The seizure of around 100 domain names over the past eight months by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) continues to draw discussion.

Silicon Valley Representative Zoe Lofgren has recently voiced her criticisms of the domain name seizures to Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator Victoria Espinel. Additional criticisms come from attorney and Sites and Blogs writer David Makarewicz, who last week wrote five reasons why the domain name seizures are unconstitutional. Chris Greenwood, of the Phoenix Independent Examiner, compares the arrest of Bryan McCarthy — one of the first individuals arrested in connection with Operation in Our Sites — to Muammar Gaddafi’s brutal crackdown on his own people.

Hyperbole aside, criticisms of the seizures often center around the use of certain magic words: “due process” and “prior restraint”.

In an interview with Ars Technica, Rep. Lofgren says without further detail, “[ICE’s] effort to essentially seize — I think illegally — these domain names lacks due process.” Later, responding to an RIAA letter that addressed her First Amendment concerns regarding the seizures, she said bluntly, “This is prior restraint of speech, and you can’t do that in America.”

I’ve previously explored the constitutional issues surrounding both the domain name seizures and the related Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA) here.1 In addition, noted First Amendment scholar Floyd Abrams has done a much better job than me addressing the First Amendment issues surrounding COICA, concluding that it doesn’t run afoul of the Constitution.

Nevertheless, criticisms seem to return again and again to the same charges — No due process! Prior restraint! — as though repeating these words enough will magically make domain name seizures unconstitutional.

But it won’t. Let’s see why.

Fourth Amendment

When discussing these domain name seizures, it’s always helpful to remind ourselves that “seizure” and “forfeiture” are two distinct events.2 Seizure is the initial taking of property into the government’s custody to establish jurisdiction for a civil in rem proceeding.3 Forfeiture is the final deprivation of the property without compensation. I think there’s little doubt that, assuming all aspects of the proceedings leading to a forfeiture are constitutional, the forfeiture of domain names are very much constitutional.4

So what does the constitution require for an initial seizure of property? The Fourth Amendment says, quite clearly, that seizures must be “reasonable,” and must be accompanied by warrants issued “upon probable cause” and “particularly describing” the “things to be seized.”

Simple enough. You can see the warrant and affidavit for the first round of domain name seizures yourself. Probable cause? Check. Particular description of things to be seized? Check.

That would end our constitutional inquiry if the Fourth Amendment provided the full measure of due process required in property seizures. But according to the Supreme Court, it doesn’t. “Though the Fourth Amendment places limits on the Government’s power to seize property for purposes of forfeiture,” said the Court in 1993,  “it does not provide the sole measure of constitutional protection that must be afforded property owners in forfeiture proceedings.”5 [Emphasis added]. Seizures must still satisfy the due process requirements written into the Fifth Amendment.

Fifth Amendment

The Fifth Amendment, of course, provides that “No person … shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”

At a very basic level, due process means that government must act in accordance with law, as opposed to acting according to its whims. It also requires minimum levels of regularity and fairness in the procedures used by government.6 Even more basically, due process requires notice and a hearing before a final deprivation of life, liberty, or property.

The general process for a criminal trial should be familiar to most of us: an alleged offender is arrested (a seizure of a person), charges are filed, a trial is held, and a verdict is given. Process for a civil in rem forfeiture is much the same: property is seized, a complaint is filed, a trial is held, and a verdict is given. Like other civil proceedings, if no one shows up to defend the property, a default judgment is given.

Some critics have gone so far as to claim that the forfeiture process here lacks notice and a hearing. That’s simply untrue. The forfeiture complaint for the first group of domain names seized is available online for anyone to see for themself. No claimants have felt the need to contest these forfeitures, so the government is currently requesting a default judgement.

Notice of each of these seizures were sent to whatever name and address was used to register the domain name, as well as being posted on forfeiture.gov. Never mind the giant banners plastered on the web sites whose domain names were seized. If you woke up one day and saw that instead of your own web site, I think it’s fair to say that you would be put on notice that something was up.

The more realistic criticism is a far narrower one: do these seizures require that the hearing occurs before the domain name is seized. This is the criticism that Makarewicz raises. He states, “This right to prior notice and hearing is not a minor legal technicality.  It is an indispensible aspect of due process.  It is the only way an individual can protect himself from the Government arbitrarily or mistakenly depriving him of property before it happens.” He goes on to correctly point out that, despite this indispensable aspect, “Over the years, the courts have carved out certain limited exceptions to the pre-deprivation notice and hearing requirement.”

