back to article TVShack's Richard O'Dwyer sent home with £20,000 fine

Richard O'Dwyer, the Briton who ran one of the world's most popular download links websites, must cough up £20,000 after avoiding extradition in a bargain with US authorities. The GP's son will pay the sum under a "deferred prosecution agreement". He voluntarily flew out to New York from Blighty for his court hearing yesterday …

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WTF?

Re: Who says crime doesn't pay?

What crime did he commit?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Who says crime doesn't pay?

What crime?

He hosted a website that provided links. He did not host nor share any material himself, even the prosecution admitted that. If you can prosecute someone for providing links on a webpage then you should prosecute those who do it on a massive scale - Google, Bing, Yahoo, altavista etc

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Who says crime doesn't pay?

@AC Posted Saturday 8th December 2012 02:44 GMT

Google, Bing, Yahoo, Altavista, etc also didn't provide a how-to guide. The links that they have provided were retrieved via automatic means and were not the primary intention of their search business. Setting a website up, creating a how-to guide that encourages the theft of content is what got him in trouble.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Who says crime doesn't pay?

I'm pretty sure you don't know the difference between IP and copyright laws and actual criminal laws.

There is quite a huge difference, it is why Samsung is not a company of criminals for being found guilty if copying Apple designs.

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Anonymous Coward

Hmmm.... I though the crux of his defence

Was that he complied with the relevant legal take-down orders. That aspect of the case seems to have disappeared from the news. Either way, to stick his head into the jaws of the tiger and come out with a £20000 fine, he's got off lightly.

I'd hazard that starting up an ad paid linking service at the moment might be a bad idea (unless you''re Google).

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Re: Makes zero sense

What piracy was that then?

He did not even infringe any copyright from the reports that I have heard.

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Re: Makes zero sense

Just what piracy woul that be then?

He does not even seem to have infringed anyone else's copyright.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Makes zero sense

Especially considering that Joel Tenenbaum had "to pay $675,000 in fines after being found guilty of sharing 30 songs on the Kazaa network. That's $22,500 per track."

I would put that down to the difference of having the US gov't prosecute you instead of the RIAA. How much more evidence is needed of a corrupt legal system.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/08/24/tenenbaum_riaa_verdict/

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DN4

Re: Makes zero sense

> by pirating

Please, enlighten me, what did he pirated?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Makes zero sense

More of a reason why it should be a civil matter. Then it is the one that has experienced the theft that has to bring the lawsuit. The government should stay out of it.

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Unhappy

Re: Surely the central point is.

Yup,

Merka seems to have replaced the whole justice system with commercial plea bargaining.

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Stop

Re: "O'Dwyer's supporters maintain he broke no UK criminal law. This isn't actually true."

@ AC 20:07 GMT, I don't know why re number 1, it's an interesting question.

However in your citing number 2 as some sort of claim that O'Dwyer is innocent of wrongdoing, I have to point out that the presumption of innocence isn't an ethical principle but a procedural requirement in criminal (not civil) trials. It absolutely doesn't mean someone who does wrong is innocent of it simply because there hasn't been a trial.

It was articulated by Lord Sankey to overturn the heavy presumption of malice in those being prosecuted for murder. It's not whitewash for bad people.

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But even so...

O'Dwyer is a bad example, but even so, he should not be liable for extradition:

"For the UK to agree to extradition, a person must be accused of "an offence under the law of the relevant part of the United Kingdom punishable with imprisonment for a term of 12 months or a greater punishment”."

So, the arrangement at present is that to be extradited, someone must have committed a crime in the UK? So why can't they be tried and punished (if convicted) in the UK? If foreign governments have evidence then that can be presented and tested through cross-examination in a British court.

The only real use for an extradition treaty should be for a foreign national to be extradited back to another country where they are wanted for an offence committed IN THAT FOREIGN COUNTRY which would also have been an offence if it had been committed in this country. Anything else is immoral and unjust. If the law was written that way then the guilty would be tried and the unjustly accused would be safe.

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FAIL

> libertarian loony types

Downvoted for being incapable of seeing what "libertarians" and the law-and-order copyright brigade have NOT in common.

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Furthermore...

A "deferred prosecution" is an administrative procedure under which all charges are dropped subject to an extra-judicial penalty.

That means he has not been found guilty of any offence in either the UK or the US. If it were "untrue" that be "broke no UK criminal law", there'd be a verdict to that effect.

It wasn't even a done deal that he'd be extradited - the get-out-of-jail-for-20K card was played before his final appeal against extradition was heard.

