So it appears The US government is saying is if you operate a website under a .com or .net and you are subject to US law, even if you live outside the US, your servers are located outside the US and your site is in compliance with local law in the jurisdiction you operate.
The Guardian.co.uk, is quoting the Assistant Deputy Director of The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) saying that not only does ICE plan on continuing to seize Websites and domain names operating on .Com and .Net TLD’s that they believe are breaking US laws, but now they want to extradite the operators of websites operating outside of the US to stand trial for criminal charges in the US.
The story quotes Erik Barnett, ICE’s Assistant Deputy Director saying that website owners that pirate US-made films, TV or other media is a legitimate target for prosecution, whether their servers are based in the US’s or not and whether the website operators are located in the US or not:
Here are the quotes:
“British website owners (for example) 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.”
“By definition, almost all copyright infringement and trademark violation is transnational. There’s very little purely domestic intellectual property theft”
“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”
“The general goal of law enforcement is to arrest and prosecute individuals who are committing crimes. ”
“That is our goal, our mission.”
“The idea is to try to prosecute.””
“I’ll give you an analogy. A lot of drug dealing is done by proxy, you rarely give the money to the same person that you get the dope from. I think the question is, are any of these people less culpable?”
“We seized one bank account for one individual running one sports streaming site. He lives with his parents and has no other source of income. He had $500,000 in his bank account.”
“Most of the individuals that we’ve targeted were earning estimated amounts of between $10,000 and $20,000 a month. You’ve got to remember that the overheads are fairly low and your product isn’t being paid for.”
So intention of ICE is quite clear.
If you do business under a .com or .net you are subjecting yourself to having your domain name seized and may possibly face extradition to the US to face criminal charges, even if the website you are operating is perfectly legal under your local law.
Of course there are many countries that would deny extradition for such an offense, but many counties would not block it.
Under this logic there certainly is no reason to stop enforcing US law just to pirated material or copyright infringement.
If your operating any sort of site off a .com or a .net and has material which violates US law you may find yourself in a US courtroom facing criminal charges even if your servers are located offshore, and live in another country and is in compliance with local law.
Basically by operating a site under a .Com or .Net domain name, the Federal government wants to make you subject to US law.
For all those in the United States Happy 4th of July which is also known as Independence Day.
my global website of links and amazing domains *** says
US can’t rule the world (despite they do that) 😐
I always knew .com was not really a gTLD and this article points it out once more ! .COM is actually a ccTLD operated by the USA !
There shouldbe a special ICANN meeting at the next meeting in Senegal and declare .COM as the official ccTLD of the USA.
No worries, even though articles like this should set off some alarm bells. This new ccTLD is actually a solid ccTLD (unlike .SO) with a proven track record and millions of people own this fine ccTLD we know as .COM 😉
This also ends the discussion that ccTLD’s are a niche and never can be powersellers..
The fate of .US as ccTLD will be discussed at the 2012 ICANN meeting. Together with the advise of the GAC advise regarding the .USA gTLD application by .
From the UK to the USA, Happy Independence Day to you all. 🙂
Disclaimer: (that doesn’t include your Bankers or Politicians)
“Basically by operating a site under a .Com or .Net domain name, the Federal government wants to make you subject to US law”
Other than say that is friggin insane I’ll save my reply for tommorow 😉
Have a nice day 🙂
Of course some of the new gTLD registries will not be US based and maybe a good selling point based on the direction the US is moving
Would a .web or .shop for example headed up by a non-us based registrar be preferential to a .com which opens up all registrants to US law
It is a same that: “HLS” ~ “ICE” are getting their marching orders from the: Motion Picture Industry and the Music Industry.
They have, banners for: illegal music streaming sites, Movie piracy sites , counterfeit goods sites, Child Porn. (which btw they labeled 84K sites with this sign, even though none of the sites had anything to do with child porn)
It would seem to me that they have their ‘priorities’ all out of whack…
I have not seen them take down one “extreme Islamic Jihad” webiste(s), that actively calls for or encourages terrorism against the USA and other countries.
I bet, they do not even have a ‘banner’ made up for the seizure of these such websites.
I mean, what should “HLS” ~ “ICE” be more concerned with?
Why don’t they go after the servers in China/Russia?
There is more money stolen via identity thefts than privacy and yet they don’t go after them?
the world police strikes again…
US and EU – and they are on the same page here – will always be indirectly in charge of .com and all existing and new TLDs. Icann tried to be play hardball by approving .xxx over US and EU objections, .xxx will get crippled by US and EU, just wait and see. US will cripple Icann if it has to also.
I am guessing Russia and China will at some point set something up completely separate from Icann and US influence.
Don’t stream copyrighted content which others created with their own time and money, don’t run shady/sham pharmaceutical companies, don’t operate a gambling operation, and don’t deal in child porn.
Enough with the US hate. These sensationalist articles deal with a tiny tiny tiny percentage of content that is shady, not the other 99.99% of real businesses and services operating on .COM and .NET.
Sure seems to add a bit more ‘juice’ to good .org names!
