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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. ®