A British student who faced extradition to the U.S. and a possible prison term over a web site he created for sharing TV shows and movies has struck a deal, BBC reports. Richard O’Dwyer, of Sheffield in northern England, was arrested initially in 2010 when U.S. authorities charged that O’Dwyer’s TVShack website hosted links to pirated films and TV shows. The site also allegedly collected $230,000 in advertising before it was seized and shut down. Home Secretary Theresa May approved O’Dwyer’s extradition after a court ruling in January 2012. Following a campaign by his mother Julia that was joined in June by Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, O’Dwyer will pay compensation under a “deferred prosecution” and avoid extradition. As part of the agreement O’Dwyer is expected to travel voluntarily to the U.S. to appear in court to finalize the deal before Christmas.
Richard O’Dwyer could become the first British citizen to be extradited to the US on a copyright offense. In 2010, the now 23-year-old came under fire for hosting TVShack, a website that listed links to sites where users could access movies and TV shows – although it did not host any content itself. In January of this year, it was reported that he was facing possible extradition to the US on charges of copyright infringement pending a decision by Britain’s Home Secretary, Theresa May. May has now signed the extradition order after having “carefully considered all relevant matters,” according to a spokesperson, UK media report. The case was brought by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, which claims TVShack earned more than $230,000 in advertising revenue before it was seized. O’Dwyer previously said he undertook the site as a project to improve his skills and job marketability and that the ad sales were to cover server fees. In January, his attorney said O’Dwyer had done nothing more than Google or Yahoo search engines. O’Dwyer would be extradited under the 2003 Extradition Act that has been criticized for being one-sided. For the UK to extradite someone from the US,
A 23-year-old British student faces possible extradition to the United States for trial on charges of copyright infringement for hosting a website that pointed visitors to illegal download sites. Richard O’Dwyer’s website TV Shack listed links to other websites where users could access movies and TV shows but did not host any content himself. O’Dwyer, a college student, said he undertook TV Shack as a project to improve his skills and job marketability. O’Dwyer sold $230,000 worth of advertising, which he says was necessary because of the massive server fees. “When you’ve got a website with over 300,000 people a month visiting, there’s a need for infrastructure to support that.” O’Dwyer’s attorney said the young man had done nothing more than Google or Yahoo search engines. Ben Cooper, an extradition lawyer, described O’Dwyer as a “guinea pig” because no British citizen has ever been extradited to the United States for a copyright offense. Nonetheless, a London judge upheld the extradition request and sent it to Britain’s Home Secretary for a final decision. O’Dwyer plans to appeal.