We are 100% behind Jimmy Wales in his calls to stop the extradition of Richard O’Dwyer to the US to face copyright infringement charges.
Are they serious? The absolute worst case scenario for Richard O’Dwyer, is that he be charged with being an idiot..
O’Dwyer , 24,a multimedia student at Sheffield Hallam University, faces up to 10 years in a US prison for founding TVShack.net, a crowd-sourced site linking to places to watch full TV shows and movies online.
He has not infringed on anyones copyright, or conspired to commit copyright infringement, he simply linked to people who did commit those offenses. On that basis, we could be charged with fraud because we once linked to Alan Bond who was convicted of fraud and served four years in prison.
Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has made a rare political call to stop the extradition of a British student to the US for alleged copyright offences.
Mr Wales has called on British Home Secretary Theresa May to stop the extradition of Richard O’Dwyer , who was the ‘‘ human face’ ’ of a global battle between the ‘‘ content industry’’ and the wider public.
His lawyer had argued in court the website did not store copyright material itself and merely directed users to other sites, making it similar to Google.
Launching an online campaign, Mr Wales said: ‘‘ When I met Richard , he struck me as a clean-cut , geeky kid. Still a university student, he is precisely the kind of person we can imagine launching the next big thing on the internet.
‘‘ Given the thin case against him, it is an outrage that he is being extradited to the US to face felony charges for something that he is not being prosecuted for [in Britain].
‘‘ From the beginning of the internet, we have seen a struggle between the interests of the ‘content industry’ and the interests of the general public. Due to heavy lobbying and much money lavished on politicians, until very recently the content industry has won every battle.
‘‘ We, the users of the internet, handed them their first major defeat earlier this year with the epic Sopa/Pipa protests which culminated in a widespread internet blackout and 10 million people contacting the US Congress to voice their opposition.’’
Mr Wales was at the forefront of the campaign against the Sopa and Pipa bills aimed at enforcing online copyright more vigorously, which many warned would threaten sites at the core of the internet: Google, Wikipedia and others. Setting aside Wikipedia’s vaunted principle of neutrality, he blacked out the online encyclopaedia for a day as a warning of the consequences of too-strict copyright enforcement.
O’Dwyer allegedly earned thousands of pounds through advertising on the TVShack website before it was seized by US authorities .
His cause has attracted crossparty support in Britain from prominent MPs.
O’Dwyer was arrested by City of London police, accompanied by US customs officials, in November 2010. Six months later, he was told the British investigation into him would not be pursued, but that he faced extradition to the US.
He faces two charges of copyright infringement and conspiracy to commit copyright infringement, each carrying a maximum of five years in prison.
Under British law, the comparable offences carry a maximum sentence of six months.