Richard O'Dwyer: The Other Copyright Infrngement Extradition Case

While the validity of the charges in the Megaupload indictment will take years to work its way through the courts, and many will have little sympathy because of the amounts of money the defendants earned, consider the case of British student Richard O'Dwyer.

O'Dwyer set up a site in his basement, TV Shack.net. He didn't download copyrighted material, he just provided links to it. His site was hosted on servers located in the UK, not the U.S. His site did not violate laws in the U.K. But the U.S. charged him with criminal copyright violations and sought his extradition. A few weeks ago, a court in the U.K. ordered his extradition. He will now come to the U.S. where he is facing two crimes, each with a 5 year penalty. [More...]

What was the basis for U.S. jurisdiction? That Verisign is the official registrar of .com and .net sites and Verisign is in the U.S. The Guardian reports ICE officials like Assistant Deputy Director Erik Barnett say that's enough.

"The jurisdiction we have over these sites right now really is the use of the domain name registry system in the United States. That's the key." The only necessary "nexus to the US" is a .com or .net web address for which Verisign acts as the official registry operator, he said.

Here's more on ICE's Operation In Our Sites.

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    O'Dwyer (none / 0) (#1)
    by lentinel on Sun Jan 29, 2012 at 12:02:37 PM EST
    provided links to people posting copyrighted material.

    10 years for him.

    Meanwhile, Bush and Cheney run around free.

    He's run that site for abouit 4 years. (none / 0) (#2)
    by EL seattle on Sun Jan 29, 2012 at 12:24:33 PM EST
    And according to the Guardian story, "It was so popular that the student earned £15,000 per month in advertising revenue, US prosecutors claim."

    That's not revenue at the Megaupload levels, but that's still serious revenue.  It would be interesting to see some download stats for that site.

    Just curious... (none / 0) (#3)
    by lentinel on Sun Jan 29, 2012 at 01:02:08 PM EST
    If these enterprises are profitable by virtue of advertising revenue, shouldn't the advertisers be the ones being prosecuted?

    To use an inflated analogy - if I pay someone to do something illegal - a hit man for example - shouldn't I be held responsible for his actions?


    Targeting the ad servers (none / 0) (#5)
    by BTAL on Sun Jan 29, 2012 at 03:41:48 PM EST
    was part of SOPA and PIPA.

    ICE the pirate (none / 0) (#4)
    by koshembos on Sun Jan 29, 2012 at 01:52:48 PM EST
    Verisign is performing an international duty by maintaining minimal order on the Internet. Its tasks are not US centric and their database may reside on the moon.

    ICE clearly works for the owners of copyrights way outside its mandate. It is simple piracy. In the long run, the rest of the world may leave Verisign and create a new management company.

    The US may have "jurisdiction" (none / 0) (#6)
    by Peter G on Sun Jan 29, 2012 at 07:26:59 PM EST
    but O'Dwyer's defense counsel have an serious basis for a motion to dismiss under the extraterritoriality doctrine.