Friday, January 20, 2012

Oops! I just broke US law. Hope they don't extradite me.

When I click the 'Post' button on this blog I will have broken US law by linking to a site which hosts copyright material. Now that's not illegal in the UK where I live but the US has some pretty stupid laws and that is one of the things that they've made illegal. 

Richard O’Dwyer a a British computer student has just fallen foul of that law. He produced a website which listed sites where pirated material could be downloaded. Note he didn't host any of this pirate material on his website, he just linked to sites which do host it. The US says he made money from his website and that's against US law.

The US applied to have him extradited to stand trial in the US and used the Extradition Act, passed in haste by Labour in 2003, designed to allow terror suspects to be extradited. Richard and his family naturally objected but the law is the law and final approval now rests with the Home Secretary.

Now let me invite you to watch a video at this point which tells you about this. It's about ten minutes long so watch as much as you feel you want to, then I'll explain how I'm breaking the US law.

Did you find that interesting? It's hosted on YouTube and I just linked to it from my blog ...and that's where I broke US law!

You see there are often copyright videos hosted on YouTube. They are not hard to find and most shouldn't be there because the person who put them there did not have the permission of the copyright owner to do so. Now YouTube is aware of this problem and frequently takes down this pirated material but as fast as they do so, someone posts it back up.

Now linking to YouTube isn't illegal. You tube even were nice enough to give me the code needed to embed it in my blog. The problem is I posted it on blogspot and down the sides of this post you'll find some advertisements from which I make a few coppers a month. Heck just to make sure I'll post an advertisement for some of the books my wife and I write below:
Take a touch of humour, add some genetic science and nanotechnology. Steep with conspiracy and stir in murder and despair. Season with romance between three people in a secret location. Garnish with morality.
The result is 'A Vested Interest', a novel series by John and Shelia Chapman
Now if someone decides to buy one of these items advertised here (Please do!) then I will have made money from a web page which has links to sites hosting pirated material and that's against US law!

This is a classic example of  'reductio ad absurdum' or taking something to a ridiculous but logical conclusion. It's a stupid US law and the UK allows another stupid law to compound it.

Now SOPA and PIPA...?

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