DOJ drops charges against websites seized for 17 months

The judge ordered two sports-streaming websites to be returned to their owner

The U.S. Department of Justice has dropped its case against two Spanish websites that stream sports events nearly 17 months after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement seized the sites and shut them down for alleged copyright violations.

In a one-page brief to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on Wednesday, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara of the district said his office had dropped the case against Rojadirecta.com and Rojadirecta.org. ICE seized the two sites on Jan. 31, 2011, and the DOJ asked the court to order that Puerto 80 Projects, the owner of the sites, forfeit the sites to the U.S. government.

Judge Paul Crotty agreed on Wednesday to dismiss the case and return the websites to Puerto 80.

Bharara's office offered little explanation for the dismissal, although Puerto 80 had fought the forfeiture. "As a result of certain recent judicial authority involving issues germane to the [case], and in light of the particular circumstances of this litigation, the government now seeks to dismiss its amended forfeiture complaint," Bharara's office wrote in a letter to the judge. "The decision to seek dismissal of this case will best promote judicial economy and serve the interests of justice."

Earlier this month, Puerto 80 filed a court brief pointing to an Aug. 2 ruling by the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which said linking to streaming videos hosted elsewhere on the Internet did not encourage or assist copyright infringement.

Puerto 80 had also argued that a Spanish court had found the websites to be legal. A lawyer for the company wasn't immediately available for comment, nor was a representative of ICE.

The Rojadirecta seizures, along with the yearlong seizure of music site Dajaz1.com, show the problems with ICE's copyright seizure methods, said Sherwin Siy, vice president of legal affairs for digital rights group Public Knowledge.

"It is far too easy for the government to seize domain names and hold them for an extended period even when it is unable to make a sustainable case of infringement," Siy said in an email. "These sorts of abuses are likely to continue until there are adequate safeguards to assure accountability."

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is grant_gross@idg.com.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Grant Gross

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?