By Nadeska Alexis
Five years ago, the government raided and seized numerous music blogs — including rap mainstay, OnSmash.com — in their war against Internet piracy. Owner Kevin Hofman has never been formally charged with any wrongdoing, despite having his site shutdown, and in November OnSmash was finally returned to him.
Back in November 2010, the government targeted sites like OnSmash for distributing unauthorized music without compensating record labels. But Hofman, who was previously employed at a label, told The New York Times that his blog actually supported both artists and labels, who he worked with directly.
“The music business was something that I was always either an employee of or actively trying to support,” he said. “That’s why the whole seizure was so devastating to me.”
The site was returned to him after paying a $7 government fee.
After OnSmash was seized, Hofman launched FreeOnSmash.com, but he said that his business was irreparably damaged when the original site was shut down. The battle to regain the site dragged on for over three and a half years, with Hofman’s lawyer, Craig Trainor, arguing that OnSmash was “an indispensable forum for hip-hop fans, a marketing vehicle for record labels and artists, and a generator of protected speech.”
Now, Hofman says he plans to do his best “to pick up the pieces.”