How The US Gov't's Bogus Extradition Attempt Of Richard O'Dwyer Is Destroying Lives For No Reason

from the are-these-people-proud-of-themselves? dept

We've been covering the absolutely ridiculous attempt by the US government (mainly ICE and the Justice Department) to extradite former TVShack admin Richard O'Dwyer from the UK to the US to face criminal copyright charges. This is absolutely shameful for a variety of reasons, including the fact that sites quite similar to O'Dwyer's have been found to be perfectly legal in the UK, and the US appears to be using highly dubious claims in its reasoning for extradition. Even worse, the Justice Department and ICE are clamped up tight on this one, refusing to make any on-the-record comments about this attempt to take a kid, who doesn't appear to have done anything against the law, and drag him across the ocean against his will to put him on trial for criminal charges.

TorrentFreak has the (admittedly, extremely biased) thoughts from O'Dwyer's mother on the whole situation. It's really heart-breaking to think that the US government can be so actively destroying this family, despite an incredibly weak case.
As the ICE agents left they shook his hand and said “Don’t worry Richard you won’t be going to America”. Actually “going to America” had never entered Richard’s head! The same day Richard closed down the website himself.

On attending with Richard to answer bail in May this year when we expected he would either be charged or questioned further, he was told by the Police that the criminal investigation in the UK had been dropped. He was then told that he was going to be rearrested as they now had a Warrant for his Extradition to the US!

[....]

I am most concerned about Richard being in jail in America with no access to his family or friends. Given the current economic climate along with the distance it would not be feasible for anyone to be able to visit him if he were in jail in the US. The idea of having to spend around £1500 or more in air fares and hotels etc. in order to visit my son for one hour in a US jail is ridiculous and prohibitive. This is in total breach of his Human Rights, rights which other non – British subjects are afforded in the UK even some who have allegedly committed serious crimes

[....]

From a personal perspective this trauma has totally taken over my life. I hold a responsible senior position as a Specialist Nurse for Terminally ill children. My job requires me to advise other professionals and parents regarding strong medications for children.

I need to concentrate on my job and to be able to function at a high level. Since this nightmare came into our family I have been unable to work due to being off sick due to the stress. My concentration and level of functioning have been greatly affected to the degree that I would not be safe to do my job.
You really should read the whole thing.

And, really, who is this helping? At all? TVShack didn't host any of the content. It's still very much out there, and tons of others are linking to that very same content, much of which you can find with a simple Google search. So destroying this family doesn't stop or even slow down the infringement. It does raise serious questions about the US/UK extradition procedures, which seem to (contrary to the official claims) totally ignore the fact that similar sites have been found legal in the UK already.

When this case first came to light, I reached out to folks at both the Justice Department and Homeland Security to get comments, and both refused, pointing me only to press releases about domain seizures. Frankly, anyone involved in this case should be sickened and ashamed of themselves right now. This is not some criminal mastermind. This was a kid who built a simple website, which didn't host any infringing content, and is now being railroaded and destroyed by a system because a few folks in Hollywood say so. The fact that ICE now doesn't even try to hide the fact that it's doing this at the behest of a few entertainment industry giants, who don't want to adapt to the changing marketplace, just makes the whole thing even more disgusting.

This has nothing to do with protecting "rightsholders." Such rightsholders could go after those uploading content themselves if they wanted to. This seems to be a case where the existing administration is trying to destroy this family for no good reason at all, other than Hollywood told them to do it. Sickening.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    The eejit (profile), Jul 13th, 2011 @ 3:42am

    Perhaps we can extradite the CEOs of Disney and 20th Century Fox for crimes agaionst culture. Oh, wait, that would be un American!

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2011 @ 4:09am

    Re:

    The CEO's? No. Their children.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2011 @ 4:15am

    Queue "He had it coming for breaking the law. It's hilarious to see you freetards squirm. The free brunch is about to end. etc." from the usual suspects.

     

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  4.  
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    John Doe, Jul 13th, 2011 @ 4:28am

    I don't understand the UK

    Why would the UK government allow the US to come over there and question and/or arrest this guy? Are we now subject to all laws everywhere? Are the Iranian police going to be allowed to kick down American doors to arrest porn distributors for violating Sharia law?

