Internet Law

Server location key to jurisdiction in international cases, US Attorney asserts

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U.S. Attorney Neil MacBride of the Eastern District of Virginia is claiming jurisdiction to pursue cases against alleged international copyright pirates and out-of-state securities fraud defendants, citing the location of computer servers in his district.

The Associated Press explains. MacBride says he has jurisdiction over most securities fraud cases because the servers for the EDGAR database of the Securities and Exchange Commission are located in Alexandria. He also claimed jurisdiction to bring charges against the Hong Kong file-sharing company Megaupload because many of the servers storing its content were leased from a northern Virginia company.

A lawyer for Megaupload, Ira Rothken, has questioned prosecutors’ theory that they have jurisdiction in the criminal copyright case because Internet traffic flows through their district. He is claiming a foreign corporation without U.S. offices cannot be prosecuted in this country. Megaupload officials are currently fighting extradition to the United States.

McBride’s district is also popular in cases where international defendants could be tried anywhere in the United States because of the courts’ “rocket docket” reputation, the story says.

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