Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has set up an online petition to stop the extradition of British student Richard O’Dwyer to the US, and it’s something all Internet users really should be aware of. Richard was the founder of the web search engine TVShack.net, which let people search for their favourite television programmes and movies online. He did not directly host any copyrighted material at all. So in this regard his site was doing nothing more than Google does every day!
However, a lone poor student is a much easier target than a billion dollar corporation, and so the powers in the US decided to go after Richard by applying for him to be extradited to the US for his ‘crimes’. The important thing to note here is that Richard’s site is not illegal in the UK, and he is a British citizen. As Jimmy says on the site –
“O’Dwyer is not a US citizen, he’s lived in the UK all his life, his site was not hosted there, and most of his users were not from the US. America is trying to prosecute a UK citizen for an alleged crime which took place on UK soil.”
The reason this is so important is that once again the American entertainment industry is forcing the authorities to execute draconian measures in defence of their broken business model. Even if this was a direct crime (and if it is, why have they not prosecuted Larry or Sergey from Google?) it should not be the subject of an extradition, but instead be taken to trial in the UK.
If you’re at all concerned about this sort of random and questionably illegitimate legal activity, then you might consider adding your name to this petition.