Makarewicz concludes that these exceptions aren’t present here; the seizures aren’t exempted from the requirement to provide a hearing before they occur. I disagree.

Keep in mind, though the seizure of domain names themselves is relatively recent, seizing property in general is old as dirt — asset forfeiture is typically traced to Biblical times, and one of the first laws passed by Congress in 1789 provided for it.7 The particular federal forfeiture statutes at issue here are decades old.

And it’s not like they are little-used, obscure laws. Asset forfeiture has been a primary tool in the drug war since the 1980’s, for example. So it would be considerably surprising if constitutional objections to the laws haven’t been heard by courts.

But they have. The question of whether the statutes used to seize these domain names requires a pre-seizure hearing has been answered. In US v. E-Gold, the District Court of DC held that “the circumstances giving rise to the seizure of assets upon probable cause that the assets were used in violation of specified criminal statutes meets the ‘extraordinary circumstances’ three-part test for seizure without a predeprivation hearing.”8 The Western District Court of Kentucky also acknowledged that exceptions to a predeprivation hearing “apply in civil forfeiture actions” under § 983.9 In US v. Bajakajian, the Supreme Court itself heard an Eighth Amendment challenge to a federal forfeiture action, one that occurred without a predeprivation hearing, lending further credence to the lawfulness of the process involved under these laws.

Bottom line, case law from the lowest courts to the Supreme Court over a period of decades fully supports the notion that these seizures comply with due process.

Won’t Somebody Think of the First Amendment?

Due process claims against a decades old law that has been thoroughly tested in courts don’t convince me, but critics of the domain name seizures have another magic word to rely on: prior restraint.

As I point out in Copyright and Censorship, a claim that the First Amendment is being violated is powerful; who wants to say they’re against free speech?

And among First Amendment claims, the most powerful charge is that a certain action amounts to a “prior restraint.” Since the birth of the concept of freedom of speech, it has widely been accepted that a prior restraint on speech is far worse than subsequent punishment of speech.10

For that very reason, prior restraint is very powerful as a magic word. So much so that the Supreme Court has addressed the need for caution. “The phrase “prior restraint” is not a self-wielding sword,” it said in Kingsley Books v. Brown. “Nor can it serve as a talismanic test.”11

Critics often rely on a string of cases where the seizure of large quantities of expressive materials without a prior judicial determination that they were not protected by the First Amendment was found to be a prior restraint.12 But the key distinction is that it is only the property interest in a domain name that is being seized here, not the content of the web site itself or the servers that the content resides on. A domain name is not like 1,715 books (what was seized in Quantity of Copies of Books v. Kansas) no matter how you spin it. Saying that seizing the domain name is kind of like seizing the content is like saying someone is “kind of pregnant.”

What’s more, those cases all involved obscenity.13 Whether a specific work is obscene or not is a legal determination, one that cannot be made by law enforcement officials, which is why courts have called for stronger procedural safeguards when obscene materials are seized. Factual, objective determinations, however, can be made by law enforcement officials. Thus, these procedural safeguards are not needed when items are seized for violating child pornography laws; law enforcement officials don’t need a judge to determine that something depicts a minor engaged in explicit sexual conduct.14

Copyright infringement — especially the consumptive infringement at issue here rather than creative infringement where questions of fair use or substantial similarity can be raised — is similarly an objective question. Law enforcement officials, with the aid of copyright holders, can tell for themselves that yes, this web site is distributing Toy Story 3, and no, they do not have permission.

Seizures of infringing materials bear out the fact that stronger procedural guarantees are not applicable in the copyright context. The argument that the obscenity seizure cases apply was explicitly rejected in Jondora Music Publishing v. Melody Recordings.15 In US v. Bodin, the defendant’s First Amendment argument against seizure was dismissed even more explicitly and summarily, with the court stating, “We do not find any denial of freedom of expression to the ‘tape pirate.'”16 You can see implicit support of this proposition too; for example, the 9th Circuit upheld the seizure of 25,000 infringing recordings in Duchess Music v. Stern pending a hearing on the merits.17

Finally, the Supreme Court itself has eluded to the constitutionality of restraining the distribution of infringing materials prior to an adversarial hearing when it said, “The Congress has authorized a strain of prior restraints against private parties in certain instances … Article I, § 8, of the Constitution authorizes Congress to secure the “exclusive right” of authors to their writings, and no one denies that a newspaper can properly be enjoined from publishing the copyrighted works of another.”18

Domain name seizures are not prior restraints in any sense of the word. They aren’t made based on the content of any expression. They do not remove any expression from circulation. And they don’t bar any future expression from either the web site owner or its users.

