On April Fools Day 2014, Off on a Tangent was seized by the United States federal government . . . or so it seemed. Agencies in the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security do have a troubling habit of seizing web sites for dubious reasons, Fourth Amendment be damned, but I have not [yet] actually been a victim of their due process violations.

For extra authenticity, the seizure notice was based upon a real seizure notice graphic that was posted on a real seized web site. I modified it to refer to the correct U.S. District Court for my region and to have a more frightening national security warning (the original one was copyright-related).

Click to see how it looked!

The original seizure warning graphic was produced by the United States federal government, and is thus in the public domain per 17 U.S.C. § 101 and 105. The modified version is licensed under the standard Off on a Tangent content license.

The U.S. Department of Justice claims that their logos and insignia may not be reproduced without permission, but they have asserted no legal basis for that claim. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security makes an even more absurd claim that their logos and insignia are somehow protected under trademark laws. It might be news to these two agencies, but satire is protected speech, and so is criticism of the government. Even if there was a rational legal basis for these claims, the First Amendment trumps them.

To be clear, this was satire. The U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security have not endorsed or authenticated this work, and were not involved in its production.

Scott Bradford has been building web sites and using them to say what he thinks since 1995, which tended to get him in trouble with power-tripping assistant principals at the time. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Administration from George Mason University, but has spent most of his career (so far) working on public- and private-sector web sites. He is not a member of any political party, and brands himself an ‘independent constitutional conservative.’ In addition to holding down a day job and blogging about challenging subjects like politics, religion, and technology, Scott is also a devout Catholic, gun-owner, bike rider, and music lover with a wife, two cats, and a dog.