back to article UK Home Secretary approves TVShack's O'Dwyer extradition

Blighty's Home Secretary Theresa May has approved the extradition of Richard O'Dwyer to the US on charges of copyright infringement stemming from his TVShack website. According to his mother Julia, O'Dwyer's extradition was signed off by May on Tuesday as the Prime Minister David Cameron flew into the US for talks with President …

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I doubt

it would matter if the "much needed" change, so that the US had to provide proof, would matter in any of the cases mentioned.

In O'Dwyers case, they would show he profited from crime, and the extradition request would be granted.

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Re: I doubt

Whether or not the change would have an effect on this particular case doesn't really matter; as it stands it's still a silly state of affairs which needs fixing.

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@James 139 Re: I doubt

"I doubt it would matter if the "much needed" change, so that the US had to provide proof, would matter in any of the cases mentioned.

In O'Dwyers case, they would show he profited from crime,"

Really ? I was un-aware of any proof of profit from a crime (not a crime in the UK that is, nor using resources located in the US). Judge Purdy did say in his ruling: "There are said to be direct consequences of criminal activity by Richard O'Dwyer in the USA" but that hardly constitutes an admission of proof, and i've not heard details of any such proof from the US side.

There are accusations of link bumping to copyrighted material, but they are just that - accusations. So perhaps there is "proof" somewhere - but i've missed it - and if so, please point me in the right direction. I know they (US) don't need it, but that was the thrust of your argument I believe.

Frankly, this smacks of capitulation for other reasons - isn't the first, won't be the last, just a pity.

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Re: I doubt

Oh, I dont disagree, just because the US system requires proof, that their constitution requires, doesnt mean they shouldnt have to provide the same proof here.

However, its not beyond the US to provide all sorts of evidence, remember that a monkey in a suit convinced Tony Blair that Iraq had all sorts of nasty weapons.

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Re: @James 139 I doubt

I never said they HAD proof, just that they would show it if the law were the same for both sides.

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Re: I doubt

What crime is that then?

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PT

Re: I doubt

Very often, in the US evidence is neither required nor produced in criminal cases. What will probably happen is he will be mercilessly badgered by the "nasty" cops for a few days until they convince him he's in jeopardy of a thousand year sentence, then the "nice" cop will show up and get him to sign a confession in exchange for dropping most of the charges. Bingo, conviction achieved, no evidence necessary.

My son got a ticket for running a stop sign. When he decided to go to court to fight it, they even offered him a plea bargain on that.

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Anonymous Coward

Crazy world

The lobbyist's expect results from politicians who they donate money too...

We are unable to put extremist clerics on a plane out of the country yet we extradite someone who runs a website which upsets a company or group of companies?

New laws and treaties are sold to us under the pretense of stopping terrorists and that they will not be used for anything else. Just like how coppers have misused the terrorism laws by threatening to arrest people under the terrorism act simply for wanting to record a simple event happening on the street.

It appears the US government wants to be the world police and does not care that more and more people are rising against it.

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FAIL

The fact that the actual copyrighted material is hosted on numerous streaming websites - which clearly have not been targeted - probably because they American.....

Meanwhile a certain popular website (with a .eu domain) which offers EXACTLY the same service as Richard's is still up and running......

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Special relationship...

...still seems to be that the UK repeatedly takes it up the arse from the USA and goes back for more.

If you're in Scotland then FFS vote for independence, its the only way you'll ever escape the lunacy.

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Re: Special relationship...

Scotland has the same as or worse extradition treaty with the yanks.

Whether this would change with independence is anyones guess.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Special relationship...

It is a special relationship. The UK just happens to be a power bottom and loves it.

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Anonymous Coward

51st state of America.

Our justice system is now officially owned by the USA.

Time for us to learn all American laws as it is clear they all apply here irrespective of what our own law might be and our government is happy to ship us off to be tried in a foreign land for doing something that isn't a crime here.

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Re: 51st state of America.

Maybe if it was a crime here, they wouldn't need to be shipped to the

US for punishment

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Re: 51st state of America.

If it's not a crime here, why are we extraditing?

I'm pretty sure that Rick Santorum has said a few things which are homophobic enough to get him prosecuted on the east side of the pond - any chance of getting him prosecuted over here?

Thought not.

