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back to article UK student faces extradition to US after piracy case ruling

A 23-year-old student is facing extradition to the US, and possibly five years in a federal prison, after the British courts ruled he should face charges of copyright infringement for linking to websites hosting pirated content. Richard O’Dwyer, a computer science student at Sheffield Hallam University who had never even left …

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Meh

@Chris

That is assuming that everyone who is in jail has been convicted without any reasonable doubt what so ever. Obviously this is the case for many trials, but there are also dozens of convicted "criminals" who eventually appear to be completely innocent.

Then what ?

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I'm not sure where you are from, Chris 228 ...

... but your lack of history lessons is showing. What you are calling for are commonly known as "labour camps". You may know them from such paragons of human rights as Soviet Russia and the Third Reich - you know, those organisations that the UK/USA (and many others, of course), spent millions of lives, trillions of pounds, and many, many years fighting.

Your ignorance is disgusting.

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Anonymous Coward

Does everyone feel better for venting their spleens?

If anyone really thinks he is innocent, grow a pair of balls.......setup a similar website, have it taken down by the authorities, then setup another doing exactly the same thing.

You'll get your opportunity to argue your innocence through the courts.

Do I have any takers?

No, didn't think so.

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Go

Remember Gerald Ratner

I think the apologists for the true criminals here - the racketeering thugs of the entertainment industry - should get things into perspective. As I understand it nothing was stolen or damaged, no-one was tortured or murdered, no little girls raped, no peasants set afire with napalm, no national economies destroyed, and probably no-one even out of pocket. In fact, it is increasingly becoming apparent to those with more than half a brain cell that such free distribution and publicity is actually beneficial to practically everyone involved.

By any normal human standards of morality the treatment of this young man, and increasingly thousands of others, is clearly outrageously vindictive and unjust - whatever the law may say. Of course we should rail against it, as loudly as possible. If the politicians who support this copyright protection racket can be made to feel more threatened by an angry mass of ordinary folk than by their media pals' lawyers then perhaps some sanity will prevail.

Do you really want to live your life in mortal fear of a cat wandering across your keyboard and clicking a link that will send you to prison? Are you happy that the entertainment industry has managed to turn 1000 years of carefully evolved Common Law on its head so that you are now presumed guilty of a crime merely on the unsupported accusation of a foreign record company? Then be cut off from what some enlightened societies are beginning to view as a fundamental human right - the means to communicate with your fellow men? Or even imprisoned for something that clearly does not pose a risk to the public?

Do you want your children growing up in such a repressive and unjust society? Do you want them living in fear of being dragged out of their beds at 3 am and thrown to the snarling, rabid dogs of the American media industry? With no hope of protection from a government whose sole purpose for existence should be to protect the people it governs?

If you do not want those things, then rail against this media mogul monstrosity with all your might. If a law is not made by those chosen by the people, for the benefit of the people, then it has no validity and should not be respected. And think on this: virtually every penny you spend on mainstream entertainment goes into the coffers of the very sickos who are trying to force this wickedly unjust society onto your children. So don't pay them. Starve them out of the equation. Then we can tell them who is allowed to make the law and who isn't. Remember Gerald Ratner.

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What's violence got to do with anything?

"As I understand it nothing was stolen or damaged, no-one was tortured or murdered, no little girls raped, no peasants set afire with napalm, no national economies destroyed..."

Nobody tends to be arrested for unethical and immoral behaviour on such a vast scale anyway. I certainly haven't seen Blair and Bush tried in The Hague for war crimes.

Nor have any of the arseholes responsible for the collapse of so many Western economies been jailed for their part in annihilating the livelihoods of _thousands_ of workers, now unemployed.

Your prisons are full of petty thieves, thugs, the occasional murderer and the few white collar criminals who were too stupid not to get caught. They are NOT full of warmongering ex-Presidents, Prime Ministers and MPs. They are NOT full of dodgy investment bankers and financial services employees.

They are full of the little people, not the _really_ violent, coldhearted mass-murdering bastards who lied to entire nations, whipped them into a froth of fear and terror and twisted the 99% around their little fingers to get them to vote and act and behave exactly as they wanted them to.

So shut the fuck and you tedious bloody hypocrites. If you REALLY cared about this sort of injustice, there are vast swathes of people in the Middle East and Africa who would like a word.

