US Senator Seeks Answers from DHS Over Hip-Hop Blog Seizure

The DHS will have some explaining to do on the matter of

The controversial case in which the owners of the popular hip-hop blog DaJaz1 got back their domain from the authorities without any explanation attracted the attention of a US senator who wants answers from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on why the process was handled in such a clumsy manner.

According to Wired, Senator Rod Wyden is unhappy with the way Operation in Our Sites seized the domains without having sufficient evidence to indicate copyright infringement, only to drag the case for more than a year without giving any explanations to the parties involved.

“I expect the administration will be receiving a series of FOIA [Freedom of Information Act] requests from our office and that the senator will have very pointed questions with regard to how the administration chooses to target the sites that it does,” said Jennifer Hoelzer, Wyden’s spokeswoman.

“[The senator is] particularly interested in learning how many secret dockets exist for copyright cases. There doesn’t seem to be an obvious precedent or explanation for that.”

The entire incident comes after DaJaz1’s legal team received promises for a period of almost a year that they’ll be able to fight the seizure.

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) kept delaying the forfeiture procedure, that would allow them to permanently maintain control over the seized domain, on the claims that a court had given them an extension on the period in which it had to be filed.

A few days ago, the domain was returned to its rightful owners, but not only there were no explanations other that there were "no probable causes," the authorities also failed to provide the necessary documents to prove that a court indeed agreed to the extension of the period in which the forfeiture needed to be filed.

It will be interesting to learn what Senator Wyden’s inquiries will bring to light. Fighting piracy is one thing, but doing it without any actual evidence of copyright infringement is an entirely different story.

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