PROTECT IP Act -Warning: Bill May Cause Seizures, article (PDF file).
Shutting down an entire venue of communication based on a preliminary finding that it is dedicated to infringing activities, before a trial or other judicial determination on the merits, runs counter to all Free Speech principles. [...]
This disturbing trend of seizing domain names made headlines just a few weeks ago in what has come to be known in online gaming circles as “Black Friday.” On April 15, 2011, the United States DOJ issued an indictment, and filed a civil suit against the three largest online poker sites in the world; Poker Stars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker. As a result, the .com domain names for each of the sites were seized for ultimate forfeiture to the government, as alleged instrumentalities of the “crime.” What crime? Well, since Internet poker is technically not against any federal law, the DOJ dug up some New York misdemeanor statutes which generally prohibit gambling and related promotional activities as the purported basis for the gambling charges, and the multimillion dollar seizures of domain names and bank accounts.
Talk about a loaded gun in the hands of children. So now the US government can simply shut down any web site they like (or rather, don't like), before any trial or anything. It's insane.
Regardless of the ultimate outcome, the DOJ has made clear that it will seize any domain name – at the registry level – that it deems to be used in the violation of U.S. law – even if operated from overseas, in full compliance with the host country’s laws.
Can you say "global vigilantism"? I guess it's only a matter of time before they start waging war against any country they suspect of having threatening weapons. Wait...