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UK student vows to fight copyright extradition

web jail

By Stewart Mitchell

Posted on 16 Jun 2011 at 12:14

A young British computer scientist is fighting extradition to the United States where he faces two charges of copyright infringement.

Richard O'Dwyer faces extradition after the Southern District Court in New York brought two charges relating to copyright infringement on his TVShack.net website, which provided links to content.

A 23-year-old web designer and computer-science undergraduate at Sheffield Hallam University, O'Dwyer was arrested three weeks ago and spent a night in Wandsworth Prison while awaiting bail, but plans to fight to keep the legal action in the UK.

The idea of going to the US is shocking for him and would disrupt his life, studies and damage his future career

O'Dwyer joins hacker Gary McKinnon on the US's wanted list.

O'Dwyer faces charges that could add up to ten years' imprisonment if he was found guilty in the States, where he faces charges of conspiracy to commit copyright infringement, and criminal infringement of copyright, which carry a maximum sentence of five years each.

“He'll certainly fight it because if he is going to be tried it should be in this country, where we have perfectly good copyright laws,” a source close to O'Dwyer told PC Pro.

“The idea of going to the US is shocking for him and would disrupt his life, studies and damage his future career.

“As his mother said, it's absurd – like using a hammer to crack a nut.”

The source said O'Dwyer was being represented by Ben Cooper, the same lawyer who has handled the McKinnon case, and that the defence would focus on the fact TVShack did not host copyright material, only links, as well as the fact it was set up and operated from the UK.

The website was shut down by US officials, and O'Dwyer will face a hearing on 12 September in London.

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User comments

Time to close the loophole?

The law the Americans are using in these cases was put in place to fight terrorism.

Personally I believe the government should review the legislation and require the new agreement to be reciprocal.

By tirons1 on 16 Jun 2011

@tirons1

The US are unlikely to change the agreement because of the UK's libel laws.

By lucazade4 on 16 Jun 2011

@lucazade4

An agreement has two parties, and both need to follow it for it to work. If the UK decides it is being abused, they owe a duty of care to their citizens not to extradite, and it doesn't matter what the US wants.

This one way extradition treaty was something Blair and Bush cobbled together to make UK citizens subject to US laws, but US citizens exempt from UK laws. It is unjust, undemocratic, and the UK should just refuse to comply with it. If the student broke the law, he should be tried in the UK.

By SwissMac on 16 Jun 2011

Outrageous

Regardless of the extradition issue, it is outrageous that a court can claim jurisdiction for an action carried out elsewhere by a citizen of another country.

This man has no democratic say over laws in New York and he has never taken a decision to visit that place and therefore agreed to be bound by their laws for the duration of his stay. If the argument is that he visited a server located in that jurisdiction, how could he possibly have known that?

There needs urgently to be some kind of international convention on legal jurisdictions on the internet before these kinds of gross injustices get out of hand.

By JohnAHind on 16 Jun 2011

Website set up and operated from the UK

Website shut down from the US without any trial. Fair enough...

By Alex_G on 16 Jun 2011

Question is, where was the server?

If the server was actually located in the UK, then UK law should apply; if however it was only operated from the UK but it was physically located in the US, then I believe US law applies. The article doesn't make that clear.

By SwissMac on 16 Jun 2011

Once again legislation biased towards the American view of how they think the world should be. Didn't they kick up a fuss about no taxation without representation? Perhaps we should be looking for no extradition without representaion. But what do I know

By cw1663 on 16 Jun 2011

Once again legislation biased towards the American view of how they think the world should be. Didn't they kick up a fuss about no taxation without representation? Perhaps we should be looking for no extradition without representaion. But what do I know

By cw1663 on 16 Jun 2011

Extradition over a copyright....

I sincerely hope this is more media hype than a true representation of what is going to happen.

This should be in a civil court in England somewhere.

By Anonymouse on 16 Jun 2011

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