    This is about a slippery a slope as there is and we do not need to go there.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2011 @ 4:34am

    America's new slogan

    Government by the corporation, for the corporation.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2011 @ 4:44am

    Re: I don't understand the UK

    no, the US and UK just have a really stupid treaty about this that, technically, works both ways.

    at least according to my memory of my British friend's explanation of it. i don't really remember Why. probably a trade deal or something ...

     

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  7.  
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    btrussell (profile), Jul 13th, 2011 @ 4:59am

    Re: Re:

    I doubt that would affect the CEOs' much, if at all.

     

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  8.  
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    Bengie, Jul 13th, 2011 @ 5:05am

    Army

    I say we "extradite" these assholes strait to the front line in a war zone, let them know what being an "American" is all about.

     

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  9.  
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    John Doe, Jul 13th, 2011 @ 5:11am

    Re: Re: I don't understand the UK

    So maybe Iran, China or some other distant land can't do it today, but this sets a bad precedent. If OUR government will make treaties to hand us over to foreign countries for violating THEIR laws, we are in serious trouble. Somehow that has to be unconstitutional.

    It is one thing to violate a foreign law on foreign soil, but to be prosecuted for violating a foreign law from our own soil is ridiculous.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2011 @ 5:17am

    Quote “I took office at a time when many around the world had come to view America with skepticism and distrust,” he told world leaders. Misperceptions, misinformation, opposition to U.S. policies, and a belief that the United States acted unilaterally “fed an almost reflexive anti-Americanism which, too often, has served as an excuse for collective inaction,” Obama said.

    The administration has a long way to go I'd say...........

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2011 @ 5:43am

    The saddest part is the genuine terror it is wreaking on the family. Whether or not he is extradited damage has been done. How long will it take them to return to normal? How is it fair to destroy a family as retaliation for possible lost sales? This should disgust everyone.

     

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  12.  
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    The eejit (profile), Jul 13th, 2011 @ 6:04am

    Re:

    And yet, I get called a terorrist for "infringing" on copyrights. This has provable harm to the people involved and is little more than a corporate circus in order to 'stop piracy'.

     

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  13.  
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    ClarkeyBalboa (profile), Jul 13th, 2011 @ 6:14am

    Won't somebody think of the childred! Oh wait...

     

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  14.  
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    gorehound (profile), Jul 13th, 2011 @ 6:14am

    perhaps we need to all start doing our part to end the MAFIAA

    the war has begun and the 1st shots were fired at all of us.

     

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  15.  
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    JackSombra (profile), Jul 13th, 2011 @ 6:27am

    Re: Re: I don't understand the UK

    It does not work both ways even technically.

    Basically Bush and Blair signed this treaty after 9/11 to be able to extradite terrorists back and forth but both knew from the get go that the American part of the treaty (aka obligation to expedite extradition of US citizens to the UK) was 100% unenforceable under US law and would always remain so.

    But Blair signed it anyway (he always was Bush's b*tch) and since then only ever heard of this "anti terrorist" treaty being used against bankers, hackers and torrent tracker owners

    Though got a feeling the treaty will be scrapped by the British within the next year or two, quite a few politicos have spoken out against it recently

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2011 @ 6:35am

    Government Thugs

    Government thugs.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2011 @ 6:44am

    Re: Re: Re: I don't understand the UK

    ... got a feeling the treaty will be scrapped by the British....


    For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

              ——Second Continental Congress, 1776

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2011 @ 6:51am

    Wait, so his site was pulled by ICE, then he just got a new domain and kept illegally aggregating content?

    He pretty blatantly flipped the bird to law enforcement and is now being punished.

    If you want to say his family is being hurt, that's his own fault. If you want to blame others, how about looking in the mirror for creating a culture where his behavior is encouraged?

     

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  19.  
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    Nicedoggy, Jul 13th, 2011 @ 7:02am

    And the guys from ICE keep blowing the devil.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2011 @ 7:06am

    Re:

    I have to agree here. It gets back to the old "if you do the crime, you do the time" sort of thinking. He clearly knew what he was doing wasn't right, and yet he kept doing it.

    The "terrorizing" of the family is amusing to say the least. Almost anyone charged with a crime will feel the same way. Justice is not decided based on how much it will cost a family to fly to see the inmate in jail. That just doesn't happen.

    Further, if he is convicted, the UK government can ask to have him transferred to a UK prison to serve the sentence. The family can then save their precious shillings for another pint.

    It's whining, plain and simple, from someone who thumbed their nose at the law and finally got nailed.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2011 @ 7:16am

    Re: Re:

    If I was a UK citizen and its legal in the UK of course I would be thumbing my nose at US law.

