Government Censorship on the Internet

It’s important that speech on the Internet be afforded the same protections offered to speech in other venues. Freedom of speech is protected by our Constitution, and includes the right to publish software that is in compliance with the law.

The Department of Homeland Security, in a move I can only assume is partially to look busy and partially related to the regulatory revolving door of Washington, has been rebuffed by Mozilla in their attempt to have a browser plugin removed. These seizures are on pretty dubious legal grounds already but haven’t been challenged much. The plugin in question, Mafiaa Fire, restores connectivity to web sites previously seized by DHS.

Mozilla, in the tradition of open source, fired back with a probing series of questions:

1. Have any courts determined that is unlawful or illegal inany way? If so, on what basis? (Please provide any relevant rulings)
2. Have any courts determined that the seized domains related to are unlawful, illegal or liable for infringement in any way? (please provide relevant rulings)
3. Is Mozilla legally obligated to disable the add-on or is this request based on other reasons? If other reasons, can you please specify.
4. Has DHS, or any copyright owners involved in this matter, taken any legal action against or the seized domains, including DMCA requests?
5. What protections are in place for or the seized domain owners if eventually a court decides they were not unlawful?
6. Can you please provide copies of any briefs that accompanied the affidavit considered by the court that issued the relevant seizure orders?
7. Can you please provide a copy of the relevant seizure order upon which your request to Mozilla to take down is based?
8. Please identify exactly what the infringements by the owners of the domains consisted of, with reference to the substantive standards of Section 106 andto any case law establishing that the actions of the seized domain owners constituted civil or criminal copyright infringement.
9. Did any copyright owners furnish affidavits in connection with the domain seizures? Had any copyright owners served DMCA takedown notices on the seizeddomains or (if so please provide us with a copy)
10. Has the Government furnished the domain owners with formal notice of the seizures, triggering the time period for a response by the owners? If so, when,and have there been any responses yet by owners?
11. Has the Government communicated its concerns directly with so, what response, if any, did make?

Kudos to Mozilla for doing their part to maintain the freedom of information. If you support the Mozilla Foundation, authors of popular web browser Firefox in their support for Internet freedom you may Donate at their web site. Contributions to the Mozilla Foundation, an IRS 501(c)3 organization, are tax-deductible.

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