In a paradigm switch of imperialism, the United Kingdom is apparently to now be considered the Far Eastern United States given the fate of TVShack webmaster Richard O’Dwyer. Despite having not committed any crime on U.S. soil and hosting no servers in the U.S., and in defiance of widespread support to block O’Dwyer’s extradition, V3 has confirmed with the office of U.K. Home Secretary Theresa May that she will not block his extradition to the U.S. to face charges of copyright infringement.
If convicted, O’Dwyer faces a maximum sentence of ten years in prison.
Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has rallied internet support around O’Dwyer’s plight by penning a petition to Secretary May that has so far gained over 212,000 co-signers in hopes of convincing her to halt O’Dwyer’s extradition. In the petition letter, Wales implores May to stop the extradition and try O’Dwyer in a U.K. court since that is where the alleged crime was committed, as opposed to spiriting him away to the U.S. to stand trial for charges that didn’t occur there.
According to V3, May’s office acknowledged the existence of Wales’ petition but said that the extradition would not be deterred.
“Richard O’Dwyer is wanted in the US for offences related to copyright infringement,” a Home Office spokesman told V3.
“The UK courts found there were no statutory bars to his surrender under the Extradition Act 2003 and on 9 March the Home Secretary, having carefully considered all relevant matters, signed an order for his extradition to the US.”
O’Dwyer has filed an appeal for which a hearing will be held later this year.
The charges against O’Dwyer were already spurious given his website didn’t actually host any content, but rather just offered links that forwarded visitors to other websites hosting pirated content. YouTube hardly does worse and it actually does host the content, yet it has remained protected under the “safe harbor” provision defined by the DMCA. Beside that point, there is no reason why O’Dwyer should be plucked out of his home country to face copyright charges in a country that he’s never lived in and has committed no crime in. It’s ludicrous. More, it’s not even clear if link-sharing the way that O’Dwyer was doing with TVShack is even a crime in the UK.
And yet, because what he did in his home country is considered a crime in another country, he is being extradited to the United States of the MPAA/RIAA.