Jimmy Wales Confident That UK Gov't Won't Ignore 200,000+ Signatures Against O'Dwyer Extradition

from the public-will-be-damned dept

We mentioned, recently, that Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales had started a petition to try to stop the extradition of Richard O’Dwyer, the UK student who set up a site for users to point others to online sources for TV shows (some of which were legit, some of which were infringing) — and is now facing extradition and criminal charges in the US for daring to help people find video online. Since then the petition has received well over 200,000 signatures, including UK politicians from all three parties. You might think that the UK government would take notice.

Not yet, it seems.

The UK Home Office is apparently ignoring the petition and sticking with the party (i.e., Hollywood lobbyist) line. The site V3 (linked in the last sentence) reached out to the Home Office who said that they were aware of the petition, but didn’t seem to care:

“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.”

That said, Jimmy Wales insists that the “low level” spokesperson “is wrong” and he fully expects that the Home Office will, in fact, respond after meeting with him about this issue. Let’s hope that’s true. Given the large public outcries about other related copyright issues (SOPA, ACTA…) you would think that the UK government would at least be paying attention when a rather large group of the public speaks out on an issue related to copyright. Hopefully, the answer given to V3 was just a spokesperson stalling until the Home Office is ready to officially address the matter.

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Comments on “Jimmy Wales Confident That UK Gov't Won't Ignore 200,000+ Signatures Against O'Dwyer Extradition”

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Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re:

something tells me that a 500k a year lobbying position speaks more sweetly to them than any petition.

That depends. For *elected* officials, not so much. Lots of people speaking out are very much a concern to elected officials, and if you get enough speaking out, they’ll trump lobbyists every time. Appointed ones may be a different story.

Anonymous Coward says:

i hope he’s right. i wish i had his confidence. i wouldn’t trust any politician as far as i could spit normally. with the bunch that are in charge in the UK atm, i wouldn’t expect them to do anything except the unexpected. all politicians are renown for being liars, but Cameron and his cronies haven’t come out with a true statement since they took office, including what they are doing to recoup unpaid tax from the rich.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I’d agree, except I don’t agree.
The UK is a democracy, the politicians, despised though many may be, are each and every one of them elected by their constituencies.
I would wish for a better voting system than FPP, but then a slightly better option was available recently and it wasn’t the politicians who rejected it, they certainly spoke against it, but it was the people who voted against it.
Politicians may as individuals or with individuals banded together into groups be corrupt, but the electorate still decides which individuals get to be elected.
I hate this talk of politicians as some other group, they aren’t, they are voted for just as anybody could be voted for.
We won’t as the people of a country get good government without the electorate taking responsibility and every time I hear people complaining about politicians as if they are imposed from somewhere else, by someone else it really annoys me.

Zakida Paul says:

Re: Re: Re:

“Politicians may as individuals or with individuals banded together into groups be corrupt, but the electorate still decides which individuals get to be elected.”

Only because there are no decent alternatives. A vote for anyone but the main parties is seen as a wasted vote. I guess people are too busy worrying about their next X Factor fix to worry about the best person to represent their interests in Westminster.

Violated (profile) says:

The UK shame

Good luck to him when Richard O’Dwyer sure needs our help.

I have never seen a better case than this one calling for a UK trial when no one can yet say if he has even broken a law here and everyone wanting to extradite him wants to deny him such a trial meaning that they are as doubtful as I am that he would be found guilty.

Richard in running TVShack had little reason to believe he was in violation of the law after other related sites like OiNK and FileSoup were found innocent. That is exactly why they now want to extradite instead of trial under UK law but it also means Richard’s acts were not wilful.

This is not to forget that Richard has never even set foot in the United States and has never made use of a server there when the server he did use was in Spain.

So now a huge 1/350th of the entire UK population have spoken out in protest saying things here are not right. If Justice is to be served than a UK trial is what is FAIR and not to ship him off to the harsher laws of the USA.

PRMan (profile) says:

Re: Re: The UK shame

IANAL, but typically it’s illegal here when you:

1. A site employee was the one that created the link
2. Encouraged people to post illegal links
3. Encouraged people to come to your site because of X or Y illegal link
4. Didn’t remove links when receiving a DMCA notice.

I still don’t see how we have any jurisdiction over a guy who never set foot on American soil nor interacted with any American company.

I’d say I wouldn’t be surprised if this gets an Anonymous response, but I haven’t seen anything out of them lately. It appears that the FBI may not have been blowing smoke when they said they nabbed most of them.