Happy Independence Day to all my friends in the land of the free 🙂
Happy Independence Day to all my friends in the land of the free and home of Stupidity!!
“So it appears The US government is saying is if you operate a website under a .com or .net and you are subject to US law, even if you live outside the US.”
Nothing new. Welcome to the US from a non American’s perspective.
The IRS insists my Australian company file a tax return, even though there is no legal basis for such a demand.
I do it, too.
I think the bottom line is that this has become a priority because many people in foreign counties are making insane money off this stuff and it’s cost effective for the US to seize it and they can get away with it. I think the amout of money is massive. I just wish they’d go after the spyware and virus creators. They have 1000x the money to take and I doubt anyone would complain about those seizures.
Danny Pryor says
Oh boy. Being really cynical here: What if I buy an American-made car and accidentally kill someone in, say, Belgium? Do I get extradited to Detroit to stand trial?
Seriously, though, this is a real stretch. Is there anything in the registration agreement, to which we all agree, that says we stipulate to this heavy-handed nonsense? Do I get extradited to Japan because I have a .ASIA domain that uses the name Rodan, which also happens to be a flying dragon in those Godzilla movies? Yes, I use a dragon logo, but that came after the company name was conceived. The company even existed BEFORE the .ASIA ccTLD. Am I in violation of Japanese laws or other international conventions? WIPO has had some bizarre rulings against domain owners, for people who had domains prior to trademarks being issued.
How will any successful prosecution, which will require the extradition, first, then play off those WIPO rulings? How far do we take this?
Of course, this MUST be the result of pressure from the motion picture industry, record labels, and the like. So, do we follow the advice Congressman Stearns gave to the audience at TRAFFIC to organize a real lobby or do we just keep blogging about it? How about an actionable mandate from the industry, and let’s set up a lobby that people can afford. How many people would sign up if they only had to pay $25 or $35, rather than hundreds?
This industry needs to take lessons from other industries and other lobbying groups and get busy. Imagine the political force of an international domainer group! But action is required or this will br another pipe dream, as have become other so-called ‘industry groups’.
John B says
Other countries should demand extradiction of US citizens who are in violation of providing content with their local laws. It would never make it to trial, but imagine the wailing and gnashing of teeth if it did. If Saudi Arabia went through official channels to extradite and prosecute a US based pornographer or Thailand demanded the head of a US webmaster who dared insult the king.
The attitude that foreign, in-situ licensed gambling site owners have it coming is just dumb.
The idea that any entity, foreign or domestic, can simply help themselves to such valuable assets without proper rule of law (and ‘proper’ does NOT mean U.S. law) is scary. It is too much power for any one entity to hold, as it is too much to expect it to not be abused. Like now.
But the bottom line truth and reality is that it has so little to do with laws and so much to do with power and money. We have too many instances where we see due process shat upon here in the US in the name of law or security or patriotism, and by degree we learn to talk ourselves into living with it.
Mike Hunt says
I wonder, out loud as question, hoqw this would work where I have a trade mark in the UK IPO for “a” domain and so also does a US company in USPTO .What if they allege violation of their trade mark ,even though I have a UK one, and make allegation ,does that mean I get extradited to USA ?.
Rob Monster - Epik says
While I am a big fan of personal liberty, I think many people take that concept too far. Boundaries and rules are not per se a negative for the governed. US citizens operating on .COM should not be at a competitive disadvantage to foreign operators.
A real estate metaphor is relevant here. In general, if your town has law enforcement, usually your property values are higher. If your neighborhood or Homeowners Association enforces standards, that is usually a good thing in the aggregate.
As long as .COM domain owners are not doing something illegal on their domains, I don’t see where this ruling negatively impacts domain owners. We’ll see if there is arbitrary enforcement but, at first blush, I really am not expecting it.
my global website of links and amazing domains says
“As long as .COM domain owners are not doing something illegal on their domains, I don’t see where this ruling negatively impacts domain owners.”
not if every sanction is decided by a COURT, rather than by a little group of unknown persons
Gypsum Fantastic says
Many of the big name UK/European betting/gambling companies operate from .com domains. I’d like to see them try to extradite the CEOs of such companies…
As someone who is UK-based I operate my own websites from .com domains. Fortunately I don’t think I’m doing anything that would be deemed illegal in the USA…I hope… 🙂
Totally relieved to hear that – thanx! 🙂
Chea web hosting says
I don’t think this going to happen, it is an insane idea.
But on the other hand if it do, it will boost the sale for other ccTLD.
Anon This Time says
Wake up, folks. They’re not going after people operating .com’s and .nets to effect otherwise lawful enterprises in their home countries.
They’re going after people who operate .com’s and .net’s that serve up illicit content/services to US citizens, pursuant to US law.
If you’re pirating movies, streaming sports broadcasts, or stealing copyrighted content of any billion dollar US enterprise, then yes, you’re on the chopping block. Running an “online pharmacy” or unregulated and unlicensed “gambling site” that targets US citizens? You’re at risk.
