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British Student Faces Extradition to the US for Linking to Copyrighted Material

British Student Faces Extradition to the US for Linking to Copyrighted Material

He created a website that allegedly linked to copyrighted material. Now, the US wants Richard O’Dwyer, the former owner of TVShack, to face a US court over his websites activities prior to both domain seizures.

It’s unlikely that when O’Dwyer started TVShack, he imagined that he would face extradition demands from the US. That’s exactly what is happening today. TVShack.net was the original domain for the website. It was a fairly popular website for people to find links to things like TV shows. However, all that came to an end last July when federal officials shut down the linking website’s domain name as part of their “Operation In Our Sites” campaign. The website quickly re-emerged as TVShack.cc. Then, at the end of November, ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) seized the domain again in part of their “Operation In Our Sites v 2.0″. Officially, the website never came back again as clone sites were all that remained after that.

The owner is apparently out on bail after being arrested and wont face a court in Britain until September. As far as the US is concerned, that apparently isn’t enough. According to British newspaper, The Star, the US is demanding that he face a court in the US for linking to copyrighted material. The report says that the Computer Science student is in complete disbelief over the charges. From the report:

A source close to Richard said: “He’s in total disbelief over the charges against him and very anxious about the impact this may have on his studies since he has two years left of his degree. He’s daunted and frightened by the

prospect of being extradited to America let alone the disruption to his career.”

His mother Julia O’Dwyer said the decision to put him on trial in the US was ‘madness’.

“Richard clearly has a talent for web design but was foolish in not understanding the implications of copyright,” she said.

“Yet to try to haul him off to America for trial while he’s midway through his university studies is so utterly disproportionate it defies belief.”

ZDNet, also covering the story, contains the following:

Terms of his bail involved not entering ports or airports and not applying to register new domain names. On Tuesday, O’Dwyer appeared before the City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court for a brief preliminary hearing. His lawyer said the extradition demands made by the US breached O’Dwyer’s human rights and there was no basis for extradition.

“The server was not based in the US at all. Mr O’Dwyer did not have copyrighted material on his website; he simply provided a link. The essential contention is that the correct forum for this trial is in fact here in Britain, where he was at all times,” Cooper is quoted in the report as saying.

There appears to not be any connection to the US and there was no copyrighted material on the TVShack servers. That is definitely a source of contention for those criticial of the US move. TechDirt offered offered some interesting observations on that:

Where this becomes really troubling is that other, very similar sites have been found legal in the UK multiple times. Running a site that users use to put up links and which doesn’t host any actual content, is not seen as illegal in the UK. So it seems particularly ridiculous that there’s some sort of attempt to extradite the guy to the US to face charges here. As some have pointed out it appears to be “an attempt to make US federal laws applicable in the UK.”

Unfortunately, the details of the extradition request are a bit muddled in all of the UK papers reporting on it. Lots of them are comparing the situation to the famous Gary McKinnon situation, but I think this is clearly different. This just seems blatantly vindictive for no good reason.

The details of the case are, indeed, rather troubling. If someone in Britain can be extradited to the US for linking to copyrighted material, why can’t the owners of Google, Bing or any other search engine face similar charges – especially given that all of them do have bigger ties to the US than TVShack. It seems like a very questionable response at best given the nature of the website.

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Drew Wilson
Drew Wilson is perhaps one of the more well-known file-sharing and technology news writers around. A journalist in the field since 2005, his work has had semi-regular appearances on social news websites and even occasional appearances on major news outlets as well. Drew founded freezenet.ca and still contributes to ZeroPaid. Twitter | Google Plus
Mango
Mango

I support the guy! He's made quite a site. I know making a tvshow is hard work but the money they earn whether theres a site like this or not is just more than enough.

Gareth
Gareth

Wake up people. The US is becoming a proto-fascist state. Also where exactly does US jurisdiction end..cultural imperialism much? This is the ugly face of globalisation, welcome to the global plantation, global laws for global slaves. As for the farce of IP (intellectual Property) laws. There was no art or music prior to IP Laws?. Authors need to benefit from some of their creations, but authors life +70 years! lol, how many authors are benefiting from their IP 70 years after they are dead? it's for the benefit of corporations to create *artificial scarcity* and **monopoly in perpetuity**. If you want to see how over zealous IP laws stunt prosperity and growth, check out how Bolton and Watt blocked progress on early industrial era steam engines for about 40 years..... You're probably reading this using a *web browser*. Now how about if that had been patented, so you gotta pay fees for its use (aka Bolton and Watt), imagine how "fast" browser use would spread? This website is probably hosted on an Open Source Linux server too. IP laws are totally out of control, if you think its about anything other than enforcing monopoly and artificial scarcity you're very naive.

TerribellTony
TerribellTony

If this is what our "special relationship" amounts to then they can stick the relationship where the sun don't shine.

Planet America...
Planet America...

If our UK government doesn't extradite him, USA will probably fire up the playstation and play 'predator drones' until they get him. Land of the free? More like land of the 'Police State'.

d
d

for the poor i see cuba as giving all three...life, liberty and property...probably exceedingly more than they would have gotten out of the sugar plantation owners... certainly more than corporate interests give in america... greed is self serving always. not free.