Supporters of British Justice maintain that the criminalisation of civil liability at the behest of foreign corporate interests is an abuse of UK law...

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Linux

Missing key relevant details...

O'Dwyer was not a pirate. What he's accused of is running a search engine for pirates. That's a subtle but meaningful difference.

It boggles the mind really. You and various people in the industry are ready to boil this kid in oil when what he's really doing is giving you a map and a flashlight. That's right: a map and a flashlight. He's cataloged all of the infringers for you.

Everyone involved should have just let him be and allow him to be an unwitting pawn for law enforcement.

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So if he complied with takedown requests, why is linking tv shows and earning ad revenue a crime?, youtube does exactly the same thing (worse actually, they actually host the content as well).

I liked tvshack, there were a lot of obscure documentaries on it.

Most films linked were low quality cams though, so I dont think the movie studios lost much revenue due to people watching em apart from the obvious "christ, this is a shit film, glad i didnt buy it" syndrome.

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Another sell-out

I still fail to see why he had to capitulate and do all this. Makes the old blood boil. What the have the Yanks got to do with this? It's now worrying that a precedent has been set.

Seen elsewhere: "He agreed to stay in touch with a correctional officer over a six-month period as part of the contract."

Oh my - what a naughty boy he's been. The Yanks should have been told to push off in no uncertain manner when they wanted extradition. Nowt to do with them in any way, shape or form, as he hasn't committed any crime on their soil and USA laws don't (or shouldn't) apply to UK citizens. Does this now mean that USA jurisdiction (or any other country's) now extends to every UK internet user? Am I likely to be carted off to foreign parts to have my hands chopped off for criticising some far eastern royal family, even though I am not a citizen of their country. have never been there and never had the slightest connection with anybody in that country? The mind boggles.

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Pirate

The earnings tells you one thing

The earnings tells you it actually pays up to do this, even if you get cough in the end (or perhaps not).

I know that by doing legal blog on volcanoes and earthquakes (in Iceland, Canary Islands and Falkland Islands) I am not even close to getting 1/4 of this income from those blog sites that I that cover geological events.

I am poor and it is not improving any time soon.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Another sell-out

How come the BBC iPlayer will only show content if you are using a UK allocated IP address? That is right, so they can LICENSE and make money elsewhere.

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Anonymous Coward

Bad politics

This should encourage other UK criminals now that they know crony politicians can save them from prosecution for their crimes. How much money changed hands in this back room deal?

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Big Brother

Re: Which clause of the linked law criminalises linking?

Yep, always a good deal to exchange money for the privilege to NOT be extradited to Arbitary Detention Land for something that may well be not a problem at all in your own country.

Did the guy pawning the wad of cash have a german accent, too?

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Re: Which clause of the linked law criminalises linking?

IANAL but I looked up the legislation.

"107 (2A) A person who infringes copyright in a work by communicating the work to the public:

(a)in the course of a business, or

(b)otherwise than in the course of a business to such an extent as to affect prejudicially the owner of the copyright,

commits an offence if he knows or has reason to believe that, by doing so, he is infringing copyright in that work."

The courts have apparently taken the viewpoint that providing a hyperlink to a work constitutes 'communicating the work'. However, if a person takes an opposing view, then obviously he has no 'reason to believe' that he is infringing copyright and (according to the act) he is not committing an offence.

Further, provided the links were incidental to 'the course of a business', it would need to be shown that the links (alleged communications) had a prejudicial affect on the owner of the copyright. In other words, the courts would need proof that a link to a work, provided by a specific website, resulted in a quantifiable loss of income for the copyright holder. I don't see how this is possible. Certainly, if a link to a work was provided in return for a monetary consideration - and this could be proved in court - then an offence has taken place. Otherwise ... case dismissed!

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FAIL

Ok, so the National Dictionary of Biography is going to be bang to rights, Whittaker's Book List is going to go down the drain, The Phone Book is dead, 118-118 are going to be put in front of a firing squad.

All of which are a list of /other/ /people's/ /content/.

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WTF?

Why was he 'let off the hook' by the MAFIAA?

Can someone explain to me why the Americans, not exactly known for tolerance of anyone who might conceivably reduce the income of the MAFIAA cartels by $1-50 per year, have effectively back-pedalled mightily and let him off with a metaphorical slapped wrist? On past performance one would have expected at least 300 years in jail and his first-born impaled on a stake. I am genuinely mystified. Can anyone enlighten me?

I was about to cynically add: "Is he safely back in the UK yet?", but then I realised, with infinite sadness for the country I grew up in, that he clearly wasn't 'safely in the UK' to begin with.

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