Your Domain Name could get you arrested in the US

Whilst the internet goes mad about the arrest of Megaupload founders, and the extradition of TVShack’s owner to the US for trial, one point left us wondering about the freedom of the internet.

Below is the extract that started our minds thinking.

Since mid-2010, US International Customs Enforcement (ICE) has been following a campaign of domain name seizures for illegal websites called Operation in Our Sites.

TVShack.net was an ICE target but was not hosted on servers inside the US. The .net gTLD suffix is managed by US registry operator Verisign and ICE used this link as a basis for asserting jurisdiction to prosecute TVShack.net. (source)

What this essentially means is that any company using an ‘American’ Top Level Domain (TLD) from anywhere in the world is in the US jurisdiction and can therefore be charged with crimes or violations under their laws, no matter of where the company trades.

Whilst we, like hundreds of thousands of other sites, have nothing to really worry about, it just a big slap in the face of international law that you can be charged in a country that you are not trading in due to the fact that an American company owns the TLD you are using.

What do you think? Do you think there will be a shift away from ‘censorship’ and to non-US TLDs? Drop a comment below and let us know.

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