Sheffield student who faced extradition over TVShack website is fined £20k

Richard O'Dwyer ran a website where users could stream pirated films has
Richard O'Dwyer ran a website where users could stream pirated films has
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A SHEFFIELD student who avoided extradition over copyright infringement allegations was reportedly fined £20,000 by a judge in New York yesterday.

Richard O’Dwyer had originally faced extradition and a possible 10-year jail term over his creation of a website that helped people to watch films and TV shows for free.

His mother, Julia O’Dwyer, took to social media site Twitter last night to express her delight at the outcome which she described as the “best we could have achieved.”

The Sheffield Hallam University undergraduate allegedly earned thousands of pounds through advertising on the TVShack website before it was closed down by the US authorities.

He could have faced jail if convicted of the allegations, which were brought following a crackdown by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

Last week, the High Court in London heard O’Dwyer had signed a draft agreement that involved him travelling to the US and paying compensation, but avoiding a trial and criminal record if found guilty.

Edward Fitzgerald QC, for O’Dwyer, told the court he had agreed to a “deferred prosecution agreement” and intended to honour it.

This meant O’Dwyer’s pending application to challenge US moves to extradite him were no longer necessary.

The case has attracted a lot of interest and controversy. During the summer, more than 160,000 people signed a petition launched by the founder of internet encyclopaedia Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales, to block the extradition within five days of its launch.

O’Dwyer’s supporters argue that as the site, which linked to other sites that streamed pirated television programmes, did not host material itself he should not face any charges and should therefore not be extradited.