British Student Strikes Deal With US Prosecution

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British Student Strikes Deal With US Prosecution

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Richard O'Dwyer, accused of copyright infringement, will avoid a US trial.

Richard O'Dwyer, the British university student on the verge of being extradited to the US to face copyright infringement charges, has struck a deal with his prosecutors. As part of a deferred prosecution agreement O'Dwyer will not face trial, nor will he have a criminal record.

O'Dwyer is the creator of TVShack.net, a guide to torrent sites that hosted television content. In its heyday TVShack.net earned about 15,000 per month in ad revenue, but its creator will have to pay a modest fine, as part of the deferred prosecution agreement, to settle the case. O'Dwyer does still have to go to the US, but only to sign the documentation which, among other stipulations, makes him promise not to infringe copyright again.

O'Dwyer, still a student, has yet to formally comment on this resolution to his dilemma at time of writing. Previously he has alleged that his prosecution was a test case, saying "I think they're trying to use my website as a sort of guinea pig to try to scare everyone else making linking websites." If that truly is so, it would seem the US authorities are cooling on the idea; a quick trip to New York and a fine isn't that frightening.

Source: Guardian

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Well as long as he promises not to infringe copyright again then that's ok.
Glad he wasn't extradited though.

I mean the worst they could do is make him watch a Jets game!

Inb4 justification of piracy argument.

See? This is a fine example of how the justice system does well in these matters. A slap on the wrist, an agreement not to do it again, and everyone can be on their merry non-piratey way.

Karloff:
O'Dwyer does still have to go to the US, but only to sign the documentation which, among other stipulations, makes him promise not to infringe copyright again.

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I still don't see why extradition was even possible in the first place. If he was breaking laws then isn't it his own country's responsibility to prosecute and charge? I'm reminded of one case where the U.S. tried to sue someone in the U.K. for illegally sharing Beatles music but he was well within legality as under U.K. law the number of years for art to become free cultural heritage property had been reached and so his sharing was perfectly legal.

I really do get the feeling the U.S. tries to overstep its boundaries when it comes to everything copyright infringement. All this is going to do is make more people actively try to block the U.S. from accessing the site like Kim Dotcom has promised with his new Mega site; but if this is the case isn't this just an inverse version of Chin's Great Firewall? Only instead of putting up blockades because they don't want their own citizens to access certain files everyone else is blocking them because they're afraid they're going to come stomping in their own backyard and sue the pants off of them?

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DON'T GO THERE! THEY'LL THROW YOU IN GUANTANAMO AND LEAVE YOU WITH NO TRIAL.

Dammit, ninja'd! That's what I get for keeping a tab open for ten minutes before posting.

Deshin:

I still don't see why extradition was even possible in the first place. If he was breaking laws then isn't it his own country's responsibility to persecute and charge? I'm reminded of one case where the U.S. tried to sue someone in the U.K. for illegally sharing Beatles music but he was well within legality as under U.K. law the number of years for art to become free cultural heritage property had been reached and so his sharing was perfectly legal.

That is something I didn't understand in the first place. In my country it is against the constitution to extradite a citizen to another country. If you are a citizen in my country and you broke the law and you are IN my country then you will stand trial in my country. If the law you broke doesn't exist in my country then nothing happens. I always assumed that this was just the same in the USA and Great Britain because our constitution pretty much had to pass their watching eye. So I really don't understand at all how the UK could ever consider extraditing him and I even don't understand it on several levels.

Raiyan 1.0:
image

DON'T GO THERE! THEY'LL THROW YOU IN GUANTANAMO AND LEAVE YOU WITH NO TRAIL.

Dammit, ninja'd! That's what I get for keeping a tab open for ten minutes before posting.

You almost beat me tbh, I spent so long trying to remember how the image properties worked for posts it took me about 10 to get it to even show up. I've been spoiled by image buttons :(

Deshin:

Karloff:
O'Dwyer does still have to go to the US, but only to sign the documentation which, among other stipulations, makes him promise not to infringe copyright again.

image

I still don't see why extradition was even possible in the first place. If he was breaking laws then isn't it his own country's responsibility to persecute and charge? I'm reminded of one case where the U.S. tried to sue someone in the U.K. for illegally sharing Beatles music but he was well within legality as under U.K. law the number of years for art to become free cultural heritage property had been reached and so his sharing was perfectly legal.

