First, it was the Music Industry. Now, with the help of the federal government, the motion picture industry has launched an all-out “blitz” on websites that are practicing illegal copyright downloading.
The U.S. Justice Department, the Department of Homeland Security, and nine U.S. Attorney’s Offices seized 82 domain names of websites they claim were engaged in the sale and distribution of counterfeit goods and illegal copyrighted works.
The sites were seized without websites owners given any advance notice or recourse, and the “raid” swept up several sites that are hardly in the business of willful copyright infringement.
According to one website that broke the story, EFF.Org, “…the list of targets included OnSmash.com and RapGodfathers.com. Both sites are dedicated to promoting rap and hiphop, showcasing new artists and helping fans connect and share information about the music they love.
According to the owners, they regularly and expeditiously process copyright infringement notices and take down links as appropriate. Indeed, OnSmash says the labels themselves are often the source of the links OnSmash makes available. In other words, they try to play by the rules. Moreover, the sites are not simply collections of links; rather, they provide a wide array of information and forums for speech, all of which was rendered inaccessible by the seizure.”
The websites involved in the seizures were all US based. However, links can be accessed from other foreign sources (i.e. Rapidshare, Megaupload, etc.). The seizures is only a taste of what will happen if the Congress passes the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA). The bill is currently being debated in Congress. Whether the newly-minted, GOP-led House or Democrat-led Senate will act on it next year remains to be seen.
One thing’s for certain, “Big Brother” continues to chip away at idividual rights!