Peter Walker of UK newspaper The Guardian reports that United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) is looking to extradite owners of websites it believes are breaking US copyrights – even if their servers are not based in America or are legal in their own countries. The rationale is that the use of generic top level domain names like .com and .net, administered by Verisign in the US, provides “nexus” thus giving them jurisdiction. At issue is the case of tvshack.net – a linking site run by British student Richard O’Dwyer. The domain already was seized by ICE. O’Dwyer now faces extradition. Walker quotes ICE Assistant director Erik Barnett:
“Without wishing to get into the particulars of any case, 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?”
In England there are calls to amend the extradition agreement with the US so that a UK judge can decide jurisdiction on individual cases..