In the meantime, anyone sad enough to look for US TV shows online since they haven't come out over here yet will probably watch them again when they finally cross the ocean, and then buy the DVD box set.

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Stop

The U.S. does not have a legitimate claim against O'Dwyer.

It is not as if he went to the U.S., murdered someone while he was there and then returned back to the U.K. In a situation like that, extradition would be justified.

In this case, a student sets up and operates website in the U.K., where he lives. He is not an American citizen, has not been to the U.S. Therefore American laws don't apply. British law and only British law should apply.

On what basis does the U.S.gov think it should be able to enforce its laws on U.K. citizens living in the U.K? Surely, if O'Dwyer broke the law, he should be prosecuted in Britain, by a British court according to BRITISH law.

It is disgusting that this government is happy to ship British citizens to foreign countries that have no legitimate claim against the individual, and that individual has never set foot in that country.

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@Stephen 11

"It is not as if he went to the U.S., murdered someone while he was there and then returned back to the U.K."

He's done something much more serious - he's angered MPAA executives. This insolence must not be tolerated and the world will be shown who is the boss.

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Anonymous Coward

Welcome to the Alice in Wonderland world of USA judiciary

USA has a very interesting judicial doctrine.

USA disagrees with the doctrine of the universal jurisdiction when the defendant is American. Google for USA and the international war crime tribunals, etc for an example. At the same time they are quite zealous at enforcing it when the plaintiff is American (especially if the plaintiff is the USA government).

This stems from several old supreme court decisions. Their government is mandated by their law to disregard any foreign justice and always enforce USA justice. Similarly, all treaties USA signs are effectively null and void too because they have no value whatsoever in USA - only USA law applies. So a ratification of a treaty by USA actually means plain nothing. There has to be a USA law and it has to enter the law books after that.

As a comparison - any treaty ratified by any Eu country (sans UK) automatically becomes law and overrides any local law. It is in the constitutions for most of them.

These differences are something which any country must keep in mind when signing docs with USA. Quite clearly previous (and current) UK governments have not done their homework on this one so we will now have consume the consequences for time to come.

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I agree with your post entirely. However...

As a computer science student at Sheffield Hallam University, O’Dwyer set up the TVShack website in 2007. The US government alleges he made over $230,000 from advertising revenues given the site's popularity. When the original site was shut down he set up a mirror, with an NWA graphic and the slogan “F*ck the Police”.

That just really wasn't smart. Funding by ad-revenue even though you have hosting costs stokes the "did it for profit" argument. Being a total twat after a takedown when you should have just skulked away is really dumb. Sooner or later someone will stand up to the US's extra-territorial bullshit. I doubt it will be the UK though.

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@Stephen 11

Not so. Groupthink here seems strong, though, so I fully expect to get downvoted lots for this.

The main issues here are:

- O'Dwyer created a site which encouraged viewing of unlicensed content (Top 10 list consistently showed unlicensed titles)

- O'Dwyer profited from this (advertising revenue estimated at $230,000)

- O'Dwyer's site was a "nexus" for copyright infringement in the US (Look it up)

Unless you think that demanding extradition of a person standing in Mexico and firing a rifle over the US border is also outrageous, you're being a little hypocritical. It's perfectly reasonable for them to demand a trial in the US for this. He won't be tried in the UK as linking to unlicensed content isn't a crime in the UK.

FWIW, he visited the US on holiday when he was five years old. It makes no difference, but it's just one more fact of the case you've missed. Remember, your opinion != (however flawed) fact.

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Im interested to know why is this going to be tried in he US. Surely if the site was hosted in the UK and just because it could be accessed from States shouldnt be reason enough for extradition. What am I missing?

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FAIL

i'm baffled by these cases

if the person was not physically present in usa territiory when the alleged offence was committed, then what fuck has it got to do with the usa? since when did johhny foreigner's laws apply to the uk?

if he committed a crime while in uk, under uk law, bang him up, otherwise, he's innocent

otherwise, i assume we're going to extradite all usa handgun owners and lock them up because they are committing a crime in uk law

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Extradite all USA hand gun owners?! In direct contravention of UK laws that do not allow anyone (in theory) except the plod, the private LTD company (ACPO) that profits from them, and the armed forces to bear arms, it would seem that we have a shed-load of gun-toting Foreign Bureau of Intoxicants coming over to visit the Olympics! Grrr! (/rant off)

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Re:Oodles

an interesting point - what happens if some trigger-happy FBI prick shoots a foreign or UK national on UK soil at the olympics?

