Richard O'Dwyer Cuts Deal To Avoid Extradition To The US

from the sad-that-it-had-to-come-to-this,-but-good-that-it's-over dept

It appears that the ridiculous saga of the US's baseless criminal case against Richard O'Dwyer is now ending, as O'Dwyer has effectively cut a deal to pay a small sum in exchange for avoiding extradition and trial in the US. If you don't recall, O'Dwyer, a computer science student, ran TVshack.net, one of the sites that ICE and the DOJ seized during one of their many questionable censorship days, in which they seize domain names, in direct conflict with what the law requires. Then they went the extra step of seeking to extradite O'Dwyer to face criminal charges in the US. In this case, it was doubly bizarre, because O'Dwyer, a UK citizen, was running a site that was nearly identical to some other sites that had been found to be perfectly legal in the UK -- and one of the pre-requisites for a criminal copyright charge is that the person needs to be willfully violating the law. Given that other comparable sites were found to be legal, it's difficult to see how US officials could meet that bar. There was also the fact that the US was, as it had attempted in the Rojadirecta case, trying to create a completely made up theory of criminal copyright liability for secondary infringement. In fact, as we noted in other cases, US courts have found that what TVshack was doing was not infringement.

The O'Dwyer case continued to get plenty of attention, with widespread protests in the UK, especially after UK officials approved his extradition to the US. Now, however, the case will be wrapped up under what's known as "deferred prosecution" in which O'Dwyer will pay a "small sum" and the case will be concluded. You can see why O'Dwyer would do this deal after a year and a half of fighting the extradition. It's also not too surprising that the DOJ would agree to such a deal, given how it ran from other similar cases once it realized that there was competent legal help absolutely decimating its ridiculous legal theories. The DOJ had to realize that it was likely to lose badly even if O'Dwyer was extradited -- so now they get to save face and pretend that O'Dwyer paying a small sum is a form of "victory."

It's good that the case is over and that O'Dwyer can get on with his life, though it's ridiculous that any part of this case ever happened.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 9:44am

    Mike Masnick just hates it when copyright laws are enforced.

     

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  2.  
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    Wendy Cockcroft (profile), Nov 28th, 2012 @ 9:46am

    Deferred Prosecution

    Considering how doubtful it is that he even broke any laws, it's ridiculous that they didn't just drop the case. The whole thing has been a farce from start to finish.

    What concerns me is that O'Dwyer has been invited to the States to sign an agreement. Can he not do this at the US Embassy? What if they invent a reason to detain him? After what I've seen them do so far, I wouldn't put it past them.

     

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  3.  
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    Zakida Paul (profile), Nov 28th, 2012 @ 9:46am

    I find it amazing that terrorists, rapists and paedophiles have received far more protection in the UK than someone accused of facilitating copyright infringement.

    Why is copyright infringement so much worse?

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 9:50am

    it shows the power the US entertainment industries have and the lengths they will go to. they have now managed to screw the law in another country (linking was not a crime in the UK, it has become one now) as well as in their own. even though what he did was not a crime in the UK, he has been made to give compensation to an industry in another country. i could see that happening in reverse!

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 9:51am

    I guess Kim Dotcom will have to look for another cellmate.

     

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  6.  
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    MythicalFreedom (profile), Nov 28th, 2012 @ 9:53am

    /me gives hat tip to self for submitting this story.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 9:53am

    Re:

    Kim Dotcom will be the Prison Govenor whilst those at the MPAA will be the prisoners.

     

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  8. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
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    out_of_the_blue, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 10:02am

    Yet again, Mike is FOR commercial scale infringing.

    "The case was brought by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, which claimed the TVShack.net website earned more than $230,000 (147,000) in advertising revenue." -- I'd replace "earned" with "got": in no way did he earn any of it!

    Now, I know you pirates will say that a) Mike supports copyright, and b) second-hand income from knowing infringement is perfectly legitimate, but the first is sheer assertion in light of this piece, and you go wrong morally on the latter point.

    And by the way, it ain't over until he's BACK in merrie olde Englande: he's supposed to travel to US and pay up.