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WTF?

Why me?

I am not entirely sure why you are effing and blinding at me. Are you implying that I have no right to comment on the injustice I see here unless I have already solved all the other problems in the world? I think you are asking rather a lot.

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Megaphone

@SleepyJohn

"..Virtually every penny you spend on mainstream entertainment goes into the coffers of the very sickos who are trying to force this wickedly unjust society onto your children. So don't pay them. Starve them out of the equation.."

Couldn't agree more. There's a whole world of culture out there; film, television, art, music, literature. Huge amounts of it infinitely better than the production-line 'chewing gum for the brain' spewed out by the US music and entertainments industries. Get off your lazy arses and seek out some alternatives. OK. you might have to read a few subtitles occasionally, but at least you'll be free of the godfathers behind SOPA and their mafia methods.

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Anonymous Coward

Denial is not a good legal defense

As many pirates have learned the hard way, denial is not a good legal defense.

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IT Angle

Quid Pro Quo

So by extension if I take out and order against the CEO of a large American Company which has infringed my rights by illegally modifying software on my computer and others in the UK (said company has already been found in breach of European Law ) will he be extradited by Dave Cameron's legal team, TBH I don't expect Bill Gates to start sweating anytime soon

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Anonymous Coward

The .com in your domain name can put you under US jurisdiction, apparently

http://www.guardian.co.uk/law/2012/jan/13/piracy-student-loses-us-extradition?CMP=twt_gu

"In July the agency's assistant deputy director told the Guardian that ICE would now actively pursue websites similar to TVShack even if their only connection to the US was a website address ending in .com or .net.

Such suffixes are routed through Verisign, an internet infrastructure company based in Virginia, which the agency believes is sufficient to seek a US prosecution."

Glad I don't have a .com domain, though that's only because someone else beat me to it :-)

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Anonymous Coward

Want some cheese with that Whine?

That's what they'll be asking the boy blunder who chose to pirate.

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Trollface

AC's object all sublime...

He will achieve in time —

To let the punishment fit the crime —

The punishment fit the crime;

And make each prisoner pent

Unwillingly represent

A source of innocent merriment!

Of innocent merriment!

Flogging through the fleet. All hands on deck and watching the punishment.

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Anonymous Coward

It appears that England is just a state of the USA

and is under the thumb of the USA federal government. Personally I find that very offensive, and my heart feels for that youth and how his parental state was willing to sacrifice him to maintain their own sit of power. Who knows the good 'ol USA might spank them and send them to the corner to rethink their manners for not following orders. OMG, how his parents must feel....

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The quality of mercy is not strained. The High Court best remember that.

If he's incarcerated in the US, how will his parents visit him?

A convicted murderer would have more visitations than this Internet pirate.

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Childcatcher

No. The USA is the second Rome.

And England devolved back into Britianna.

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its time to take the country back

from these over priveliged oiks, most of whom will not have done an actual day's work in their puff.

They, our present crop of politicos, have somehow arrived in a position of power by default, ie as a career politician, whose raison d'etre is just that - to be in power. A new party would seem to be required, given the point at which we now stand viv a vis the existing mainstream parties.

Most recent elections have been won by a much reduced electorate compared to actual registered voters, not to mention the unregistered or apathetic or protest non-voters. I believe that the old guard can be swept away by a combination of the younger and older enlightened acting together as, for example, in a brand new 'Consensus Party', where a bloodless voting coup could spearhead a move towards a properly benign benevolent(place your adjective here) UK govt.

Just by reading the letters pages and comments in the national broadsheets/forums, one can garner a sense that there are able, competent professional people out there who would not succumb to the jobsworth mentality which infests much of the current political realm. New social media surprise electorate, anyone?? Made up of u and meand them..

just dreamin', I suppose...

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Anonymous Coward

UKIP ?

Type your comment here -- plain text only, no HTML

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Holmes

If just links are illegal...

...then what of anyone who linked to his site?

Are they next for a free Trans-Atlantic airplane trip?

Did they ever manage to shut down any of the sites to which he linked?

Or were they all hosted in the kind of places former Republican presidents buy real estate, countries without extradition to the U.S.?

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Another massive injection of cash for the Lawyers

Considering how long and drawn out this is likely to become the only people who win here will be the lawyers.....

