Not Sure How Much Longer My Site Will Be Online- J …Article-"U.S. Authorities Shut Down WordPress Host With 73,000 Blogs"
I saw this posted on Drudgereport earlier today. It was posted by TorrentFreaks Website. The link is here… http://torrentfreak.com/u-s-authorities-shut-down-wordpress-host-with-73000-blogs-100716/
Not sure how the government can just shut down one blog hosting service and not others, still doing some research into it.
U.S. Authorities Shut Down WordPress Host With 73,000 Blogs
Written by enigmax on July 16, 2010
After the U.S. Government took action against several sites connected to movie streaming recently, nerves are jangling over the possibility that this is just the beginning of a wider crackdown. Now it appears that a free blogging platform has been taken down by its hosting provider on orders from the U.S. authorities on grounds of “a history of abuse”. More than 73,000 blogs are out of action as a result.
Hot on the heels of recent threats from Vice President Joe Biden and Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator Victoria Espinel directed at sites offering unauthorized movies and music, last month U.S. authorities targeted several sites they claimed were connected to the streaming of infringing video material.
‘Operation In Our Sites‘ targeted several sites including TVShack.net, Movies-Links.TV, FilesPump.com, Now-Movies.com, PlanetMoviez.com, ThePirateCity.org, ZML.com, NinjaVideo.net and NinjaThis.net. In almost unprecedented action, the domain names of 7 sites were seized and indications are that others – The Pirate Bay and MegaUpload – narrowly avoided the same fate.
Fears remain, however, that this action is only the beginning, and that more sites will be targeted as the months roll on. Indeed, TorrentFreak has already received information that other sites, so far unnamed in the media, are being monitored by the authorities on copyright grounds.
Now, according to the owner of a free WordPress platform which hosts more than 73,000 blogs, his network of sites has been completely shut down on the orders of the authorities.
Blogetery.com has been with host BurstNet for 7 months but on Friday July 9th the site disappeared. The following Monday the owner received an email from BurstNet:
Due to the history of abuse and on going abuse on this ‘bn.***********’ server.
We have opted to terminate this server, effective immediately. This termination applies to: bn.affiliateplex.com
BurstNET Technologies, Inc
Further correspondence received the following response:
Bn.xx*********** was terminated by request of law enforcement officials, due to material hosted on the server.
We are limited as to the details we can provide to you, but note that this was a critical matter and the only available option to us was to immediately deactivate the server.
…and a later clarification:
Please note that this was not a typical case, in which suspension and notification would be the norm. This was a critical matter brought to our attention by law enforcement officials. We had to immediately remove the server.
“We notified him [the Blogetery owner] when we terminated it [the server], and we refunded him his money to his account, because he has other servers with us If he wants the refund to his card, we can easily do that. However, it should be the least of his concerns,” A BurstNet representative later confirmed.
“Simply put: We cannot give him his data nor can we provide any other details. By stating this, most would recognize that something serious is afoot.”
Due to the fact that the authorities aren’t sharing information and BurstNet are sworn to secrecy, it is proving almost impossible to confirm the exact reason why Blogetery has been completely taken down. The owner does, however, admit to handling many copyright-related cease and desists in the past, albeit in a timely manner as the DMCA requires.
Nevertheless, a couple of quick Google searches which are likely to turn up blogs which link to copyright material appear to do just that – here, here and here. That said, on any network this large this type of activity is bound to happen. Many thousands of blogs on the same platform would have been perfectly legal.
“All of the users are without service just like when the Pirate Bay raids happened and all the people who were on the host sites were also taken down,” pointed out an annoyed Blogetery user who contacted TorrentFreak. “I have lost my personal site also and I don’t have any way to contact the owner since his contact info was on the blogetery.com site & that was the only way to contact him.”
Indeed, 73,000 blogs is a significant number to take down in one swoop, regardless of what some users of the site may or may not have been doing. Time will tell if it was indeed a copyright complaint that took down the service but the signs are certainly there. Not so long ago the conclusion that this type of action could be taken on copyright grounds would have been dismissed out of hand, but the current atmosphere seems to be changing.
