You may have heard or read about this guy recently. Richard O’Dwyer is a 24 year old British student at Sheffield Hallam University. He is currently facing extradition to the USA and up to ten years in prison. His crime? Creating a search engine website – TVShack.net – which linked to places to watch TV and movies online.
O’Dwyer is not a US citizen. He’s lived in England all his life. His site was not hosted in the US and most of his users were not American. But America is trying to prosecute a UK citizen for an alleged crime which took place on UK soil.
When operating his site, Richard always did his best to play by the rules: on the few occasions he received requests to remove content from copyright holders, he complied. His site hosted links, not copyrighted content, and these were submitted by users.
Copyright is important, but that doesn’t mean it should be unlimited. He’s the human face of the battle between the content industry and the interests of the public.
Let’s repeat that:
He has committed no crime under UK law.
He does not seem to have committed one under US law either – but big companies want to make an example of him.
The ‘case’ illustrates the one sided nature of our extradition arrangements with the US. Imagine the situation in reverse – then imagine the outcry.
You can help to stop his extradition by signing a petition here.