|The guinea pig: cute and appealing|
-- especially if extradited ...
" ...A Sheffield Hallam University student will learn whether he is to be extradited to the US to stand trial over alleged infringement of copyright. Richard O'Dwyer, 23, is accused of operating a website that offered free downloading and streaming of thousands of copyright films and television programmes without permission from copyright holders.
The undergraduate earned money through hosting advertisements on the TVShack website, allegedly receiving more than 230,000 US dollars (around £147,000) in advertising revenue since January 2008, according to the US authorities.
His lawyer, Ben Cooper, argued that the site did not store any copyright material but merely pointed users to other sites where they could download films and TV shows. He said the website linked to other sites in the same way as Google and Yahoo operate, and people were not able to view a film from TVShack directly.
Mr Cooper added that his client would be the first British citizen to be extradited for such an offence and he would effectively become a "guinea pig" for copyright law in the US. John Jones, for the US authorities, said the victims of the alleged offences included the film studios. He said the website highlighted the savings that could be made in cinema tickets in the US ..."If you're in Central London today and want to watch a bit of legal history in the making, get down to the Westminster Magistrates' Court at 2pm, when the application to extradite O'Dwyer will be heard. If it is granted, O'Dwyer will face charges of copyright infringement and conspiracy to infringe copyright.
This blogger will be offline this afternoon, but hopes that any reader who attends the hearing will send him an account which, ideally, will be posted on the blog this weekend.