July 17, 2010
Once again, the Obama administration has violated the Bill of Rights. Earlier this month, the feds took down a free WordPress blogging platform and disabled more than 73,000 blogs. The action was completely ignored by the corporate media. The site, Blogetery.com, was told by its hosting service that the government had issued orders to shut down the site due to a “a history of abuse” related to copyrighted material.
In late June, Joe Biden and Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator Victoria Espinel said the government would move to take down sites offering unauthorized movies and music. “Criminal copyright infringement occurs on a massive scale over the Internet, reportedly resulting in billions of dollars in losses to the U.S. economy,” said Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. Bharara’s office and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement launched “Operation In Our Sites” and executed seizure warrants against nine domain names. Blogetery.com claimed the shut down of 73,000 blogs “was not a typical case, in which suspension and notification would be the norm. This was a critical matter brought to our attention by law enforcement officials. We had to immediately remove the server.”
“That seems odd,” notes Techdirt, a website that covers government policy, technology and legal issues. “If there was problematic content from some users, why not just take down that content or suspend those users. Taking down all 73,000 blogs seems… excessive.”
The DMCA’s takedown actions are a direct violation of the First Amendment under prior restraint. However, explains law professor Wendy Seltzer, because “DMCA takedowns are privately administered through ISPs… they have not received… constitutional scrutiny, despite their high risk of error.” Seltzer adds that “because DMCA takedown costs less to copyright claimants than a federal complaint and exposes claimants to few risks, it invites more frequent abuse or error than standard copyright law.”
TorrentFreak worries that the Blogetery.com case has set a precedent. “Fears remain… that this action is only the beginning, and that more sites will be targeted as the months roll on. Indeed, TorrentFreak has already received information that other sites, so far unnamed in the media, are being monitored by the authorities on copyright grounds,” writes a blogger on the site.
“They say it’s because of copyright infringement, but is it really?… it would seem that only sites/blogs which were streaming movies and TV shows were shut down initially, but upon further perusal, it seems like the Feds just arbitrarily shut down a server with several tens of thousands of bloggers on it without due process as is usual with this administration,” writes Smash Mouth Politics. “How soon before they find some reason to shut down other servers or networks? What’s probably infuriating to the bloggers who were shut down is that they have no recourse. They have no idea why the server was shut down. And the Feds are mum about it. Also, if the bloggers can even get a hold of the server admin, they’re refused any explanation of why.” In October, 2004, more than 20 Independent Media Center websites and other internet services were taken offline, not in response to alleged copyright infringement but for political reasons. The disappearance of the Indymedia servers was shrouded in secrecy and the ISP and government would not provide an explanation. On October 20, 2004, the Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a lawsuit in Texas and argued that “the public and the press have a clear and compelling interest in discovering under what authority the government was able to unilaterally prevent Internet publishers from exercising their First Amendment rights.”
It was later discovered that the ISP had shut down IndyMedia’s websites after they were contacted by the FBI. The FBI said a particular article on the website nantes.indymedia.org contained personal information and threats regarding two Swiss undercover police officers. It was later determined that the article contained neither threats nor names or address information and contained instead photographs of police agents provocateurs masquerading as anti-globalization protesters.
The Obama administration — in step with he Bush administration before it — does not have a problem ordering the government to violate the First, Fifth, and Tenth Amendments. In its declared effort to prevent online piracy of copyrighted material, the government has trashed the Bill of Rights. It has used the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security to intimidate ISPs to shut down web sites.
In June, a Senate committee approved a dictatorial cybersecurity bill that would allow Obama to shut down the internet. The bill, known as the Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act, would grant Obama the authority to carry out emergency actions to protect critical parts of the internet, including ordering owners of critical infrastructure to implement emergency response plans, during a government declared cyber-emergency. Obama would supposedly need congressional approval to extend a national cyber-emergency beyond 120 days under an amendment to the legislation approved by the committee.