In the Matter of the Seizure of the Internet Domain Name "DAJAZ1.COM"
Dajaz1.com, a website dedicated to hip hop music and culture, was seized by the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) division of the Department of Homeland Security over the 2010 Thanksgiving weekend. For over a year, visitors could not get access to any content on the blog. However, as was widely reported at the time, Dajaz1 should never have been targeted. Much of the blog’s content was lawful, and many of the allegedly infringing links were given to the site’s owner by artists and labels themselves – including Kanye West, Diddy, and a vice president of a major record label.
ICE didn’t provide any additional details to Dajaz1 or its users, nor did it ever press criminal charges, file a complaint, or give the site operators the opportunity to contest the seizure. Instead, the ICE lawyers told Dajaz1’s lawyers that it had obtained a series of secret extensions. Because they were kept secret, Dajaz1 had no way to challenge them. ICE finally released the domain name in December of 2011, again with no explanation. The entire court record for the case remained under seal for nearly a year and a half, leaving the government’s rationale for the seizure and for censoring the blog for a year an open question.
EFF worked with the parties involved in the case to have the records unsealed, and they were finally released to the public in May of 2012.