Running an enterprise that only serves your home country and doesn’t involve the theft of US based content, selling US citizens controlled substances or delivering child pornography? No one here gives a fuck.
This is insane, just to the same extent that Section 230 of the Communication Distribution Act is. The US needs to get a grip.
.com and .net are de facto gTLDs, it would be relatively easy to have all the international top level root DNS servers redirect .com or .net away from a US registrar, and declare independence from the US – sure this would break a few things, but fundamentally the Internet would continue to function regardless of what the US decided to do internally (akin to the Great Firewall of China debacle). The ICE should focus on .US if they want to play hardball with TLDs it is their country after all!
It should be quite easy to circumvent the ICE position using redirection – redirection, particularly by IP, would not fall under the jurisdiction of ICE since redirection would fall outside the scope of what use a .com/.net is put. Redirection would still be a compliant use of .com/.net domains.
The question of intellectual property (trademarks and copyrights) raises an interesting possibility. What if I registered some intellectual property as something-or-other.com, under the Madrid Agreement/Protocol I can challenge the use of my intellectual property internationally, meaning even though I might not be able to own or operate the .com/.net domain myself from fear of prosecution under ICE, I can prevent anyone else using it or anything considered similar (or infringing) – stalemate! Even better, if someone were to sell or market goods or services using my intellectual property (something-or-other.com) in a country where I hold the intellectual property (even if that infringing company is, for arguments sake, based in the USA), I could tale legal action against the infringing company in the country where the offence occurred (not in the USA).
That all for now… I’m just off to set-up my redirect for ICEdover.com… oh, and I think I might just make a quick call to my intellectual property agent whilst I’m at it.
Jason Garon says
This is all Justin Cutler’s fault. Look him up and you will see the truth!
If it’s legal in UK, they won’t extradite, right?
The “Protect-IP Act has NOT even been passed by congress in this country yet, and its “constitutionality is in much question, as is the Homeland Security and ICE’s program…’ Operation In Our Sites’
They are already going ‘outside’ the US?
If this law is passed for some reason, it will go all the way to the “Supreme Court”…If it is not shot down before then.
“The legislation is a re-write of the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act which failed to pass in 2010.”
I think some here are missing the point.
– We don’t all operate according to laws in America
– There is an entire World of business operating in their own jurisdictions
– US don’t exactly have the best record of getting it right
– You’d see it different if you ended up in a court overseas for no good reason
– The Internet is GLOBAL, NOT AMERICAN
It’s NOT about doing things legally at all. It’s bigger than that, try thinking past the USA. Technically it could end up being a big disadvantage to use a .com at the rate this is all progressing.
Bring on a truly global gtld .web anyone!
owen frager - says
Political theater in an election season. Think Calvin Klein and others like him will keep opening their wallets to candidates who have done nothing to stop their brands from being counterfeited online? Has anyone noticed how deeply in trouble Romney is versus this time last time. Watch those .TVs as I remarked in another thread here last weekend.
owen frager - says
an btw, Hollywood is Obama’s intravenous money drip
I don’t think it’s going to happen.
Thinking about it some more, this is not actually going to happen in any but the most isolated of cases. Its a sad reality that there are millions of people in various parts of the world who would be delighted to live in the relative luxury of a US prison cell awaiting trial. Just like the guy the other day who purposefully got himself banged up for some minor offence just so he could have 3 square meals and get deloused.
People living in all manner of shitty places could just save their corn ration, exchange it for 1/2 hour in the internet cafe (which you find even in some of the worst deprived places). Buy a .com for a buck, bundled with some free hosting, put your name and where you are located all over it, fill it with stolen stuff and wait for the feds to show up with your free ride and meal tickets.
Obviously ridiculous, not going to happen, the feds will quickly realise the ‘Im Spartacus’ potential of such insanity. The enforcement actions will be mainly limited to US citizens abroad.
If you read the underlying story in the Guardian you will see its about a British citizen who is engaging in activity legal under the law in the country he lives and his site operates which could be extradited to the US to face charges.
Someone he doesn’t seem to be “delighted to live in the relative luxury of a US prison cell awaiting trial” or longer if he is convicted.
– Yes thats kind of my point, I probably should have added US citizens and those of very closely aligned nations (such as UK). These are very much the exception, for every CEO of an ‘illegal’ gambling site or whatever, there a thousands of much shadier people, wreaking far more havoc, from internet cafe’s or even just a mobile phone in the desert.
Only those countries “very closely aligned” with the US would honor an extradition to the US for such types of crimes.
Typically those countries not really close to the US will not even consider sending one of its citizens back to another country to face criminal charges unless those crimes are for things like murder, rape and sexual offenses related to children.
Bottom line is that the US is making what i would consider an unprecedented move trying to hold anyone to the world to US law because the choose to operate their website under a .com or .net.
Seeing is believing, right? Let’s see it in action . . .
But they’re exploiting Hollywood films via US technology paid for by US citizens . . . at what point does the US say, “enough?” Plug the hole.
.com is proving to be less secure than some obscure ccTLDs…