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Copyright Wars escalate: Britain to extradite student to US over link site


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Richard O'Dwyer, the 23-year-old British college student who operated the TVShack link site, can be extradited to the United States, ruled Judge Quentin Purdy of the Westminster Magistrates Court today. O'Dwyer's attorney says he will appeal the ruling.

As we first reported in July, Richard O'Dwyer operated a popular "link site," which provided users with access to content hosted elsewhere on the Internet. Many of the links were to infringing copies of copyrighted material.

Neither O'Dwyer nor his servers were located in the United States during the time he operated TVShack. But the US government is nevertheless seeking to have him extradited to the United States to face criminal copyright infringement charges.

The legality of linking sites in the UK is disputed. At least one judge has argued that merely linking to infringing content without hosting it is perfectly legal under British law. In a November court appearance, O'Dwyer's attorney argued that the student had not broken British law. TVShack was no different from sites like Google and Yahoo that sometimes link to infringing content, he said. But the US government disputed that argument, contending that O'Dwyer had deliberately promoted links to infringing content on the TVShack home page, and was thus responsible for them in a way that Google and Yahoo were not.

Judge Purdy apparently sided with the United States. "There are said to be direct consequences of criminal activity by Richard O'Dwyer in the USA albeit by him never leaving the north of England. Such a state of affairs does not demand a trial here if the competent UK authorities decline to act and does, in my judgment, permit one in the USA," he wrote in his decision today.

Richard O'Dwyer wore a grey T-shirt and blue jeans to court. He reportedly showed no emotion as the ruling was read.

His mother, Julia O'Dwyer, was livid. She said that Judge Purdy did not have the "technical brains to know about the whole thing. That guy just lives and breathes extradition."

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TVShack Admin Can Be Extradited To US, Judge Rules

Despite protestations that merely linking to copyright material isn’t an offense in the UK, a judge has today ruled that the UK-based ex-administrator of the TVShack video linking website can be extradited to the US to face copyright infringement charges. Richard O’Dwyer, 23, has never set foot in United States but now faces being used as a ‘guinea pig’ for US copyright law.

In November last year, as part of his continuing struggle to avoid extradition to the United States, Richard O’Dwyer, the former administrator of the now defunct UK-based video links site TVShack, appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.

The case was eventually adjourned, with accusations from Richard’s lawyer Ben Cooper that US authorities were unfairly trying to gain the upper hand through unreasonable delays. Nevertheless, all parties were back in court today to hear the judge’s ruling.

“There are said to be direct consequences of criminal activity by Richard O’Dwyer in the USA albeit by him never leaving the north of England,” District Judge Quentin Purdy said in his ruling. “Such a state of affairs does not demand a trial here if the competent UK authorities decline to act and does, in my judgment, permit one in the USA.”

“I reject all challenges advanced to this request. No bars or other challenge being raised or found, I send the case to the Secretary of State,” he concluded.

Richard’s most vocal supporter, his mother Julia, voiced her despair and continued with her criticism of the UK’s extradition treaty with the US.

“If [the US authorities] want to prosecute something they will. There’s no safeguards here for British citizens,” she said.

The Judge did not have the “technical brains to know about the whole thing,” she noted, adding: “That guy just lives and breathes extradition.”

Ben Cooper described Richard as an extradition and copyright law “guinea pig”, adding that he would launch an appeal.

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Ah the good old "special" relationship between the UK and the US,we bend over they do the rest.

This case is a prime example of the classic "do as we say not as we do".

No offence meant to any americans on site but like the UK your politicians are a bunch of clueless cocks who quite like the idea of a war or two.

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this is so wrong. he did not hack a server or site. he shouldnt be sent to the usa. now do you see that this admin needs to go

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