I fail to comprehend how this can fall under US jurisdiction, the McKinnon case at least had the 'justification' that he hacked US computers so an offence occurred in the US.

Unless the guys site was hosted on US soil, the claim that the USA has and right to the extradition seems tenuous at best, as this legislation was set up to expidite the extradition of terrorists then surely it should be limited only to terrorists and not someone who offended the corporations.

Obviously our government doesnt give a shit but on the upside it will be a few years probably before he exhausts all appeals, so a government with ballls might repeal the treaty in the intervening years.

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Luck has nothing to do with it

This guy knowingly violated copyright law because he like many pirates feels he is above the law. He was wrong and now he will pay for his cavalier attitude. People who make bad life decisions end up dead or in prison.

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Go

The web is not the media industry's private warehouse

I suspect that like many others he 'violated copyright law' because deep down he knows that it simply does not work in this digital age, and that far from protecting artists it just lines the pockets of greedy, racketeering Mafia-style middlemen.

After years of controlling content distribution with a thieving iron fist these people have developed the curious notion that the internet is their own private warehouse, and anyone who enters it is a thief who has broken one of their windows. Like Canute's courtiers they cannot grasp the simple fact that life changes and if you try to stop it it will just roll relentlessly over you - laws and morality have nothing to do with what is happening here. Those with brains will accept the rolling waves of change and use them to float their boats. Those who are so addled with charmless greed that they behave like educationally sub-normal street corner gangster drug peddlars, will drown at no great loss to society.

The internet is not the entertainment industry's private fiefdom and no amount of quasi-legal thuggery will make it so. It is the people's 'digital atmosphere' and should be as freely available to us all as the physical one that we currently walk, talk and breathe in. Sueing folk for playing or listening to music in it will soon be seen as ludicrous - like sueing someone for playing music with their car window open, or sueing someone for walking past and hearing it, or even sueing someone for breathing in the air that you breathe out. (Sshh - don't give them ideas!)

Future generations will scream with laughter at the thought of these defective corruptoids trying to control the very 'digital air' that everyone will then be 'breathing'. And although we may find the idea of a 'digital atmosphere' radical our children certainly will not. They will view these ranting Luddites as rather inadequate buffoons peering round the back of a TV to see where the people are.

It all reminds me of the dockers kicking up a stink over the change to containerised shipping - not because they would lose their jobs apparently but because they could no longer thieve from the customers.

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"O’Dwyer gave evidence that TVShack “worked exactly like the Google search engine"

I never bought that line. Yes it linked to sites hosting pirated content, but it couldn't have worked just like an ordinary search engine because it was specifically targeted to pirated content.

I still don't think that means he deserves five years inside. What it does mean is that he is either hopelessly naive (a) if he does believe there's no difference between google and his site or (b) if he expects everybody else to believe it.

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Meh

Me neither

It was almost like "evil google", whereas google explicitly removes links to copywright material, his site did the opposite.

Although I have sympathy for him and think that extradition is inappropriate, part of me does recognise that he made a lot of money off the back of piracy, immoral doesn't mean illegal, I suspect that they would have left him alone if he hadn't switched it to a .cc

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@No, I will not fix your computer

How to refute your post in one line:

http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=tinker+tailor+torrent

Looks like their explicit bad link removal system doesn't work so well. The thing with all of these recent cases - this one, newzbin 1+2 - is that they really do just provide an index and a link to the content.

The newzbin one was even more extreme, on two grounds:

1) They provided links to content on usenet, a nebulous system where even if you have the link, you need a participating usenet provider to actually supply the content. Usenet is un-censorable in the US, they cannot go after Usenet providers, so they go at the indices.

2) All of the alleged links to infringing content are User Generated Content. This should mean that the Safe Harbor provisions of the DMCA act should apply, but apparently this only applies if you are google.

I would expect that the second argument would form the basis of this guy's defence, if he is extradited.

If you are looking for any sort of un-licensed media online, you can use a specific index site, like a torrent site or a newzbin-a-like, or you can use "google <name of media> <torrent|nzb>". Both work equally effectively, but one is legal and the other is not, which is hypocritical bullshit.

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PT

@tinker+tailor+torrent

"This should mean that the Safe Harbor provisions of the DMCA act should apply, but apparently this only applies if you are google."