I really do get the feeling the U.S. tries to overstep its boundaries when it comes to everything copyright infringement. All this is going to do is make more people actively try to block the U.S. from accessing the site like Kim Dotcom has promised with his new Mega site; but if this is the case isn't this just an inverse version of Chin's Great Firewall? Only instead of putting up blockades because they don't want their own citizens to access certain files everyone else is blocking them because they're afraid they're going to come stomping in their own backyard and sue the pants off of them?

I'm glad I'm not the only paranoid nut here that immediately thought they'll pepper-spray & arrest him the second he gets off the plane :P

& yes, the US government is always trying to see what they can get away with when it comes to copyright, among other things

RoonMian:
That is something I didn't understand in the first place. In my country it is against the constitution to extradite a citizen to another country. If you are a citizen in my country and you broke the law and you are IN my country then you will stand trial in my country. If the law you broke doesn't exist in my country then nothing happens. I always assumed that this was just the same in the USA and Great Britain because our constitution pretty much had to pass their watching eye. So I really don't understand at all how the UK could ever consider extraditing him and I even don't understand it on several levels.

I'll save you all the legal babble and put it simply: USA says "jump" and Britain not only asks "how high?" but also "when?", "for how long?", and "off of what?" No one in any political seat with a voice has the balls to say "no" to the hulking great neighbour across the pond because keeping up their special relationship is more important than a handful of citizens.

They may not be sure they can get a conviction and are making a deal that saves him the cost of an attorney. This is a huge problem with the way the law works. You may not actually have committed a crime but the threat of being dragged to court is enough to make you submit to punishment.

Mortis Nuncius:
Inb4 justification of piracy argument.

See? This is a fine example of how the justice system does well in these matters. A slap on the wrist, an agreement not to do it again, and everyone can be on their merry non-piratey way.

Depends. If he does it again, then the settlement is kind of pointless.

Deshin:

I still don't see why extradition was even possible in the first place. If he was breaking laws then isn't it his own country's responsibility to persecute and charge? I'm reminded of one case where the U.S. tried to sue someone in the U.K. for illegally sharing Beatles music but he was well within legality as under U.K. law the number of years for art to become free cultural heritage property had been reached and so his sharing was perfectly legal.

I really do get the feeling the U.S. tries to overstep its boundaries when it comes to everything copyright infringement. All this is going to do is make more people actively try to block the U.S. from accessing the site like Kim Dotcom has promised with his new Mega site; but if this is the case isn't this just an inverse version of Chin's Great Firewall? Only instead of putting up blockades because they don't want their own citizens to access certain files everyone else is blocking them because they're afraid they're going to come stomping in their own backyard and sue the pants off of them?

RoonMian:

Deshin:

I still don't see why extradition was even possible in the first place. If he was breaking laws then isn't it his own country's responsibility to persecute and charge? I'm reminded of one case where the U.S. tried to sue someone in the U.K. for illegally sharing Beatles music but he was well within legality as under U.K. law the number of years for art to become free cultural heritage property had been reached and so his sharing was perfectly legal.

That is something I didn't understand in the first place. In my country it is against the constitution to extradite a citizen to another country. If you are a citizen in my country and you broke the law and you are IN my country then you will stand trial in my country. If the law you broke doesn't exist in my country then nothing happens. I always assumed that this was just the same in the USA and Great Britain because our constitution pretty much had to pass their watching eye. So I really don't understand at all how the UK could ever consider extraditing him and I even don't understand it on several levels.

Because the internet is international and he broke US law for which the US can claim that Americans were using his site (And they probably were, too). I don't think any country other than the US would bother prosecuting in that situation though, whether it's because they don't care or because they don't have the pull to go through with it.

Still saying it linked to torrent sites, eh Escapist? It wasn't torrents at all, it was streaming sites. Like Youtube, but usually not Youtube itself. Stay classy, Escapist.

baconsarnie:
Well as long as he promises not to infringe copyright again then that's ok.
Glad he wasn't extradited though.

i bet they are going to "bust" him for a "crime" when he is in new york..

50$ says Admiral Akbar is right. The second he gets of that plane he will be bumrushed by black suits and put into an "undisclosed" location ready to be sacrificed to the MPAA to secure a good harvest of bribes for all the politicians.

If I can sign a EULA with an American company from my bedroom, then he can sign a US contract in the UK.

Kopikatsu:
Because the internet is international and he broke US law for which the US can claim that Americans were using his site (And they probably were, too). I don't think any country other than the US would bother prosecuting in that situation though, whether it's because they don't care or because they don't have the pull to go through with it.

Extremely iffy justification, though. If the internet is international then nobody can claim any part of it, surely? It'd be like committing a crime in international waters - anyone who actually wanted you for something could claim you. Universal jurisdiction etc.

