Saturday, January 14, 2012

free the net

A British student can be extradited to the United States for running a website linking to sites carrying pirated TV shows and films, a court has ruled. Richard O'Dwyer, a 23-year-old student at Sheffield Hallam University, looked downward as district judge Quentin Purdy ruled that there were no valid reasons why he could not be sent to New York state for trial. US customs agents are seeking his prosecution over a website O'Dwyer set up when he was 19 called TVShack, and ran until his arrest last year. This provided links to other sites hosting pirated versions of TV shows and film. O'Dwyer's lawyers said the site was little different from a search engine like Google and was thus most likely not illegal under UK law.

His mother, Julia, wept "If they can come for Richard they can come for anyone."

The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency's assistant deputy director told the Guardian that they would now actively pursue websites similar to TVShack even if their only connection to the US was a website address ending in .com or .net. Such suffixes are routed through Verisign, an internet infrastructure company based in Virginia, which the agency believes is sufficient to seek a US prosecution.

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