No - DMCA is a US law, so its Safe Harbor provisions only apply within the US. However, if it were to be applied extraterritorialy, it would apply in this case. On the other hand, you could then be extradited to the US for region-unlocking your DVD player.

I predict that O'Dwyer will never stand trial anyway. If extradited, he will spend a lengthy period in jail on remand - possibly a couple of years - which will constitute his punishment, and then charges will either be dropped, or he will be offered a plea bargain to some misdemeanor. They will NEVER let this case come in front of a jury.

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Re: @tinker+tailor+torrent

TIf he's extradited and tried in the US, the safe harbour provisions apply. That appears to mean that he has committed no offence under US law (unless someone has served a DMCA notice on him, which I believe has not happened). Since he has committed no offence under US law, why the f*** is a district judge granting the US permission to extradite him for not committing an offence?

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Anonymous Coward

Think before you pirate

Then you won't need to make excuses after you are caught and sentences for your crimes.

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Anonymous Coward

What?

I think the existing copyright laws are restrictive and divisive in the Internet age, and entertainment companies are just using their muscle to try to make enough money before it all comes crashing down. I also think the extradition agreement that Blair and Bush set up is problematic in its scope, its bias and one-sided nature, and in its application and implementation both in the USA and in the UK for transfer of people in either directon between the two countries. It is also true that the USA justice system is corrupt in a different way to that of the UK justice system: in the USA, justice is free, but weighted by the amount of money available for individual's on either side of any dispute much more than it is in the UK (but this has become more equal over the years because of the changes brought about by UK governments and payment charges by legal people in the UK). In the UK, it is also the case that who you know matters more than in the USA (see the case of Fregie and fliming at Turkish children's facilities.)

With all that in mind, I'm not sure what this person's aim is. Unless he is protesting some or all of the above, then he should have had the sense to stop as soon as he was first shut down and raided. However, he did not, which suggests he is protesting about some or all of the above. (Or I could have got it wrong, and it is about something else.)

So, what is going to be his main object of protest? At first, it seemed to be issues of copyright. Now, it seems to be the extradition agreement and the disproportionate for of punishment for the same offence when comparing UK and USA legal systems. I think he is a bit confused, and basically did not thinbk things through in enough detail unless he is playing a very subtle game.

I think the extradition treaty agreement should be ended. The phony information often spouted at particular times by politicians when it suits their purposes about a "special relationship" is only special in so far as the USA asks, and we deliver. It has made out own country a much more dangerous place on the USA's behalf, and we seem to get little back in return except the initiation of an immense financial crisis (fueled also by home-grown incompetence, it must be said). Time to tell the USA, quietly and firmly "No!".

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"Unless he is protesting some or all of the above, then he should have had the sense to stop as soon as he was first shut down and raided. However, he did not, which suggests he is protesting about some or all of the above."

Protesting? Where do you get that idea? When he started up again after being raided and shut down was that he was stupid. Like others before him he seemed to thing that because his interpretation of the law told him he was doing nothing wrong then he would get away with it. There was no hint of any protest in his actions, just greed.

Oh and you seem to be another one of those people who rants on about the extradition agreement being one sided without giving any information to back up your claims. Exactly why is the agreement one sided? Oh and don't give me that shit about the US not having ratified it.

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Anonymous Coward

Convincing enough

If only one party agreed (ratified), then it can not be "fair".

However, I find it fascinating that anyone who believes he lives in a "democracy" or claims to believe in such should support the extradition of people to another country for breaches of that country's civil or crimina law, regardless of the person's guilt in his own land and place where he committed the act.

What was that about "no taxation without representation"? How much more must this be valid for subjection to laws made in countries in which one has got no vote or access to the law-making process?

I take it that the American strictures (in some states anyway) against having alcoholic drink exposed to view in public now apply in Britain. Perhaps we can get a few Americans for carrying guns in public. Some of their television pornography is definitely against UK law.

Presumably there is some large prison in the USA full of Chinese, Taiwanese, Korean, Russian and other counterfeiters of goods, music and film DVDs, who made serious money using proper manufacturing systems.

I hear that within the United States, laws in some states do not exist in others and can not be enforced outside that state. UK must be of less account than even a tinpot, broke American state.

