Is Everyone in the World is Subject to US Law?
The US is having a problem with its Megaupload case. Before they can continue with the prosecution they have to convince a judge that individuals who have never set foot in the United States are subject to US law.
“The Government explains that the DoJ’s letter begins with “a bedrock principle of criminal law, one that applies equally to both organizations and natural persons,” citing the following passage:
“When a person located abroad violates the laws of the United States, that person may be held criminally liable despite the fact that the person has never set foot in the United States.”
In other words, every person and company in the world should comply with U.S. law. The Government explains that some companies including Megaupload are exploiting “Rule 4” to remain unaccountable. However, the Government tells the court that the suggestion to improve the law doesn’t mean that Megaupload can’t be prosecuted.”
Read the full explanation here.
This puts the judge in the case in a position of setting a potentially dangerous precedent regardless of the ruling.
If he rules in favor of the government it means that any individual or corporation in the world is potentially subject to prosecution in the US for violating US law, even if they’ve never been to the US. This could quickly become more dangerous if other countries follow suit, making any individual or company subject to prosecution for violating the laws of any country, anywhere.
If he rules in favor of Megaupload it means that internet companies are immune from US law, even if the majority of their customers are based in the US so long as they are located somewhere else.
Grab your popcorn, this should be interesting to watch.