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British Student Facing Potential Extradition To The USA


Nawwal H, Contributor

Richard O’Dwyer, a 23 year old from northern England, has become a hot topic for discussion over a copyright infringement case. The student from Sheffield Hallam University founded a website hosting links to copyrighted films and television shows that could be accessed for free.

A crackdown by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency has accused O’Dwyer of allegedly making several thousand pounds through advertising on the website called TVShack. If convicted, O’Dwyer could become the first British citizen to be extradited for such an offence and could face up to a decade in a US prison.

Judge Quentin Purdy decided to uphold the extradition request during the hearing at London’s Westminster Magistrates Court. “Enforcement of cross-border criminal justice is intended, in part at least, to ensure alleged victims of crime and the wider public confidence in criminal justice is not thwarted by national borders,” he said.

O’Dwyer’s lawyer Ben Cooper said he was disappointed by the ruling and that he would appeal the decision. O’Dwyer’s mother says she is “disgusted” and has condemned Britain’s extradition treaty with the United States, saying: “Why are we pandering to the US in this way? I’m appalled. We will look to appeal to a higher court without delay.”

Cooper argues that O’Dwyer is being used as a “guinea pig” for American copyright law and that he did no wrong; his website did not store copyrighted material itself and merely directed users to other sites, just like Google.

O’Dwyer was arrested by the police in November 2010 and confessed owning TVShack.net and TVShack.CC, websites that earned him US$23 000 monthly from online advertising.

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