So, I’m not sure how many of you out there have heard about this O’Dwyer case. Tech Dirt has a nice article about it today check it out here. If you don’t feel like reading it I’ll summarize it. An UK student is being extradited to the US over a website he set up which links to streaming content. The website had already been ICE’d, or seized by the US government. Apparently that wasn’t enough now the Southern District of New York wants to bring this kid over to the US and try him, for something. However there are some problems: “a) perfectly legal in his home country and (b) probably legal in the US.” (tech Dirt article). So, this is a bit of a problem. O, and by what he means by legal in the US is that it’s not criminal, and you can only be extradited for a criminal offense.
So, this really brings into focus some of the activities of ICE in general. There are a lot of people that are concerned with the overly broad approach to seizing domain names as there is not much judicial oversight. What that means is that these actions could have a chilling affect on freedom of speech, destroy businesses, and in some cases lives. One of the seizures involved a false accusation of child pornography. That can completely destroy a person’s reputation. The other problem is that it’s not even clear that these actions are completely illegal.
The US copyright laws are getting progressively more difficult to understand. This comes at a time when users are interacting with copyright in their daily activities. To enjoy media people should not have to concern themselves with a byzantine set of laws. I plan in the upcoming weeks to write some posts about the history of copyright and how it has changed over time. I’ll also discuss some of the Creative Commons “Copyleft” movement that’s been founded by Lawrence Lessig.