Extradition blow for UK copyright infringer

A 23-year old UK student faces extradition to the US to face copyright infringement allegations, a London court has ruled.

Richard O’Dwyer’s website, TV Shack, provided links to other websites where users could access content but did not host any of the content itself. O’Dwyer says he started the project to improve his computer programming skills and help him get a work placement, did not charge users but sold $230,000 worth of advertising on the site, according to US authorities.

“I was forced to set up advertising because of the massive server fees,” O’Dwyer told BBC radio ahead of the ruling. “When you’ve got a website with over 300,000 people a month visiting, there’s a need for infrastructure to support that. There’s no other way to do it, unless you had the money yourself.”

The case was brought by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, which obtained a warrant and seized the domain name in June 2010

O’Dwyer’s lawyer claimed his client was being used as a “guinea pig” as no British citizen had been extradited to the US for a copyright offence before. However, District Judge Quentin Purdy at London’s City of Westminster magistrates’ court upheld the extradition request, and said Britain’s Home Secretary would make a final decision on the extradition

O’Dwyer will appeal to the High Court. “I have faith in the High Court, so we’ll see what happens there,” he told reporters after the ruling.

 

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