This is a shining example of why law enforcement shouldn’t be able to force others to do their bidding without a court order
In the past, we’d been fairly worried about governments seizing website domains with little or no notice, but it’s perhaps equally, if not more, troubling when it’s done by private individuals and companies. This was one of our concerns with the original version of SOPA, which included a “private right of action.” But, even though SOPA never became law (and the private right of action was dropped fairly early on), it appears that some courts are still allowing this to happen. Just a couple of months ago, we wrote about a troubling ruling in an Oregon district court that let a Filipino entertainment company seize a bunch of domains, in a process that was done under seal. In the past, we’ve seen other brands, like Chanel do the same thing. Louis Vuitton has also tried seizing domains.
The latest such example seems especially troubling because no one has any idea what’s fully happening, but it appears to involve Chan Luu, a jewelry and clothing retailer. The Internet Commerce Association notes that approximately 5,000 domains appear to have been seized, handed over to a private “receiver” who is now trying to sell those domains — for no clear reason.