New York rappers Jim Jones and N.O.R.E. have come forward to address the government’s recent shutdown of popular hip-hop websites over piracy and illegal sales accusations.
Jim Jones pointed out the shutdown of popular hip-hop site OnSmash.com as having an ultimate effect on entertainer’s losing an avenue to promote their music.
“This is bad enough that the climate of the industry is cold. Using viral outlets such as OnSmash makes us hot, once they take that away from us what outlets are we going to use to help feed our families.” (VIBE)
N.O.R.E. released a statement on the situation and offered his thoughts on what alternative decisions could have been made for the seized sites.
“In light of the recent shut down of these great websites that I admire I wanted to speak. I remember having talks wit my partner Tito about only posting iTunes/amazon links of artists music of militainment and others. For the record I don’t agree what the goverment is doing planning and plotting it’s terrible. But I do see why the record labels are snitching. The Internet is so wonderful for asap attention,but perhaps no one has figured out how to get to make dollars and cents. I feel wit all the power that’s these great websites have we can flip this into something good.FOR example when a artist drops a video or song I think it would help had the websites also post the iTunes/amazon links right next to it. I love giving away free music but if there’s is a way for a artist to eat of that I am all for it.I am a partner in a website but I’m also a artist so people let’s try and make it work ESP for those independent mother f*ckers who don’t got corporate America behind them pause peAce hanghang hood chicken good morning good afternoon and got night.” (57th Ave)
After the initial shutdown of a few sites beginning around Thanksgiving last week, more popular URLs have begun getting seized.
US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), an agency of the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), announced on Monday that it had executed court approved seizure orders “against 82 domain names of commercial websites engaged in the illegal sale and distribution of counterfeit goods and copyrighted works as part of Operation In Our Sites v. 2.0.” Operation In Our Sites is an ICE initiative aimed at Internet counterfeiting and piracy that began earlier this year with seizure warrants against nine domain names of websites that were offering first-run movies. The ICE press release for Operation In Our Sites v. 2.0 said that the “… operation targeted online retailers of a diverse array of counterfeit goods, including sports equipment, shoes, handbags, athletic apparel and sunglasses as well as illegal copies of copyrighted DVD boxed sets, music and software.” (IEEE Spectrum)
Assistant Deputy Director of U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement Erik Barnett has stood by the organization’s actions as of late.
“One of our responsibilities [at Homeland Security] is the protection of copyright and trademarks,” he says. “We’ve been doing this frankly for about 40 years at least, when we were the U.S. Customs Service. Of course, back then, it was seizing container loads of mostly luxury goods that were coming into the United States, mostly from China. Like a lot of crime over the last 10 to 15 years, this has now transitioned from flea markets and small vendors to the Internet.” (CNN)