This conclusion is buttressed by the Supreme Court’s holding in Arcara v. Cloud Books, which upheld the closure of a bookstore under a general nuisance statute for its role as a place of prostitution and lewdness. Said the court:

The closure order sought in this case differs from a prior restraint in two significant respects. First, the order would impose no restraint at all on the dissemination of particular materials, since respondents are free to carry on their bookselling business at another location, even if such locations are difficult to find. Second, the closure order sought would not be imposed on the basis of an advance determination that the distribution of particular materials is prohibited — indeed, the imposition of the closure order has nothing to do with any expressive conduct at all.19

In Alexander v. US, the Court applied the same reasoning to uphold a forfeiture of a number of bookstores based on defendant’s conviction under RICO for obscenity violations, despite the defendant citing to the same string of obscenity cases previously discussed. Chief Justice Rehnquist noted that the forfeiture

[D]oes not forbid petitioner to engage in any expressive activities in the future, nor does it require him to obtain prior approval for any expressive activities. It only deprives him of specific assets that were found to be related to his previous racketeering violations. Assuming, of course, that he has sufficient untainted assets to open new stores, restock his inventory, and hire staff, petitioner can go back into the adult entertainment business tomorrow, and sell as many sexually explicit magazines and videotapes as he likes, without any risk of being held in contempt for violating a court order. Unlike the injunctions in Near, Keefe, and Vance, the forfeiture order in this case imposes no legal impediment to—no prior restraint on—petitioner’s ability to engage in any expressive activity he chooses. He is perfectly free to open an adult bookstore or otherwise engage in the production and distribution of erotic materials …20

While not a prior restraint on expression, domain name seizures do have an impact on noninfringing expression on web sites — blog posts, message boards, etc. However, this impact does not impinge on First Amendment protections.

As Floyd Abrams concludes, these domain name seizures are not unconstitutionally broad. Further support for this conclusion comes from courts upholding injunctions that applied to both infringing and noninfringing aspects of a defendant’s product or service. The court in A&M Records v. Napster put it this way: “Courts will not sustain a First Amendment challenge where the defendant entraps itself in an ‘all-or-nothing predicament.'”21

Conclusion

David Makarewicz questions the government’s interest in protecting its citizens’ copyrights, saying “preventing copyright infringement is not an important enough public goal to justify seizure without prior notice or hearing.” But the question of the government’s interest in stopping piracy is not some sort of abstract, philosophical inquiry.

Securing creators’ copyrights is one of Congress’s powers. Even if one ignores all the evidence about the economic harms of piracy, and the irreparable harm it causes to creators’ own free speech rights and the chilling effect it has on future expression, the fact remains that of the handful of enumerated powers given to the Legislative branch by the Framers of the Constitution, promoting the progress of the arts by securing creators’ exclusive rights is one of them. And since 1790, copyright laws have been in place to advance this goal.

As the 10th Circuit noted recently,  “Copyright serves to advance both the economic and expressive interests of American authors. In addition to creating economic incentives that further expression, copyright also serves authors’ First Amendment interests.”22 These interests, and the challenges of enforcing them online, have led to these domain name seizures.

The criticisms of the seizures are essentially disagreements over policy dressed up as constitutional concerns — much like the disagreement over extending term limits in Eldred v. Ashcroft. There, Justice Ginsburg noted that “Beneath the facade of their inventive constitutional interpretation, petitioners forcefully urge that Congress pursued very bad policy in prescribing the CTEA’s long terms.” The same is true here; critics don’t like the domain name seizures or COICA and have brought the Constitution into play to add rhetorical heft to their disagreements.

