'Piracy' student Richard O'Dwyer loses extradition case

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A Sheffield student can be extradited to the US to face copyright infringement allegations, a judge has ruled.

Richard O'Dwyer, 23, set up the TVShack website which US authorities say hosts links to pirated copyrighted films and television programmes.

The Sheffield Hallam University student lost his case in a hearing at Westminster Magistrates' Court.

If found guilty in a US court he could face up to five years in jail.

Mr O'Dwyer's lawyer, Ben Cooper, indicated during the hearing that he would appeal against the ruling.

Mr Cooper said the website did not store copyright material itself and merely directed users to other sites, making it similar to Google.

He also argued that his client, who would be the first British citizen to be extradited for such an offence, was being used as a "guinea pig" for copyright law in the US.

But District Judge Quentin Purdy ruled the extradition could go ahead.

Mr O'Dwyer's mother, Julia O'Dwyer, from Chesterfield, has described the moves by US authorities as "beyond belief" and described Britain's extradition treaty with the United States as "rotten".

Speaking before the hearing, Mr O'Dwyer said he was "surprised" when police officers from the UK and America seized equipment at his home in South Yorkshire in November 2010.

However, no criminal charges followed from the UK authorities.

The case was brought by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, which claims that the TVShack.net website earned "over $230,000 in advertising revenue" before US authorities obtained a warrant and seized the domain name in June 2010.