Linking to copyrighted material makes you a US terrorist

There are signs that the US taxpayer is footing the bill for Big Content’s anti-copyright crusades.

Anti-terrorist police force Homeland Security has arrested a a New York website owner, claiming that his linking to copyrighted material was a crime.

Brian McCarthy’s domain name was seized after his site linked to others containing dodgy copyrighted material.

The criminal complaint claims that McCarthy did engage in the “reproduction and distribution” of copyrighted material, but it is never clear that he actually reproduced any of the specified broadcasts. What he did do was link to other sites which did nick content.

But what is perhaps alarming is that a US enforcement body, which is supposed to keep the US safe from terrorists, is being used as the boot boys to enforce copyright law.  Homeland Security was set up to protect US people from terror theats and not to act as a private police force for Big Content.

What is also alarming is that Homeland Security has a radical view of what is defined as copyright infringement. It means that everyone who’s sent around a link to a copyrighted YouTube video is a criminal.

In a comment the Phoenix Independent Examiner’s Chris Greenwood expressed concern about what the case meant for freedom of expression on the internet.

Certainly it sends out a message that the government is prepared to use all the weapons in its arsenal to defend Big Content’s business model. We wonder if there is a plan to send in troops to nations which have lax piracy laws.