I personally think domain name seizures, especially if combined with a COICA-type law that encourages other companies within the internet ecosystem to take reasonable measures to ensure their services aren’t used to harm creators, are a valuable tool for minimizing the harms of piracy. Questioning this policy is fair, but painting these actions as violating the constitution, and repeating the same magic words instead of providing real arguments — while providing no alternative solutions in their place — only detracts from the debate.

Footnotes

  1. See COICA: Due Process, COICA: First Amendment, Feds Seize Domain NamesDomain Name Seizures Warrant and Probable Cause, and Domain Name Seizures Don’t Violate First Amendment. []
  2. See, e.g., Marine Midland Bank v. US, 11 F.3d 1119, 1124 (2nd Cir. 1993). []
  3. The Brig Ann, 13 US 289, 291 (1815), “In order to institute and perfect proceedings in rem, it is necessary that the thing should be actually or constructively within the reach of the Court. It is actually within its possession when it is submitted to the process of the Court; it is constructively so, when, by a seizure, it is held to ascertain and enforce a right or forfeiture which can alone be decided by a judicial decree in rem.” []
  4. Though forfeitures are subject to the Eighth Amendment: US v. Bajakajian, 524 US 321 (1998). []
  5. James Daniel Good Real Property, 510 US 43. []
  6. See Peter Strauss, Due Process, Legal Information Institute. []
  7. See In Depth: A History of Asset Forfeiture, Las Vegas Review-Journal, April 1, 2001, for a brief timeline. []
  8. 521 F.3d 411, 417 (2008). []
  9. US v. Content of Accounts, 3:10-CV-228-H, June 21, 2010. []
  10. See, e.g., Nebraska Press Assn v. Stuart, 427 US 539 (1976), “prior restraints on speech and publication are the most serious and the least tolerable infringement on First Amendment rights”; Balboa Island Village Inn v. Lemen, 156 P.3d 339, 323-32 (Cali S.Ct. 2007), discusses at length the history and doctrine of prior restraints. []
  11. 354 US 436, 441 (1957). []
  12. Notably Marcus v. Search Warrant of Kansas City, Mo., Property, 367 U. S. 717 (1961); Bantam Books, Inc. v. Sullivan, 372 U. S. 58 (1963); Quantity of Copies of Books v. Kansas, 378 U. S. 205 (1964); Roaden v. Kentucky, 413 U. S. 496 (1973), and Fort Wayne Books, Inc. v. Indiana, 489 U. S. 46 (1989). []
  13. Alexander v. US, 509 US 544, 551 (1993). []
  14. US v. Kimbrough, 69 F.3d 723 (5th Cir. 1995). []
  15. 362 F.Supp. 494, 500 (D. NJ 1973), seizure without prior adversary hearing didn’t violate defendant’s First or Fifth Amendment rights. []
  16. 375 F.Supp. 1265, 1267 (WD. Ok. 1974). []
  17. 458 F.2d 1305 (1972). []
  18. New York Times v. US, 403 US 713, J. White, concurrence, n.1 (1971). []
  19. 478 US 697, n.2 (1986). []
  20. 509 US 544, 550-51 (1993). []
  21. 114 F. Supp.2d 896, 922-23 (ND Cali 2000), citing Dr. Seuss Enterprises v. Penguin Books, 109 F.3d 1394 (9th Cir. 1997). []
  22. Golan v. Holder, 609 F.3d 1076, 1084 (10th Cir. 2010). []

21 Comments

  1. As always, one of the best-reasoned, best-researched blogs on the ‘net. Great job, Terry.

  2. Excellent article.

    However, If I keep reading your blog, I’m afraid that my opinion on copyright will swing over to the big bad cartels.

    My head could explode.

    Peace,
    Randy

  3. Another fine analysis. Congresswoman Lofgren would do well to educate herself about this issue and find out what is really happening online with regard to pirate websites offering stolen content (and products). Truly, if she spent five minutes online she might change her tune. Let’s not forget her district include the headquarters of the all-mighty Google and we know what their position is with regard to this.

  4. Terry- what is your take on the Thanksgiving ICE seizure being invalid because 4 songs the ICE agent listed were provided by the record company?

    • Let me briefly mention a scenario that is not at all unusual. A low level employee without any authority to do so forwards a copy of the work to a site. Lacking authority, the transmittal of the work is unauthorized. Conversely, an individual does have the requisite authority, but what is transmitted is accompanied by limitations on how the work may be used by the recipient. While the transmittal was authorized, the manner in which it was used was not.

