RojaDirecta Copyright Infringement Charges Dropped by Federal Government
When Rojadirecta.com and .org domain named were confiscated by the US government in January 2011 as part of an internet piracy crackdown, they would be stripped of the domains for a year half a half. “Operation in Our Sites,” resulted in this incident, the second time a federal court has mandated the return of domain names.
The federal government took the domain names for including links to copyright material, but has dropped the Rojadirecta claim in the wake of a recent ruling by Judge Richard Posner. The well-known Posner rejected charges that a video bookmarking site was infringing copyright law. It’s users were also linking to copyrighted videos.
In the letter accompanying the motion, the government wrote:
The Government respectfully submits this letter to advise the Court that as a result of certain recent judicial authority involving issues germane to the above-captioned action, and in light of the particular circumstances of this litigation, the Government now seeks to dismiss its amended forfeiture complaint. The decision to seek dismissal of this case will best promote judicial economy and serve the interests of justice.
Rojadirecta has 865,000 registered users, and has long maintained it has no committed no copyright infringement. The site is a discussion board where members can discuss sports, politics and other topics, and it additionally links to sports streams – some of which are pirated.
“The government has not shown and cannot show that the site ever was used to commit a criminal act, much less that it will be in the future. By hosting discussion forums and linking to existing material on the internet, Puerto 80 is not committing copyright infringement, let alone criminal copyright infringement” (.pdf) according to the site’s legal filing last year.
In order to get the site back, Rojadirecta would have to prohibit its users from linking any US content anywhere on its sites. A lawsuit filed against the government stated that “the government effectively shut down on entire website, suppressing all of the speech hosted on it, based on an assertion that there was probable cause to believe that some of the material linked to the website (though not found on the website itself) might be infringing.”
Not all are having the luck of Rojadirecta, as is the case with Yongo Quiroa, who has been incarcerated for seven months without bail. He just recently entered a guilty plea for copyright misdemeanor with the understanding that he will serve six months to a year.
Or Kim Dotcom who is still awaiting an extradition trial, although New Zealand courts are not taking the accusations lightly.