Saturday, January 14, 2012

Out of Control Department of Homeland Security

This makes absolutely no sense.  From the January 14, 2012 Belfast Telegraph:

A British student can be extradited to the United States to face charges of copyright infringement over a website he ran offering links to pirated films online, a court ruled yesterday.
Richard O'Dwyer, whose site TV Shack made more than £150,000 in advertising revenues, according to US prosecutors, is thought to be the first person extradited to America on such charges. If convicted in New York, he faces jail.
Speaking after the hearing at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court, the 23-year-old said he felt like a "guinea pig" for the US justice system. His lawyer argued that his site hosted no illegal content, but merely directed users to where it was held online, and said that his client would fight the ruling.

Read more:
 According to other sources, TV Shack provided only links to other sites, some of which apparently carried videos that may have infringed on copyrights.  It carried no videos of its own.  It was only a search engine (in a sense), or directory providing links to other websites.  I do not see how this can be a criminal offense.  I know that YouTube often has videos that violate copyright, and get taken down after demands from the copyright holder.  If I can find those videos using Google, does that mean Google is engaged in copyright infringement?  No.

It appears that the Department of Homeland Security has the terrorism problem so well solved that they now have resources to devote to stuff that isn't even a crime.  I think I see one place where the government could solve its deficit problem, at least a little: tell Hollyweird to pursue these matters in the criminal justice systems of the countries where the alleged crimes take place--and stop focusing on people who are not even infringing their copyrights.

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