     

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  9.  
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    Jan, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 10:06am

    Re: really?

    No joke. There should be mass arrest/convictions over Copyright. How else do you fill corporate prisons, oppress a large part of the population and make up for all the profits lost when grass was legalized in Colorado and Washington State?

     

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  10.  
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    bob e skunky, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 10:07am

    Is that a 'copy and paste job ' blue boy ?

     

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  11.  
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    DannyB (profile), Nov 28th, 2012 @ 10:12am

    Re:

    It should be a capital offense to be accused of copyright infringement.

     

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  12.  
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    Duke (profile), Nov 28th, 2012 @ 10:13am

    Good for O'Dwyer, bad for the rest of us

    While this is undoubtedly a good thing for Richard O'Dwyer - assuming the US holds its end of the bargain - this is, once again, a very disappointing result for the rest of us. Settling the case (a "small sum" for millions in alleged losses?) means there is nothing stopping the US from starting this whole process up again, tomorrow, with someone else.

    Despite a (mostly) positive outcome (for the US, at least), there was no High Court trial, which means no precedent on whether extradition is possible in these sorts of cases, or even on whether or not what O'Dwyer (allegedly or actually) did is criminally illegal. It also means those of us in the UK are still none the wiser as to whether we can legally link to things or stream things without a licence, whether linking sites can be seized/shut down legally, or how broad criminal copyright law actually is.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 10:15am

    Re: Yet again, Mike is FOR commercial scale infringing.

    When you find the trillions of dollars that the RIAA/MPAA claim were stolen from artists, you let me know, out_of_the_asscrack.

     

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  14.  
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    DannyB (profile), Nov 28th, 2012 @ 10:15am

    Re:

    First, we are talking about alleged copyright infringement.

    The reason alleged copyright infringement is so much worse is because of the particularly heinous nature of the crime. Isn't it worth suspending some minor civil liberties in exchange for the security of ensuring properly licensed content?

    I hope that helps answer your question.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 10:16am

    Re:

    Because it involves imaginary harm, as opposed to actual harm.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 10:17am

    Re: Deferred Prosecution

    They couldn't drop the case because they'd look like fools.

    The best option, under these circumstances, is to give him "an offer he can't refuse". This way, he shuts up (diverting media attention from the potential embarrassment) and still looks like a criminal, and they get to look "tough on piracy".

    That is, assuming they won't nab him once he touches down on the US. That would just make the bad situation look much worse. I mean, law enforcement shouldn't have to be sneaky to enforce the law.

     

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  17.  
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    Gee, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 10:18am

    Re: Yet again, Mike is FOR commercial scale infringing.

    The music industry gets millions from ripping of artist that havn't even contracted with them. They do this in the form of compilations, and remix's.

     

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  18.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Nov 28th, 2012 @ 10:19am

    Re: Deferred Prosecution

    Yeah, where I in his shoes I think I'd not chance it by coming to the US, though the US embassy wouldn't be any better, given embassy grounds are considered the territory of the country that is on it.

    Were I in his shoes, I'd probably insist on a nice, neutral courtroom for any agreement signings.

     

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  19.  
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    DannyB (profile), Nov 28th, 2012 @ 10:20am

    Re: Yet again, Mike is FOR commercial scale infringing.

    TVShack wasn't hosting any content. Only links, which it did not create.

    TVShack was not breaking any laws in the country it was operated in.

    If TV were not such a messy mishmash of region and other restrictions, everyone would go to the legitimate sources. We just subscribed to Hulu Plus. It works on our tablets and computer browsers, and barely works on the TiVo, but isn't available on the Google TV box.

     

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  20.  
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    Shadow Dragon (profile), Nov 28th, 2012 @ 10:20am

    Re: Re: Yet again, Mike is FOR commercial scale infringing.

    I think he's only here for attention,because he so miserable and getting a rise out of people like us keeps him from commuting suicide.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 10:23am

    Re: Yet again, Mike is FOR commercial scale infringing.

