Jun 15

Outrage as UK student faces Extradition to US over Alleged Copyright Breaches

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British student Richard Oliver faces extradition to the US for his website TV Shack, which offered links to films. He could face up to five years in a US jail.

Commentators have demanded an explanation as to how there can be any justification to extradite a UK national, with a UK based website and server, with no connection to the US at all.

The controversial 2003 US-UK extradition treaty has been heavily criticised for working one way only, there is no reciprocal agreement. Is it a threat to British sovereignty, particularly when used for such minor offences?

It is very questionable whether Mr Oliver has committed any offence at all. In fact some have speculated the attempt at extradition is precisely because Mr Oliver hasn’t actually committed an offence under UK law. His website doesn’t actually contain any copyrighted material itself, it only links to other sites.

In a very similar preceding case brought against Alan Ellis (Accused of Conspiracy to Defraud the music industry – note not a copyright offence) the prosecution’s case collapsed. It is likely that any case brought against Mr Oliver in the UK would have a similar result. http://blogs.computerworlduk.com/open-enterprise/2011/06/us-abuses-copyright-and-extradition-law-uk-acquiesces/

The case is particularly worrying given the recent e-G8 summit where governments discussed the possibility of regulating the internet. This despite the recent UN report which argued access to the internet was a basic right of expression. http://frostmagazine.com/2011/06/cutting-off-your-internet-could-breach-human-rights-says-un/