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back to article Brit CompSci student faces extradition to US over link site

A British computer science student is facing extradition to the US where he is accused of setting up a site which provided links to websites that infringed copyright owned by US companies. Richard O'Dwyer, 23, was in court in Westminster this week. He ran the TVShack website - one of seven shut down by US authorities last …

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Put him on the same flight

as Gary McKinnon.

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For linking to torrents?

Seriously?

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Facepalm

same flight as McKinnon?

Are you mad? With two super-terrorists in the same plane, you're just asking for trouble. Have you never seen Con-Air?

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Dear Mr Google

I have recently noticed if I search my domain name, you have cached copies of my copyrighted material, and also are providing links to my site.

I therefore request you copensate me $3trillion quid.

Ta much.

BEEEEER

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Anonymous Coward

The Google cache has been purged of naughtiness

However, there are still snapshots on the Wayback Machine

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Devil

@ David39

What? You didn't set the no robots text so that Google and others wouldn't actually crawl your web pages?

Didn't you know that because you didn't do this that you've implicitly agreed to the Chocolate factory from indexing your web site and posting all of your *copyright* material on the interwebs for everyone to see/steal. (After all, everyone knows that if its posted on the web, then its free for the taking....)

Ok if you didn't get the sarcasm, then you need to grow up.

I agree with the sentiment that trying to charge someone who just provided links to allegedly infringed material is a joke.

Putting this act on the same level as McKinnon, even is jest is plain stupid.

I would rather see the Brits take the US lawyers and corporate types who think extraditing the 'nerd' and charge them with something under British law, and extradite them to the UK.

Oh wait. they'd probably place them under house arrest like Assange, which makes our notorious

club fed' look like Alcatraz....

No Seriously, please extradite these clowns. And please keep them. We have enough pointy haired idiots running our large corporations that they wouldn't be missed.

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FAIL

i think youll find

that the law you refer to is non-comutative.

heres how it works;

if plaintiff = merkin then

extradited for nothing = true

punishment = request of the accuser

else

writeln " are you fucking mental?? we are gods people, STFU"

end if

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Fuck off America.

Seriously, fuck off.

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Seconded

RIGHT OFF

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Devil

Re: Fuck off America.

Put the blame where it belongs: on the corporations and the judges & politicians they bribed to pass & enforce these "laws".

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Alert

Hey! I resemble that remark!

As a Yank on this board, my only reply to this is:

Yeah! Fuck off America!

(And I mean it, too. We, as a country , have got to get the fuck over ourselves, dammit! We are not the be all and end all of the world. The sooner we learn this the sooner we can get along with getting along.)

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Unhappy

AMerica

At this time, the conservatives run America. They exist only for the big corporations and the super rich. This type of active will only get worse until America wakes up and gives the boot to the conservatives.

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^ QFT.

Or, to be more precise, in this case, those copyright bastards in the first place, and the US legal system second for actually trying to prosecute this action.

I mean... even if he had copyright material hosted, he did not do it in America.

FFS....

Come along now all you Brits, rally round and tell them to fuck off, seriously....

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Anonymous Coward

Yeah!

Your country sucks! It's not like OUR country would let its politicians dash a digital bill through at the last minute without understanding the smallest part of it just because corporations line their pockets with cash!

Oh, wait. Well, at least some of ours have posh titles like Lord and Sir. Yes, they still bend over to your Mr, but that's not the point.

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Mushroom

This is utter bullshit!

He had no material, just links and the MPAA, who are at the base of this shite, simply want to throw their weight around to prove how tought hey are on copyright theft and the causes of copyright theft. Pick on some kid and maybe you can frighten all the others to think twice.

I am all for ensuring copyright is protected, when it's actually being infringed upon. How about they go after Rapidshare, MegaUpload, SonicServe. etc , all these places are riddled with copyright material and they have the funds to pay for their crimes, not some kid messing about with some HTML links in a webpage.

Sod it just nail Google, Bing and Yahoo, they crawl and index the stuff on forums that host links to the file sharers.

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Amen

Copyright is supposed to have an important role in protecting the work of those who create. This sort of power-grab by the greedy fuckers at the MPAA who just want control of everything, helped along by their well-paid-off lackeys in government makes a monkey's arse of that.

This is one of those situations where the UK.gov needs to tell the US.gov to go fuck itself, swiftly followed by the US.gov telling the MPAA and friends to go fuck themselves before making legal changes to ensure that copyright actually does what it was intended to.

Fat chance that any of that'll happen though.

