UK Decides Hollywood, US Gov't's Interests More Important Than Own Citizens; Extradites Student For Linking

from the sad dept

In January, a judge said that the UK could extradite student Richard O’Dwyer to the US to face criminal copyright infringement charges for the “crime” of linking to streaming videos hosted elsewhere — something that had already been found legal in the UK multiple times. This is pretty important, because for it to be criminal infringement, it has to be willful, and if sites that were nearly identical to O’Dwyer’s were found legal in his home country, where he lived and where he operated the site, it’s difficult to see how there’s anything willful at all.

Furthermore, since he’s only linking there isn’t direct infringement, only the possibility of secondary infringement. Now, there are aiding and abetting laws, but it would have to be aiding and abetting of criminal copyright infringement and that would require the users of TVShack to be guilty of criminal infringement — meaning that they were profiting from willful infringement. And that doesn’t seem likely either. There are so many holes in the case it’s difficult to understand why ICE and DHS are ruining the life of a UK student with no clear legal basis.

Either way, as the UK government continues to kowtow to the US entertainment industry, the Secretary of State has taken the court’s initial okay and approved the extradition. This is really damning for the UK government. Given the growing concerns about the overreach of the entertainment industry to take away basic freedoms, sending Richard O’Dwyer across the Atlantic on bogus charges just so the MPAA can stick his head on a pike somewhere isn’t going to go over very well.

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Companies: tv-links, tvshack

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Comments on “UK Decides Hollywood, US Gov't's Interests More Important Than Own Citizens; Extradites Student For Linking”

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Hephaestus (profile) says:

If you are easily disturbed do not read this comment.

For a while I have been saying that when big content gets its way someone will die. A school will have its internet access cut off and the IP phone system will not work leading to a bunch of dead children. A man will die when the police kick in his door after the neighbor downloads off his open WiFi.

In this case there is a possibility that he will die in custody. Him getting raped and murdered would be a diplomatic nightmare for the US. All because he had links to other sites.

[citation needed or GTFO] says:

Re: If you are easily disturbed do not read this comment.

What’s even worse is that even IF he does die, the media will probably spin it off as blaming any other entity except the idiots that extradited him in the first place.

I don’t want him to die either, but if it does happen, I see another public outbreak. The US government’s not making any new friends this year…

[citation needed or GTFO] says:

Re: Re: Re:2 If you are easily disturbed do not read this comment.

The media will be all like “What? Another death? How is this newsworthy? Hacktivists! Breaking news!”

I like it that we’re all part of a revolution right now, but how much more collateral damage will be created before the governments finally get it?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 If you are easily disturbed do not read this comment.

You are not part of a revolution. I have not yet seen a single demo outside the white house and/or senate and/or congress and/or DoJ where the root problem is. Americans have no spine and are too afraid of their own leaders.

Fuck the UK government. They are minions. The problem is in the US.

[citation needed or GTFO] says:

Re: Re: Re:4 If you are easily disturbed do not read this comment.

You are not part of a revolution.

Okay, bad choice of words. I should’ve said that we’re in the middle of seeing yet another example of how the US is losing its credibility as a world power. Shooting itself again and again, there will eventually be another turning point.

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Re: Re: If you are easily disturbed do not read this comment.

Love your name BTW.

The problem isn’t big media not paying attention or down playing anything that may happen to him. The issue is that people are paying attention online and spreading the word. Right now the US and EU are at a crossroads where people have gotten fed up with business as usual. Every event like this is fanning the flames of discontent. This frightens me more than any words can express.

[citation needed or GTFO] says:

Re: Re: Re: If you are easily disturbed do not read this comment.

Thanks! Only chose it because that seems to be the major argument these days (and yet, no troll or shill has ever been able to provide relevant evidence or goes on wild rants about how the truth is “misinformation.”).

I agree, but other than keeping a close eye on the injustice system, what else can we do before the governments (and the ones who support dastardly acts like this) finally understand? Or are we doomed to keep playing defensive forever?