      In the case of the 4 songs those who say “but it was provided by the record company” apparently are not aware of the scenario(s) noted above. Of course, there are many more that can easily arise. While it is possible that a transmittal was in fact authorized and the use of what was transmitted entirely consistent with any accompanying limitations, it does not necessarily follow that this is the case in all instances.

      • Exactly. I don’t know the full story about this specific situation; it could be the site owner was authorized to post those songs to the public, it could be he wasn’t. Note also that any affidavit isn’t going to include all the evidence that will be used in court — it only need establish probable cause.

        With that said, as a procedural or constitutional matter, I don’t think that matters. That’s the type of issue that the courts are for — and it would make little sense to have a rule that basically says you can only seize property that is definitely facilitating a crime, it would be the same as saying you can only arrest guilty people.

        I don’t think the First Amendment requires a preseizure hearing in this type of circumstance either. Whether or not he had permission, it’s someone else’s speech that is at issue.

        • Just a thought, but might it be more easily understood to generally equate “seizures” with the due process requirements of the 4th Amendment, and “forfeitures” with the due process requirements of the 5th Amendment?

          Yes, there may be gray areas inbetween, but as a general rule it does seem to be a more easily understood distinction; i.e., that “due process” is not a term having the same meaning in all circumstances.

  5. I’d love the hear about the July takedowns that have yet to have an affidavit given out…

  6. It seems you struck a nerve with that idiot who runs the pirate, ahem, “tech” blog…

    • Wow, THAT’S really conducive to a debate.

      • Of course it is not conducive, but in my view at some point in time one can easily be pushed over the edge when the principal here is openly mocked and declared an absolutist incapable of presenting anything other than biased comments.

        The other site alluded to here long ago dropped all pretenses of wanting to debate issues on the merits. It saddens me to say that over the past year or so it has become little more a place where agreement is encouraged and disagreement not tolerated.

        • I’m failing to see the “merits” in merely dismissing a summary as nothing more than “magic words”. Also, as I’ve posted in some of these articles with nary a response, it seems that Terry’s convinced of the loopholes justifying COICA to the detriment of his earlier (IMO) balanced approach.

          There’s a lot of questions that have not been answered regarding the July takedowns and everyone is forgetting about them. Why has no affidavit come out for those 9 initial sites? Why did the complaints come out ~6 months after the takedowns occurred? Why has no court date come up to discuss these issues? By all intents and purposes, those 9 sites should have a way to get their domains back. Terry does not have the FIRST round of seizures. He has the SECOND.

          Of note from the US vs Daniel Good – And like the majority, I am disturbed by the breadth of new civil forfeiture statutes such as 21 U. S. C. § 881(a)(7), which subjects to forfeiture all real property that is used, or intended to be used, in the commission, or even the facilitation, of a federal drug offense.[1] As JUSTICE O’CONNOR 82*82 points out, ante, at 74-76, since the Civil War we have upheld statutes allowing for the civil forfeiture of real property. A strong argument can be made, however, that § 881(a)(7) is so broad that it differs not only in degree, but in kind, from its historical antecedents. – JUSTICE THOMAS, concurring in part and dissenting in part.

          So here’s a question. Is a domain real property or not?

          Regarding the first takedowns Some critics have gone so far as to claim that the forfeiture process here lacks notice and a hearing. That’s simply untrue. The forfeiture complaint for the first group of domain names seized is available online for anyone to see for themself. No claimants have felt the need to contest these forfeitures, so the government is currently requesting a default judgement.

          There are seven, not 9 places on there. So why are two missing? And where are those complaints? Also, when did the complaints vs the takedowns occur? Why was it six months after the fact when NO ONE could have a say with the government (since the cases were closed soon after the takedowns, another part that Terry seems to have glossed over) that this was allowed to remain with no way to protest the legality of the issue?

          Bottom line, case law from the lowest courts to the Supreme Court over a period of decades fully supports the notion that these seizures comply with due process.

          His links were regarding forfeiture with wire fraud. The entire case was reprimanded to the lower court. I’m not sure what his text actually means since they had to repeat the entire process.

