Why is Homeland Security Seizing Domain Names? (updated)

I find it bizarre (and somewhat alarming) that the Department of Homeland Security has apparently taken as its mission the enforcement of copyright laws, and is seizing domain names of websites that reportedly violate copyrights. The Hill reports:

The investigative arm of the Homeland Security Department appears to be shutting down websites that facilitate copyright infringement.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has seized dozens of domain names over the past few days, according to 
TorrentFreak

ICE appears to be targeting sites that help Internet users download copyrighted music, as well as sites that sell bootleg goods, such as fake designer handbags.

The sites are replaced with a note from the government: "This domain name has been seized by ICE, Homeland Security Investigations."
I am all for protecting copyrights, as intellectual property is a pillar of the advancement of western society and technological progress. That is why jihadists want to end intellectual property. But what does this have to do with Homeland Security? There are laws in place to handle copyright violations.  The fact that Homeland Security takes upon itself the seizure of websites is alarming. Once they establish this precedent, it can be expanded to include shutting down any website (including this one) that incurs its wrath, since there appears to be no legal basis for seizing domains that facilitate copyright infringement.

Hat tip: Ace

Update from Mark Roth:
 
As hard as it is to conceive of, Homeland Security is one of a number of agencies authorized to seize this type of property.  I researched 18 USC

981 and 18 USC 2323 neither of which was particularly illuminating in that they contained numerous cross-references.  After a bit of searching I found this article by a trial lawyer ( http://computerfraud.us/articles/intellectual-property-the-pro-ip-act ).  It clearly states that Homeland Security is one of the agencies tasked with enforcement of intellectual property theft.  You could have knocked me over with a feather!  Our government has gotten way out of hand.  Or as they used to say "strange but true".

I find it bizarre (and somewhat alarming) that the Department of Homeland Security has apparently taken as its mission the enforcement of copyright laws, and is seizing domain names of websites that reportedly violate copyrights. The Hill reports:

The investigative arm of the Homeland Security Department appears to be shutting down websites that facilitate copyright infringement.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has seized dozens of domain names over the past few days, according to 
TorrentFreak

ICE appears to be targeting sites that help Internet users download copyrighted music, as well as sites that sell bootleg goods, such as fake designer handbags.

The sites are replaced with a note from the government: "This domain name has been seized by ICE, Homeland Security Investigations."
I am all for protecting copyrights, as intellectual property is a pillar of the advancement of western society and technological progress. That is why jihadists want to end intellectual property. But what does this have to do with Homeland Security? There are laws in place to handle copyright violations.  The fact that Homeland Security takes upon itself the seizure of websites is alarming. Once they establish this precedent, it can be expanded to include shutting down any website (including this one) that incurs its wrath, since there appears to be no legal basis for seizing domains that facilitate copyright infringement.

Hat tip: Ace

Update from Mark Roth:
 
As hard as it is to conceive of, Homeland Security is one of a number of agencies authorized to seize this type of property.  I researched 18 USC

981 and 18 USC 2323 neither of which was particularly illuminating in that they contained numerous cross-references.  After a bit of searching I found this article by a trial lawyer ( http://computerfraud.us/articles/intellectual-property-the-pro-ip-act ).  It clearly states that Homeland Security is one of the agencies tasked with enforcement of intellectual property theft.  You could have knocked me over with a feather!  Our government has gotten way out of hand.  Or as they used to say "strange but true".

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