US Seeks Extradition For UK Student's Copyright Violation

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US Seeks Extradition For UK Student's Copyright Violation

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Officials from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement have petitioned the UK to extradite a 23-year-old student for linking to illegal torrents.

Richard O'Dwyer, the 23-year-old in question, is a student at Sheffield Hallam University. He studies computer science. In his free time he built a website called TV Shack whose purpose was cataloging and linking to "thousands of movies and TV shows from around the web."

Did I mention that all of O'Dwyer's links were pointed at illegal streams and torrents? They were. Also, O'Dwyer was pulling down ad revenue from the site, because if you're going to break the law, you might as well make some scratch in the process, right?

As a result, US government officials have seized the site (replacing it with a very official warning against copyright violation) and want the UK to ship the kid across the Atlantic so he can stand trial for his crimes in The States. If UK officials comply with the request, O'Dwyer faces up to 5 years in prison here in the Land of the Free.

As geek.com points out, though O'Dwyer is being charged with copyright infringement, he didn't actually infringe on anything. "His crime is linking to such content and therefore advertising it exists, he did not illegally copy and distribute the content himself."

O'Dwyer is currently out of jail on a £3,000 ($4855 USD) bail, though will return to court on September 12.

The most interesting piece of this entire case is what it says about how intent the US government is to punish copyright violators. Extradition is the sort of thing you normally hear in regards to terrorists, murderers on the run and international drug lords, not CompSci students earning (likely paltry) cash linking to a torrent of the latest episode of Game of Thrones.

A discussion of the ethical and legal issues in play here is beyond the scope of this article (read: feel free to side with or condemn O'Dwyer in the comments), but I will add that if the extradition request is approved, the ghost of Pablo Escobar is going to be laughing for millennia.

Source: Geek.com

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this is going to turn out to be one of those cases that makes or breaks more then a few weird kind of laws, assuming we get him

More of the USA trying to stick their nose in where it does not belong, and using the unfair a one way extradition act they have with us.

That's actually a bit harder to enforce for the soul reason that the person in question is not a US citizen.

However it is true as of late that congress has been passing due to lobbyists from AT&T, movie and music industry to enforce extremely harsh copyright infringement laws. So extreme that even the linking of said source is against the law(to which a lot of people online would actually be guilty).

Either way it is a new frontier where since the silent majority is silent the minority will win and enforce their right to over protect their work in a world where the things we see and experienced are now able to be shared across the globe. Kinda like an old world vs new world battle.

I am so glad our government has its priorities set straight. After all, wasting time, money, and other resources on persecuting an international student via extradition is just what we need when we are almost bankrupt.

'course it's wrong to blatantly advertise torrents of movies and such! Nobody is going to say otherwise, or rather, nobody should say otherwise. My problem is simply with the method in which it is persecuted. Extradition for something so trivial? Shit, back in the day you had to shoot somebody before the feds wanted you that badly. Seriously, fuck the RIAA and whoever else lobbied for such austere punishments!

The United States has stepped out of its bounds for far too long. This is an international tiral, and he was found in England, so there's no reason for him to be tried in the States. The world at large needs to start taking a stand and saying that America can't always make itself the center of every single thing. World resistance to the United States will start when England refuses to extradite a criminal to another country without any legal basis.

really? the next thing we know people are getting extradited to the US for speeding.

if the guy committed a crime in the UK prosecute him there but you don't extradite people for piracy.
Also give us European people a good(payed) online streaming service like you nice american people have and and we will pay for that stuff.

Could it be that the US is using this as a test case for extradition? Not to undermine the prosecution but I feel that this goes beyond copyright infringement laws to see what they can get away with in the UK.

As geek.com pointed out, he didn't actually infringe copyright and the prosecution knows this(unless they're idiots,which they could be), but they still want to see if they can extradite him and stick him in front of an American judge.

TV Shack didn't link to any torrents, it did link to iTunes and Amazon, which was bad enough. Also, the links were added by contributors. The owners of the sites where the content was stored should be the ones held liable. Megavideo comes to mind... also youtube.

Its called contributory infringement of a copyright. Where O'Dwyer 1) had knowledge of another's infringement (both the downloaders and the uploaders) and (2) either (a) materially contributes to (by listing the torrents on a site for public consumption) or (b) induces that infringement. (it can be argued that by advertising the torrents on his site, he induced illegal downloaders to come and download the torrent to download the copywritten files)

I'm afraid I don't agree with this, he shouldn't be extradited should America can play internet police.

Solve media phrase: I'm sorry Dave

So if the student is in England and the violation is 'accross the internet' not generally America the why does the US feel that it is there right to charge him in their courts instead of say in the court of the country he is already in.

I may have missed something but I don't like that situation if it's the way I interpretated.

I won't pretend to be an expert on the law, but I do have some questions about this, if anyone can answer them?

Obviously the US is trying to charge this guy with something, but is what he did illegal in the UK? What are the factors that could result in an extradition? And if it is illegal in the UK, wouldn't that mean he should be tried in the UK courts?

Interesting, but I can't see UK courts granting extradition for a case that could be brought in the UK as a civil charge. The owners of the copyright should be suing him, since copyright infringement is a civil matter in the UK (until you ignore a court order...). I hope to God I'm right.

The idea of Americaland gaining the legal right to enforce it's laws on British soil remotely is, frankly, terrifying.

So, my government is wasting time, money, and reputation attempting to extradite a non-citizen for... putting up links to torrent sites?

Fantastic.

thethingthatlurks:
I am so glad our government has its priorities set straight. After all, wasting time, money, and other resources on persecuting an international student via extradition is just what we need when we are almost bankrupt.

according to http://www.usdebtclock.org/ you have $55,000,000,000,000 of debt as a country. That's about $175,000 per person. I fail to understand how the world works sometimes.