    Except that in the UK, he wasn't doing anything illegal. If what he did was illegal in the UK and in the US I wouldn't have a problem with him being put on trial. Until then, I think the US should stop enforcing its laws on other countries.

     

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  22.  
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    Shadow Dragon (profile), Nov 28th, 2012 @ 10:26am

    Re: Re: Yet again, Mike is FOR commercial scale infringing.

    Bingo,Internet should be treated as international waters.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 10:31am

    Re: Yet again, Mike is FOR commercial scale infringing.

    It isn't legal. It's simply that the issue hasn't been fully adjudicated in a higher court yet.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 10:32am

    Re: Good for O'Dwyer, bad for the rest of us

    The chilling effect of the uncertainty is the main objective of the copyright holders, as it reduces competition from legal sites as well as illegal sites by making people think twice before putting up a link to any material. This case was kept going qas long as it was for just this effect

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 10:34am

    We the people vs ICE & DOJ

    The Charges
    Domain name
    theft,
    amendments broken 1st, 4th, Ect.

    As subject was NOT in the US or us citizen.
    Extortion

    ICE & DOJ should have to pay full costs of England & Richard O'Dwyer

    ICE & DOJ should be fined and charges brought against it for trying this grouse violation of Richard O'Dwyer a citizen and resident of england

     

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  26.  
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    Vidiot (profile), Nov 28th, 2012 @ 10:43am

    Re: Deferred Prosecution

    "... O'Dwyer has been invited to the States to sign an agreement..."

    Kind of like that cartoon where the coyote is "invited" to stand under the falling 10-ton weight.

     

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  27.  
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    Gwiz (profile), Nov 28th, 2012 @ 10:47am

    Re: Yet again, Mike is FOR commercial scale infringing.

    "The case was brought by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, which claimed the TVShack.net website earned more than $230,000 (147,000) in advertising revenue." -- I'd replace "earned" with "got": in no way did he earn any of it!

    Hey now. Aren't you the guy who bitches at everyone for not including sunk costs when talking about market prices?

    But, here on this side of the argument, you are essentially doing the same thing by saying "O'Dwyer got $230,000! OMG!" without even mentioning the cost of operating a website, like hardware costs, server space rental and bandwidth, not to mention any actual manhours involved.

    Awfully disingenuous of you.

     

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  28.  
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    Keii (profile), Nov 28th, 2012 @ 10:49am

    Re: Good for O'Dwyer, bad for the rest of us

    At face value, to me it looks as if they're taking a page from the patent trolls' book of settling for less than it costs to go to court.

     

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  29.  
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    Duke (profile), Nov 28th, 2012 @ 10:51am

    Re:

    "Terrorists, rapists and paedophiles" (only 2 of whom are usually criminals, convicted or otherwise) are entitled to exactly the same protection under the law as anyone else, including O'Dwyer.

    The difference is that people (including governments) tend to want to do significantly worse things to people in these categories, than to people merely accused of copyright infringement (the exception being the copyright enforcement lobby). As such, they need to rely on that protection to a greater extent, and far more often.

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 10:52am

    Re: Yet again, Mike is FOR commercial scale infringing.

    Durr hurr hurr! Dogpile!

     

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  31.  
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    Atkray (profile), Nov 28th, 2012 @ 10:53am

    Re:

    Because copyright has lobbyists, victims of terrorists, rapists and paedophiles do not.

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 10:55am

    Its a trap

    US doesn't need him to fly to America to pay a fine. They're gonna arrest that terrorist scumbag and torture him.

     

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  33.  
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    Richard (profile), Nov 28th, 2012 @ 10:56am

    Re:

    Mike Masnick just hates it when copyright laws are enforced.

    Abraham Lincoln just hates it when slavery is enforced.

     

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  34.  
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    Gee, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 10:58am

    I imagine the DOJ will slap a pair of handcuffs on him the moment he steps off the plane.

     

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  35.  
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    DannyB (profile), Nov 28th, 2012 @ 11:06am

    Re: Re:

    You are correct. But "lobbyists" is really too polite a euphemism for "bribed government officials".