I can't see the Americans accepting that for a single second when the boot is on the other foot. If an American hosts and runs a website in his native country about something which is deeply illegal in Britain (let's say improperly buttering one's crumpet or leaving the biscuit in the tea so long it crumbles soggily apart) then Britain isn't going to be able to claim jurisdiction just because British citizens accessed the website.

Kopikatsu:

Because the internet is international and he broke US law for which the US can claim that Americans were using his site (And they probably were, too). I don't think any country other than the US would bother prosecuting in that situation though, whether it's because they don't care or because they don't have the pull to go through with it.

Yeah, but as I said: In my country it is against the constitution to extradite a citizen of my country to another country to stand trial there. The trial is in my country when a law was broken. And since the constitution of my country was pretty much written with the USA, the UK and France looking over the shoulders of the authors the USA and the UK even considering that just boggle the mind.

And when you turn it around: The USA are demanding something from the UK they are not willing to do themselves. When several years ago CIA agents kidnapped and tortured German citizen Khaled al-Masri and set him free again in some Albanian forest Germany as a reaction asked Interpol to extradite 10 CIA agents should they ever leave the USA again. Every nation supporting Interpol complies with the request (meaning that those agents can pretty much never visit one of the I think 180 something countries supporting Interpol again) except the USA who don't want to give up those people to a German trial and because of that Germany didn't even bother asking the USA to extradite them.

So again: I just don't get it where the USA get the balls to ask that of the UK and why the UK even considered it.

The punishment fitting the crime? In a copyright case?! No way! I never thought I'd see the day!

Good to see the dude isn't going to jail for the rest of his life for helping people see free movies.

Deshin:

RoonMian:
That is something I didn't understand in the first place. In my country it is against the constitution to extradite a citizen to another country. If you are a citizen in my country and you broke the law and you are IN my country then you will stand trial in my country. If the law you broke doesn't exist in my country then nothing happens. I always assumed that this was just the same in the USA and Great Britain because our constitution pretty much had to pass their watching eye. So I really don't understand at all how the UK could ever consider extraditing him and I even don't understand it on several levels.

I'll save you all the legal babble and put it simply: USA says "jump" and Britain not only asks "how high?" but also "when?", "for how long?", and "off of what?" No one in any political seat with a voice has the balls to say "no" to the hulking great neighbour across the pond because keeping up their special relationship is more important than a handful of citizens.

To quote Metallica 'You know it's sad but true.'

SonicWaffle:

Kopikatsu:
Because the internet is international and he broke US law for which the US can claim that Americans were using his site (And they probably were, too). I don't think any country other than the US would bother prosecuting in that situation though, whether it's because they don't care or because they don't have the pull to go through with it.

Extremely iffy justification, though. If the internet is international then nobody can claim any part of it, surely? It'd be like committing a crime in international waters - anyone who actually wanted you for something could claim you. Universal jurisdiction etc.

I'm not an expert, and I don't know if this is right, but if his website was hosted using a US server, wouldn't that mean that his site was subject to their law? (Again, not an expert or authority of any kind, just a guy with a suggestion)

Owyn_Merrilin:
Still saying it linked to torrent sites, eh Escapist? It wasn't torrents at all, it was streaming sites. Like Youtube, but usually not Youtube itself. Stay classy, Escapist.

Naming Youtube and nothing else is kind of disingenuous. It was linking to sites like Solar Movies, which host copywrited material illegally. (Hey, if contributors can link directly to porn sites, I can mention the name of a streaming site in passing)

Man if I were him I wouldn't set foot on US soil. This reeks of a trap to me.

LordJedi86:

SonicWaffle:

Kopikatsu:
Because the internet is international and he broke US law for which the US can claim that Americans were using his site (And they probably were, too). I don't think any country other than the US would bother prosecuting in that situation though, whether it's because they don't care or because they don't have the pull to go through with it.

Extremely iffy justification, though. If the internet is international then nobody can claim any part of it, surely? It'd be like committing a crime in international waters - anyone who actually wanted you for something could claim you. Universal jurisdiction etc.

I'm not an expert, and I don't know if this is right, but if his website was hosted using a US server, wouldn't that mean that his site was subject to their law? (Again, not an expert or authority of any kind, just a guy with a suggestion)

His site was hosted on a UK server, not a US one. He committed no crime within US jurisdiction, which is the crux of the case. He didn't even host the pirated content himself, merely links to where it could be found. Dodgy, true, but dodgy enough to support being extradited to a country where you've committed no crime? I think not.

