Richard O’Dwyer –
The Wider Implications.
There is deep concern about the broader implications of
the Richard O’Dwyer
Extradition case andhow it could lead to the US government controlling the activities and flow of information on theWorld Wide Web. Please read the following information and look further into this matter in orderthat the members of both Houses can be made fully aware of how allowing this case to be tried in
the US is not only a breach of Richard’s human rights but it also opens the floodgates for any user of
the Internet in the UK to fall under the jurisdiction of US law and face extradition.The US defence in this case is that Richard has allowed a crime to be committed by providing the
targeted “linking” on the site, that many of the adverts on the site were aimed at the US market, and
that Richard had used a .net domain to register his site, which has to be registered via the USdomain registration organisation, Internic, therefore purportedly falling under US jurisdiction.Richard did not store any illegal material on his website server, which was based in the UK, nor didhe encourage anyone to use his site or condone the downloading of illegal material. The links workvery much like any search engine, such as Google, returning the top results based on most popularlinks clicked. Nevertheless, as the current extradition treaty with the US does not allow forum,therefore not allowing the case to be assessed for trial in this country, he now finds himself facing upto 10 years in a foreign prison that is showing increasing disregard for human rights, where he
wouldn’t even be able to benefit from
the support of his family and friends.The same fate could, theoretically if a precedent is set, await over a quarter of our young peoplewho could face direct US copyright infringement charge; this is reportedly the largest demographicof Internet user
s who admit to having “illegally” downlo
aded or shared a movie or music and everysingle one of them could face a US prison sentence or end up paying financial penalties to UScompanies.Given the alleged nature of the crime, this request is a flagrant abuse of the original intention of theExtradition Treaty, which was to help simplify the process of the extradition of suspected terrorists;
even the broadest of imaginations could not relate “linking” to a terrorist act.
This confirms that anyform of control that provides broad sweeping powers to the US government will be abused, and anyprecedents set will not be isolated cases. In light of that, the above hypothetical scenario does notseem so far-fetched or so far away in the future.Two recent bills passed by the US Senate and Congress threaten to stifle the free flow of information
on the Internet and place the US as the World’s judge and jury on what is copyright and what
constitutes an infringement.The Protect IP Act, was introduced to the US Senate in May 2011, coincidentally shortly
decision to seek an Extradition warrant for Richard O’Dwyer.
Its stated goal is of giving the USgovernment and copyright holders additional tools to curb access to "rogue websites dedicated to
infringing or counterfeit goods" and provides for enhanced “enforcement against rogue websitesoperated and registered overseas”.
It was passed in the Senate but Senator Ron Wyden placed ahold on it stating concerns over possible damage to freedom of speech, innovation, and Internetintegrity, a fear mirrored by organisations such as Reporters Without Borders and Human Rights
Watch.Opposition to the bill has also been met by many of the US global technology giants who, ina letter to Congress signed by 130 technology entrepreneurs and CEOs, amongst them Google,Facebook, Yahoo, LinkedIn and Twitter, expressed great concern that the law in its present form