     

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  36.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 11:23am

    Re: Re: Yet again, Mike is FOR commercial scale infringing.

    When O'Dwyer was arrested and charged the CPS dropped the case saying that there was NO evidence to get a conviction and so the case was dropped. Shortly afterwards the US persued his extradition stating that it was a crime in the US and so the UK Judge said that he could be tried in the US and the extradition was granted. However, extradition was appealed and appealed again and the appeal would be shortly brought before the High Court but now it seems that the extradition appeal will not be going ahead if this deal with the US goes ahead. So what O'Dwyer did was not a crime in the UK as the CPS stated that there was no evidence to get a conviction and so the case was dropped.

     

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  37.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 11:27am

    Re: Yet again, Mike is FOR commercial scale infringing.

    "The case was brought by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, which claimed the TVShack.net website earned more than $230,000 (147,000) in advertising revenue." -- I'd replace "earned" with "got": in no way did he earn any of it!

    Now, I know you pirates will say that a) Mike supports copyright, and b) second-hand income from knowing infringement is perfectly legitimate, but the first is sheer assertion in light of this piece, and you go wrong morally on the latter point.

    And by the way, it ain't over until he's BACK in merrie olde Englande: he's supposed to travel to US and pay up.


    While I agree with you, I do think it is over. Despite the moanings of the piracy apologists, our judicial system stands on integrity. There's no way they'd sucker this kid in and lock him up over such a small matter.

     

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  38.  
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    gorehound (profile), Nov 28th, 2012 @ 11:40am

    Re: Deferred Prosecution

    I would not put it past them either.Our Government is out of Control.
    Bunch of Rich Greedy Corrupted A-Holes in Washington.

    We who follow News intelligently will know that USA should never have hassled this young man.
    US GOV = FAIL

     

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  39.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 11:41am

    Re:

    ICE & DOJ should be fined and charges brought against it for trying this grouse violation of Richard O'Dwyer a citizen and resident of england

    Actually, I think it's more of a partridge violation.

     

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  40.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 12:16pm

    Re:

    Still can't read the writing on the wall there either uh. well, can't say I'm surprised.

     

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  41.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 12:23pm

    The pity of it all is that he would have won if he had fought this, but the money to fight such a thing as this is nearly impossible for the average guy to come up with.

     

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  42.  
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    DannyB (profile), Nov 28th, 2012 @ 1:41pm

    Copyright Cops for the world?

    From TFA . . .
    > "Case after case shows that our extradition arrangements must
    > be overhauled to allow people who have never left these shores
    > to be dealt with here at home," she said.

    That was good. But then this . . .


    > "It does not remove the underlying problem, though. The US
    > cannot be allowed to be the copyright cops of the world," he said.

    And that, my copyright maximalizing friends, is going to come back to bite. And hard.

    The world is beginning to take note that the US, and not really the government, but private industry is trying to act like some kind of worldwide police force. They are willing to extradite a British citizen to the US -- when he did not commit any crime in his own country.

     

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  43.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Nov 28th, 2012 @ 1:45pm

    Re: Re: Good for O'Dwyer, bad for the rest of us

    The it failed as soon as it began. There is no appreciable "chilling effect".

     

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  44.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 2:01pm

    I Think the World notices

    Murder by or assisted by the government while letting the guilty in government go free.
    the same with torture.

    The violation by the government of it's own laws.

    The government use of the same tactics as the mafia to get it's way at home and around the world. Note around the world the demands are normally higher the home

    The World just needs to say "NO More"

     

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  45.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 2:12pm

    Re: Re:

     

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

  46.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 2:23pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    It must sting that so few people visit the site you have to resort to spamming other sites with links to that shitty site run and written by that shitty guy who is no longer relevant.

    And no, copyright is not optional. EVERYTHING IS COVERED BY COPYRIGHT AT THE MOMENT OF CONCEPTION. What is optional is releasing it under various licenses, but it's automatically covered by copyright. Thus making it "not optional". Then again, Lowery, or Lowery lackey, facts never were your strong suit. Why let a thing like actual facts get in the way of trying to pass off that complete and utter bullshit writing and forcing it upon others.

