No, this is not a ice-skating exhibition but rather a full blown governmental crack down on many of the major Torrent websites and websites that had “copyrighted names” in their URLs.
So what exactly happened that allowed the Government to seize over 70 websites? The answer is The Department of Homeland Security executed warrants issued by a judge. A spokesperson said outright; these acts by the DHS were “executed court-ordered seizure warrants against a number of domain names.” So COICA or the well known DMCA are completely out of the picture.
There are no definitive website seizure numbers as of yet but most news agencies reporting on this story, estimate the number to be around 77 and may possibly go up as time goes by.
The Department of Homeland Security, DHS for short, has been very busy taking websites down directly from ICANN based on little more than complaints that were arbitrarily filed against these sites.
Why are these seizures arbitrary? Well, take a look at one of the seized websites, Torrent-Finder.com was a search portal to other sites, much like Google is. The site didn’t have any copyrighted material or even any torrents on it’s servers. It used I-frames to display the results for MP3 files as well as Mpeg video files.
So why was this site seized? That’s anyone’s guess but it’s fairly certain that more websites are likely to be seized by the DHS.
So people surfing to their usual websites such as Torrent-Finder.Com were very surprised to find the following message from the collective that is known as the Department of Homeland Security.
“This domain name has been seized by ICE – Homeland Security Investigations, pursuant to a seizure warrant issued by a United States District Court under the authority of 18 U.S.C. SS 981 and 2323.”
“Willful copyright infringement is a federal crime that carries penalties for first time offenders of up to five years in federal prison, a $250,000 fine, forfeiture and restitution (17 U.S.C. S 506, 18 U.S.C. S 2319). Intentionally and knowingly trafficking in counterfeit goods is a federal crime that carries penalties for first time offenders of up to ten years in federal prison, a $2,000,000 fine, forfeiture and restitution (18 U.S.C. S 2320).”
So there you have it, the United States Government pushing around innocent people on behalf of big business’ interests. I don’t think anyone is surprised that the US Government is doing the bidding of the rich and the heartless.
I think we should all count our blessings that the Department of Homeland Security does not have jurisdiction in other countries or the entire face of the Internet would change almost instantly with possibly hundreds of thousands of sites being taken down or seized.
We all need to face on reality though, the Torrent website as we know it is starting to become and endangered species and private trackers aren’t safe either. Other nations that had very liberal copyright laws are now changing towards the American way and that means doing the bidding of gargantuan companies such as Sony, Disney, and the other three giant recording companies ET AL.
It’s interesting that Torrents will either go very deep underground or will be dropped all together and file sharing will go back to the oldest section of the internet known as Usenet.
No, Usenet newsgroups are not dead and gone, there is a thriving community of folks sharing all sorts of files and the nice part is that most of the files transfer several times faster then the fastest Torrent download you’ve ever experienced.
The Genie is out of the bottle and pretty much has been for about a decade, maybe a bit longer. Napster was taken down and it was soon replaced by Limewire, when that P2P sharing service became unsafe, Torrent websites sprung up.
Now, that the Torrent sites are under threat of death it is entirely likely that the cycle will repeat itself and Torrents will be replaced by something else.
Just remember, in the meantime you can always use Usenet newsgroups to find everything and anything that you’re looking for.