Government Seizes Hip-Hop Websites
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a division of the Department of Homeland Security, has been cracking down on illegal downloading. In the past month, it has seized the domain names owned by two hip-hop websites: OnSmash.com and RapGodfathers.com. The sites, just two of 82 shuttered, are part of “Operation in Our Sites v. 2.0,” an initiative aimed at combating counterfeiting and piracy, as well as sites that participate in online file-sharing.
“Intellectual property crimes are not victimless,” U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement released on Nov. 29. “The theft of ideas and the sale of counterfeit goods threaten economic opportunities and financial stability, suppress innovation and destroy jobs.”
Several days prior to the domain seizure, RapGodfathers featured a post detailing the events, which site administrators found surprising considering they claimed to have followed all requests set forth by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). “Yesterday, Tuesday November 23, agents from the United States DHS/ICE showed up to RGF’s data-center and seized our servers,” the site claimed. “During the whole existence of the website, we always honored any DMCA requests but apparently in [the] US people are guilty before proven innocent.”
Since OnSmash’s servers have been placed on hold for the time-being, Hof of OnSmash took to Twitter to ask for support from the same artists the government agencies claim the site has had a hand in “stealing” from. “ARTISTS: If you oppose the seizure of @OnSMASH pls send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org & express why. Your participation is appreciated!” he tweeted.
Both websites currently remain under seizure.