Kopikatsu:
Because the internet is international and he broke US law for which the US can claim that Americans were using his site (And they probably were, too). I don't think any country other than the US would bother prosecuting in that situation though, whether it's because they don't care or because they don't have the pull to go through with it.

I'm gonna stop ya right there: no.

By that reasoning every time you've ever viewed anything pornographic you are hearby liable to be extradited to Libya to be tried there and punished. Furthermore if you've ever downloaded any DLC for your Xbox/PS3 via the internet you're also going to be extradited to China as those services are not allowed and you've committed a criminal act. Oh and if you've ever seen any funny pictures mocking the late Kim Jong-il you can be extradited to North Korea and be tried there and locked up for a decade.

Internet laws are subject to residence of the owner of the site and country the server is located. If someone's a British citizen and hosting a website with a server on British soil then America has no fucking jurisdiction whatsoever over that person or his website. The maximum they can do is inform the British authorities on the matter and they can procede accordingly depending on if he's actually broken any British laws and they can get American ISPs to block the website from their DNS databases. Much like how China gets its panties in a bunch over most of the internet instead they filter it from their citizens and not embark on a digital crusade to lock up everyone who is doing something illegal in their eyes.

Just because it's the good ol' U.S. of A doesn't give them any authority whatsoever to police the internet and be judge, jury, and executioner.

RoonMian:
So again: I just don't get it where the USA get the balls to ask that of the UK and why the UK even considered it.

Because Britain is, in this scenario, the little guy in 80's cartoons who hangs around as the big bully's sidekick. Sure he may get knocked around and abused, but less so than anyone else, so he puts up with it because he knows if he didn't the bully could squash him like a bug. We do what we're told because really, what else are we going to do? Put up a fight?

Deshin:

Kopikatsu:
Because the internet is international and he broke US law for which the US can claim that Americans were using his site (And they probably were, too). I don't think any country other than the US would bother prosecuting in that situation though, whether it's because they don't care or because they don't have the pull to go through with it.

I'm gonna stop ya right there: no.

By that reasoning every time you've ever viewed anything pornographic you are hearby liable to be extradited to Libya to be tried there and punished. Furthermore if you've ever downloaded any DLC for your Xbox/PS3 via the internet you're also going to be extradited to China as those services are not allowed and you've committed a criminal act. Oh and if you've ever seen any funny pictures mocking the late Kim Jong-il you can be extradited to North Korea and be tried there and locked up for a decade.

Internet laws are subject to residence of the owner of the site and country the server is located. If someone's a British citizen and hosting a website with a server on British soil then America has no fucking jurisdiction whatsoever over that person or his website. The maximum they can do is inform the British authorities on the matter and they can procede accordingly depending on if he's actually broken any British laws and they can get American ISPs to block the website from their DNS databases. Much like how China gets its panties in a bunch over most of the internet instead they filter it from their citizens and not embark on a digital crusade to lock up everyone who is doing something illegal in their eyes.

Just because it's the good ol' U.S. of A doesn't give them any authority whatsoever to police the internet and be judge, jury, and executioner.

You seem to have missed the last part.

Kopikatsu:
I don't think any country other than the US would bother prosecuting in that situation though, whether it's because they don't care or because they don't have the pull to go through with it.http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/120763-Google-Rallies-Opposition-to-U-N-Internet-Treaty

Besides, it wasn't a British server on British soil. It was hosted on a US server.

SonicWaffle:

LordJedi86:

SonicWaffle:

Extremely iffy justification, though. If the internet is international then nobody can claim any part of it, surely? It'd be like committing a crime in international waters - anyone who actually wanted you for something could claim you. Universal jurisdiction etc.

I'm not an expert, and I don't know if this is right, but if his website was hosted using a US server, wouldn't that mean that his site was subject to their law? (Again, not an expert or authority of any kind, just a guy with a suggestion)

His site was hosted on a UK server, not a US one. He committed no crime within US jurisdiction, which is the crux of the case. He didn't even host the pirated content himself, merely links to where it could be found. Dodgy, true, but dodgy enough to support being extradited to a country where you've committed no crime? I think not.

Cool. To be honest, I don't really know anything about this case or Copyright law. (except that facebook statuses don't really affect it.) I hope that Gary McKinnon will prove a turning point in how the extradition treaty will work with our transatlantic cousins.

LordJedi86:
I'm not an expert, and I don't know if this is right, but if his website was hosted using a US server, wouldn't that mean that his site was subject to their law? (Again, not an expert or authority of any kind, just a guy with a suggestion)

Yes and no. If he was a British citizen residing in Britain using a provider on US soil then the max they can do is shut down the server and add him to a blacklist where he's not allowed to register another domain. (basically putting him on a Wanted list) He would be breaking the US law but until he sets foot on US soil they cannot prosecute him.

