Puerto 80, the Spanish company that owns the Rojadirecta sporting website, has asked a federal judge to dismiss the government's forfeiture of its domain names. Calling the seizure "an unprecedented effort to expand both copyright liability and the reaches of civil forfeiture law," the firm argued that only direct infringement, not linking to infringing content, could be the basis for a domain name seizure.
The brief was co-authored by the prominent copyright scholar Mark Lemley of Stanford University and was filed on Friday. It claims that Puerto 80 is—at most—guilty only of assisting the infringement of others, which copyright law calls secondary liability. But, the brief argues, secondary infringement can only lead to civil, not criminal, liability. And only criminal infringement can justify the forfeiture of the Rojadirecta domain names.