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British Student Loses Extradition Battle Over Copyright Violation

| 16 Jan 2012 21:00
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TVShack operator Richard O'Dweyer is set to face the US justice system, despite never having set foot in the country.

Earlier, we reported on the case of Richard O'Dwyer, the 23-year-old British student facing extradition to the US over his part in creating popular torrent site, TVShack. Last Friday, a judge in the UK ruled that there were no valid reasons why O'Dwyer shouldn't be sent to New York state for trial. O'Dwyer faces charges of copyright infringement and criminal infringement of copyright, both of which carry a five year maximum sentence. O'Dwyer intends to appeal to the verdict.

"There are said to be direct consequences of criminal activity by Richard O'Dwyer in the USA, albeit by him never leaving the north of England," said district judge Quentin Purdy. "Such a state of affairs does not demand a trial here if the competent UK authorities decline to act, and does, in my judgment, permit one in the USA."

O'Dwyer set up TVShack.net, which brought in as much as £15,000 per month in ad revenue during its peak, when he was 19. Like all torrent sites, TVShack didn't host any of the copyright infringing files directly. Instead, it acted as a search engine, providing links to torrent files from which users could download the material. Torrent sites are a legal gray area in the UK. As O'Dwyer's defense pointed out; the only UK prosecution of a similar site, TV-Links, was thrown out last year.

Many question whether O'Dwyer should face trial in the US, considering that he's never been to the states and TVShack didn't use US servers. The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, however, maintains that any internet domain ending in .com or .net is fair game for US authorities as the company that provides those particular suffixes falls under US jurisdiction.

Source: The Guardian

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