So, it’s not a good day for the freedom of information.
First, Vice figured out that Rep. Lamar Smith, who created SOPA, could easily go to jail if his law passes. You see, Rep. Smith broke copyright law. Creative Commons copyright law. Yeah. All he had to do was credit the photographer and he could use the photo without permission, but the representative must have been busy writing the bill because he didn’t do that. So, if the law passes and the photographer [strikethrough] feels like being a dick [/strikethrough] wants to protect his content, he can just petition the courts to take down Lamar Smith’s website, http://www.texansforlamarsmith.com/
You can read more about it here: http://www.vice.com/read/lamar-smith-sopa-copyright-whoops
Secondly, a British judge ruled that a 23-year-old man can be extradited to the US so he can face trial for linking to pirated content via a website, TVShack, that Richard O’Dwyer set up when he was 19. O’Dwyer has never been to the US. His servers were in the Netherlands. The only downfall for the kid was that his website ended in .com or .net, which is handled by a US company.
This is incredibly troubling. This means that it’s quite possible for the US to try to extradite other foreign nationals to be tried for local laws, even if they didn’t break the laws while IN America. This could very readily lead to other countries breaking extradition treaties with the US just to protect their own citizens. This means that we wouldn’t be able to extradite the more important criminals, like child molesters. The flipside is that with this precedent, even American citizens could be extradited to other countries if we broke any of their laws for the same reason as in this case. So, if someone used the .ly ending code to break a Lybian law (and if we had an extradition treaty with them, which I don’t think we do), that person could be extradited and tried in Lybian courts. Or for that matter, any British laws used with the .co.uk suffix.
And you know the stupid thing? If I linked you to the Guardian’s story about this, http://www.guardian.co.uk/law/2012/jan/13/tvshack-student-founder-extradition?newsfeed=true
and if the Guardian had once posted infringing content, my website, hollythelibrarian.com could be shut down for linking to piraters under SOPA/PIPA.
Scary, isn’t it?