TVShack extradition attempt has Dotcom parallels
In a test case with parallels to the Dotcom Megaupload case, a 23 year-old UK student faces extradition to the US to face trial for running a website linking to sites providing pirated TV shows and films.
District judge Quentin Purdy ruled there were no valid reasons why Richard O’Dwyer could not be sent to New York for trial.
US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency wants his extradition to prosecute O’Dwyer for breaches of federal copyright law in relation to a website set up when he was 19 called TVShack.
The UK case has similarities to Dotcom’s ‘Mega-upload’ site, particularly in that it requires users to register - allowing them access to pirated, copyright-breaching material.
US prosecutors claim O'Dwyer earned GBP15,000 a month from the website, and saythe case met the test of dual liability, dismissing arguments that extradition would breach O’Dwyer’s human rights.
O'Dwyer’s lawyers argued the site was negligibly different from a search engine such as Google and was therefore unlikely to be construed as illegal under UK law.
O’Dwyers family and supporters argue that any alleged offence should be tried in the UK. A parliamentary measure to include a "forum clause" in the 2003 extradition treaty - allowing a judge to examine where a case should best be heard - has been passed by parliament but not yet enacted.
ICE has faced criticism about the perceived over-reach involved with them targeting websites such as TVShack which had servers in the Netherlands – and having no tangible link to America.
However, it is reported ICE will now actively pursue websites such as TVShack even if the only link they had with the US was a website domain name ending in .net or .com.
These suffixes are routed through Verisign, an internet company based in Virginia. The ICE agency claims that this is a sufficient link to the US to seek extradition for prosecution.