Mozilla defies Department of Homeland Security's request to pull extension

In the last year, the United States government has seized approximately 120 domains suspected of harbouring piracy activities. Who requested the takedowns? The media industries of the United States of course - the RIAA and MPAA. Some of the domains belonged to site owners outside of the United States. To counter this move, a site named MAFIAAFire.com was setup - MAFIAA being the Music and Film Industry Association of America. The site allows users to be automatically redirected to a domain's original IP instead of the seized domain by installing extensions for browsers. The site's basis was that Immigration and Customs Enforcement of the American government does not do a diligent job of doing background checks on which sites they're pulling, choosing instead to act on the advice of say the media industries first.

In response to MAFIAAFire.com, the Department of Homeland Security sought to remove the extensions in question. First was the Firefox extension. But Mozilla refused to remove the extension, instead issuing a list of questions to the DHS. Some of the questions include:

  • Whether a court found the site MAFIAAFire.com, and its extensions, to be illegal, or whether any DMCA requests have been issued
  • Whether Mozilla was legally obligated to remove the extension (a court order was not and has not been issued yet)
  • Whether the government provided proper notice of the seizure of the domains in question and allowing some time for a response
  • To identify the exact infringements from each domain owner, and whether their actions constituted a civil or criminal copyright infringement

The DHS has not responded to the request, so to Mozilla, the extension stays. As Mozilla's lawyer, Harvey Anderson, states: "One of the fundamental issues here is under what conditions do intermediaries accede to government requests that have a censorship effect and which may threaten the open Internet."

Mozilla's response to the DHS may be read here (via Wired).

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20 Comments

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Homeland Security? wow... didnt know that the affairs of the Music and Film Industry Association of America required the attention of Homeland Security... The American government is really starting to make themselves look exceedingly foolish... They video every military mission from the satellites to the man on the ground, so where is the video of the assassination of Bin Laundry?

The first two questions are legitimate. The last two questions have nothing to do with Mozilla and the DHS should tell them to **** off in those answers.

nowimnothing said,
The first two questions are legitimate. The last two questions have nothing to do with Mozilla and the DHS should tell them to **** off in those answers.

These are not the actual questions, just the authors "summaries." The actual questions are way better.

I can't think of anything smart to say so I will just leave this here to show my support for Mozilla, nice one

Teebor said,
I can't think of anything smart to say so I will just leave this here to show my support for Mozilla, nice one

+1

Teebor said,
I can't think of anything smart to say so I will just leave this here to show my support for Mozilla, nice one

+102342

The euphoria overweighs atm.

GS:mac

Good job Mozilla. This brought a smile to my face. Finally, companies standing up for their customers. Not that Mozilla is doing anything illegal by not doing what the government tells them to do, but unlike other companies, they actually stood their ground.

I'm sure Anonymous is watching.

The US government is testing for reactions of people when they carry out acts like this. How long will people allow this **** to go on?

Caleo said,
The US government is testing for reactions of people when they carry out acts like this. How long will people allow this **** to go on?

not long, i see TONS and TONS of websites switching to non US domain extensions, hooray for .eu becomming more popular .
its not only limited to .com

Good job Mozilla. I bet you that the DHS wern't expecting that response!

I wonder if ICANN were obligated to change the DNS servers on the domains in question in the first place?

rtire said,
Good job Mozilla. I bet you that the DHS wern't expecting that response!

I wonder if ICANN were obligated to change the DNS servers on the domains in question in the first place?

I really hope this type of response becomes the norm, and not the exception.