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Anonymous Coward

MPAA/RIAA and their ilk

If those companies (I don't consider them as organisations as they have the ethics and mentalities of ruthless businesses only out to make money for themselves and not the creators they profess to protect) actually did represent the creators they're supposed to protect, they'd change their business model in line with how the general population of the world have come to ustilise the audio/video of the creators, the argument that they're still sticking to a pre-internet business model hold water like nothing else.

One that note, why is it that the BBC do not have some online uber-archive of tv shows/radio shows where people can simply "dip-in" and watch/listen to anything the BBC has produced since day one? (bar the material that has been completely lost) too often when I want to watch something I paid for through the tv license that was aired a even couple of months ago, let alone years/decades ago I have to turn to alternate sources for said material, that's just wrong.

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WTF?

Re:This is utter bullshit!

"He had no material"

More importantly, he is not based in the US, his site was not hosted in the US and he did not host any infringing material thus:

1. What crime did he commit?

2. Where was this crime deemed to have been committed, and why?

3. How the fuck did you come to the conclusion US law applied and extradition was the answer?

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Boffin

...because they can't

"One that note, why is it that the BBC do not have some online uber-archive of tv shows/radio shows where people can simply "dip-in" [...] I want to watch something I paid for through the tv license"

Simple. Copyright.

The BBC does not own the rights to everything in the programmes it makes. There are many issues.

First there is music. Often the background or theme music is not written specially but is commerical music for which a fee is paid for specific purposes such as a single broadcast. Allowing the programme to be repeated or freely accessible means that the fee has to be renegociated. An example of this is that the intro for Pink Floyd's "Shine on you crazy diamond" was used to great comic effect in the original radio broadcasts of the HHGTTG. When the beeb issued the entire series on CD they decided they could not afford the fees for it to be allowed to reuse the music and so that joke has been cut. Shame.

Then there are the actors. Actors have to be paid fees for repeat showings. Sometimes the stars of the show retain control over repeats. Famously, Martin Shaw allegedly did not allow "The Professionals" to be repeated for a very long time. I recently read an interview with Rodney Bewes in which he bemoaned the fact that the Likely Lads were not being repeated for similar reasons.

There are even issues with still images and photos. If any program is repeated it has to be examined for possible copyright issues. Often the original copyright holders cannot be traced and this is one of the reason behind the wishes of the BBC and others that there should be provision for overriding the copyright on "orphaned works".

Sorting this all out is, of course, expensive so that is costs money even if no actual fees need to be paid.

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Megaphone

It is time

for this shit to stop.

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Mushroom

UK.gov needs to grow a pair.

This treaty is already stupidly lop-sided. It should be torn up and US.gov told that it can go suck its own cock for a while until it's willing to come back and renegotiate. Even the American spin machine can't successfully paint the entire UK as a rogue state, so what are they going to do about it?

Hopefully a few more cases like this becoming public and that's just what will happen.

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FAIL

Has anyone here actually READ the treaty?

Or studied the law behind it?

Y'know, every time US extradition comes up, people start frothing about how the US has an unfair advantage, and how it's got the UK over a barrel. Nobody ever mentions the other 23 countries that have the exact same wording in their extradition treaties with the UK.

See: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2010/08/the-us-uk-extradition-treaty-in-the-interest-of-both-nations

Some pertinent quotes:

"Britain’s 2003 Extradition Act and by the British action under that act in 2004 in designating the U.S.—along with 23 other countries as of February 2009—as a state that is not required to supply prima facie evidence for extradition requests. Instead, the U.S. must only meet the less demanding test of providing “informa­tion which would justify the issue of a warrant.” Other states so designated include democracies such as Australia and Israel, states where the rule of law is fragile such as Azerbaijan, and non-democra­cies such as the Russian Federation and Ukraine. Nothing prohibits Britain from designating more states on the same basis

The 2003 treaty adopts this new standard, cre­ated by British law, as its basic standard for U.S. requests for extradition from Britain while also allowing either state to require additional informa­tion from the other should the second state find this necessary “to enable a decision to be taken on the request for extradition.”[8] In short, the U.S. has been placed, first by British law and then by treaty, on the same basis as the 23 other states designated by Britain."

So basically, it's not that the US are being assholes, it's the UK that's willing to ship all and sundry off to wherever on the host country's say-so, even if it's a third world hellhole!

Oh, two more points, First:

"It is now easier to extradite British subjects, both on more serious charges like those facing McKinnon and on the frivolous charges that often result in the issu­ance of an EAW, but thanks to Labour’s acceptance of the jurisdiction of European courts, it is now harder to extradite accused terrorists, as illustrated by the continued delay in the extradition to the U.S. of radical Egyptian cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri, cur­rently in a British prison on various terrorism-related charges."

