US government goes on domain seizing spree

US government agencies in charge of security, copyrights, and customs are on the warpath this week with an unparalleled number of raids on potentially infringing internet businesses. Unfortunately, some of the DNS seizures performed don’t seem to have any sufficient legal reason for the action.

In addition to RapGodfathers.com, a site which the owners claim is DMCA compliant, the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration & Customs Enforcement agency have seized over 75 other domains. And some of the domains owners have been caught completely off guard by the government’s actions.

US government goes on domain seizing spree

“My domain has been seized without any previous complaint or notice from any court!” the exasperated owner of Torrent-Finder.com told TorrentFreak. “I firstly had DNS downtime. While I was contacting GoDaddy I noticed the DNS had changed. Godaddy had no idea what was going on and until now they do not understand the situation and they say it was totally from ICANN.”

The basis for the seizure of Torrent-Finder.com is on shaky ground because the site is actually a search engine that has no tracker, carries no torrents, and lists no copyright works unless someone searches for them. All of the actual illegal activity would be occurring on other domains.

Unlike RapGodfathers.com, however, Torrent-Finder.com at least had an alternate .info URL to fall back on for now.

A quick glance through the list of the rest of the seized domains shows that the majority were likely retail fronts for the sale of counterfeit products, a clear copyright infringement issue, so these two were hopefully only notable exceptions.

Exception or not, these government agencies shouldn’t be shutting down sites unless there is clearly probable cause for the domain seizure or blatant infringement taking place. These actions make it appear like some kind of DNS witch-hunt is in progress. If you own a domain that could be questionable in any way, consider yourself warned.