Two years ago, Richard O'Dwyer was studying for a multimedia degree at Sheffield Hallam University. In his spare time he ran a website that acted as a search engine for users to find links to watch TV and films online.
He deleted content when he received requests from copyright holders to remove it. But despite this he’s now been accused of copyright violation and could face 10 years in a US prison, after the British Home Secretary, Theresa May, signed an extradition order in March.
Jimmy Wales, founder of the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, thinks it is an outrage that Richard is being extradited to the US for an alleged crime that took place on UK soil. So he has launched a petition on Change.org to stop his extradition.
Click here to sign his petition.
Richard 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.
As the founder of one of the top websites in the world, Jimmy believes that Richard O'Dwyer is the human face of the battle between the content industry and the interests of the general public. He says Richard will bear the human cost of this battle if extradited to the US.
Jimmy believes copyright is an important institution, serving a beneficial moral and economic purpose. But he says that "it does not mean that we should abandon time-honoured moral and legal principles to allow endless encroachments on our civil liberties in the interests of the moguls of Hollywood."
In the UK, both parties in the coalition government criticised the extradition treaty, calling it "unfair" when in opposition, and more recently David Cameron and Theresa May have spoken of the need to review it.
But for Richard there’s no time for a lengthy review. The USA is pushing hard to extradite him now. So Jimmy is calling on the Home Secretary to stop the extradition now -- will you join him?
In the fight against the anti-copyright bills SOPA and PIPA earlier this year, millions of internet users across the world showed that they would not tolerate censorship in response to mere allegations of copyright infringement and the public won its first big victory. Jimmy says this could be the second.
Join Jimmy and stop the extradition of Richard O'Dwyer.