I'm not usually one to make a fuss in a public forum, but reading today's story about Richard O'Dwyer's extradition has gotten me a bit keyed up.

Okay, as per usual this is a bit of an emotional reaction and I am perhaps not aware of all the facts, only able to go by the news stories being posted (BBC, Orange, Telegraph and other such sites), but it seems to me that this is the usual UK roll-over to US dominance that is in serious need of being addressed ASAP.

Anyhow, being in a bit of a growly mood at the moment, I figured that it would be a good time to write to my local MP to voice my opinion of this ludicrous situation:

Dear Richard Harrington,

I am writing with regards today's news about the Sheffield Hallam student, Richard O'Dwyer, who is to be extradited to the US on the basis of a breach to US copyright law.

My understanding is that the site was hosted in the UK and consisted purely of links to other sites providing the copyrighted content. As such, there was certainly no breach of UK law as his site, TV Shack, was not providing a file-sharing or streaming service to deliver the copyright content and, with the site being hosted from the UK, is not subject to US law.

Although most sites carry waivers that content provided by external websites is not the responsibility of the originating site, I do not know if this was the case with the TV Shack service. However, this is immaterial, as no one site can possibly be responsible for the content of a third party website; if this were the case, then the providers of every site on the internet is responsible for the content on every other site, a ludicrous situation at best.

If Richard O'Dwyer is guilty of US copyright infringement through the provision of links, then so are Google with their search engine, Microsoft with their Bing service, plus many, many other sites, yet these organisations do not appear to be under scrutiny; I can only assume that this is because they carry the financial weight to counter such targeting.

Authorities should be targeting the providers of the service, not those peripheral individuals and sites that just provide a link. If the US were to take down the service providers, then peripheral sites like TV Shack would find it very hard to exist as there would be no content to link to: take out the heart and the organism dies; take off a limb and the organism finds another way to survive.

Allowing Richard O'Dwyer's extradition to go ahead would, in my humble opinion, be a gross miscarriage of justice. If the extradition cannot be stopped then, at the very least, it should be postponed until the US can provide sufficient technical and legal evidence of their claims.

I hope that you take this matter seriously and look forward to hearing your response.

I expect that I will get the usual political, carefully-phrased brush-off and be left feeling ineffective and frustrated, but isn't it at least worth a shot?

If you feel as strongly as I do about this, then feel free to make a comment below.  However, if you want to try to make a difference, why not write your own letter to your local MP and get this matter discussed in Westminster.  There is a very useful service called Write to Them that makes it nice and easy to communicate with your elected constituency MP, so why not go there now and make a point?

Feel free to copy and paste my letter above, if it makes it easier!!

Update:  A petition has been set up at GoPetition to address the wider issue of implementing the Forum Amendment within the Police and Justice Act.  I'm not sure how much weight it carries with the government but it would be worth signing it.


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