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Author Topic: are UK companies subject to USA laws?  (Read 1639 times)
Ford
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October 11, 2013, 10:47:57 PM
 #1

As the title says: are UK companies/webiste subject to USA laws (or any other non US company)?

It seems more and more businesses are shutting their doors to US citizens, and surely this is not down to them just disliking US citizens for some reason. It seems to me to be owing to the US's laws on money transmitting / laundering.

However as a non US citizen i would not think these laws apply to me (as long as i abide by the laws of the country that i live in), just like my UK laws don't apply to USA citizens.

I am far from an expert on the laws of my own country (UK) so know even less about US laws.

Best Regards
Ford

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October 11, 2013, 10:53:16 PM
 #2

As the title says: are UK companies/webiste subject to USA laws (or any other non US company)?

It seems more and more businesses are shutting their doors to US citizens, and surely this is not down to them just disliking US citizens for some reason. It seems to me to be owing to the US's laws on money transmitting / laundering.

However as a non US citizen i would not think these laws apply to me (as long as i abide by the laws of the country that i live in), just like my UK laws don't apply to USA citizens.

I am far from an expert on the laws of my own country (UK) so know even less about US laws.

Best Regards
Ford
If your operating a business which serves US citizens and corporations you will be subjected to US laws.
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October 11, 2013, 10:57:04 PM
 #3

Apparently you can face charges even though you are not in america.

Here is an article from BBC news that explains a little more http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/19172065

[edit] a quote form that article

"Any sovereign, whether a country, province, state or municipality, has a right to expect that a company or person doing business in that territory is subject to the laws of that territory."

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October 11, 2013, 11:15:46 PM
 #4

Yes, if you want to avoid US law you need to:
- Not serve US customers (I recommend IP blocking)
- Require identification of users to ensure that they are not from the US and using proxy/vpn/tor to access your site (if your business is content provider with no login/members you're fucked)
- Host the site from servers outside of the US
- Do not use domains such as .com or any other US domain. Go with ccTLD, I believe .co.uk will be fine.
- Do not use payment processors or any other business located in the US. That includes gmail, paypal etc
- Host javascript/css such as jQuery & jQuery UI on your own server instead of using google api.
- Stay far away from CloudFlare, Amazon, ddos protection etc from the US
- Never travel to USA (obviously).
- Don't be an American (obviously)

If you do all this, I still believe you can be tried for extradition if you're in the wrong business, but at least then you have played all your cards right and have a good defense.

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October 11, 2013, 11:17:12 PM
 #5

End of USA might be good thing for the world. That stuff is scary.

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Ford
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October 12, 2013, 12:13:12 AM
 #6

Thanks Guys 'n' Girls

Thanks for the info, but it "really sucks" that i am also subject to US laws as well as UK laws (whilst in the UK).

I am a law abiding citizen of the UK and do (and fully intend to) abide by all UK laws.
It however tends to make things very difficult if i also need to abide by the laws of all other countries too, especially if them laws are in contradiction of each other or near on impossible to "register for" if i am a small UK company  Huh
This is hardly free trade between our countries, and does not encourage business within the US  Cry

I feel for US citizens if they are going to be continually blocked out of cool technology, that would (rightfully so) be perfectly legal in most/all other countries .

In my situation (and where i THINK) i may come under contradiction of US and UK laws is:
I plan to offer the sale of shares (more accurately "Virtual Shares" ) in my "business" that could then be sold on by the buyer (or they can do as they please with them).
(the shares that people by from us would be bought with BitCoins only)
As far as i am aware, the only UK laws i would need to abide by are "consumer laws/Sale of goods Act" and of course the UK taxation laws.

Would this be different in the US? would i need any special licences/registrations, etc? given that i am a UK business and only selling "virtual shares"?
I wont be specifically targeting any country, but my business/website would be available to anyone in the world, and ideally without any discrimination.

Any help/info anyone can offer is greatly appreciated!

Best Regards
Ford

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October 12, 2013, 12:16:08 AM
 #7

End of USA might be good thing for the world. That stuff is scary.

i see your point/anger, but it is not going to happen, and i also dont think it would be a good thing either.
Change and relaxation to them that are NOT criminals would be much better, as despite opinions, there are lots of good people in the US too.

