If you’re okay

UPDATE: This guy’s lying. He was running his own livestreams with his own advertising of pay-per-view events, which is just plain stupid. Sorry I got suckered into linking to this story!

With the feds acting as private security guards for media companies, this story won’t bother you. But for the rest of us, read on:

Brian McCarthy ran a website, channelsurfing.net, that linked to various sites where you could watch online streams of TV shows and sports networks. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) seized his domain name in late January. And in an unprecedented move, on Friday they arrested him and charged him with criminal copyright infringement — punishable by five years in prison.

Demand Progress just obtained a copy of the complaint that DHS and ICE made against him — and they do not 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. Prosecution for merely linking to a site that houses infringing materials is without precedent. Under the logic that governs the arrest, any Internet user who sends around a link to a copyrighted YouTube video — or posts such a link on their personal blog — is a criminal. This new enforcement regime is certain to have a chilling effect across the Internet. The complaint may be found at http://act.demandprogress.org/sign/dhscomplaint/.

According to Aaron Swartz, Executive Director of Demand Progress, “This is another shocking overreach by DHS and ICE, whose actions as self-appointed Internet police are growing increasingly bizarre. We need to push back — and fast — before they try to lock up the whole Internet.”

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