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 If you are easily disturbed do not read this comment.

A simple, horrible, cliche and truth is that for evil to triumph good men need to do nothing.

It is the nature of our style of government. Until such a time that we hold our politicians to a higher standard than we do ourselves, we are doomed to repeat this 200 year cycle of birthing nations and having them fail. Either that or we need immortality to happen to humanity so people actually remember history and so “No not again”.

Digital 3d Art (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re: If you are easily disturbed do not read this comment.

As well Google breaks these laws themselves all the time including they have allowed people to actually hotlink my works and when notified and I have proven that they are wrong they ignore it but a kid in college all of a sudden laws meant for piracy are invoked this is a huge mess…. I am and American and I am fed up 100% ….

MPHinPgh (profile) says:

Re: Re: If you are easily disturbed do not read this comment.

I think the US government has made it clear that it’s not too concerned about making friends.

As an American, I’d like to make it clear that I believe what my government is doing is wrong. Please don’t hold my governemnt’s actions against me personally. I’m bitching as loud as I can.

Idwal (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 If you are easily disturbed do not read this comment.

Sorry, my post kinda does make me look retarded.

Allow me to clarify : I already did some searches. I found a list of companies who supported SOPA and… not much else.

I’m trying to figure out where to aim a boycott to actually hurt the MPAA or RIAA. Is there anything, other than just not seeing any movies or not buying any music? Not everything is MAFIAA, and there’s not a lot of point in a shotgun-style boycott.

If I knew who to boycott, I’d be pushing it to friends and strangers every single dang day.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 If you are easily disturbed do not read this comment.

You don’t have to avoid all movies and music, just the ones being put out by the major players. You can for example hit up sites like bandcamp to find good, cheap music, and I’m sure with a little looking you could find a site with indie developed and funded movies.

David Evans (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 If you are easily disturbed do not read this comment.

I already do that kind of preferential purchasing for myself. I’m trying to fit this kind of boycott into a package that doesn’t require a lot of parsing by the person I’m trying to sell it to, so that I can tack it to a stack of articles that the internet should be mad about and say “Please Do This”.

Unfortunately, the **AAs aren’t really directly consumer connected, so it’s hard to know easily enough what to protest. The SOPA protest worked because there were some people who put together some tools that made it possible to protest with near-zero effort. I think if we can do that for other issues, then we can win more of these fights.

Marcel de Jong (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 If you are easily disturbed do not read this comment.

Generally speaking, if the disc is in the #bigbucks stores, such as wal*mart, best buy etc, or whatever equivalent in your country. It’s been put there by MAFFIAA and should be avoided like the plague.

Obvious names like Disney, Warner, SONY, EMI, Universal, Paramount, etc. are all members of either the MPAA or the RIAA.

A more detailed list of RIAA members:

And Wikipedia holds a small list of MPAA members:

Avoid these companies.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 If you are easily disturbed do not read this comment.

That would be difficult, you would have to compile a list of people and companies and that is not practical, the better way to boycott them is not to use anything from them and look for places with liberal licenses like CC-SA(not CC-NC or the other CC’s), GPL, MIT, C0 and so forth.

You want to really boycott them, start a workshop or creative space where only free and open content can be posted.

Anything that has a standard copyright and not a copyleft license is the enemy and anyone who uses those standard licenses is the enemy.

Karl (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 If you are easily disturbed do not read this comment.

Not everything is MAFIAA, and there’s not a lot of point in a shotgun-style boycott.

There used to be a site called RIAA Radar, but unfortunately it’s been down for a while. I haven’t found a replacement.

Personally, I mostly buy records from artists who I meet face-to-face. That way, I know exactly who I’m supporting. Probably not the best option for most people, though, especially if you don’t live on one of the American coasts.

Anonymous Coward says:

Well it was about time

The streets are now clean from the scum, and we can all feel safer tonight knowing this criminal won’t threaten the people of the world with unauthorized linking.

