In the fall of 2010, several popular Hip-Hop sites and blogs were shuttered by the aggressive “Operation In Our Sites v. 2.0” program helmed under a group effort by the U.S. Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security and Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Of particular note were the sites that the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) had closed such as OnSmash.com, RapGodfathers.com, and DaJaz1.com. Now, a group of elected officials working across the aisle have accused the RIAA of sensationalizing copyright infringement claims and are asking questions of the powerful entity.
In a report from Digital Music News, it appears that the shutdown of DaJaz1.com was based on loosely investigated information which prompting Representatives Zoe Lofgren (D-California), Jared Polis (D-Colorado) and Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) – all members of the House Judiciary Committee – to pen an open letter to Attorney General Holder last week.
From the letter:
Much of Dajaz1's information was lawful, and many of the allegedly infringing links to copyrighted songs, and specifically the links that were the basis for the seizure order, were given to the site owners by artists and labels themselves.
What is being alleged is that the RIAA flat out ignored the government requests to cooperate in the investigation and delayed the owners of seized websites to have their side of the story heard. In essence, many of the websites that were shut down had legal rights to release certain music as record label staffers and others provided the content in order to promote wares for sale later. A “lack of probable cause” was discovered in some of the cases and several websites were restored to operating capacity.
The RIAA has yet to respond publicly to the recent government inquiry, although last year the group did respond to Rep. Lofgren after she suggested that sites who were unjustly shuttered should sue the government.
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