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October 12, 2013, 12:24:46 AM
 #8

End of USA might be good thing for the world. That stuff is scary.

i see your point/anger, but it is not going to happen, and i also dont think it would be a good thing either.
Change and relaxation to them that are NOT criminals would be much better, as despite opinions, there are lots of good people in the US too.

The people are fair, their state isn't.
Ford
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October 12, 2013, 12:37:47 AM
 #9

End of USA might be good thing for the world. That stuff is scary.

i see your point/anger, but it is not going to happen, and i also dont think it would be a good thing either.
Change and relaxation to them that are NOT criminals would be much better, as despite opinions, there are lots of good people in the US too.

The people are fair, their state isn't.

It is the same with most/all countries i find (even the countries that are more anti USA (even more so in most cases)).

The people are generally good but the governments that run them are big business and dont want to loose any powers (generally them in government are good too, but as a whole and by trying to ensure things dont change (or to help a powerful minority), makes for some bad derisions).
It is siad we have democracy, but when there are only 2 (possibly idiots) that people can vote for (who are very similar anyhow) how is that giving choice to "the people"

I think Douglas Adams summed things up very well with this quote from Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy :
"To summarize: it is a well-known fact that those people who must want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it.
To summarize the summary: anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job."

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October 12, 2013, 01:28:26 AM
 #10

i see your point/anger, but it is not going to happen, and i also dont think it would be a good thing either.
They said the same thing about the USSR.

It's a different decade and a different Evil Empire this time around, but the ending will be the same.
Ford
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October 12, 2013, 02:06:13 AM
 #11

i see your point/anger, but it is not going to happen, and i also dont think it would be a good thing either.
They said the same thing about the USSR.

It's a different decade and a different Evil Empire this time around, but the ending will be the same.

But wasn't it the USA that "ended" the USSR (unofficially of course!) Wink
Maybe Russia will return the favour now then  Grin

Ford
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October 12, 2013, 02:08:30 AM
 #12

can i prompt of "back on topic" (although it is probably me that took it off topic  Undecided) if anyone has an answer to my below question please?

In my situation (and where i THINK) i may come under contradiction of US and UK laws is:
I plan to offer the sale of shares (more accurately "Virtual Shares" ) in my "business" that could then be sold on by the buyer (or they can do as they please with them).
(the shares that people by from us would be bought with BitCoins only)
As far as i am aware, the only UK laws i would need to abide by are "consumer laws/Sale of goods Act" and of course the UK taxation laws.

Would this be different in the US? would i need any special licences/registrations, etc? given that i am a UK business and only selling "virtual shares"?
I wont be specifically targeting any country, but my business/website would be available to anyone in the world, and ideally without any discrimination.

Any help/info anyone can offer is greatly appreciated!

Ekaros
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October 12, 2013, 02:35:07 AM
 #13

i see your point/anger, but it is not going to happen, and i also dont think it would be a good thing either.
They said the same thing about the USSR.

It's a different decade and a different Evil Empire this time around, but the ending will be the same.

But wasn't it the USA that "ended" the USSR (unofficially of course!) Wink
Maybe Russia will return the favour now then  Grin

USA lead USSR to crash. But in general unsustainable systems can't last forever.

I think USA will crash by it's own work. Or China's...

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October 12, 2013, 03:28:03 AM
 #14

But wasn't it the USA that "ended" the USSR (unofficially of course!) Wink
No, they were caught completely by surprise by it.

It collapsed because mathematics can't be legislated into obedience.
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October 12, 2013, 03:34:07 AM
 #15

Disclaimer: IANAL. No legal advice here. None.

Now, the US gov can say you have to comply with this, that, or what have you when serving US clients, but US laws cannot actually be enforced outside of US territory...

...unless the authorities in the third country do the bidding on the US's behalf. Unfortunately, that nasty piece of work Blair-zhnev signed an extradition treaty with the USA based on the presumption of guilt, so if the US accuse you of some serious crime then wham! off you go to their gulag (q.v. Gary McKinnon). That extradition treaty needs to be torn up urgently.

