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Judge rules UK computer student can be extradited to the US

Richard O'Dwyer arrested in 2010 for creating TVShack website

A Judge has ruled computer student Richard O'Dwyer can be extradited to the US to face to be tried for copyright infringement.

O'Dwyer, who studied computer science at Sheffield Hallam University, is behind the TVShack website that provides web users with links to locations they could illegally download copyrighted movie and TV programmes including The Hangover and Lost.

The original URL TVShack.net was seized by US authorities in July 2010. O'Dwyer then moved the website to TVShack.cc, which was also seized in November 2010. According to O'Dwyer's mother, he then closed down the site after being contacted by UK police. US authorities have now placed an official warning about illegally downloading content on the site. However, it is thought he earned £15,00 per month from advertising placed on the site.

"There are said to be direct consequences of criminal activity by Richard O'Dwyer in the USA, albeit by him never leaving the north of England," District Judge Quentin said according to the Mirror.

"Such a state of affairs does not demand a trial here if the competent UK authorities decline to act and does, in my judgment, permit one in the USA. I reject all challenges advanced to this request. No bars or other challenge being raised or found, I send the case to the Secretary of State."

Ben Cooper, O'Dwyer's lawyer, claimed his client had done nothing wrong and simply pointed web users in the direction of where they could find the content they were looking for, in the same way that Google and Yahoo operate. He also said O'Dwyer would become a "guinea pig" for copyright law in the US, and hinted he would appeal against the ruling.

NASA hacker Gary McKinnon has been facing a similar battle against extradition since 2005. McKinnon, who is an Asperger's sufferer, is accused of breaking into US military computers, including those belonging to NASA, in a bid to prove the US government had knowledge of UFOs in 2001.

The US claims McKinnon's hacking activities caused $700,000 (£433,000) worth of damage. He's also accused of stealing 950 passwords, deleting files at a naval base in New Jersey and rendering the military computer networks used following September 11 useless. He was first arrested in 2002.

If the Home Secretary decides the extradition will breach McKinnon's human rights, it can be halted but a decision has yet to be made.


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