Friday 13 January 2012

Student to face US trial over TVShack website


student who created a website which helped people watch films and TV shows for free can be extradited to the US to face copyright infringement allegations, a court ruled today. Sheffield Hallam University undergraduate Richard O'Dwyer, 23, allegedly earned thousands of pounds through advertising on the TVShack website before it was closed down by the US authorities. He faces jail if convicted of the allegations, which were brought following a crackdown by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. His lawyer Ben Cooper has argued that the site did not store copyright material itself and merely pointed users to other sites, in the same way that Google and Yahoo operate. Mr Cooper also claimed his client would be the first British citizen to be extradited for such an offence and would effectively become a "guinea pig" for copyright law in the US. His mother Julia O'Dwyer, from Chesterfield, has described the action as "beyond belief" and the UK's extradition treaty with the US as "rotten". But District Judge Quentin Purdy ruled today at Westminster Magistrates' Court that the extradition could go ahead. Mr Cooper indicated he would appeal against the ruling. O'Dwyer, who wore a grey shirt and blue jeans, showed no emotion as the ruling was made. His mother Julia criticised Britain's extradition treaty with the US. She said after the hearing: "If they want to prosecute something they will. "There's no safeguards here for British citizens." She also claimed the District Judge did not have the "technical brains to know about the whole thing". She added: "That guy just lives and breathes extradition."