Can you imagine, he was actually linking to videos on the Internet. VIDEOS! AT WHO KNOWS HOW MANY FRAMES PER-SECOND!
Sends shivers down your spine, doesn’t it.

Al Bert (profile) says:

Re: Re: Well it was about time

Especially considering the fact that if this sentiment were laced with some indefensible lies and fearmongering terrorism/pedophilia conflation, it would be indistinguishable from what the actual criminals think and say. In these cases, the caricature of satire does not justly portray how absolutely vile these people really are.

Martin Owens Jr (profile) says:

Re: UK Decides Hollywood

The UK is not and will never be the 51st State, for very many reasons.

But even as a loyal American, I must say the extradition treaty seems awfully one-sided.
Or could UK authorities enforce these same Draconian clauses against Uncle Sam one day?

Seems to me the time to worry about such things is now, while it still makes a difference to worry…

John Doe says:

This is more scary than SOPA

This is more scary than anything going on in internet law right now. The fact that our governments are fully willing to hand us over to foreign governments for what we do on the internet is downright scary. If he is breaking UK law, then try him in the UK. If he is breaking any other countries laws, too bad.

Zakida Paul says:

Break a US law and they can demand your extradition even if you are not a US citizen and and the crime was not committed in the US. How can any country think it is a good idea to sign up to that?

USA = School yard bully pushing everyone around, stealing their lunch money and making everyone else do their homework for them.

Then they can’t understand how they can be so hated by the rest of the world. The word ‘stupidity’ doesn’t cover it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Hey now…

As a U.S. citizen, I resent the assertion that I don’t hate a lot of things about my own country as well as the rest of the world.

This is what drives me so bonkers when individuals in another country are complaining about another country’s laws.

Let me remind you that if you’re buying movies and watching U.S. television shows, you’re supporting the very same entities that lobbied for these laws with money you gave them.

And furthermore, it seems the UK government is just as guilty here – allowing one of their own citizens to be extradited as such.

There’s a lot more to this than simply: “USA vs. the world”… and when you’re ready to wake up and take notice, you can also start doing something about it no matter where you live. Stop playing the victim.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

My plight?

You missed the point of my post – how douchey of you.

People seeking to blame everyone else for what’s wrong in this world are becoming the problem. The constant “us vs. them” rhetoric gets obnoxious. When you sit back and claim that it’s U.S.’ fault that O’Dwyer is being extradited, you are demonstrating a very narrow-minded view of the real problem.

The Groove Tiger (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

No, no, I got your point perfectly right.

“I’m so tired of people blaming us good U.S. folks. It’s so unfair. Woe is me.”

It comes out as rather whiny considering it is but a drop in the sea of complete injustice of what is happening to this guy right now. So spare us the tears and say something relevant to the problem, instead of “it’s not our fault!”

Josef Anvil (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

“I’m so tired of people blaming us good U.S. folks. It’s so unfair. Woe is me.”

Im going to have to agree with this. Why blame the US for this? The blame rests heavily on the shoulders of the UK. The UK is allowing this to happen.

This kid is a law abiding citizen of the UK and the UK is not fighting for the rights of its own citizen. That is hardly the fault of the US. The US simply charged him with a crime under US law and requested extradition. The correct, intelligent, and decent thing for the UK to do is to simply say NO!

Maybe GB is just the newest state in the US.

Niall (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Whilst the spineless poodles in the British Parliament/legal system are certainly at fault, it still doesn’t mitigate the absolute douche-ness of the US in trying to extradite someone for something legal in their own country, and trying to pretend something that is at most a civil matter IN THE US is a criminal one?

How long before someone gets extradited for going to the bookie? Or running a download site…

Anonymous Coward says:

strange how the UK can extradite this guy but cant extradite a terrorist. strange how he can be convicted of having knowledge of what is being linked to but a search engine that has millions of links isn’t guilty. i guess that shows the UK is far more scared of the US than it is of the EU and obviously more concerned about doing what the US wants than complying with the EU rulings. as for MAY, i would think there is going to be a retaliatory shit storm hitting her pretty soon! this is the 2nd UK citizen extradited to the US in almost as many weeks!

