US cops steal Spanish domain for Big Content

The US is doing to Spanish sovereignty something which has not been attempted since Sir Francis Drake famously floated a fire ship into the Armada.

Apparently the US thinks that it owns the internet and that foreigners will have to hire the nation’s overpriced lawyers to defend themselves in one of its kangaroo courts, if the movie industry says so.

Federal prosecutors have asked a judge not to return the domain names of one of Spain’s most popular websites because the movie industry claims that it is a source of piracy.

Last year, US. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has seized as many as 208 domains the authorities claim are linked to intellectual-property fraud. Basically this was a tax-payer funded legal action to ensure that Hollywood moguls could buy extra swimming pools.

Amongst Big Content’s hit list was the and .org domains, and these were seized in January along with eight others connected to broadcasting pirated streams of professional sports.

The US government said that returning the Rojadirecta domain names at this time would provide Puerto 80 with the very tools it used to commit the crimes the government has alleged it engaged in prior to the seizure.

Puerto 80, the Rojadirecta site owner, claims the Rojadirecta site had 865,000 registered users and did not commit any copyright infringement. However it had a discussion board where members can talks sports, politics and other topics, and it additionally links to sports streams.

It said that the government had not shown and cannot show that the site ever was used to commit a criminal act. Hosting discussion forums and linking to existing material on the internet, Puerto 80 is not committing copyright infringement, let alone criminal copyright infringement.

What is alarming is that Puerto 80 has to show up in court at all. It is a Spanish company and not subject to US copyright laws, and has seen its entire business brought down on the accusation of Big Content with no actual evidence presented in a Spanish court.

The way things are structured at the moment it is possible for anyone in the world to have their business taken down by US interests. They are not even allowed many of the defences offered to US citizens.

So far there is no hearing date set and the Judge has to rule on Rojadirecta. The government spooks have asked that Mozilla pull an add on to its browser that redirects seized domains. Mozilla has told it to go forth and multiply.