TVShack O’Dwyer strikes deal to avoid US extradition

Will instead politely fly over and pay a fine


Briton Richard O'Dwyer will avoid extradition to the US to face trial and possible jail time over allegations his video download links website facilitated copyright infringement.

The 24-year-old Sheffield Hallam university student has agreed to travel to America and pay a small sum of compensation, the High Court in London heard today. In return, O'Dwyer will not stand trial as part of the "deferred prosecution" agreement, the BBC reports.

The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency claimed O'Dwyer earned more than $230,000 (£147,000) in advertising revenue from his website TVShack.net. US authorities seized the domain in June 2010 as part of a wider copyright infringement clampdown, and lodged an extradition request in May 2011.

TVShack.net was not hosted in the US but O'Dwyer was nonetheless charged with conspiracy to commit copyright infringement and other offences in a New York court. His website linked to downloadable pirate video files hosted throughout the internet, but did not itself host any copyright-protected material.

An extradition order against O'Dwyer was signed by a magistrate in January 2012 and approved by Home Secretary Teresa May in March.

Today's agreement means a pending appeal by O'Dwyer against extradition will no longer be necessary. More than 250,000 people signed an online petition started in June by Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales calling for the extradition to be blocked.

After blocking Pentagon hacker Gary McKinnon's extradition to the US, the Home Secretary said a judge will review the UK's extradition process to ensure it is fair to Britons accused by the Americans. Any changes to the system are yet to come into force, although renewed scrutiny of the rules may well have been a factor in brokering this week's deal.

Loz Kaye, leader of the Pirate Party UK, said the agreement struck by O'Dwyer shows that the US extradition request was "disproportionate and unnecessary".

"It does not remove the underlying problem though. The US can not be allowed to be the copyright cops of the world," she added. ®

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

  • Stolen university credentials up for sale by Russian crooks, FBI warns
    Forget dark-web souks, thousands of these are already being traded on public bazaars

    Russian crooks are selling network credentials and virtual private network access for a "multitude" of US universities and colleges on criminal marketplaces, according to the FBI.

    According to a warning issued on Thursday, these stolen credentials sell for thousands of dollars on both dark web and public internet forums, and could lead to subsequent cyberattacks against individual employees or the schools themselves.

    "The exposure of usernames and passwords can lead to brute force credential stuffing computer network attacks, whereby attackers attempt logins across various internet sites or exploit them for subsequent cyber attacks as criminal actors take advantage of users recycling the same credentials across multiple accounts, internet sites, and services," the Feds' alert [PDF] said.

    Continue reading
  • Big Tech loves talking up privacy – while trying to kill privacy legislation
    Study claims Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta, Microsoft work to derail data rules

    Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta, and Microsoft often support privacy in public statements, but behind the scenes they've been working through some common organizations to weaken or kill privacy legislation in US states.

    That's according to a report this week from news non-profit The Markup, which said the corporations hire lobbyists from the same few groups and law firms to defang or drown state privacy bills.

    The report examined 31 states when state legislatures were considering privacy legislation and identified 445 lobbyists and lobbying firms working on behalf of Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta, and Microsoft, along with industry groups like TechNet and the State Privacy and Security Coalition.

    Continue reading
  • SEC probes Musk for not properly disclosing Twitter stake
    Meanwhile, social network's board rejects resignation of one its directors

    America's financial watchdog is investigating whether Elon Musk adequately disclosed his purchase of Twitter shares last month, just as his bid to take over the social media company hangs in the balance. 

    A letter [PDF] from the SEC addressed to the tech billionaire said he "[did] not appear" to have filed the proper form detailing his 9.2 percent stake in Twitter "required 10 days from the date of acquisition," and asked him to provide more information. Musk's shares made him one of Twitter's largest shareholders. The letter is dated April 4, and was shared this week by the regulator.

    Musk quickly moved to try and buy the whole company outright in a deal initially worth over $44 billion. Musk sold a chunk of his shares in Tesla worth $8.4 billion and bagged another $7.14 billion from investors to help finance the $21 billion he promised to put forward for the deal. The remaining $25.5 billion bill was secured via debt financing by Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, Barclays, and others. But the takeover is not going smoothly.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022