Deshin:
Just because it's the good ol' U.S. of A doesn't give them any authority whatsoever to police the internet and be judge, jury, and executioner.

While this is true, I don't fancy being the one who has to explain it to the American authorities. This is a nation that regularly refers to itself as "the greatest nation on earth"; in their eyes, what right does anyone else have to an opinion?

The saddest thing is that there are plenty - not all, not most, but plenty - of American citizens would likely agree. If you'd been raised to believe you belong to the greatest, most powerful, inherently superior country then why wouldn't you think you have the authority to do what the fuck you like?

Kopikatsu:
Besides, it wasn't a British server on British soil. It was hosted on a US server.

No, it was not.

Kopikatsu:
Besides, it wasn't a British server on British soil. It was hosted on a US server.

SonicWaffle:
His site was hosted on a UK server, not a US one.

Well one of you is wrong but EITHER WAY extradition is not on the cards.

Kopikatsu:
You seem to have missed the last part.

Kopikatsu:
I don't think any country other than the US would bother prosecuting in that situation though, whether it's because they don't care or because they don't have the pull to go through with it.

No I read the last part very well, the correct answer was number 3: They have no legislation or jurisdiction to do so. Even if they did care and they did have the pull to go through with it they can do diddly squat apart from ask nicely to that country's officials and hope they sit down and roll over in the hopes of a tummy rub. Extradition is reserved for SERIOUS cases and some pleb with a site hosting links to streams which isn't even a crime on the home turf does not constitute extradition levels of seriousness.

LordJedi86:

SonicWaffle:

LordJedi86:

I'm not an expert, and I don't know if this is right, but if his website was hosted using a US server, wouldn't that mean that his site was subject to their law? (Again, not an expert or authority of any kind, just a guy with a suggestion)

His site was hosted on a UK server, not a US one. He committed no crime within US jurisdiction, which is the crux of the case. He didn't even host the pirated content himself, merely links to where it could be found. Dodgy, true, but dodgy enough to support being extradited to a country where you've committed no crime? I think not.

Cool. To be honest, I don't really know anything about this case or Copyright law. (except that facebook statuses don't really affect it.) I hope that Gary McKinnon will prove a turning point in how the extradition treaty will work with our transatlantic cousins.

I doubt it. It's a drop in the bucket when it comes to public interest; these cases have popped up, but soon they'll disappear again. The tabloids have people whipped into an anti-Europe frenzy, which certainly seems to be being treated as the biggest parliamentary issue of the day, so our relations with the Americans take a back seat. Without people pushing for things to change, they won't, and the EU is the problem du jour.

We'll all forget about this soon enough, and bugger all will change :-(

Deshin:

Kopikatsu:
Besides, it wasn't a British server on British soil. It was hosted on a US server.

SonicWaffle:
His site was hosted on a UK server, not a US one.

Well one of you is wrong but EITHER WAY extradition is not on the cards.

The hosting of the website is central to his defence. His lawyers claim it was "not in any way" hosted on a US server, presumably a relatively easily falsifiable claim, so there wouldn't be much point in them lying about it.

The Americans have never found mere laws to be a hindrance to getting what they want. Our politicians may be gutless, but Britain is already struggling: earning the ire of the US (though the US is itself a bully) would be bad for a lot more Brits than an innocent student. Its a terrible thing they would extradite him, but thats the problem with the 'special relationship': it's pretty much one-way.

Kopikatsu:

Besides, it wasn't a British server on British soil. It was hosted on a US server.

What? No it wasn't.

Kopikatsu:

Owyn_Merrilin:
Still saying it linked to torrent sites, eh Escapist? It wasn't torrents at all, it was streaming sites. Like Youtube, but usually not Youtube itself. Stay classy, Escapist.

Naming Youtube and nothing else is kind of disingenuous. It was linking to sites like Solar Movies, which host copywrited material illegally. (Hey, if contributors can link directly to porn sites, I can mention the name of a streaming site in passing)

The point is that youtube does exactly what those sites do. The onus is legally not on the owner of the site to police user uploaded content, it's on the copyright owners to send takedown notices. Until they send that takedown notice -- which pretty much all streaming sites, even the shady ones, will listen to -- the streaming site has no obligation whatsoever to take things down. Youtube works the same way, which is why you can find pretty much any anime ever made on it, whether its been officially licensed outside of Japan or not.

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