    Did you forget that part? Kinda ruins your whole argument.

    Unless you think US law is the law of the world. Guess you got problems with geography.

     

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  22.  
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    Gabriel Tane (profile), Jul 13th, 2011 @ 7:25am

    Re: Re:

    Well, it took you long enough to show up. So help me with this one...

    An entity on foreign soil is running a business on foreign soil that is legal on said foreign soil.

    They have one pipeline into our 'soil' (the .com).

    ICE seizes that pipeline.

    The entity continues running its legal-on-its-own-soil business on its own soil.

    So... now we say that they're guilty of violating our laws and should be punished here?

    I said it before, and I'll say it again... our laws STOP at our borders (with the obvious exception that our own citizens are subject to our laws no matter where they go). No wonder the rest of the world views us as imperialistic thugs.

    You know... I'm sure you're guilty of violating at least one or two tenets of Sharia law... how about we extradite you to one of the countries that runs on it and let them punish you accordingly. Sound good to you?

     

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  23.  
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    Ninja (profile), Jul 13th, 2011 @ 7:25am

    Biased? O rly?

    Oh they will, check TF comments. They'll completely ignore the real point of the article.

    While I'm at it, Mike, something written by his mother will clearly be biased. However, in spite of all bias, even if Richard isn't a real good boy (hellooo, 23 yr-olds go drink with friends and do stupid things) and he's an adult, he is starting his life. This will ruin him. For nothing. And it could be ANY1. We've seen how MAFIAA sues nurses, retired grandpas, kids, mothers and whatever they can in their quest for copyright.

    Biased? Maybe. Wrong? No.

     

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  24.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Jul 13th, 2011 @ 8:03am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "... I'm sure you're guilty of violating at least one or two tenets of Sharia law... "

    You bring him to the city gate ... I'll bring the stones ...

     

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  25.  
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    The Incoherent One (profile), Jul 13th, 2011 @ 8:14am

    Precedent

    An example must be made. Going after this 23yr old individual whom does not have the financial means to truly fight this is much easier than an actual business who has actual financial assets and lawyers whom can fight this for them.

    From the conspiracy side I think (based on what I have read) that if the US government can get what it wants in this case that it can move forward with other much larger targets (which it actually wants), but they need to get their foot in the door first before attempting the same thing on a larger target.

     

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  26.  
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    Gabriel Tane (profile), Jul 13th, 2011 @ 8:37am

    Re: Precedent

    Right... now I'm going to go beat the shit out of a first grader to send a message to everyone else to watch out. Right... now I'm going to go beat the shit out of a first grader to send a message to everyone else to watch out. [cracks knuckles]

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2011 @ 8:45am

    Re:

    Party's over, freetard.

     

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  28.  
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    Gabriel Tane (profile), Jul 13th, 2011 @ 8:51am

    Re: Re: Precedent

    Wow... duplicate post within a post...

    threadception!

     

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  29.  
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    Boost, Jul 13th, 2011 @ 8:54am

    Re:

    He took the site down. ICE has been taking down websites without due process of law. They haven't had a fair trial to determine if what they were doing was illegal. The US constitution specifically says that is illegal. In fact, ICE took down a website hosted by a server in a foreign land; how can you say that isn't an illegal act? If ICE had physically sent agents to a foreign land and physically took down the servers, that would be an act of war.

    Check that out, it's called logic. Try it sometime.

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2011 @ 8:57am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Nice try, but fail.

    The website (under another domain) continued to be available in the US. Clearly, shutting down the domain was not enough to stop the illegal activity. Oh yeah, legal in the UK, not legal for someone offering services in the US.

    The US laws do stop at the border. But when your website / business crosses the border, you are subject to the laws.

    Don't think so? Consider EU privacy laws and US based websites. Think really hard about it.

    Stop trying to protect a pirate. He screwed up, he thumbed his nose at the US authorities, and now he is getting ready for his date with Bubba.

     

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  31.  
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    ethorad (profile), Jul 13th, 2011 @ 9:05am

    Re:

    I don't know - I think he's gone a long way to clearing up the misperceptions and misinformation people had.

    Now we know it wasn't a misperception. America really does have an arrogant belief that their rules should apply everywhere.

