13th January 2012 15:09
O'Dwyer US extradition to go ahead
Loz Kaye - Pirate Party UK Leader:
By supporting the baseless US extradition case against Richard O'Dwyer today at Westminster Magistrates Court the judge Judge Quentin Purdy has failed to inject the much needed shot of rationality into the insanity of the UK-US extradition arrangements we had all hoped for. The Sheffield student is accused of infringing copyright by setting up the popular UK website TV Shack.
TV shack provided a catalogue of links to other sites, with no illegal material available from it at any time. As the server was not based in the US, Richard's lawyer has pointed out that there is simply no valid reason to send a young British citizen to face a court in the US.
In May last year Richard was arrested at the behest of US authorities and taken to Wandsworth prison before being released on £3000 bail. He still faces the frightening prospect of a 5 year prison sentence in an foreign jail for providing a service no different to those of US search giants like Google.
Richard's plight continues to highlight how attempts to enforce copyright law have become absurd in the extreme. The fact that a link, a simple pointer to somewhere else, could be deemed a breach of copyright is bizarre. If attempts to extradite to Richard are successful it would put anyone who hosts or runs a website at risk for simply sharing a link to a video, some music, a photograph or other media.
The case has rightly brought UK-US extradition into sharp focus. Since the 2003 Extradition Act came in to force, British citizens have been wrenched from their lives in the UK and extradited to the US on the flimsiest of evidence. The US continues to claim jurisdiction over cases that have little connection to the country itself- as in Richard's instance. Despite Parliament voting in December to tighten up these abuses, the Government is yet to act to guarantee British justice on British soil.
This outcome is a failure on the part of our British justice system to act in a sensible and reasonable way. This case is the perfect example of what enforcing copyright is; excessive, overblown and aimed at easy targets innocent or not whilst ignoring the human.
So, this is what protecting your copyright has come to mean. Accepting unacceptable human collateral like Richard O'Dwyer.
My thoughts are with Richard and his family at this time, I only hope that common sense prevails and this travesty of justice can be rectified before it does irreparable harm to Richard and his family.
Pirate Party UK
Correction issued at 16:58