LONDON Jan 13 A British student will
learn on Friday whether he is to be extradited to the United
States for breaching U.S. copyright law by running a website
that allowed users to access films and TV programmes illegally,
in the first case of its kind.
Richard O'Dwyer's website, TV Shack, provided links to other
websites where users could access content but did not host any
of the content itself.
The 23-year-old, who says he started the project to improve
his computer programming skills and help him get a work
placement, did not charge users but sold $230,000 worth of
advertising on the site, according to the U.S. authorities.
"I was forced to set up advertising because of the massive
server fees," O'Dwyer told BBC radio ahead of the ruling in a
"When you've got a website with over 300,000 people a month
visiting, there's a need for infrastructure to support that.
There's no other way to do it, unless you had the money
yourself," he said.
The United States has cracked down far harder than Britain
on illegal file-sharing, which has damaged the film, television
and music industries.
O'Dwyer's lawyer Ben Cooper argues that the student's
activities would not be criminal in Britain, and that he should
be tried at home if anywhere.
"There have been lots of very similar cases here which
simply haven't stood up," Cooper, an extradition lawyer with
Doughty Street Chambers, told Reuters by telephone.
"My argument is that it wouldn't be a criminal case here. At
most, it would be a civil matter," he said. He described O'Dwyer
as a "guinea pig" as no British citizen had been extradited to
the United States for a copyright offence before.
(Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; Editing by Andrew Heavens)