In case you forgot, the story of Richard O’Dwyer fits right into the anti-SOPA/PIPA mood that permeates across the Internet, save for the United States government, of course. O’Dwyer ran a site called TVShack.net which posted links to downloadable copyrighted material, including, as the name suggests, television shows.
For his actions, O’Dwyer was arrested by British police and was ordered to be extradited to the United States where he’ll face punishment for his site’s existence, even though, as his lawyer pointed out, O’Dwyer did not store the copyrighted content on any of his hard drives. Essentially, the Pirate Bay/we’re just like Google defense was used, which clearly fell on deaf ears. When O’Dwyer’s mother, Julia, learned of the sentence, she called the extradition treaty between the US and the UK “rotten.”
But the matriarch didn’t stop there. In an interview with the World Socialist Web Site, Julia unloaded on the decision against her son with both barrels, and one of her primary targets was the U.S. government. Any emphasis added is ours:
WSWS: There is a wider political issue in Richard’s case—and that is the attempts of the US government to clamp down on the freedom of the Internet and bring in new laws like SOPA, PIPA.
Julia: I don’t know the detail of these laws, but I can see that it’s about America trying to control and police the Internet. Well, it doesn’t belong to them, does it? It’s wrong that America should lay laws down on the Internet for other countries. I don’t think America should rule the world.
It’s like the case of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. They’re trying to get him, aren’t they? Because he exposed all their corruption and the evil things they were doing. Not just America, different governments. You know, you vote these people into power, and then you don’t really know what they’re getting up to until someone like Assange comes along and tells us their dirty little secrets. I don’t like these oppressive government regimes trying to take over the world, trying to take over the Internet.
Would a “here, here” be overplaying my hand?
Julia also points out that the extradition treaty between the two countries may have been improperly applied to her son:
WSWS: Richard has never broken any law in this country? [the UK]
Julia: We have been led to understand that it’s not a crime in this country. To be extradited to America, the offence has to be a crime in both countries. When they ask for your extradition, they say, “What’s the equivalent charge in the UK?” So they’ll just write copyright infringement.
We have to prove what he did is not a crime in this country. The problem is the judges in the extradition court—they are not interested. Consequently, we lost that first fight at court. Richard’s barrister made the legal arguments in November, and the judge said, “You’ve got a good strong argument.” So did the prosecutor for the Americans. Then two hearings later, the judge tossed all that out of the window.
Is this how the United States loses its postion as a world power? When the rest of the world revolts against US-led regulations that gut the Internet while making citizens of other countries criminals in the United States?
If so, expect Julia O’Dwyer to be up in front.