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Tea-Leaf Reading Finds Possible U.S. Policy Change On Domain Seizures

Publication Date: 
June 19, 2012
The Washington Internet Daily
Louis Trager

Professor Mark Lemley was quoted in the following article on the future of the Operation In Our Sites initiative to seize domain names as an effort to enforce copyright laws. Louis Trager of the Washington Internet Daily reports:

Administration congressional testimony suggests that policy may have shifted away from doing high-profile seizures of domain names in copyright enforcement, said Mark Lemley, a prominent Stanford law professor and intellectual-property litigator, Monday. Lemley, of the Durie Tangri law firm, noted that at an oversight hearing this month in the House Judiciary Committee, Attorney General Eric Holder had referred to Operation In Our Sites in the past tense. At the Stanford E-Commerce Best Practices Conference, Lemley said this reference raised the question of whether government seizures will continue.

Holder corrected himself at the hearing in a statement including the expression "all domains that are seized -- or those that were seized, I guess -- in Operation In Our Sites," shows a YouTube clip cited by an aide to Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., who was questioning the attorney general at the time. Fred von Lohmann, a senior copyright counsel at Google on a panel with Lemley, got a laugh by calling his parsing of Holder's grammar reminiscent of "Kremlinology." He said "we'll see" whether federal policy has changed. Neither DOJ nor Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which ran the operation, got back to us right away. A spokesman for Lofgren said she was traveling, and he declined to comment.