US anti-piracy body targets foreign website owners for extradition

From the Guardian UK:

US anti-piracy body targets foreign website owners for extradition

Britons could face charges for breaking US copyrights even if they have no link to America and servers are based elsewhere…rosecution

‘…British website owners could face extradition to the US on piracy charges even if their operation has no connection to America and does something which is most probably legal in the UK, the official leading US web anti-piracy efforts has told the Guardian.

The US’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) is targeting overseas websites it believes are breaking US copyrights whether or not their servers are based in America or there is another direct US link, said Erik Barnett, the agency’s assistant deputy director.

As long as a website’s address ends in .com or .net, if it is implicated in the spread of pirated US-made films, TV or other media it is a legitimate target to be closed down or targeted for prosecution, Barnett said. While these web addresses are traditionally seen as global, all their connections are routed through Verisign, an internet infrastructure company based in Virginia, which the agency believes is sufficient to seek a US prosecution.

As well as sites that directly host or stream pirated material, ICE is also focusing on those that simply provide links to it elsewhere. There remains considerable doubt as to whether this is even illegal in Britain…’

‘…Civil rights and internet freedom organisations said they were alarmed at the apparent intention to enforce US copyright laws around the globe…’
‘…She called on the government to amend the UK’s extradition agreement with the US so a British judge could decide where an alleged crime should be best tried. “It would allow UK courts to bar extradition in the interests of justice where conduct leading to an alleged offence has quite clearly taken place on British soil,” she said…’

See also:

‘…The delightfully named US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (or ICE, if you want to be all cool and that) is claiming that all .com and .net sites are theirs. That includes sites that don’t even have their servers in America…’

‘…nd while this sounds like some kind of weird net colonialism, what it means in practical terms is that should you own a site or blog that contravenes copyright law, the Americans will be coming after you.

Erik Barnett, assistant deputy director of ICE said told the Guardian that the agency is going to come after you if you’re breaking their laws. The freedom of the internet, eh? It is reported that the ICE won’t just be going after sites with illegal content on them. They’re also going to run after any sites linking to dodgy content with legal pitchforks…’

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