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Extradition to US for copyright infringement?

24 June 2011

Richard O’Dwyer, a 23 year old computer science student, faces extradition proceedings at the hands of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in relation to allegations of copyright infringement. Mr O’Dwyer is accused of creating and running a website which allowed users to view and download copyrighted material.

Given that the website was created and hosted in the UK it seems strange that ICE is so keen for Mr Dwyer to be charged in the US. The findings of HHJ Ticehurst in the TV-Links case back in February 2010 may have provided Mr O’Dwyer with a defence in the UK, whereas charges in the US legal system may be much more difficult to defend, particularly given the lack of state legal aid.

Given the furore over the UK’s extradition rules resulting from the US’ attempts to extradite hacker Gary McKinnon it will be interesting to see the approach taken by the UK courts in this case, which appears to relate to considerably less serious allegations.

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