Amicus Brief of CDT, EFF, and Public Knowledge, in Support of Puerto 80’s Petition for Release of Seized Property

Amici  file this brief because this Court may be the first to confront a novel and important issue: whether the seizure of the domain names of websites that necessarily contain non-infringing speech, but are alleged to contain infringing content as well, can survive First Amendment scrutiny.  It cannot, particularly on the facts of this case.

In the past several months, United States government agencies have embarked on a large-scale effort to  aggressively enforce intellectual property rights online. Unfortunately,  that campaign is causing significant collateral damage —  as happened here. The government’s seizure of the Rojadirecta domain names violated both the substantive and procedural requirements of the First Amendment.  Further, because the issuing court apparently did not consider the findings of two Spanish courts that Puerto 80 has not violated copyright law, the seizure order sent a dangerous signal to foreign governments that the U.S. executive and judicial branches are willing to disregard the liability determinations of foreign courts — inviting them to do the same.

Amici urge the Court to grant Puerto 80’s petition.


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