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Big Brother

Re: Re:Oodles

They will all be diplomatic attaches...

Something else to consider. A US soldier goes on a killing spree in Afghanistan. He in the actual country, on sovereign soil, with a government recognised by the USA. Guess who gets to arrest/try him.

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Re: Re:Oodles

Easy - he'll claim diplomatic immunity.

You weren't expecting any kind of accountability, or UK laws to apply, were you?

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Re: Re:Oodles

They get scooped up and sent back home pronto. The vic gets a delayed autopsy while a weapon is found in his/her personal effects and connection to a hitherto unknown extremist organisation is discovered.

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If this kid made $230,000 from this website why was he still living at home with his mum and attending Uni? Seems to me that the first thing a student would do would be move out of his mums house!

I think this is a total abuse of power, if he is clear of all charges in this country then we shouldn't be extraditing him, else surely that means we think we didn't do a proper job ourselves??

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Flame

The whole treaty and it's application are the complete fucking disgrace:

Brought in to supposedly 'fight terrorism' the treaties recent application proves the much laboured point that bad laws will ALWAYS be abused and used for purposes that were not originally intended.

Now UK citizens can be shipped out when they've done NOTHING illegal under UK law, (as the Oink verdict established - linking to copyrighted content is not a crime).

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two points of view

While I don't agree with the extradition issue, I think the guy and his mother need a reality check if they think he's done nothing wrong.

Did she not even question the £147,000 he raked in? You don't get that kind of dosh from a website and Google ads.

In the never ending battle of the entertainment industry of the US versus the internet and the way they use the US legal system did he honestly think he'd be completely safe from prosecution? Maybe he should have read The Reg and seen all the stories that have been published over the years.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: two points of view

Never fear in a few years we'll be sending woman that have affairs to Afghanistan so they can be ritually murded. Oooo you mean only US law is global law?

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Re: two points of view

The alleged infringement was way back in 2002, when the site was first set up the extradition treaty wasn't even in place...

Even so, if this had all occurred last week I'd still argue that he's done nothing illegal under UK law and should not be subject to the Whims of the US media industry.

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Couple of questions

1. Is what he did also illegal here in Blighty?

2. Could it also be argued that the effects of the crime were felt here?

I suspect the answers are yes and yes. However, I'd not be surprised if a compliant CPS had declined to prosecute. I'd quite like to know what May carefully considered; not to mention see where all the aledged profits went, since US prosecutors aren't exactly shy when it comes comes to exaggerating numbers.

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Re: Couple of questions

"Is what he did also illegal here in Blighty?"

That is a moot question. Because an American could access the site from America they will claim US jurisdiction.

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Childcatcher

Re: Couple of questions

From what I've read, linking to content is legal in your country. There have been several cases (OiNK and FileSoup) that have shown that. Otherwise he probably would be on trial in the UK. He hasn't committed a crime there, so the US is flying him here for trial.

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Re: Not moot at all

I understand the accused should be tried where the crime is felt. Since Britain has a vibrant and creative entertainment industry, is the crime not also felt here (assuming it is a crime here)?

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Re: Copyright law has been tightened here

But I've not been able to find a definitive answer on linking. Either way, the case is disturbing. If we assume what the accused broke no British law then should all British citizens learn US law?

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Re: Couple of questions

They can claim that all they like, it doesn't mean the UK government has to accept it.

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FAIL

Re: Couple of questions

Whittaker's Bookseller is available to any Amercian who wishes to buy it. Shock horror! It contains lists of copyright material!!! Oh Noez!!!!

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Re: Couple of questions

You can only be extradited to the US if the offense is an "extraditiion offence", which is defined in section 137 of the Extradition Act 2003:

* if the offense occurred either the US, or not in the US but no part of it in the UK, and the conduct would get him 12 months or more in the UK

* if the offence occurred outside the US and no part of it occurred in the UK, and the conduct would get him 12 months or more in the US.

I'm not sure which of these applies, but I think given "command and control" of the site was clearly in the UK it would have to be the first - the offense occurred in the US and he could get 12 months for the same offence in the UK.

Clearly the CPS believes a crime would have been committed in the UK, which given his site was available worldwide, does make me wonder why they're not prosecuting here. If I were him right now I'd be supplying the UK with all the evidence of the crime so they could prosecute him here.