     

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  32.  
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    ethorad (profile), Jul 13th, 2011 @ 9:09am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: I don't understand the UK

    Quite. Maybe someone should point out that document to the US government. Seems they could do with reading that before dragging foreign citizens off to the US. Would also put Assange's mind at rest.

     

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  33.  
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    Michael Lockyear (profile), Jul 13th, 2011 @ 9:18am

    The land of freedom and liberty

    I would not expect anything less from a country a where you can actually go to jail for growing your own veggies! [ http://www.boingboing.net/2011/07/12/woman-faces-jail-tim.html ]

     

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  34.  
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    Gabriel Tane (profile), Jul 13th, 2011 @ 9:35am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "The US laws do stop at the border. But when your website / business crosses the border, you are subject to the laws."
    Well, that's a ridiculous claim... considering that the internet has no boundaries. That's why China tried blocking everything out... it knew there was no way in hell it would be able to get the rest of the internet to fall in line with what it thought should be out there.

    You're right that businesses have to comply with local laws... but guess what happens when they don't... they get kicked out. If the president of the Mitsubishi Corporation (assuming we don't own them yet) makes cars that criminally fail to meet our requirements, we don't demand he/she be extradited over here to face trial... we just block the import of the product. Again, see my comment about the Great Firewall of China.

    "Don't think so? Consider EU privacy laws and US based websites. Think really hard about it."
    Perchance are you talking about this? http://blogs.wsj.com/tech-europe/2011/03/16/non-eu-websites-must-operate-under-eu-privacy-laws/

    E xactly how is that going to be enforced? If Facebook 'thumbs its nose' at the EU's demands for compliance, is the EU going to demand the CEO be sent over for trial? And how do you think the US would react to demands for extradition of one of our citizens to face trial over running a website in a way we find legal? Just because the EU says we have to comply, doesn't mean shit if we disagree.

    "Stop trying to protect a pirate. He screwed up, he thumbed his nose at the US authorities, and now he is getting ready for his date with Bubba."
    You really do think that everyone in the world should follow our laws, don't you? How often do you thumb your nose at those extremist Muslims who think that YOU (personally, you specifically) should convert to their faith, pray exactly how they say, or face death? Every time you do, I want you to hear my voice in your head saying “stop trying to defend a Christian… you thumbed your nose at Sharia and Allah and now you’re getting ready for your date with a rock”.

    Every time you think our laws should apply to the whole world, I want you to think about how EXACTLY like those extremist Muslims you are when they demand that we adopt Sharia law.

     

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  35.  
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    Gwiz (profile), Jul 13th, 2011 @ 9:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The US laws do stop at the border. But when your website / business crosses the border, you are subject to the laws.

    So basically, you think that the entire internet is subject to US laws since pretty MUCH all websites are available everywhere in the world.

    That kind of thinking won't end up well since ANY country can claim that.

    Perhaps there is some country somewhere that believes the MPAA and RIAA are involved in illegal activity and since their websites are viewable, they should face those charges in that country.

    ...and now he is getting ready for his date with Bubba.

    Careful, your true colors are showing through.

     

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  36.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2011 @ 9:37am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The website (under another domain) continued to be available in the US. Clearly, shutting down the domain was not enough to stop the illegal activity. Oh yeah, legal in the UK, not legal for someone offering services in the US.

    The US laws do stop at the border. But when your website / business crosses the border, you are subject to the laws.


    I'd love to know how you expect websites run by individuals to block themselves from being available in specific countries. Blocking access by country is not as trivial a thing to setup as it sounds and are easily countered by proxies anyway.

    There's a reason it's called the World Wide Web.

     

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  37.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2011 @ 10:05am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I don't understand the UK

    Maybe someone should point out that document to the US government.



    Dear Madame Secretary of State:

    Her Majesty's government are in receipt of your July correspondence....

     

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  38.  
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    jimbo, Jul 13th, 2011 @ 10:33am

    sooner or later there will be mass retaliation over this. look at what is happening to Murdoch and his empire and his bid for BSkyB. the truth eventually comes out. when it does over the copyright industries, they are really gonna suffer. there will be a large number of politicians in the same shit pot as well!

     

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  39.  
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    oldskoolgunner (profile), Jul 13th, 2011 @ 10:49am

    ohh so when do you ship Mark Zuckerberg to Pakistan he was a pending arrest warrant out there.

     

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  40.  
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    Jeff, Jul 13th, 2011 @ 11:27am

    Re: Re: Re: Precedent

    Careful... don't go more than three layers deep...