[citation needed or GTFO] says:

Re: Re:


And your predictable response will be something either involving Google, Masnick or flying monkeys. Geez, I’m a “noob” who’s been here for a couple months now and even I can identify who you are.

I can’t believe you can call yourself human.

Al Bert (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Considering the crap that’s been going around, it’s not enough to avoid the intentional use of copyrighted material. Capture a song in the distance or a sign in a recording? Create something completely new that too closely resembles something someone else has created or thought about creating before? Well now you’re in the same deep water. The only winning defensive move is to not perceptibly exist.

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

what ISN’T stealing these days?

Shoplifting a CD is *barely* stealing these days. The penalties are not in the same ballpark (or even in the same city) as copyright infringement.

In Michigan shoplifting a item worth less than $200 is a misdemeanor charge with penalties of up to 93 days in jail and fines of up to $500 or 3 times the value of the stolen property (whichever is more).

Chosen Reject (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

It’d be an interesting civil disobedience protest to have tens of thousands of people to actually steal DVDs, CDs, books, and other copyrighted goods. Maybe that is what it would take to get some people to understand the difference between stealing and infringement. Maybe that would get a discussion going about the ridiculousness of the punishments associated with infringement.

[citation needed or GTFO] says:

You know what would be tragically hilarious?

If the usual trolls and shills actually DEFEND the extradition. They’ll all be like “But he was stealing! Put his head on a pike! If anything happens to him, he deserves his life to be forfeit! Piracy, dammit! We’re protecting the children from his infringing carcass! Oh, he died? Who cares, justice has been served!”

It’s idiots like that who believe that LINKING is a crime who should go through a one-sided justice system and see how they like it when their lives are completely destroyed by wasting years to clear their name.

Go ahead, you piracy-screaming ACs. Justify how ruining an individual’s life for linking benefits your cause.

Al Bert (profile) says:

Re: You know what would be tragically hilarious?

It makes them feel more comfortable to know that they have or imagine they have power in newfound places. That is all that matters.

Also, don’t expect to see any IP maximalists or their idols going through a railroaded justice system anytime soon. Not unless the present biases and influences are somehow magically stacked on the opposite side of the balance.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Maybe some one in the US government will read the US Declaration of Independence and realize that the US and Britain have two different government, that US citizens no longer are British subjects, and that UK subjects are not US citizens and understand fully and completely that UK law does not apply to US citizens nor does UK law apply to US citizens but I dough that that that level of comprehension is possible even if US government officials could read or understand.

Violated (profile) says:


I have come to the following conclusions…

1. It is very unclear if Richard O’Dwyer has ever committed a crime in the UK. Based on previous cases this would be a “no” and where differences to past cases are so minor that they would need testing in a trial first to clarify if or if not they are a problem.

2. Since we cannot prove if Richard O’Dwyer has broken the law here then we cannot proceed with extradition. To extradite him now only to find out in a later related case that what he did was lawful would mean that the UK Government would have broken the law to have extradited him.

3. It then becomes clear that this extradition request needs to be suspended or rejected and to instead invite the US prosecution to hold a trial in England to clarify the law.

Should this not be done then the only conclusion is that UK law is no longer important and all of us in the UK should then start to obey US law.

What I mean how can people follow the OiNK and FileSoup case rulings to make their own site if the US then extradites them anyway just because their site was a little different to those previous sites.

I will be very annoyed indeed if Richard O’Dwyer is extradited in total violation of the law and sovereignty of the United Kingdom.

PT says:

Re: Plebs

IIRC, this particular extradition treaty doesn’t require that a crime has been committed. It’s an “anti-terrorist” treaty signed by the Bliar government in the wake of 9/11, which basically says the UK will extradite scary terrorists – or anyone else the US asks for – with no pesky evidence required. By the nature of the way these things are worded, it can be repurposed for any reason or none.

