In a continuation of the Department of Homeland Security’s mass seizure of domain names related to “counterfeit goods,” many of which turned out to have been seized in error and without any apparent legal recourse, the DHS has now seized RojaDirecta.org, a popular Spanish soccer website.
RojaDirecta has been legally controversial because the website contains direct links to video feeds of live soccer matches in Spain and elsewhere around the world. At the same time, its legal status was already challenged twice in Spain, and both times the courts found in their favor.
So far the DHS has not commented on exactly what prompted to seizure of the website, but it seems that faced with the reality that the Spanish government could not legally censor the website, the US has decided to extra-legally do so.
The most curious aspect is that the website exclusively offered European soccer matches, a sport that is not particularly popular and only rarely broadcast within the United States. It seems unlikely then that the DHS was acting on behalf of an US interests seeking to prevent the showing of such matches, as there probably weren’t any.