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Friday, 2 March 2012

SROC moves from .com web domain in protest at jurisdictional over-reach

I blog openly, provide contact details and try to remain as accurate as my source information allows.  I take care to respect copyright despite having a lot to say about reform of copyright.

Whilst I don't expect to ruffle too many feathers state-side, as the US is after all the home of the 1st amendment, I live and work in the UK and expect to abide by UK law.

Importantly I also expect to be judged for my online output by a UK court, should it ever come to that.

US authorities have over the last year or so made several moves to assert a jurisdictional claim over .com, despite this being a domain of global significance popular with websites around the world.

I'm actually relatively comfortable with US authorities seizing control or taking down .com domains when in possession of a valid court order.

Clearly there are some limits to what can and can't be published, and few would argue against a robust system of oversight to remove illegal content which respects due legal process in order to protect free speech and guard against unwarranted take-downs.

However I am worried about moves to force global websites to submit to US law and in particular extradite website owners to the US to face American justice.

Currently Richard O'Dwyer and Kim Dotcom (megaupload) are fighting extradition to the US because of content published on a .com domain.  Here's a detailed analysis of the jurisdictional claim in the O'Dwyer case.

It's also worrying that gambling websites, legal in the country where they're hosted, can be shut down by US authorities.  Whether or not gambling execs from Canadian-run bodog.com will be extradited is yet to be seen.

As I said at the start, I expect to follow the law of land where I live, not the country laying notional claim to a top-level web domain popular around the world.

Whilst the move is purely symbolic - I don't plan to fall foul of the law and I am after all still using California-based Google Blogger to host this blog, for the time being at least - I think it's worthwhile.

Oh, and sroc.co.uk was taken, so I went for .eu



  1. I've just registered a .eu, but in haste did so via a US registrar, even though I'll pick a non-US DNS provider and web/mail hosting company. I'm planning to transfer the registration, but any major setup is likely to put at least some DNS and possibly SMTP backup servers on US soil, surely?

    1. It's not really a case of US soil, as the whole system is massively distributed anyway. I've done a lengthy examination of the claim in the O'Dwyer case here: http://www.sroc.eu/2012/01/close-examination-of-us-claim-of.html


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