During the last couple of years, domain name seizures have become a hot topic. Hundreds of domain names have been seized by the US Department of Justice and US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement. You can probably picture the graphic that is displayed on seized domain names.
Whether the domain name was used for copyright infringement or not, I am not in favor of a system that allows a government to seize domain names without any opportunity for the owner to defend his or her domain name. A Congresswoman from California turned to Reddit users to crowd source legislation that she hopes will provide due process for domain owners prior to a governmental seizure.
According to a press release from Representative Zoe Lofgren, a Democrat from California’s 16th District, the Reddit community’s strong SOPA support led her to this unconventional means of crowdsourcing legislation. Here’s what Representative Logren envisions for this:
“The goal is to develop targeted legislation that requires the government to provide notice and an opportunity for website operators to defend themselves prior to seizing or redirecting their domain names. The focus would be on government domain name seizures based on accusations that a website facilitates copyright infringement and not, for example, accusations of obscenity or libel. Feedback and input should also take into account any legitimate concerns that notice or delay might reasonably lead to destruction of evidence, threats to the physical safety of an individual, or other unintended negative consequences.“