Did You Know Immigration and Customs Enforcement Can Seize Your URL?

On the Media had an enlightening story on NPR this morning about the power vested in ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) and a new program they are  undertaking to enforce American copyright laws on the Web. From the blogpost about the audio story:

dajaz1.com, a hip-hop website, was originally seized by the government in November of last year, because the government claimed that it frequently shared unauthorized copyrighted material. However, the owner of the website, who goes by the moniker Splash, shared emails with the New York Times which showed that songs he posted were given to him by record companies for promotional purposes.

When the website tried legal channels to get the website back, they came up against what TechDirt’s Mike Masnick compares, in a lengthy post about the website, to “Something out of Kafka or the movie Brazil.

Read the post here and listen to the story here. Kudos to On the Media for bringing this to the attention of their listeners. If you are not already one of their listeners, I suggest you change that now.

We’ll have to wait to see what the implications of this new program are. In the meantime, proceed with caution when posting third party material on your site. Make sure you have the approval of the creator of the material. Or simply share a link to the content on their site.