertainment business. Personally I find it quite sickening and really hope that Spain, and Rojadirecta, raise all kinds of hell over this action.