Crosbie Fitch (profile) says:

Dirty tricks

The title of the article belies V3’s motive: “Home Office to ignore Wikipedia founder’s petition against O’Dwyer extradition”

It appears they just rang the Home Office to get them to repeat their official lines from several days ago – and span it to make it look like petulant intransigence. Also see http://boingboing.net/2012/07/03/home-secretary-to-uk-net-activ.html

You have to ask yourself why, if the Home Office had not yet changed its current official statement, any news outfit would want to make it seem as if the petition was futile…

Is the owner of V3 sympathetic with the copyright cartel’s desire to create a martyr, to put the fear of god into any other link sites (smaller than Google)?

Don’t let dirty tricks put you off. Richard O’Dwyer needs help to avoid 10 years in a US Supermax prison – for hyperlinks!

Crosbie Fitch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Apparently, links infringe copyright because they induce others to click those links and to consequently trigger a server to manufacture an infringing copy.

The cartel has been trying to squeeze ‘inducement to infringe’ into the set of actions constituting infringement for some time. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inducing_Infringement_of_Copyrights_Act

That then means that links to links to illicit sources are infringements, and links to links to links… …until eventually even Kevin Bacon is extradited for copyright infringement – to whatever country still has space left in its prisons.

…and so that’s why they created the Matrix.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Please tell me, how exactly does a link infringe copyright?

“Please tell me, how exactly does a link infringe copyright?”

This is actually pretty easy to explain, if you pay attention.

Violating copyright is a crime. In the US as an example, there are things like commercial copyright violations, and all sorts of other laws that come into play.

Now, in the real world, if you are the person who points someone towards a particular drug dealer for a profit, you are still as guilty as the dealer. Too many people think that online, by being one step away from the infringement that they can avoid any and all liability. It just doesn’t work that that. It’s a bigger issue when many of the linking sites are in fact the ones actively cultivating the product and placing it on third party servers and services.

The link itself doesn’t infringe copyright. Knowingly and intentionally linking to something that is clearly in violation, well… you can figure it out.

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Re:


Whether he has done anything wrong is NOT the primary issue here.

The fact is that this extradition is an abuse of process based on the kind of creative misinterpretation of the law that is becoming all to common.

If he has committed an offence in the UK then let him be tried here. He has never set foot in the US and his operation had no links to the US beyond those that every website has by virtue of being on the internet. Therefore there is now way in which he could have committed an offence on the US without also committing one in the UK unless it is because the US law is substantially different from UK law. However if this latter is the case then the terms of the extradition treaty are not satisfied since they require that the zctivity in question must be illegal in both countries.

It seems that the judge has re-interpreted “illegal in both countries” to mean simply that “there is an offence of the same name in both countries”. However that interpretation is clearly nonsense when you analyse it.

Aileron says:

There is a hugely worrying trend for our own governments to be supporting copyright laws as if they are on the same level as criminal theft, not just a civil licensing issue. This insane support for mega corps over its own citizens is frankly scary. The individuals rights are being usurped by internationalised corporate leaning governments. Rather than our governments looking to protect us from abuse, they are instead protecting corporate interests against the individual. Very worrying and very sick.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

People seem to expect that the UK is going to be the good guy and stand up against the bad guys…
Maybe they need to understand what their government has been doing in their name. Kidnapping dissidents and handing them back to where they fled from knowing the bad things that will happen seems like something civilized people don’t do… but they did. And then they pretended they had no memory of sending people to be tortured, because oil is more important than any human life.


It is a lovely system where anyone who could be responsible can’t be held responsible. The working up the food chain you just get silence and people who can’t remember… in a country that wants to monitor everything they somehow missed this evidence?


They will not stop this farce, it will go forward. People will forget what happened and just know he was somehow guilty of doing something bad, and was punished. Don’t do things that are “wrong” (by definition by a different country) on the internet or you to will end up being sent there for punishment.

Someone explain again how copyright benefits society…

Dave says:

Probably a waste of time

Hate to say it but this petition will probably make the lovely Theresa dig her heels in even more, just like most pig-headed politicians who don’t actually know the law and are talking out of the rear orifice. She is just as big a liability in government as one of her predecessors, Jacqui What’s-her-face. Another stubborn female who seems to want to prove a point. What’s with this thing about having female home secretaries, anyway? OK if they’re competent.

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