SOPA Opera

Hip-Hop Site Dajaz1 Cyber-Waterboarded in Government’s ‘Digital Guantanamo’

dajaz1 Hip Hop Site Dajaz1 Cyber Waterboarded in Governments Digital GuantanamoSince Wired first covered the saga of  Dajaz1′s November, 2010 seizure for alleged copyright infringement last week the site has responded to the government’s actions in a blog post heavy with quotes from their “super awesome attorney,” Andrew Bridges.  Mr. Bridges states that the owner of the site is grateful the U.S. government finally found there wasn’t probable cause to seek forfeiture of the domain, but exoneration of Dajaz1.com isn’t enough. Some super awesome rhetoric aimed at R.I.A.A. and government collusion ensues:

That exoneration, however, did not remedy the harms caused by a full year of censorship and secret proceedings — a form of “digital Guantanamo” — that knocked out an important and popular blog devoted to hip hop music and has nearly killed it.

The back story of how the government continually failed to prove cause in its case against Dajaz1 is certainly creepy enough to feed into the web’s long-standing paranoia regarding federal efforts to control sharing content online. Los Angeles-based federal prosecutors were able to keep the site shuttered so long by obtaining extended time on three separate occasions–and they did it in secret.

Dajaz1′s attorney termed these actions equal to “seizing the printing press of the New York Times” because the Times referred readers to concerts given by promoters who didn’t pay A.S.C.A.P. fees for performances.

Attorney Bridges’s remarks end with a direct statement regarding recent government efforts to make new laws supposedly aimed at piracy:

This entire episode shows that neither the government nor the recording industry deserves any additional powers with new so-called “antipiracy” legislation, especially in the context where copyright law has been expanded and new anti-piracy remedies have been crafted ***16 times*** since 1982. This episode shows that the copyright establishment and the government are very much the “rogues” that deserve to be reined in.

Critics of S.O.P.A. and its successor, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (C.I.S.P.A.)–one a failed attempt at shoring up digital piracy laws, the other a similar attempt that could well succeed–might consider a statement like that a rallying cry.

Follow Steve Huff via RSS. shuff@observer.com