Is there such a thing as “criminal contributory infringement”? #ICE #copyright #dns #freeculture

Mike Masnick of techdirt argues that recent seizures of domain names by Homeland Security’s Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) group have dubious legal validity. Even the Supreme Court’s embrace of the concept of “inducement as contributory infringement” in the Grokster case didn’t contemplate it as criminal activity.

The actual seizure itself was handled clumsily, using outside contractors. The tracking of visitors to the seized sites contrary to government policy led many observers to initially conclude the whole thing was an elaborate hoax. This was compounded by the ICE delaying public statements so they could make a splash on “Black Monday”. Techdirt further noted in December just how inept and flimsy the case against one site – torrent-finder – was. If the standard – commercial sites that link to web items that advocate or facilitate filesharing – was applied across the board, the ICE would have to seize a large portion of the entire web!