Tag: odwyer

Richard O'Dwyer welcomes end of extradition case

British student Richard O’Dwyer has welcomed the end of a US court case following charges over copyright infringement.

O’Dwyer had been threatened with a prison sentence in the US after setting the TVShack website, providing links to pirated films and other content. The 24 year old has now had charges dropped, though the Sheffield student has been ordered to pay a £20,000 fine after appearing in a New York court.

O’Dwyer said that he was relieved that the case had now drawn to an end, adding that he wished the UK government had prevented the legal proceedings from reaching this stage. 

“I am very happy that it is finally over with,” O’Dwyer commented to reporters.  “I still believe that I never committed any crime. I am very pleased the US government has decided to drop the case against me.”

He added:  “It is quite frustrating that [the UK government] didn’t put their foot down at all about the extradition proceeding. I just think they could have done this in the first place.”

His mother, Julia O’Dwyer, who has carried out a campaign to highlight her son’s case, also said that she wished the UK government had stopped proceedings from getting to this stage.

O’Dwyer had faced years in prison over TVShack.  It had been alleged that he had profited by over $230,000 from posting links to copyright infringing materials. It was agreed last month that he would voluntarily apear in a US court to face charges.

Another British citizen, Gary McKinnon, was told that he would remain in the UK following a ten year battle against extradition to the US after searching for evidence of aliens on classified American networks. Home secretary Theresa May made the decision to block extradition following a lengthy appeal to keep McKinnon in the UK on health grounds.

However, there has been fierce criticism over the extradition agreement that exists between the UK and the US. MPs have lambasted the arrangement, which is deemed unequal in allowing relatively easy extradition to the US, but not in the other direction.

Open Rights Group executive director Jim Killock said that while the case against O’Dwyer has reached a positive conclusion, it shows that there are underlying changes that need to be made to prevent similar instances occurring in future.

“What is disturbing still is that he went under the threat of extradition,” Killock said. “We are still vulnerable to requests under UK law”.

Killock added that there need to be “firm rules” put in place to stop any similar situations.

“We need the law changed,” Killock said. “It is great that he has been able to resolve the case, but it doesn’t mean that others won’t face similar charges in future.”

Theresa May throws O'Dwyer to the wolves

British Home Secretary Theresa May’s plans to bring transportation back into UK law are gathering pace.

For the last year, May has been sending asylum seekers back to whatever country wants to torture them and is now starting her new plan to transport people back to the colonies.

While many people would think the approach is dragging the UK back to the 18th Century, May can point out that was a period when Britain had an Empire and before the Labour Party gave it away.

May’s latest candidate for transportation is TVShack founder Richard O’Dwyer, who she wants to be sent to the US to be tried, jailed and never to see the white cliffs of Dover again.

Despite widespread calls for her to engage her brain and tell the Americans to sling their hook, May is insisting on transporting O’Dwyer to the colonies.

In doing so, O’Dywer gets one of those quaint American trials which lets the wealthy off but forces sentences of millions of years on those who can’t afford representation.

O’Dywer faces a charge of copyright infringement, which means that he has managed to annoy private companies so much that they have asked their friends in government to mount a criminal investigation.

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales’ started an anti-extradition petition last week. May, however, does not seem to mind that 200,000 voters thinking she is bowing down to America is a problem.

She pointed out that the UK courts found there were no statutory bars to his surrender under the Extradition Act 2003 and so she signed an order for his extradition to the US.

It is true that May’s transportation policy might be questioned by his appeal hearing later in the year. However, the judge’s hands are pretty much tied by a bizzare extradition process which allows for British citizens to be dragged into US kangaroo courts, while American citizens cannot be similarly treated in a UK court.

Wales pointed out that the case against O’Dwyer is thin and if it is prosecuted anywhere it is should be in the UK. No US citizen has ever been brought to the UK for alleged criminal activity that took place on US soil.

In countries like New Zealand, extradition of people on copyright charges have not been going so well. Kim Dotcom’s arrest has already been ruled illegal and judges are asking why he is being charged in the US when his business had little to do with that country.

Still, if Teresa May’s desire to bring in transportation goes ahead, it could lead to all British criminals ending up in Australia, New Zealand and the US. 

Wikipedia founder fights for TVShack.net 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 Change.org 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.