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Re: Couple of questions

@Androgynous Cupboard

IANAL, but looking at what you quoted there, he is not elligible. Looking at both statements, they say "but no part of it in the UK". He was in the UK, and so were his servers, hence part of it was in the UK. Whether or not the rest applies, surely it must hold that part of the "offence" occured in the UK.

As a side note, from now on I am making any sites I run inaccessible from the US. I don't know US law, can't afford to hire a US lawyer and do not wish to be subject to US law, so I shall block all US IP addresses. Simples.

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Re: Couple of questions

Perhaps the US prosecutors successfully argued the crime was committed outside of the US based on the location of the web server (clutching at straws at this point - I don't see how the extradition could be legal based on the text above).....

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Re: Couple of questions

"based on the location of the web server"

I am fairly sure I read that all services were hosted in the UK.

Even if they weren't, the site was developed in the UK, so some part was done in the UK.

I wish a lawyer would come on and explain this. May have to try to convince OutLaw to do a write up...

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Re: Couple of questions

Answer to both questions is no...

1. The Oink verdict firmly established that sites which link to potentially infringing content but host nothing infringing do not break UK law, even if the site operator profits from advertising / donations as Oink did.

2. Did this site enhance / proliferate other sites which held infringing content, probably yes, but the same can be said of any search engine. If the US want to protect creative rights they should go after those who are infringing those rights. If I were to offer up copyrighted content, or sell illegal satellite decoders / copy bypass systems then I've clearly broken the law, if I publish URLs of sites doing this, I have done nothing wrong; indeed, the media police should be thankful to me that they can use my site for it's intended purpose and to their own ends - to locate and take action against those infringing their rights.

If I see someone shop lifting and I point them out and publicly declare; "this person is shoplifting, and probably has stolen goods to sell" I'm doing nothing wrong, I';m being a good public servant.

The only factor which could turn this into a crime would be an element of agreement / conspiracy between the infringer, and the one linking to the infringing content - if that could be proven then the site owner would become an accessory - it looks like this is the route being pursued against Tim Dotcom and Mega-Upload where the US believe they can prove a degree of collusion.

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Unhappy

Complete and utter insanity. Maybe getting rid of terrorists and controlling fraudulent bankers is too difficult for either of our countries, so they go for a soft option to distract the masses while the countries continue to dive bomb.

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Mushroom

WTF! ... this has to stop!

Theresa May is in power to protect UK citizens, not US corporate interests. Therefore Theresa May is now guilty of a gross violation of allegiance to our country and its citizens, which is literally an act of treason against our country and all of us.

I said a few months ago, this legal president, if allowed though, is so shocking it would have been unbelievable 10 years ago. This extradition law was brought in to stop terrorists. That was it, from what we were told. Now its being abused into a way to drag a 23-year-old student to America to stand trial for telling people where to find something!

Also this shockingly bad legal president can now be used to silence any whistle blower who tries to release information deemed to be copyrighted, which is all of it. So no more exposure of corruption then, because any attempt to release the information and its off to the US for punishment.

The US are trying to create a global totalitarian state and the UK politicians are helping them. Our politicians are suppose to be our representatives in government. They are not our dictators. This has gone far enough.

Seriously, do our leaders want a revolution against them and the growing global Corporatocracy that rules them and us?!

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Trollface

Re: WTF! ... this has to stop!

UK residents are not 'citizens'. They are subjects of the realm. Thus we are treated as such. You riff raff need to learn your place.

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Anonymous Coward

Let's Extradite all those MP's who commit adultery to Saudi Arabia

Since it's a crime there, even though they did in this country where it is not a crime.

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WTF?

I have 2 main gripes

1) The treaty IS unballanced, and this should be redressed. I am unsure what good this would do in the cases publicised so far, but it needs sorting.

2) As many pointed out here, he did all this in the UK, AFAIK hosted on UK servers. To extradite him to the US when all his actions were in the UK is rediculous! There is something to the extradition of McKinnon (as he "hacked" US computers), although I still think he acted in the UK so should be dealt with here. When it gets to the point where someone can act soley in the UK and be extradited to the US, we really do have "Team America - World Police". We all need to learn about US law as that applies here thanks to a spineless UK government and a US govt which thinks it's entitled to police the world.

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