In other words, a British citizen, under British law, is easier to extradite than a proven terrorist! (Chalk another one up for the Labour party!)

and second, I'll quote this part again:

"Nothing prohibits Britain from designating more states on the same basis"

there's nothing in British law to prevent Parliament from extending these same lopsided conditions to even more countries currently negotiating or re-negotiating their extradition treaties with the UK.

To sum up, it was your own government under Labour that sold your asses down the river, the US was just one of many (with possibly many more to come) to benefit from it!

Obviously this calls for the fail icon, both for the British Government's contempt for its own citizens, and for the people blaming the wrong side of the mess!

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@Captain DaFt

The main issue is that the treaty is being ABUSED (in capitals as you seem to overlook that point) for trivial offences that wouldn't even merit investigation in the UK. I cannot recall any other country using this treaty for minor crimes nor civil action. As I understand it hyperlinking isn't a crime in the US and neither are providers responsible for content uploaded by users to their site otherwise Google and Youtube would be in serious trouble but I don't see US authorities going after them. This is because they can't, in fact providers are protected against the actions of their users.

As for Mckinnon, if he committed any crime it was in 2001-2002 so really this treaty should not apply.

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Headmaster

@Captain DaFt

If I recall (from reading extradition laws in the McKinnon and Assange cases, I'm too lazy to read that stuff again), the extradition laws have a number of quite reasonable requirements. This is the reason why Assange needs to be extradited to Sweden for the US to be able to request extradition to their side.

Requirements (among others):

1. The offence for which extradition of a subject is requested should be a crime in both nations

2. The crime must have occured within the jurisdiction of the requesting state, the subject of the extradition request must be a subject of the requesting state or the requesting state must otherwise be the best able to handle prosecution of the offence in question

As to 1: IP offences are usually covered by civil law, not criminal law. Unfortunately, both the US and UK have made both copyright infringement and assisting in copyright infringementent a criminal offence. This is, as you point out, a case of goverments choosing interests of major corporations over the rights of their citizens (although the parallel with actual theft does lend some strength to a counter argument).

However, as to 2., it seems unlikely that a British judge would rule that an American court would be better equipped to handle a prosecution against a British subject who stands accused of having committed a crime under British law on British soil. Agreeing to this extradition request would basically amount to agreeing that all of the internet falls under US jurisdiction. It seems unlikely that a judge posessed of any amount of either sanity or integrity would agree to that.

Then again.. I don't know the British legal system all that well.

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Vic
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Oh, fuck.

> It seems unlikely that a judge posessed of any amount of either sanity or

> integrity would agree to that.

We're screwed.

Vic.

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Hmm

Am I the only one that doesn't really understand extradition law? How can you possibly commit a crime in America without having even been there? It'd be like me setting up my own country, passing a law saying no one can insult me and then demanding extradition of individuals who flame me on forums. He should be tried under UK law...

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I couldn't agree more

Seriously, this American extra-terratorial reach is a joke. Our politicians seem to be complicit these days too.

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Pirate

hyperlinks to dodgy stuff are themselves illegal?

Hmmm.... I was wondering the subject so I checked online. Check this chilling effects brief FAQ about hyper links.

http://www.chillingeffects.org/linking/faq.cgi

It would seem that it depends on the context of whether you were contributing to the dissemination of illegal stuff.

Whether he made money off of it may or may not be relevant as it may have been an ad banner that meant every page on his website similarly "generated revenue". The question is whether he is culpable of profiting from the end product (the dodgy stuff he was linking to). An entry in the footnotes of an article about copyright piracy I expect would not be culpable, whereas a prominent webite "frontage" would be a whole lot more culpable to me!

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Yeah maybe

BUT STILL IN THE COUNTRY OF RESIDENCE ONLY

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Stop

Copyright infringement

As far as I was aware is a civil offence in this country.

If the site is created and hosted within the UK, then surely, jurisdictionally no criminal offence has been comitted on US soil, and (at worst) only a civil offence has been created on UK soil.

How in the hell does that end up in extradition?

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Trollface

Cos

Since the USA took the opportunity to fuck us with a 'special relationship' as wages when we *hired* them for WWII they've been sticking it to us financially ever since.

Hence it's probably 'extradite or lose this investment in the UK' which is the usual tune they play.

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WTF?

Not only that, but...

More importantly, how do "US Authorities" shut down a site that isn't hosted in the US? That ought not be possible.

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Criminal Law

The law most certainly provides for criminal penalties in copyright cases. Take a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright,_Designs_and_Patents_Act_1988#Criminal_offences

You can face a jail term of 10 years and an unlimited fine for some copyright offences.