    Lowery. Synonym for "douchebag hack who can't cope in a modern era and thus sits around yelling at others to 'get off my lawn'".

     

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  47.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 3:03pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    It must also sting that Honest Abe disagreed with rights and equality for blacks. So you're going to agree with no rights or equality for blacks, right, hurricane head up your ass?

     

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

  48.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 3:05pm

    Re: Re: Yet again, Mike is FOR commercial scale infringing.

    Yes, such a shame he didn't get the death penalty or something.

     

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  49.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 4:48pm

    if i said

    *** I POSSESS CHILD PORNOGRAPHY ***

    am i lying or telling the truth? you'll never know, nor will you care.

     

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

  50.  
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    Gwiz (profile), Nov 28th, 2012 @ 6:26pm

    Re: Re:

    Actually, I think it's more of a partridge violation.

    Either way, it still tastes like chicken.

     

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

  51.  
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    Some Guy, Nov 29th, 2012 @ 1:40am

    Re: Re: Deferred Prosecution

    Picky point: embassies are still considered the territory of the host country (e.g., the US embassy in London is British territory, not American); however, the country whose embassy it is has extra-territorial jurisdiction over it (e.g., American law applies within the US embassy).

    The distinction is important, as extra-territoriality can in theory be revoked unilaterally by the host country: during the stand-off between Britain and Ecuador over Julian Assange, the British government dropped some none too subtle hints that they might go down that route if the Ecuadorian embassy did not evict Assange tout de suite.

    [IANAL, much of this gleaned from Wikipedia, usual caveats apply, etc.]

     

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  52.  
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    Vincent Clement (profile), Nov 29th, 2012 @ 5:48am

    Re: Re: Yet again, Mike is FOR commercial scale infringing.

    All people want is simple access to content at reasonable prices. They don't want DRM. They don't want regions. They don't want windows. Apple has shown it can make hundreds of millions of dollars from selling 99 cent apps and songs.

    Instead of giving consumers what they want, the media gatekeepers lobby for more complex laws and regulations and demand that the government enforce those laws and regulations. Throw in old contracts that determine royalties and you end with crap like the DVD release of WKRP in Cincinnati - where songs were removed or replaced, lines dubbed over and scenes deleted.

    Hey media gatekeepers, I was really looking forward to buying WKRP on DVD, but when I heard that contracts, royalties and copyright 'forced' you to alter the show, I didn't buy it. The entertainment business has no one but themselves to blame for this mess.

     

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

  53.  
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    Gene Cavanaugh (profile), Nov 29th, 2012 @ 9:17am

    O'Dwyer persecution

    So, who wants to start a fund to reimburse O'Dwyer? That would be the perfect answer, especially if publicized.

     

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

  54.  
    identicon
    Dave, Nov 29th, 2012 @ 10:59am

    Someone's selling out

    Still don't like the sound of this. He shouldn't have had an extradition order in the first place and why should he have to capitulate for something not illegal under British law and not actually allegedly "committed" in the states? His site wasn't even hosted there, so, as far as I can see, what case has the USA against him, constantly insisting he was "breaking the law". Who's law? In who's country? The MPAA should also keep their noses out of things that don't concern them. The UK government seems to have rolled over once again. Why should he have to go to the states to "settle" this matter and what guarantee is there that he won't still be arrested on arrival, given the USA's recent dubious record of riding rough-shod over Kim Dotcom and seizing other people's domain names? The whole affair is a total disgrace and a whitewash from both governments.
    This comment is very pertinent:
    Open Rights Group chief Jim Killock said in a statement that it was "great that [O'Dwyer's] extradition request will be dropped",but he should not have been up for extradition at all. "Is the UK government happy for the US to assume jurisdiction over every UK Internet user? The government would do well to take a long hard look at its extradition arrangements with the USA," Killock said.

     

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

  55.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 29th, 2012 @ 5:24pm

    Re:

    yes he does.

     

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


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