By David Makarewicz
Last week, Bryan McCarthy, the 32 year old operator of ChannelSurfing.net, was arrested on charges of criminal copyright infringement. ChannelSurfing.net was one of the streaming sports sites that had its domain seized by federal authorities shortly before the Super Bowl as part of the “In Our Sites” program, run by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Prior to the seizure, McCarthy reportedly made more than $90,000 from advertisements on his site.
This arrest has once again raised questions about the In Our Sites program, in which the Government has seized thousands of domains accused, but not convicted, of copyright infringement, illegal streaming of sporting events, selling black market goods and distributing child pornography. Critics ranging from bloggers to individual rights advocates to Senators have questioned the constitutionality of these seizures.