The comparison between the USA and the former Soviet Union are somewhat apt. One is a brutal totalitarian régime... the other's just the former Soviet Union. Grin

If you're operating outside the US and have no assets/servers/accounts in the US then you should just be able to ignore US laws completely, but the UK isn't the best place for doing that, I guess.

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October 12, 2013, 03:42:19 AM
 #16

A resource on countries that are a little more reluctant to co-operate with Totalitarian Sam (I make no claims of accuracy herein): http://uk.askmen.com/top_10/travel_top_ten_150/176_travel_top_ten.html

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Ford
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October 12, 2013, 04:54:00 AM
 #17

A resource on countries that are a little more reluctant to co-operate with Totalitarian Sam (I make no claims of accuracy herein): http://uk.askmen.com/top_10/travel_top_ten_150/176_travel_top_ten.html

Hehe.... that a law abiding UK citizen has to move to Cuba, just so he can set up his new legal UK business and not be persecuted by a country he has never been to (and has no ill intent towards), is a little extreme....   Shocked

Maybe if the US government it so worried about its citizens using websites that it does not approve of, rather than forcing companies to bar all US citizens, it should look to China, as i think they have cured the problem with the "Great Chinese Fire Wall" and at least the Chinese never pretend that their internet is "uncensored"....

Thanks for the previous info too!

Does anyone know if the US class Virtual Shares (that could be potentially exchanges for anything else (including currency) but not facilitated by me) as currency, or if they are also subject to US money laws?
I wonder this, as some sites that only seem to deal with "virtual shares" seem to have pulled out of the US market.

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October 12, 2013, 07:08:38 PM
 #18

In theory the answer is no. In practise if the u.s wants you badly they either check first with their good friends in the u.k and if not possible they'll just kidnap you like one can read throughout history.

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October 12, 2013, 07:34:22 PM
 #19

Ford. Please don't rely on on the internet for your legal advice. If you are really starting a proper business please consult an attorney who specialized in the area of your planned business. Unfortunately this is usually not cheap. Also you seem to be embarking on a financial services type of business. Again this area of business is highly regulated, both in the jurisdiction in which you operate (UK) and in the jurisdiction in which you hope to serve customers/clients (US/UK).  

The US and the UK have high levels of cooperation in most areas of law and regulation so it is not likely that you would be beyond the reach of the US Government if your activity is unlicensed or unregulated and if the level and volume of your activity warranted action on behalf of any enforcement agency.

There is a reason other similar businesses are pulling out of the US. The risks of operating outside of regulation and/or the cost of becoming compliant with all the required laws and regulations far out weight the benefits for a small start up company. This risks include both civil (monetary fines) and criminal (loss of personal freedom) penalties.

You should maybe do a little research about the past bitcoin businesses that may have been great ideas but went wrong badly for either the operators, the users or both.

Extreme cases include the recent Silk Road seizure, and the civil complaint against Trendon Shavers also known as pirateat40 and his Bitcoin Savings and Trust. Nefario's Bitcoin Stock Exchange was another Disaster. Then there is Mybitcoin, Bitcoinica, Bitfoor and the list goes on. All of the cases are well documented and discussed within this forum, reddit and else where around the internet.

There are plenty of successful bitcoin companies and some very interesting (and well funded) startup on the horizon. Unfortunately , for the most part, gone are the days when any coder with a hosted service could spin up a multimillion dollar bitcoin business.
Good luck.
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October 12, 2013, 07:37:59 PM
 #20

But wasn't it the USA that "ended" the USSR (unofficially of course!) Wink
Maybe Russia will return the favour now then  Grin

Sorry for being off topic, but I don't like the USA role to be dominant in relation to the USSR/Russia history Smiley

Despite of the fact that the Cold War was really consuming many resources, the USSR collapsed due to the centrally controlled, planned economy. Although we have a market driven economy since 1991, the other bad thing is still goes on: we sell much more raw resources (oil, wood, e.t.c.) than commodities.
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