March 13 marks the day that the United Kingdom favored bowing to US authorities over British law, as Home Secretary Theresa May approved the extradition of twenty-three year-old college student and former administrator of TVShack Richard O’Dwyer to the United States.
British law has, at times, favored link sites that provide a link to specific episodes of TV shows and movies by claiming that they were not the infringers but a mere conduit to information. Whether or not linking to copyright infringing material is legal in the UK is [still] a matter of debate, but in one case that reached its resolution back in 2010, a judge successfully argued that under current British law the operation of a linking site is considered legal.
O’Dwyer ran the successful TVShack web site, which specifically operated only as a link site, pointing users to locations across the Internet where they could find and download digital content.
The copyright piracy battle in the US has officially declared war on any person abroad as well as at home.
And those in a country where extradition laws do not protect their citizenship are at risk, as O’Dwyer has found out. Much of the material that TVShack pointed the way to did lead to people infringing upon US copyrights.
O’Dwyer never operated TVShack or its servers in the US, and the British public has been outspoken in favor of not allowing him to face charges on US soil.
That would likely result in similar circumstance to the US trials of Ninjavideo founder Hana Beshara [who] was sentenced to 22 months in prison followed by 2 years of probation, 500 hours of community service and ordered to repay nearly $210,000 . . . and admin Matthew Smith [who] received 14 months in prison, two years supervised release, and was ordered to pay over $172,000.
There are stiff penalties awaiting the UK student, and the US court system will likely try, convict, and incarcerate O’Dwyer. The MPAA and US copyright holders are telling the world to beware.