It would appear that the United States government was on a bit of a tear this past week with seizing domain names of sites that traffic in illegal goods. From counterfeit designer items to sites that link to BitTorrent sites, everything was up for grabs it seems. The issues are that one of the sites was nothing more than a search engine and the second problem is that not even their host knew what was going on as it happened.
Currently if you go to Torrent-Finder.com you see the image posted below.
According to TorrentFreak, which spoke to the site’s owner, this seizure happened with no warning.
“My domain has been seized without any previous complaint or notice from any court!” the exasperated owner of Torrent-Finder told TorrentFreak this morning.
“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,” he explained.
While we are not defending the trading of illegal files, the issue here is that Torrent-Finder (you can still see it at Torrent-Finder.info) does not run a tracker, nor does it host any files. The site is a search engine that uses iframe technology, so even when you do get search results, you are actually visiting the site with the files, it is merely wrapped in the Torrent-Finder site.
Was ICE merely going after it because it had “Torrent” in the name, or is even providing search results to torrent files now considered copyright infringement? As I said in a podcast I recorded Friday night, “Which means they have to seize Google.” Don’t believe me?
Those sure look like search results linking to illegal files to me. I guess we can expect to see a seizure notice on Google’s site at any time now?
While I am not here to defend the trading of torrents that violate a content creator’s copyright, I am here to say that this particular domain seizure not only makes no sense, it’s kind of scary how they went about it. ICE didn’t even have to involve GoDaddy? ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) can just redirect domains as they see fit? Well, that’s a piece of knowledge I never had before.
TorrentFreak has published a list of all the seized domains, and the majority of them are for counterfeit designer goods, and as these were sites actually selling the goods, we totally get that. But a search engine? Really? Well, enjoy Google while you can folks if that’s the new criteria for a site infringing on copyrights.
What say you? Do you think the U.S. government is going too far?