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Bronze badge

Both sides have ratified the agreement. If you believe that they haven't then you have done absolutely no research and don't understand the subject at all. As a result I can't be bothered to read beyond your first sentence.

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Unhappy

Jeez, just think, one honest politician, anywhere in the world, could probably change the entire world

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PT

One Honest Politician

No - he would be shot before he had the opportunity.

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Big Brother

The thin end of the wedge...

I suppose that we should be happy there was no extraordinary rendition... in THIS case.

US bounty hunters, 'agents', and even Mossad have been snatching Canadians off the streets for decades with impunity. It has rarely occured to supress terrorism. This has happened under every gov Party that has held power in Canada.

Does anyone remember that the US actually invaded Panama and killed over 2,000 unarmed civilians in the first 24hrs on a trumped-up out of jurisdiction federal arrest warrant against Noriega for supposed drug dealing? They also originally tacked on a RICO charge (US internal state border crossing racketeering offence) even though he had only ever been there on State visits, but that mysteriously disappeared from the docket the day before trial without any formal withdrawal. The entire Canal Zone from end to end is now dominated by US corporate control. They justified this all to the press in the end as a strategic necessity for US/UK naval dominance, and nobody batted an eyelash about it.

Even the current supposedy Democratic US VP Joe Biden has openly stated his government's intent to use every means necessary to enforce their agenda on the electronic frontier AND the world stage. The recent reduction in US forces funding has been perfectly coordinated with an equal increase in funding for international UN/NATO led sub-contracting. You don't really believe that they flew pallate loads of billions in US currency into Iraq, just to lose track of it? Then there is the massive increas in the IMF funding aimed at garnering financial control of any smaller State they may be able to get hold of. Manufactured financial collapse is rather old-school - like late 16th early 17th century, old.

In the Great White North we had a recent Supreme Court ruling that linking to a site doesn't equate culpability for content. Whew!

It doesn't really matter now that we have George Bush wannabe PM Steven Harper implementing total warrant-less backdoor access to ISP's hardware for our national police. You know the ones, the Really Corrupt Masquerading as Police (RCMP) who like to taser people to death for argueing with them in airports. Their international spying record goes back to the original formation of this country and has often rivaled the KGB for style and execution. They split into the CDN Security Intelligence Service, so they could have a clearly defined unit to deal with international and internal supression, not just the street thugs in blue now.

Good Old Stevo' also wants to make CDN ISP's keep comprehensive electronic records of ALL packet transmissions indefinitely! I'm not quite sure that he's thought through the logistics of maintaining such a monumental amount of data - onsite. It boggles the mind, really. Then again, he did appoint a Christian Creationist as the Minister of Science.

There's a really nifty new draconian CDN Copyright Enforcement Act in the pipes. He also wants to make anyone growing more than six pot plants or baking with it go to jail for a minimum sentence of 3-5yrs and a maximum of life=20yrs as drug manufacturers. No more Granny's Favourite Brownies on a Sunday afternoon. He needs to justify the planned building of 8 new Mega-Prison's, even though the crime rate has steadily been declining for decades. Even manslaughter only carries a 1-3yr sentence in this country. Having worked IT in the belly of the beast, I have been privy to some extremely disturbing trends going back decades. Importing US prisoners under corporate contract is just one of the 'arrangements' that was included in the NAFTA.

The adoption in principle of NAFTA based 'rightness' was made by the UN and EU back in late 1995. What do you think all of the WTO/G8/G20 protest fuss has been about? Facebook guru Mark Zuckerberg was an instrumental BHZ (think IBM-HAL) agent in the dismantling of the anti-WTO movement in Seattle back in the late 90's - early 00's. He was rewarded for his loyalty with the NSA contract to implement their social data-mining initiative. The recent covert initiation of the international facial recognition database service has been going quite smoothly. The self-monitoring TimeLine was needed to assist less than technically competent agents organise their chronological searches. Too bad they never expected people to be so willing to adopt it and have been stumbling over storage limitations and are now suffering from complexity creep.

The wedge was set a long time ago and this poor young man is just a minor example of what is intended to unfold. Don't be too quick to label me a foil-hatter. Until you have seen/experienced events for yourself firsthand, it is a natural psychological necessity to maintain faith in the 'System'. That's the effect that's been relied on throughout history to facilitate corporate imperialism - and several genocides.

We can at least rely on entropy to prevail... eventually.

