Despite the demise of SOPA and PIPA, it seems that if you own a .com website outside the USA, it can be taken down. Canadian billionaire, Calvin Ayre has been convicted in the US on charges of online gambling and money laundering.
According to RT, Ayre and 4 colleagues have been implicated in almost $10 billion of illicit winnings paid out to gamblers on their online gambling website. They could face a possible jail sentence of 25 years.
This has sparked fears that anyone owning a .com domain could fall under US jurisdiction, no matter what their physical location is.
Under US Law, online gambling is illegal and Homeland Security seized the website, Bodgan.com and shut it down on Monday on a federal court order. Other websites owned by the Bogdan group, Bogdan.eu and Bogdan.co.uk, are still active
The Bogdan gambling group was founded by Canadian Calvin Ayre, who has been accused of operating an illegal gambling business between June 2006 and January 2012. He is also accused of orchestrating a money laundering conspiracy.
Internet gambling is legal in Canada, where Bogdan.com was registered. However, Homeland Security is justifying the shutdown by citing "the movement of funds from accounts outside the US” as the reason.
Calvin Ayre has criticized the charges claiming that the US has no right to the indictment given that online gambling is legal according to international law.
Calvin made an official statement on his website saying: “I see this as abuse of the US criminal justice system for the commercial gain of large US corporations. It is clear that the online gaming industry is legal under international law and in the case of these documents it is also clear that the rule of law was not allowed to slow down a rush to try to win the war of public opinion”
Online activists view this as the US extending its jurisdiction into the online .com domain, meaning that the US could prosecute anyone on the basis that activities that are legal in their country, are illegal in the US.
“Even though SOPA is currently in limbo, the reality is that US law can now be asserted over all domains registered under .com, .net, org, .biz and maybe .info,” writes Mark Jeftovic, CEO of easyDNS, a multinational domain-hosting company.