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Richard O’Dwyer will pay damages to avoid extradition

Updated TV Shack admin to stay in the UK
Wed Nov 28 2012, 12:11
TVShack's Richard O'Dwyer

STUDENT WEBMASTER Richard O'Dwyer will pay damages to avoid being extradited to the US.

According to the listings for the UK High Court today, O'Dwyer's case was to be discussed this morning. The BBC reports that his lawyer said the student will be spared extradition and made to pay damages.

O'Dwyer's extradition was requested by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, which seized the TV Shack website domain in 2010 as part of "Operation In Our Sites".

If you go to TV Shack now you can see a note that says it has been seized by the US government agency. This gives way, in a few seconds, to an advert that warns against downloading.

"Criminal copyright infringement occurs on a massive scale over the Internet, reportedly resulting in billions of dollars in losses to the US economy," said Preet Bharara, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York at the time.

"That translates into lost jobs and real hardships for ordinary working people. That's why we took the actions we did. If your business model is movie piracy, your story will not have a happy ending."

ICE accused O'Dwyer of making around £145,000 in advertising revenues (PDF) from the website, so it is possible that this is what he will have to pay as damages.

Karen Todner, the lawyer for Gary McKinnon, whose extradition request was dropped this Autumn, described the decision as "a very sensible outcome". Meanwhile Jimmy Wales, who started a petition in support of O'Dwyer, applauded the news.

This story is developing. There will be more to follow.

In messages on Twitter Richard's mother and tireless campaigner Julia O'Dwyer expressed her happiness. She called it "Amazing news."

Julia O'Dwyer has fought her son's corner for two years and will be glad to see off charges from the US. Supporters hope that this will be a blow against America's bid to police the copyright world.

"This decision vindicates the Pirate Party's view that the extradition request was disproportionate and unnecessary all along," said Loz Kaye, the leader of the Pirate Party UK.

"It does not remove the underlying problem though. The US can not be allowed to be the copyright cops of the world. I hope that Richard and Julia O'Dwyer will be able to begin to rebuild their lives now."

"This will be a huge relief for Richard - but how appalling that he had to wait so long for the US authorities to make this decision," echoed Isabella Sankey, director of policy at Liberty.

"Case after case shows that our extradition arrangements must be overhauled to allow people who have never left these shores to be dealt with here at home. We need urgent legislation to prevent their torment." µ



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