OT: just plain silly. He wasn't actually doing anything except advertising said copyright infringement and extradition seems ludicrous. Silly lobbying groups not realising that clever people will always be able to get what they want for free.

As someone who's used websites similar to that, I have one thing to say. Maybe, if we in the UK didn't have to wait until we were like 2 seasons behind to get certain shows, we wouldn't need illegal streams. The internet is a cruel, spoiler filled place when it comes to TV, and when you're eagerly awaiting Burn Notice season 4 to start while the internet discusses season 5, it can be all too tempting to just go ahead and stream it.
It's getting better with Sky Atlantic, and Alibi's masterful decision to show Castle season 2 and 3 back to back to help us catch up, but the problem is still there. And websites like this are only successful because of it.

The governments probably spent a hundred times more already by going after him than all vitual "losses."

olliefrom1990:
More of the USA trying to stick their nose in where it does not belong, and using the unfair a one way extradition act they have with us.

Indeed.

He should be punished in the UK and by the UK.

I have no idea how all of this looks from a legal standpoint but they have no right to snatch up citizens of the EU, bring them over to there country and put them in there prisons. Or, if they do, they shouldnt and someone needs to fix that quickly.

rees263:
I won't pretend to be an expert on the law, but I do have some questions about this, if anyone can answer them?

Obviously the US is trying to charge this guy with something, but is what he did illegal in the UK? What are the factors that could result in an extradition? And if it is illegal in the UK, wouldn't that mean he should be tried in the UK courts?

I would like the answer to this question too.

So, he breaks the United Kindoms copyright law (did he even? I know that in Germany linking or downloading is not illegal, only uploading), in the UK, and another country wants to punish him? Makes no sense.

I dont mean this as an insult to any american or there country, but each time the US tries to reach over like this we should slap them on the wrist, hard, and tell them not to try it again. Keep doing it until they get the point. This whole acting like the world police thing is ridiculous.

Next, the feds hunt down millions of YouTube users.

My mind somehow made a link between this and Rapture-Bioshock-Columbia. Now where's my dad's golf clubs?... We have some preparations to make if we're going to surviv.... Oh wait. I don't live in the US. Anybody wants to borrow my clubs for smashing faces... in... with? Or something?

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Tenmar:
That's actually a bit harder to enforce for the soul reason that the person in question is not a US citizen.

That's not going to be the issue at all.

The issue, at least as far as the British courts are concerned, is going to be whether O'Dwyer committed a crime within the US' jurisdiction.

Once again the big bad USA are throwing their weight around and poking their nose into things that don't concern them. They never learn; from big time Iraq and Afghanistan to small time Mr O' Dwyer, they want a monopoly on practically everything.

And the UK, being the arse-kissing little toady its become, will probably send the poor bastard off to a US prison to keep Bubba warm just in time for winter.

by that logic you have to then arrest Google as they also list illegal torrent sites and make (a hell of a lot more) money from advertisements while doing it.

One thing i don't get, why did he pay £3000 for bail? As far as i know the UK does not have the same 'pay for freedom' thing that the US does, at least not where i live.

it seems unlikely he'll be extradited.

extradition is decided by a judge and judges aren't likely keen extraditing people for crimes committed in this country which we probably have our own laws against or extraditing people to countries who seem to be assuming their legal system holds supremacy when it doesn't (something i imagine irks them professionally).

One of the things that concerns me about this is that it may set a disturbing precedent that could carry over to the public domain issue.

To whit: in the UK, music goes into the public domain 50 years after publication. Which means Elvis Presley recordings are public domain in the UK. However, in the US everything from 1923 onwards remains in copyright (it is 95 years from publication...and will probably be extended longer in 2018 so that Mickey Mouse never goes into the public domain).

So if someone in the UK has a torrent site full of Elvis they aren't breaking UK copyright law, but they are breaking US copyright law...will the US ask to extradite that person--who hasn't done anything wrong in their country?

UK and US laws are rather different being he lives in the UK it seems as a ploy just to try put someone in jail in America for no reason i bet in our courts here in the UK this matter is very different and i may have misunderstood but the fine they are trying to levy who is that going to? UK or US government? cause if it is its about the money and trying to milk UK citizens for money that America doesn't have in my books that is stealing itself and victimizing someone pointlessly.

Forget the morality:

According to the law, he has done nothing wrong since his site directs you to other sites....it DOESN'T reproduce those works. Read the warning on his website, he did violate any of that

I doubt he will get put on trial in the US not after the huge hassle it took to get the guy who hacked his way into the pentagon (or was it nasa?) to America.

Ouch thats a bit harsh. I agree with Geek.com! I also think he should spend the jailtime in the UK but i guess it sup to the judges.

On a brighter note, Ive stayed over night at Shefield hallem uni... nice place.. great women (if you get what im saying *wink wink nudge nudge*)

...

I'll stop posting now

Come on ICE there are much better ways to be using your budget. Fucking music lobbies...

This is quite harsh, and its wrong that he is getting charged for having links to torrents.

But anyone that says that the US shouldn't waist its money protecting copy right has no understanding that THE US PRODUCES ALL, ALL! TV and Movies of value.

Thus they are trying to protect the income of a lot of its people, so they can continue to tax them.

Are our prisons not full enough? Do we not have enough problems as it is? Why the taintchafing fuck are we wasting red tape on this? I mean jegus, have you ever seen an American prison? They're all full. This is such a waste.

I suspect whoever's in charge of this CF is either new, and marking his territory in the woods, or corrupt, and in the pocket of those who'd profit from the mans downfall.

If O'Dwyer has charges to answer, it should be the Crown Prosecution Service that holds him to account, not the US authorities. The idea of American law being enforced by British authorities is not one that sits well with me.

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