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US Government Seizes Torrent Search Engine Domain

Ethidium Re:Slippery Slope continues. (305 comments)

It is, and it's a fair question. Assuming that this is a real seizure and not a hoax, the due process works like this:

0) Somebody allegedly uses property for an illegal purpose. By law, they are deemed to have transferred title to the United States Government by dint of the illegal activity (if in fact the illegal activity can be proved).

1) The government files for a seizure warrant in US District Court. The owner of the property (here, the domain) does not get a say, nor any notice that this is happening.

2) The government seizes the property and provides notice to the owner, if known, and any person who might have a claim on it. For example, if the property is a car with a bank lien, they must notify the owner and the bank.

3a) The government files a complaint for forfeiture in US District Court (or in state court). This is called an "in rem" action--meaning that it's not a lawsuit against an individual, but a suit to determine title to property. The United States claims that it owns the property because of the transfer-by-law that occurred at zero, supra. Anybody who disagrees can stake their claim. The judge determines who gets the stuff.

3b) The government doesn't file anything, and the owner sues the government for a civil rights violation by unlawful taking of property without due process. The suit proceeds as above.


The cases determining whether due process has to occur pre-seizure or post-seizure are complicated, and beyond the scope of this author's knowledge or this post.

For reference, I am a lawyer and have posted this explanation based on my legal study, but it should be considered scholarship (information for general knowledge) and not legal advice (information specific to an individual's problems). If you are in need of legal advice, you should consult a qualified lawyer in your jurisdiction.

more than 4 years ago

Next Step For US Body Scanners Could Be Trains, Metro Systems

Ethidium Not what she said (890 comments)

The full transcript of the interview is here. She never said a thing about body scanners on trains or transit, nor was she asked. She merely said that "we have to be thinking" about surface transportation security. You can read into that whatever you want, but the headline implies a comment that she simply did not make.

more than 4 years ago

Judge Refuses To Sign RIAA 'Ex Parte' Order

Ethidium Re:These guys... (239 comments)

It's true, but very slowly. Think about how many thousands (dare I speculate, millions?) of these suits RIAA files each year before 268 United States District Judges in 94 different United States District Courts and 3 territorial courts. In comparison to the onslaught of filings, the "judge says no to RIAA" stories are still just a trickle. Of course, it's also possible that there's some selection bias in what gets reported. It would be interesting to see numbers on exactly how often these things get shot down, and how that has changed over time.

more than 6 years ago


Ethidium hasn't submitted any stories.



More Comments on "Funny" Moderations

Ethidium Ethidium writes  |  more than 10 years ago

Since I wrote the original the meta-moderation system has changed, so we are now asked to rate "funny" moderations based not on whether or not they are fair, but whether or not the comment is funny. This may require some actual reading of context, and may lead to leaving the comment un-meta-moderated more often than other moderations (with the exception of redundant)


More comments on "Redundant" moderations

Ethidium Ethidium writes  |  more than 10 years ago

In my previous journal entry I suggested that meta-moderators should nearly always leave alone posts that are moderated "Redundant." I would now like to re-iterate this point. Today I got a message that a posting I moderated as redundant was meta-modded as unfair. This angers me, because the EXACT SAME THING was said in at least 5 other previous posts. The bottom line is:

Unless you have read the entire previous discussion up to the posting of the comment in question, you have no business meta-modding a "Redundant" mod as unfair!


Ethidium's Metamoderation Guidelines

Ethidium Ethidium writes  |  more than 12 years ago In the past few months I've come up with some of my own guidelines that I use when metamoderating. I use these to metamoderate quickly and (I believe) fairly, without having to spend large amounts of time reading articles and comments that may not interest me in order to contribute to the community. So, here they are, available for your use, approval, disapproval, comment, etc:

1) Always metamod positive moderations fair. While I may disagree with the moderator about whether or not a post really deserved a mod up, this is taken care of by the moderation system itself. Posts that are modded up are seen by more moderators, so if they don't deserve it they're modded down quickly. I believe there has been only one occaision on which I metamoderated a positive moderation unfair, and the post in question was a patantly obscene flame against the author of the post that was being replied to.

2) Scrutinize negative moderations carefully: Mods down hurt posts. Once a post reaches 0 or -1, or even 1 or 2 if it's a big discussion (eg anything on the front page), it becomes lost in the soup and easily glossed over--even by people who are moderating. Most negative moderations that I encounter are fair, but it's not unusual for me to metamod one or two as unfair in a week.

3) When in doubt, look at the post in situ. I know /. discourages this, but here's my reasoning: If I'm not sure whether or not a post really deserved it's -1: Troll in the context of a deep discussion and several nests of comments in which it may well have been a hilarious, if subtle joke, an easy way to tell is to look at the final moderation. If it ended up as +5: funny, chances are it's not a troll.

4) Leave Redundant moderations alone. If the moderator thought it was redundant, it probably was, but I don't want to engage in the exhaustive searching that would be necessary to confirm or deny the point.

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