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Anonymous Coward

Civil and criminal

It's not necessarily civil. Infringement becomes criminal if it's "in the course of a business" or "to such an extent as to affect prejudicially the owner of the copyright".

However, it's not clear that there has been any infringement by the accused.

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Not in this case...

As far as I can see, non of the points mentioned in the article you link too apply in this particular case, and therefore he has no criminal case to answer.

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Pirate

Poisoning the root DNS servers

The yanks have been going nuts hijacking domains. They basically poison the root DNS servers (apparently the sole property of the united states of assholes to do whatever they want with) so the domain is effectively knocked offline worldwide.

As someone else quite rightly said, the yanks need to fuck right off. They're pretty much doing a hitler and slowly taking over the world, by force. But everyones just sitting back and watching it happen.

Those that rose up and thought against hitler were called heroes. Those that rise up and fight against America are called terrorists. Interesting.

They want to extradite a fucking kid for linking to copyright material? get the fuck out of here.

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Anonymous Coward

Godwin's Law?

So soon as well.

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@Cos

Sorry to be repetitious, but I do want everyone to be clear that we didn't "hire" the Americans in WW2, and they didn't help us out of the goodness of their hearts either. The facts are these:

1. The USA remained resolutely neutral for the first 27 months of the war, while Germany conquered Poland, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, The Netherlands, France, Yugoslavia, Greece, and all of the USSR up to the Moscow tramlines. It remained steadfastly neutral through Dunkirk, the Battle of Britain, and the Blitz. If, as depicted in Len Deighton's brilliant novel "SS-GB", the Nazis had conquered Britain in 1940, the USA would not have lifted a finger to help.

2. The USA never declared war on Germany or Japan until AFTER they had declared war on it. (In other words, the American declaration of war on Germany was a PR stunt, designed so later they could say "when we declared war on Germany...") As we know, Japan declared war shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor. A week later, Hitler personally declared war on the USA - and that is how it wound up as our ally. Britain declared war on Germany because it invaded Poland. But the USA waited until Germany declared war on it, when it no longer had any choice.

Ironically enough, ever since its failure to tackle Hitler (a very dangerous enemy), the USA has been throwing its weight around, attacking weaker countries that have no chance of defending themselves successfully - usually without a declaration of war, as in the cases of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya.

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@XMAN

"Those that rose up and thought against hitler were called heroes".

Hitler and the Nazis called them terrorists, though. Think on.

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Godwin doesn't apply

when the comparison is valid. Having SEEN what the conservatives in the US are like, I'm quite happy to say the comparison is perfectly, disturbingly, valid.

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Not exactly.

While there was no formal declaration of war, there were actions the US was taking.

Consider, the reason why Japan attacked Pearl Harbor is because the US , In 1938, placed an embargo on exporting aircraft, fuel, and other items that allowed them to make war on China, to Japan. The government also froze all Japanese assets in the United States.

The declaration of war followed Japan's and Germany's declaration of war against the US; Germany being obligated to do so after Japan declared war.

There was certainly a period following ww1 that the US had a policy of not getting involved in other countries wars. Kind of Ironic now, eh? Now Europe wants the US out, but if they had really stayed out a lot more people would be speaking German right now.

Leaving that aside, there were behind the scenes actions to bring aid to "free Europe" and a general mobilization of the resource of the US. This included various forms of propaganda to get the people of the US to favor intervention and well as the "lend lease" program of early 1941 where the US was to be the "arsenal of democracy" whereby the US would send money and arms to help keep free Europe free, while sparing the US from actually having to send military personnel to clean up the mess caused by punishing Treaty of Versailles which the Germans used as an excuse to again open hostilities.

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@ XMAN

I strongly suggest you consider the important distinction between THINKING and FIGHTING.

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@ Martin 71

"Godwin doesn't apply when the comparison is valid"

Maybe time to re-read Godwin's Law, it's always valid (unless you are on a WWII forum)

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Let's hope our government can bring some common sense to bear

Rearrange if necessary, not a cat in hells' chance.

However, it does look like this is the sort of case that should be made widely public to make the average British citizen aware of the how this treaty is being abused and emphasize why such abuse is possible. I wonder if Blair has lost the brown tint to his nose yet after having it shoved up Bush's arse for so long.

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Anonymous Coward

Since the site was not hosted in the US

He should either be tried under British law (if such law exists) or not have a case to answer.

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Black Helicopters

At least the Yanks didn't shoot him.

At least they didn't fly in, shoot his Mamma in the leg and shoot him in the head before dumping him in the ocean.

How many people here seriously believe that Americans believe in the rule of law?

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Flame

Americans (the people) still believe in the rule of law

America, Inc. (the institution), not so much (except, of course, when it suits their fancy).

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