Alex
Alex

If the USA is on fire should I piss on it to put it out?

This means war
This means war

Could the European half of the NATO declare war against the US over this?

Conor
Conor

America would be a good place if it wasn't entirely controlled by corporations. Money is the only thing that matters in America, and if anyone's doing anything that messes with America's money, they'll do some bullshit like this. That's why America isn't cool with Cuba. Cuba took land from American corporations to give to their people, and America didn't like that, so they ended trade and fucked Cuba's economy.

Fell Valentine
Fell Valentine

Making me hate my own country, one malicious, antiquated, and perverted step at a time. The streets need to run with the blood of these fools that invest in our own destruction.

*facepalm*
*facepalm*

With all the real issues going on today you would think we would spend our time on energy on something that matters rather than pick on some nerd for copyright infringement. For Christ's sake, we can't even fix what's going on between our own borders, why are we worrying about this kid? I just don't understand it.

Lets be Honest
Lets be Honest

The starr isn't really a newspaper..more of a 'tits with headlines'

Jurisdiction?
Jurisdiction?

This begs the question... where does the US Jurisdiction end?

ubaer
ubaer

He should sue these US scum bags for harrasment and various kinds of fraud.

A writer
A writer

there is only one cure for this. Eliminate copyright. It serves no one but the corporate interests, not talent, not authors.

yeaiam
yeaiam

wow am an american in the uk

SomeFella
SomeFella

I suspect he made an enemy by putting the site back online using a different domain. It's clearly a vindictive move by someone abusing their authority for personal satisfaction.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Somewhere, there is one man pushing to destroy this kids life. I don't think that's right. Anybody whose official duty supports this move should be shot in the face.

Brit
Brit

It tastes of Chinese spunk

disinter
disinter

Hey Britain, how does it feel knowing that you are america's bitch? How does our ass taste?

mountain_rage
mountain_rage

The U.S. wants to interpret the law as him offering service to the U.S., so it is U.S. law that is applicable. But the reality is that the U.S. is accessing U.K. servers, so it should be like visiting the country. You do not expect to have U.S. laws applied to you while visiting the U.K. If that makes you uncomfortable to travel to a country with different laws, you do not travel to that destination. If you disagree with the trade laws, generally the U.S. has bared any citizen from visiting those locations (aka cuba). So I say if the U.S. is really all that worried about their citizens accessing servers around the world they should just block access and leave the rest of the world the fuck alone while their economy crumbles under the weight imposed on them by the corporations made far too powerful.

Jared Moya
Jared Moya

True to an extent. Copyright law was never intended to guarantee authors an income. From the US Constitution's so-called "copyright clause:: "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright_Clause

Drew Wilson
Drew Wilson

That's certainly something I'd love to know, actually. There;s been a tonne of cases where the US simply goes to another country and forces its laws on other citizens. In Canada, more or less, the Prince of Pot is an interesting example of this, but there's dozens of others around the world.

Are You Serious?
Are You Serious?

How does doing away with copyright benefit the author? Copyright is our only protection against theft of our work, and is what allows us to make a living with our words. The only people that doing away with copyright benefits are those who want something for free. Who don't give a damn about someone else's hard work and demand that that work be shared without compensation. You're an idiot.

dave
dave

its not a crime here. which makes it more confusing as to why this is happening

Leon
Leon

Owww, burn.

uk guy
uk guy

lol you didn't get julian assange even though begged like bitches what makes you think your getting this guy?

Jim
Jim

Lets all be fricking honest here, the site exclusively links to illegal content, so the google argument doesnt work. He's a computer science grad. So he knows that all the tv shows he linked to on the site are illegal links. He is an enabler of piracy. When will users & site creators stop living in denial. If you share illegal stuff, you get canned. why is anyone surprised or outraged by this fact?? Try making your own tv series and see how much hard work goes into it, and maybe you might see the bigger picture here.

Red
Red

Don't forget the guy from Canada being "sued" by the US for ... shit I can't remember now.. Well anyway what he was doing was NOT illegal from where he was but it was in the US so now he is being sued for that.. Makes soo much sense now doesn't it? (note the HEAVY sarcasm) If I find a link to what I was talking about I'll post it under this.

IP laws must surely be neccessary
IP laws must surely be neccessary

I mean, no-one wrote anything, made any art or invented new things ever before they were first created in the 15th century to control the flow of heretical and seditious printing.

Jared Moya
Jared Moya

? "Lets all be fricking honest here," you have absolutely no idea what you're talking about. Links arent illegal, and thats why a person arrested under the same pretenses (TVLinks) prior to this was ACQUITTED OF ALL CHARGES. > http://www.futureofcopyright.com/nc/home/blog-post/2010/02/18/tv-links-admins-acquitted-of-all-charges-linking-deemed-mere-conduit.html " In a nutshell and to coin a familiar phrase, the site was deemed a mere conduit of information." And here in the US linking to streaming links is also LEGAL, and thats why Congress is pushing for a change.



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