What would be amusing is if the British government would extradite random Americans to the UK and prosecute them for owning a firearm. Unfortunately the treaty is not reciprocal.

Joseph Young says:

Sleazy British Politics

It?s sleazy British politics. The government is clearly unhappy with the previous judicial decisions over linking. It must consider that changing British copyright legislation is more problematic than letting American law apply to this area of British Internet business.

Even if a British business were to try to GeoIP-block American users, it?s not clear that it would protect that business. I don?t think the current extradition procedure allows such a detailed argument over jurisdiction; America only has to say that it has a case it wants to put before a US court and the British courts have to agree to the extradition.

The question is who does one vote for to express unhappiness at the current British government? The UK Independence Party? The Pirate Party UK? The British National Party?! If the only way to get the government to revise the extradition procedure is to vote for the BNP, then yes, I would vote for the BNP.

bobo le skunk says:

UK Lapdogs

Sacrifice Richard O’Dwyer and you can ride in our big shiny Air Force One.
I wonder after the UK Labour party was in government and the Witchfinder General spent some time ‘holidaying’ on a record company reps yacht then suddenly we got the Digital Economy Act shoved through, I shudder what Cameron is giving up for his wee hurl in Obama’s plane…
Another reason for us Scots to vote for independence as our leader doesn’t give a feck about the US of Arrogance.

Confused says:

Legal defence

Lets hope Mike Mozart is good on his word (promised to provide Richard with the best legal defence, you can check him out on YouTube). Also as some people say here it wouldn’t hurt to identify members of the MAFIAA and avoid buying their stuff). On a lighter note, what will become of the royal family now that the UK is a colony?

HumbleForeigner (profile) says:

You Are Misinformed

I have seen comments about the “justice system” or the “misjustice system”, but I think you are misinformed…America does not *have* a justice system, it has a legal system…there is no justice in it any more. Justice, in America, is now the domain of the lawyers and rich and powerful, you, as a mere peon, have no access to justice anymore. Let’s take a hypothetical example, $rich_mega_corp has done something very wrong, you don’t want to enrich a lawyer too much, so you take them to court, now you need to ask:
– Can you afford the initial trial?
– Can you afford the inevitable appeal, on appeal, on appeal?
– How far can you go before you are bankrupt?

If you are a normal person, the answers are: Barely, no and not far. An appeal against a court verdict should be a very, very serious move, not a business as usual step. If you appeal you are questioning the judge, jury and entire legal process, serious penalties should be levied against both the client and lawyer for a failed appeal where the law was correctly applied.

Until such a time, when appeals are serious, you will end up with the rich and powerful making endless appeals until their opponents cannot afford to continue.

At its root, privilege means private law

KeoniPhoenix says:

What disturbs me the most...

What disturbs me the most is the complete ignorance of the United States Constitution’s limits on jurisdiction. Article III and the Sixth Amendment do not allow for US courts to try and prosecute people for crimes committed outside the boundaries of the the US. I reject the idea that jurisdiction can be made by merely posting the links onto the servers hosted in the United States. The links are the effects of his actions from using his computer which was not in the United States at all.

Anonymous Coward says:

Land of the politically incorrect.

Are US citizens supposed to follow all the UK tech. related laws on the internet too? Has the internet become one giant consortia in which all citizens of all countries will follow all the laws of their governing institutions???

What If some dictator from a third world country, like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, made it illegal to read USA Today online? According to the UK and US, Iran would have every right to insist that US citizens get extradited to Iran immediately for committing such crimes.

Forget about arguing law here for second. Let?s look at the principle. How can you ask young people to fight and die for your country when you throw them under the buss for the sake of copyright infringement laws of a foreign land? Wow, what a terrible choice. I certainly can understand the expectation to follow laws of your own country.. But this!!

This situation would just require the Kony effect to reverse. Once a large amount of people became aware of the situation, they would not be supportive of the UK?s decision or United State?s choice to become an accomplice to it. But, until that happens? Welcome to America Richard!! Home of the Brave and land of people who come here because they ticked off Hollywood.


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