     

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  41.  
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    Gabriel Tane (profile), Jul 13th, 2011 @ 11:50am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Precedent

    you now... I probably should go actually watch the movie. All I know about it now, I got from memes.

     

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  42.  
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    btr1701 (profile), Jul 13th, 2011 @ 12:25pm

    Re:

    > He pretty blatantly flipped the bird to law
    > enforcement and is now being punished.

    Since when is it a crime to "flip the bird" at law enforcement?

    And if he flipped it to anyone, he flipped it only to *American* law enforcement. Law enforcement in a country he does not belong to or live in and whose laws he has no obligation to follow.

    His own country told him his actions WERE PERFECTLY LEGAL.

    In any sane world, that should be enough.

     

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  43.  
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    btr1701 (profile), Jul 13th, 2011 @ 12:27pm

    Re: Re:

    > He clearly knew what he was doing wasn't right,
    > and yet he kept doing it.

    Well, sure, if you ignore the whole bit about the British courts having ruled that this sort of thing is LEGAL IN BRITAIN.

    Jesus wept...

     

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  44.  
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    btr1701 (profile), Jul 13th, 2011 @ 12:31pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    > (with the obvious exception that our own citizens
    > are subject to our laws no matter where they go)

    Even that's not true. It's against the law to smoke pot everywhere in the US (even if some cities don't go out of thewir way to enforce it). But if you travel to a country where it is legal to smoke it, you're perfectly free to do so. You're not bound by US law on the matter.

    Back when abortion was illegal, the same thing applied. People who could afford to would get on planes and travel to countries where it was legal and have their abortions. Nothing illegal about it.

    There are only a very few US laws that purport to bind US citizens worldwide. Laws against bribing local officials to gain a business advantage and laws against sex tourism.

     

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  45.  
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    btr1701 (profile), Jul 13th, 2011 @ 12:35pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    > The website (under another domain) continued to be available in the US

    You keep saying that, but the idea that merely putting a site on the internet subjects a person to US jurisdiction is asinine.

    Why doesn't this work in reverse? Why aren't Americans subject to every law in every other country when they put up websites? If I criticize the Holocaust online or say I love Nazis, can I be arrested and extradited to Germany for violating their laws against Holocaust denial and Nazi glorification? Do I lose my 1st Amendment rights to free speech because I said it on the internet and it's "available" in Germany?

    Your entire argument is specious, yet you keep repeating it like a mantra that's true just because you say so.

     

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  46.  
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    Jeni, Jul 14th, 2011 @ 6:47am

    Re:

    "He pretty blatantly flipped the bird to law enforcement and is now being punished."

    Hmm...I think you have that backwards. The "bird flipping" was done to him - by LE. He was not breaking any laws of his own country.

    And that "mirror" you refer to? Look in your own - what kind of culture are your kind creating where creativity, freedom of expression, and the kind act of sharing are stifled, silenced and restrained - and now considered "Illegal". That's against our civil liberties and against human nature. Your misguided whine-fest will never alter those facts.

     

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  47.  
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    techflaws.org (profile), Jul 14th, 2011 @ 10:30am

    Re: Re:

    And... there it is.

     

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  48.  
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    Mark, Jul 22nd, 2011 @ 11:03am

    Actually, he was not breaking the law by keeping his site up...

    I think you missed the part, where what he was doing was actually legal in the UK, and still is.

     

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  49.  
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    Gatto, Aug 20th, 2011 @ 2:13am

    Petition for Richard O'Dwyer

    If anyone is interested, there is a petition going around to stop his extradition: http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/stop-extradition-fair-uk-trial-for-richard-o-dwyer/sign.html

     

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  50.  
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    Jose_X, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 3:21pm

    Re:

    >> Perhaps we can extradite the CEOs of Disney and 20th Century Fox

    I hope the day is coming (maybe nearer to elections) where all of these people who supported these horrible laws will have that encounter with the law they felt they were above.

    Not that this justifies the anguish and torment others are going through now.

     

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  51.  
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    Steve, Dec 28th, 2011 @ 1:36pm

    Ummm...no

    >

    Ummm....no. This is a kid who was helping folks steal illegal content, whether he was hosting it or not. It's called being an accessory to a crime. Yeah, the U.S. government is massively overreaching here, but let's not pretend this guy is totally innocent in all this. He was helping people steal content.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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