The land of the free and home of the brave has again shown its true colors - land of the imprisoned and home of the cowardly fool.
So the kid had a links page showing where to obtain US TV shows for free. Now far be it from me to judge the likes of who would want to watch this pure unadulterated corporate drivel, in a free country that is your right. The US government should always be on the side of the individual and not the corporation. If the corporation fears it may lose money it may have grounds for a civil action, but criminal action? Oh no!
Isn't this the bullying action of an out of control rogue state that cares not about individual civil liberties - the same "liberties" incidentally that it exports worldwide from the wrong end of a very powerful gun? I sincerely hope that this case garners enough support and common sense will eventually prevail - spread the word.
The founding fathers turn in there graves once more......
Richard O’Dwyer, a computer science student at Sheffield Hallam University, faces up to 10 years in a federal prison for operating TVShack.
The 23-year-old, described as “quiet, introverted and vulnerable” by his father, is accused of criminal copyright infringement.
The website did not itself host unlawful downloads or video streams, but acted as a directory of links to others that did, Westminster Magistrates' Court heard.
American authorities allege that Mr O’Dwyer made more than $230,000 by selling advertising on TVShack in three years until December 2010. It became one of the 1,800 most popular websites in the world, with hundreds of thousands of visitors per month.
District Judge Quentin Purdy rejected all three of the defence’s arguments against extradition, including claims Mr O’Dwyer would not get a fair trial in the United States and that if a crime was committed he should be prosecuted in Britain.
The case echoes that of the Asperger’s syndrome suffer Gary McKinnon, who hacked into Pentagon systems a decade ago in search of evidence of extraterrestrial technology. His case has prompted a campaign against Britain’s “unbalanced” extradition treaty with the United States and remains in limbo.
Richard O'Dwyer's case will pile more pressure on the government to change the rules to make it more difficult to extradite Britons to America. Last month MPs voted for “urgent reform”.
Keith Vaz, chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, again called for action following today's ruling.
"The judicial process must obviously be allowed to take its course, but it is a source of concern that Mr O’Dwyer is to be extradited to the USA to stand trial for actions which were carried out in the UK," he said.
"This climate of uncertainty is not a situation which should be allowed to persist and I hope that the Home Secretary will act soon to clarify the government’s position on extradition”
Mr O’Dwyer, dressed in blue jeans and a grey Mickey Mouse jumper, did not react when Judge Purdy delivered his ruling to a full court room on Friday afternoon.
Speaking outside the hearing, Mr O’Dwyer’s mother, Julia, a paediatric nurse from Chesterfield, called on the coalition to act.
“David Cameron and Nick Clegg both promised to sort out the extradition mess before the election,” she said. “They need to pull their fingers out.”
“It’s all wrong. How many people get extradited to America and how many come here? Not many.”
“If they can come for Richard they can come for anyone.”
Mrs O’Dwyer added that her son intends to immediately lodge an appeal at the High Court. The extradition must first be approved by the Home Secretary, however.
The defence believed its strongest argument against extradition was that Mr O'Dwyer had not committed an offence under British law, because TVShack did not itself host copyright material. European law says no crime is committed if a website acts as a “mere conduit”.
However, Judge Purdy rejected the argument from Mr O’Dwyer’s barrister, Ben Cooper of Doughty Street Chambers, because of the control the student had over what links were posted on TVShack.net and TVShack.cc.
He set up the second website a day after authorities shut down the first in July 2010. The main page of the new version included the cover image from a rap single called “F*** the Police”, according to American prosecutors.
“Firstly both TVShack websites were entirely in the hands of Richard O’Dwyer and his co conspirators requiring third parties to sign up to TVShack and be vetted before going further,” Judge Purdy said.
The judge agreed with John Jones, barrister for the United States government, that “because he was intimately involved in deciding who was allowed to post links on the TVShack websites, which links would be posted”, Mr O’Dwyer’s alleged conduct was a criminal offence under British copyright law.
In its argument the defence had cited the 2010 case of TV-Links, a website that offered a similar directory of links to pirated material to TVShack. The judge found it was acting as a “mere conduit” and dismissed the criminal charges against the two men who operated TV-Links.
Judge Purdy however found Mr O’Dwyer had exercised too much control over TVShack to successfully claim the same defence.