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 TVShack.net 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.