As many of you know, The Department of Homeland Security, besides protecting the safety of our homeland as the name implies, is also in the habit of defending web domain seizures conducted by ICE. While the reason why these two entities are for any reason involved in the policing of anything to do with the Internet remains a mystery, it’s clear both do there duty with a lot of zeal.
Nothing else explains their impressive use of such threatening notices.
an ingenious, highly-skilled web developer a guy who has never made a Firefox plugin before in his life decided to create something of a countermeasure to the takedown notices, the MafiaaFire Redirector, Homeland Security wasn’t too impressed. In fact, they asked Mozilla to remove the plugin, a request that was summarily refused.
Over at Harvey Anderson’s blog — Anderson works with Mozilla’s legal department — he indicates it is Mozilla’s practice to comply with all reasonable legal requests. From Mozilla’s perspective, Homeland Security’s request was not. As a result, the plugin has not been deleted. However, instead of simply denying the request, Anderson and Mozilla responded with some questions of their own, which they’ve uploaded into Scribd. If you don’t have a Scribd account, you can download the PDF here.
Some highlights of the response:
Have any courts determined that MAFIAAfire.com is unlawful or illegal inany way? If so, on what basis? (Please provide any relevant rulings)
Is Mozilla legally obligated to disable the add-on or is this request based on other reasons? If other reasons, can you please specify.
Can you please provide copies of any briefs that accompanied the affidavit considered by the court that issued the relevant seizure orders?
Please identify exactly what the infringements by the owners of the domains consisted of, with reference to the substantive standards of Section 106 and to any case law establishing that the actions of the seized domain owners constituted civil or criminal copyright infringement.
Has the Government communicated its concerns directly with MAFIAAfire.com?If so, what response, if any, did MAFIAAfire.com make?
Simply put, Cee Lo Green would be proud (NSFW-ish) of Mozilla’s response. As of this post going live, the plugin in question is still on the Firefox plugin page, and of course, Homeland Security’s contribution to the marketing of the MafiaaFire Redirector have already been acknowledged in the comments (formatted by the editor):
Congrats on the free publicity from DHS! I had nearly forgotten about this addon until this news came out. And of course congrats to Mozilla for keeping their back straight. Haven’t actually used this addon (don’t really need it), the 5 stars are for effort and having the guts to stand up against domain name seizure abuse by DHS and the MAFIAA.
Let’s hope the next installment of this story doesn’t include mentions of the Mozilla crew being tried as enemies of the state.