Website Owner Challenges US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Domain Seizures in Court

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Spanish website Rojadirecta asked a US judge for its .org and .com domains to be returned Monday after they were seized as part of a clampdown on Internet piracy in January.

According to a report by Wired, the legal filing by site owner Puerto 80 Projects is believed to be the first challenge in court to the antipiracy assault known as Operation in Our Sites.

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (www.ice.gov) has seized up to 208 domains allegedly related to intellectual property fraud.

Wired says the Rojadirecta website has 865,000 users and is a discussion board for members to talk about sports and links to sports streams. The material hosted on the website did not infringe copyrights, according to the report, but the material linked to from the site included some pirated streams.

Rojadirecta says it has lost a third of its traffic since the seizure.

The court-ordered seizures have been handed to websites that sell counterfeit goods, as well as illegal music and film piracy.

In February, Oregon Senator Ron Wyden sent a letter to the head of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement questioning the seizures. He says that a few of the sites shut down, including rojadirecta.org, might not have been involved in any illegal actions.

No hearing date has been set, according to the report.

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