U.S. Threat of Extradition Has Some Web Admins Running Scared

Paul Lilly

It might seem like the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is on a wild goose chase if it hopes to extradite foreign .com and .net Web admins accused of copyright violations simply because their sites are routed through Verisign, a registry service based in Virginia. But one thing ICE's tactics aren't proving are futile. It seems, for now at least, that the threat of extradition is causing once defiant Web admins to second guess whether keeping their sites alive is really worth the risk of going up against the U.S. government.

Back in May, ICE seized Re1ease.net, a site that linked to movie and TV shows. The site came back with a new domain, but the prospect of being extradited to the U.S. isn't one that's particularly appealing to its admins.

"At the time I was happy the domain was all that was taken. If we had of lost the server I imagine we would have just quit there and then," site admin PiraCee told TorrentFreak .

RE1_VOD, another Re1ease admin, said he was surprised ICE targeted their site when much larger ones of the same nature are still out there. RE1_VOD explained that he "registered several domains being stubborn not to be taken offline" and that it was exciting to be one of the first to add content and beat competing sites. But as advertisers started to withhold payments and the threat of extradition looming large, Re1ease's admins say it's just no longer worth the effort.

"We would reply to DCMA requests but just one email from copyright holders to hosts would result in them turning the website off," RE1_VOD told TorrentFreak. His partner agrees, adding that "Apart from the effort that was to be involved, personally, the whole thing killed my passion for the project. What started as something fun simply wasn't anymore."

PiraCee admits that the threat of extradition is "one of the main reasons for the closure... The risks outweight the pros of running a site like Re1ease now, then when we head about TVShack, we thought enough is enough."

Whether or not ICE will be successful in extraditing foreign Web admins like Richard O'Dwyer, who runs TVShack, remains to be seen. But for now anyway, the threat of extradition appears to be enough.

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