Wikipedia founder fights for creator

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has started a campaign to stop the extradition of TVShack creator Richard O’Dwyer to the USA.

O’Dwyer, from Sheffield, is alleged to have committed copyright offences and is facing extradition to the US.

Charges against O’Dwyer in the UK were dropped before he was handed an extradition notice which leads many to believe that Big Content wants one of its famous kangaroo court show trials in the US – where O’Dwyer will face a jail sentence of a few thousand years and a multi-trillion dollar fine.

So far the British authorities have gone along with it. In January, a judge ruled he could be extradited to the US.

Home secretary Theresa May, who lists her hobbies on Facebook as “sending people to legal doom in other countries”,  signed off the extradition in March.

The thing is that in the UK, TVShack did nothing illegal. It linked to sites where video could be downloaded, but did not offer the downloading function directly.

It was like Google in that it acted as a search service for video content, sometimes leading to unauthorised sites. TVShack was not hosted in the US and so any “criminal behaviour” happened in the UK – so, he should face British justice and not the expensive charade of justice which is planned in the former colonies.

Wales has said that the internet as a whole must not tolerate censorship in response to mere allegations of copyright infringement.

On the petition page he wrote, as citizens, everyone must stand up for our rights online.

O’Dwyer always did his best to play by the rules: on the few occasions he received requests to remove content from copyright holders, he complied.

Wales said that while copyright is an important institution, serving a beneficial moral and economic purpose, it did not mean that its powers should be unlimited.

Nor did it mean that humanity should abandon time-honoured moral and legal principles to allow endless encroachments on our civil liberties in the interests of the moguls of Hollywood.

Wales said Richard O’Dwyer was the human face of the battle between the content industry and the interests of the general public. It is similar to the fight againstanti-copyright bills SOPA and PIPA, when the public won its first big victory. This could be the second, Wales said. The petition has 12,610 signatures.

There is a chance that the rules might be changed. The House of Commons’ Home Affairs Select Committee claimed the extradition treaty between the UK and the US was not protecting the rights of British citizens.