Some time ago, I wrote about the improper seizure of the domain dajaz1.com, which was at the time a legitimate blog (whether or not it’s about music is, of course, up to debate). I had not followed up on this story immediately after its resolution, but after finding out that the records were finally unsealed motivated me to write a somewhat belated retrospective. The actual website at dajaz1.com is of course long gone, a victim of the lengthy period of time during which it was offline (over a year).
Whether or not I agree or identify with the content that is/was on dajaz1.com is immaterial. I still consider it absolutely outrageous that this was allowed to happen in the US, with (as far as I know) zero compensation paid to the owners of the domain for the time they were unable to use it. On a popular website, a year’s worth of advertising revenue can easily pay for not only the website itself but a good chunk of the personal expenses of the owners, and in some cases quite a bit more than that, to the point where the owner need not have a real “9 to 5” type of job.
There is no getting around it: the government basically robbed the domain’s owners, and then over a year later, said “oops, we slipped” and gave the domain back. By then, of course, dajaz1.com’s original audience was long gone and the domain was effectively worthless. It’s not unlike stealing a car (for the sake of argument, an exotic like a Lamborghini) and letting it sit somewhere in the sun for around a year without driving it, before giving it back to its rightful owners; sure, they have the car back. But how much is it going to cost to get it running again? How much value have the rightful owners lost?
It’s the same here. When dajaz1.com is up and running again, it will be a huge undertaking to rebuild the site to what it was. This would have been the case even if the website’s owners had been able to do so the moment they got the domain back.
Anyhow, on to other related matters. Three years ago today (on 2013-04-05), the documents related to the dajaz1.com seizure were unsealed. Some time after that, The Electronic Frontier Foundation published the documents from the dajaz1.com case for everyone to look over. I have made these documents available on BitTorrent as well, mainly for ease of downloading. I have also prepared a new page on BitTorrent for those new to it, with recommendations on software and configuration, as I expect to be making documentation related to other posts available this way as well.
(Sidenote: Originally when I downloaded the files from EFF.org, they all came up inside the browser and I had to save them individually. I didn’t realize the PDF link next to each one allowed saving to disk easily for offline viewing. I am keeping the torrent online though, just in case some might prefer that method.)
Finally, notice I said when dajaz1.com is up and running again? I looked at what was there just out of curiosity, and I found this:
Dajaz1.com is being relaunched 05-1-2016
Just on principle, this is good news. Once the site is back online, the good guys will have finally won this one.