          Copyright infringement — especially the consumptive infringement at issue here rather than creative infringement where questions of fair use or substantial similarity can be raised — is similarly an objective question. Law enforcement officials, with the aid of copyright holders, can tell for themselves that yes, this web site is distributing Toy Story 3, and no, they do not have permission.

          Read: You run a torrent search similar to Google, you may have problems from aggregating data. Gotcha. The fact that the dissonance of a one sided view doesn’t show a conflict of interest seems to have alluded this part of the conversation.

          Domain name seizures are not prior restraints in any sense of the word. They aren’t made based on the content of any expression. They do not remove any expression from circulation. And they don’t bar any future expression from either the web site owner or its users.

          This has not been explained accurately nor partially. Dajaz1 had a forums that was taken down. Ninjavideo was a community that lost quite a bit of that due to their take down. TVShack has had to change around three different domains because of this. You have people flocking back to the new domains, but you had conversations with each of them. It basically barred them from expressing on the old domains. How is it, that all of these sites didn’t have expression removed when their sites were taken down without any warning to them?

          David Makarewicz questions the government’s interest in protecting its citizens’ copyrights, saying “preventing copyright infringement is not an important enough public goal to justify seizure without prior notice or hearing.” But the question of the government’s interest in stopping piracy is not some sort of abstract, philosophical inquiry.

          Seems he’s asking a fair question, not spinning a tale of vague court cases.

          Terry Hart’s ‘Evidence’ article is absolutely wrong however. That doesn’t show piracy can be fought by asking people a survey question. Look at the comments and I responded to that. Terry does not.

          • Why has no affidavit come out for those 9 initial sites?

            You’re right, that should be the warrant and affidavit for the second round of seizures. The first round is available here: http://www.courthousenews.com/2010/06/30/Warrant.pdf

            Why did the complaints come out ~6 months after the takedowns occurred?

            That’s not an unreasonable time frame, especially when no one comes forward to claim the property.

            Why has no court date come up to discuss these issues?

            It has, read the post.

            So here’s a question. Is a domain real property or not?
            No. “Real property” = real estate.

      • What the poster meant to say was “really property”, “actual property”, etc.

        Of course, the question was no more than an invite to say domains names are deemed to be “property”, at which point a long post would follow detailing why anyone who believes them to be such is wrong.

        • There’s a huge debate on that one, which is the problem. Some courts deem it property, some do not. From the information, it seems to be that all but the 9th circuit deem it property:

          Office Depot vs Zuccarini

          But in KY, it’s considered akin to a telephone number or address:
          Link

          “The Opposing Groups and Lawyers . . . collectively assert that domain names are akin to a telephone number or a business or residential address only; that domain names are but a combination of letters and numbers, which serves as a mnemonic aid, nothing more. They argue that domains are not property, but are rights in a service contract.”

          So for all intents and purposes, depending on where you are, ICE might be doing something with real property but it’s still up in the air until the Supreme Court defines it.

          • You have to read the entire KY opinion. Page 15: “This Court finds the Defendants 141 Domain Names are property and therefore subject to this Court’s in rem jurisdiction or to possible civil forfeiture.”

  7. Two are still missing.

    • You know what else is missing “Jay”? Any indignation from you about blatant illegal activity.

      Are you asking us to be as willfully blind as yourself?

  8. Not interested in ad hominem attacks Kent.

  9. Pingback: A Response to ‘Supporters of DHS Domain Name Seizures Undervalue Important Constitutional Protections’ | Copyhype

  10. How do cyber-locker websites figure in all these. They are more “storage” oriented than Youtube would seem to be in terms of the “service” they provide yet they too seem impervious to the law. One can file DMCA requests for each infringing file and sometimes succeed in getting said files removed, but clearly the vast majority of the content found on these cloud-based storage sites is pirated. They encourage the uploading of such material in order to earn income via subscriptions and advertising yet claim the same “safe harbor” as Youtube does.

  11. Terry – Your article is muy incorrecto, several domains are challenging the seizure, and one has filed a lawsuit after good faith negotiations with ICE and the justice department failed. ICE isn’t helping by having their director going around saying they have not been challenged – a bold-faced lie.

    Also, how does a domain seizure not bar site owners/users from sharing new content? YOU CAN’T GET TO THE WEBSITE! They are prior restraints, pure and simple. No content can be accessed and no new content can be shared.