Wikipedia founder joins fight against O'Dwyer extradition
By Stewart Mitchell
Posted on 25 Jun 2012 at 10:31
There is mounting opposition to the extradition to the US of Richard O’Dwyer, with a petition winning 15,000 signatures in hours.
The student is fighting extradition to the US for running a website that allegedly linked to illegal copies of movies and TV shows, and has now received high-profile support for his cause.
The founder of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales, and The Guardian have started a campaign to get the 24-year-old O’Dwyer’s extradition stopped on the grounds that it is not proportionate and his alleged copyright infringement was not illegal in the UK.
According to Wales, the student faces ten years in prison if sentenced in the US for providing links to copyright material via his TVShack.net website. US officials allege he made huge profits from advertising on the site.
“O'Dwyer is not a US citizen, he's lived in the UK all his life, his site was not hosted there, and most of his users were not from the US,” said Wales on the petition website, which was attracting hundreds of votes a minute at the time of writing.
“America is trying to prosecute a UK citizen for an alleged crime which took place on UK soil.”
Richard O'Dwyer is the human face of the battle between the content industry and the interests of the general public
US and music industry officials say the student, who was 19 when he set up the site, pocketed £15,000 a month, but Wales argues TVShack.net complied with takedown requests and was being used as a pawn by the copyright lobby.
“Richard O'Dwyer is the human face of the battle between the content industry and the interests of the general public,” Wales said. “Earlier this year, in the fight against the anti-copyright bills SOPA and PIPA, the public won its first big victory. This could be our second.”
Within hours of its launch, Wales’ campaign has already passed its initial target of 15,000 signatures, and perhaps as importantly, has the backing of at least one mainstream newspaper.
The Guardian, which ran the article penned by Wales on the subject, joined in the criticism, likening the proposed actions to a “sledgehammer hovering over a walnut, because what this case is really about is proportionality".
“The prospect of extraditing a student to America, where he would face up to ten years in prison, is unfair. It should also be said that it is preposterous,” the paper said in an editorial.
“Mr O'Dwyer is a UK citizen whose website was hosted in the UK and attracted only a minority of American visitors. There is absolutely no reason to try him in the US. All the more so since his case was investigated by the UK authorities and dropped.”
Everyone should make the effort to sign
Signed and shared. This is covering so many important principles that it needs to be stopped and stopped now.
By quillon1 on 25 Jun 2012
Agreed .. this is outrageous oppression
How can we say we live in a democracy when someone can be forcibly exported to a legal jurisdiction where they have no vote, unless they are accused of committing a crime whilst voluntarily a guest of that jurisdiction?
And why does our wonderful legal system take so long to make decisions on cases like this? It is oppression in itself that people have this kind of thing hanging over them for years even if the right decision is taken in the end. What is difficult about this decision - I cannot see how you could spend a whole hour making it let alone many years!
By JohnAHind on 25 Jun 2012
signed the petition and shared the fact on Twitter.
By revsorg on 25 Jun 2012
Its amazing. We can't deport people who 'they' tell us are dangerous foreign terrorists, but perfectly decent (possibly misguided) British kids can easily get renedered to stinking dangerous foreign jails.
We all know that the USA deliberately makes its jails dangerous places where beating and homosexual rape is a daily threat in order to extract plea bargains from potential prisoners. If this isn't 'Cruel and unusual punishment' (illegal in the USA too) I don't know what would be.
By wittgenfrog on 25 Jun 2012
I wonder if simply signing this petition (and commenting here) puts one on a 'watch list' of undesirables?
By wittgenfrog on 25 Jun 2012
You are not claiming that is your real name surely?
However in my case, I would be quite relieved to be excluded from a country where you can be legally shot in the street by anyone who claims they "felt intimidated" by you! (In some states anyway - I'm looking at you, Florida)
By JohnAHind on 26 Jun 2012
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