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Big Brother

"Manufactured financial collapse is rather old-school" ??

@ThatHairyCanadian -- interesting post from someone apparently at or near the coalface. But we Europeans should not feel too smug about it all.

- "Then there is the massive increase in the IMF funding aimed at garnering financial control of any smaller State they may be able to get hold of. Manufactured financial collapse is rather old-school ..."

Not too old for the EU apparently, which seems to be pulling it off with ruthless efficiency at the moment. We should not be misled by its patronising, emotive brainwashing into believing that this authoritarian behemoth is any more answerable to, or concerned for the people than the USA. Ask the Greeks or Italians, who have just had their elected governments turfed out by the unelected Eurocrats and replaced with appointed bagmen (on the excuse of imminent financial collapse!); and these are not Mickey Mouse drug-running Third World States.

None of these major governments is on the side of the people. Which brings me back to my early post about mass worldwide civil disobedience. I really see no other solution. We need to somehow reassert the notion I grew up with in England that the State is the Servant of the People, not their Master. And the internet is probably our best tool for doing this, which is why things like this matter.

The questions of copyright or profit are trivial. The really important thing is for the people to wrest control of the internet from the governments and corporations, by any means possible. And for such anarchy to work we must tolerate some things we perceive to be bad on the basis that we do not know what good might ultimately spring from them. We must also be seen to thumb our noses at authority whenever we possibly can. The object of the exercise should not be to agonise over commercial morality but to abolish authoritarian manipulation of the internet.

An internet that is allowed to evolve freely and naturally could effectively become an independent entity far beyond the control of any organisation - as free, I argue in a later post, as the very air we breathe. I think most of us here would benefit from and applaud that.

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Childcatcher

@ SleepyJohn

If you need a criminal lawyer.....

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Flame

British politicians standing up for British people?

As far as justice is concerned, the USA ought to be considered a pariah state by any European country.

The draconian "3 strikes" legal framework, means a person can be sentenced to 20 years in prison for stealing a postage stamp.

Once in prison, they are forced to produce saleable items and if they refuse are kept in solitary confinement, despite the supposed constitutional protection against cruel and unusual punishment. The saleable items are sold by various corporations who of course pocket the profit. This is slavery.

And of course, there is the systematic use of torture in Guantanamo.

Only proven terrorists should be liable for extradition to the USA (bearing in mind the USA funded anti-British terrorism for years).

Of course this will depend on British politicians standing up for British people.

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If the state isn't on my side when I have a dispute with a foreign power, then I have no moral obligation to be on their side when they have a dispute with a foreign power.

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Don't forget the NDAA - Obama can now have the military arrest anybody, anywhere in the world, for any reason (including US citizens in the USA) and detain them indefinitely without trial or access to a lawyer.

http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=ndaa detention without trial

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Anonymous Coward

I download therefore I am

TPB or not TPB

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This post has been deleted by its author

Flame

Really?

Just what is the problem with prosecuting someone who has apparently broken the law?

Also, let us not forget that this is not some poor little student who was just trying to be helpful or altruistic - he made money out of his site.

I may not be as 'liberal' as the majority of poster's here, but ... get a life! The kid tried to make some quick cash and got caught.

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Facepalm

What were the Governments words

We won't abuse these laws, as only bad governemt would do so. We will only use them in the hunt for terrorists Aherm Boll*cks

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Go

So what's the deal if he runs off to another european country?

I assume the rest of them don't have the same extradition treaty and that he could legitimately move there.

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Silver badge

Unfortunately ...

... that is what the European Arrest Warrant is designed to cover, amongst other things.

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The usual argument

"It's just like Google"

Except he categorised search results by the names of TV series, or films. Exactly the same reason why Newzbin arguing the same thing doesn't work, because they had categories like "PS3 games" and "Windows applications". It's clear that the aim of both sites was to facilitate the accessing of copyrighted material without paying, even to an idiot.

If they weren't so fucking organised these warez sites would be untouchable

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If he made $23000, how much did Google make from posting the adverts that funded his website?

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User Generated Content. Content rights owners should submit a DMCA takedown for each indexed location that allegedly breaches copyright.

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Anonymous Coward

Phuck around, go to prison

Now this "student" is about to get a real education. Living in denial can be very painful. Ask the prison population.

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