“Brian McCarthy ran a website, channelsurfing.net, that linked to various sites where you could watch online streams of TV shows and sports networks”, says a new item on Demand Progress.
Headlined ‘Newly Obtained Homeland Security Documents Reveal Radical Shift In Internet Policy’, a couple months ago the US government “seized his domain name and on Friday they arrested him and charged him with criminal copyright infringement — punishable by five years in prison”, it says, going on >>>
We just obtained a copy of the complaint … that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) made against him — and they don’t even allege that he made a copy of anything! Just that he ran what they call a “linking website” which linked to various sites with copyrighted material. Under that sort of thinking, everyone who’s sent around a link to a copyrighted YouTube video is a criminal.
This is another shocking overreach by DHS and ICE — a steamship-era department that’s proving once again that it doesn’t understand the Internet. We need to push back — and fast — before they try to lock up more Americans.
PETITION TO JANET NAPOLITANO, DIRECTOR OF HOMELAND SECURITY, AND JOHN MORTON, DIRECTOR OF IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT: There’s nothing wrong or illegal about posting a link to a website. This is another shocking overreach by DHS and ICE: You need to drop the charges against Brian McCarthy right away.
If you’d like to sign the petition, click here.
But why does it give me pause?
I run a site packed with links and I’m also the defendant in a Canadian defamation lawsuit in which ex-Green Party of Canada official Wayne Crookes claims linking to an article is the same as publishing it.
The Supreme Court of Canada is presently deciding whether to allow Canadians to continue to enjoy online freedom of speech, or whether to allow Crookes to lock it up, tight.
I said to Dan Burnett, my pro bono lawyer immediately after December’s hearing, justice Louise Charron pulled it all together when she stated >>>
It seems to me that if we accept the position you’re putting forth [Crookes' lawyer] , then no one should ever hyperlink. Maybe I’m a chicken, but I would not dare create a hyperlink because there might be some defamatory material, and I’ll be stuck defending myself in court, and I cannot afford it : We’re sentencing the hyperlink to death, it seems to me.
The Supreme’s decision could arrive at any time this year, but if Crookes wins, it’ll turn the net in Canada into a mockery with the repercussions ricochetting around the world.
By the same token, if US president Barak Obama lets ICE get away with its effort to shut down sites anywhere on the say-so of a tiny handful of vested interest corporations, the results will be the same.
Definitely stay tuned.
Jon Newton - p2pnet
First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win ~ Mahatma Gandhi
World War III will be a global information war with no division between civilian & military participation ~ Marshall McLuhan
Net access blocked by government restrictions? Use Psiphon from the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto. Go here for details.