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The Long Arm of American Copyright Enforcement Efforts Reaches Across the Atlantic

BY Nick Judd | Tuesday, July 5 2011

The U.S.'s Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency is going after website owners on piracy charges if they are using a .com or .net domain, regardless of where they are in the world or where their sites are hosted, The Guardian of London reports:

As long as a website's address ends in .com or .net, if it is implicated in the spread of pirated US-made films, TV or other media it is a legitimate target to be closed down or targeted for prosecution, [ICE Assistant Edputy Director Erik] Barnett said. While these web addresses are traditionally seen as global, all their connections are routed through Verisign, an internet infrastructure company based in Virginia, which the agency believes is sufficient to seek a US prosecution.

The Guardian reports that these comments follow the case of Richard O'Dwyer, 23, a British student who was arrested at the request of U.S. law enforcement and now faces extradition. The servers for O'Dwyer's website, TVShack, a link aggregator for the locations of pirated versions of film and television shows, were not hosted in the U.S. either.

Last November, ICE, part of the Department of Homeland Security, seized domain names in use by websites that were allegedly facilitating copyright infringement. Last month, DHS asked Mozilla to pull down a third-party browser add-on that redirects users from those seized domains to websites still up and running.

Meanwhile, as the British courts sort out what to do with "privacy orders" — which courts prohibit discussing matters as far-ranging as the dumping of toxic waste and the alleged affairs of a famous footballer — Twitter has agreed to name Twitter users who violate those privacy orders if legally required to do so.

(via techdirt)