In 2011, the US government grabbed two domains, one .com and one .org, belonging to Spanish sports-TV "linking site" Rojadirecta, claiming that the site was a flagrant enabler of copyright infringement. The government then sought forfeiture of the domains, at which point Rojadirecta's Spanish parent company fought back. A year and a half after the seizure, the government has capitulated—today it dismissed the case against Rojadirecta and will have to return the domains.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has been running "Operation In Our Sites" for two years now, obtaining federal seizure orders against US-registered domains believed to be associated with piracy or counterfeiting. Just before Super Bowl Sunday in early 2011, ICE grabbed a new batch of sports-related domains, most of them sites that let people watch live sports on the 'Net. Rojadirecta, one of the big players (no pun intended) in this space, was an obvious target, and ICE acted, replacing the domain names with its own seizure banner. Rojadirecta promptly relocated to rojadirecta.me and continued operations.
The government said, as part of its evidence against the site, that the links to popular and upcoming sporting events on the site's front page were "purposefully aggregated and organized by the owner(s) and/or operators"—no avoiding blame by saying that "the users did it." And "more than half the material available on the Rojadirecta Website at any given time during law enforcement's investigation appeared to be dedicated to making infringing content available"—trying to counter the "only a few links were infringing" argument.
Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments
Article by Nate Anderson (c) Ars Technica - Read full story here.