Considering Who – Or What – Prompted Website Shutdowns

A columnist at SF Bay View raises several questions about the disabling of popular websites over the Thanksgiving weekend. The action was undertaken by the Department of Homeland Security, ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), the Department of Justice and the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordinating Center.

Among the websites targeted were several popular hip-hop music sites, the column says. It brings up the point that musicians and other artists often distribute their creative product to radio stations and websites in advance of official release in order to build buzz and fans early on.

However, corporate lawyers sometimes act rashly in sending warnings and notifications without realizing that the artists want the exposure before official release. The columnist speculates that competing corporate interests may have influenced the government decision to pursue the shutdowns.

“The seizure of websites without due process, corporate interests lobbying and then writing laws that allow them to be the police and personally enforce those laws, and the battle over net neutrality is all about concentrating power in the hands of a few,” the columnist opines. “The internet was the most democratizing tool we’ve had in a long time and now those who hate having to share and be accountable are trying to shut things down.”

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