British Student Faces Extradition to U.S. in Copyright Infringement Case

Richard O’Dwyer's TVShack website hosts links to pirated copyrighted films

From the Barbary Coast in the 1700s to the Persian Gulf on Tuesday, U.S. authorities have traveled the world over to bring pirates to justice.

Still, it’s been centuries since Americans went after a British pirate.

Now the U.S. is doing just that, trying to jail Richard O’Dwyer of South Yorkshire for copyright infringement. On Friday, a British court ruled that O’Dwyer could be extradited to the U.S. to face the charges, according to various reports.

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O’Dwyer, 23, operated a website called TVShack.net that provided links to unlawfully obtained films and TV shows.

According to his lawyer, O’Dwyer did not store pirated material and only directed visitors to other sites — a practice no different than what Google regularly facilitates. The lawyer also said O’Dwyer was a “guinea pig” for U.S. copyright law.

American and British officials confiscated O’Dwyer’s computers in November 2010. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency brought the allegations, claiming that O’Dwyer took in more than $230,000 for advertising before officials acted. British officials have not pressed charges.

O’Dwyer’s lawyer said he plans to appeal the extradition decision.