Pirate site student pays US £20k

A student who ran a website where users could stream pirated films has paid £20,000 to US authorities to avoid jail. Richard O'Dwyer travelled to the US voluntarily after spending two years challenging whether he should be extradited to face charges.

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O'Dwyer: 'I'm looking forward to getting back to university'

Richard O'Dwyer said he never thought he was committing a crime. Credit: PA

Student Richard O'Dwyer said he is looking forward to returning to normality after striking a deal with US authorities over his TVShack website.

"I'm happy it's finally over," he told the BBC. "I still maintain I never thought I was committing a crime.

"I'm glad the US has decided to drop the case. It's a pity the UK wasn't able to resolve this."

He added: "I'm looking forward to getting back to university and see all my friends."

TVShack 'earned more than £147,000'

  • Richard O'Dwyer could have faced jail if convicted of the allegations.
  • The allegations were brought following a crackdown by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
  • The agency claimed the TVShack.net website earned more than $230,000 (£147,000) in advertising revenue.
  • US authorities obtained a warrant and seized the domain name in June 2010.
  • It is thought Mr O'Dwyer will return to the UK with his family today.

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O'Dwyer's mother blasts extradition rule

The UK government was happy to allow Richard's extradition to proceed, just like they have with others similarly accused of conduct in Britain, committed without ever setting foot in the US.

The Government is using a rotten law which was designed to bring fugitive offenders back to the place where a crime was committed, not for outsourcing our criminal justice system to another jurisdiction.

I feel very sorry for those people and their families who have not been as lucky as ours and who are still suffering under this rotten extradition law.

– Richard O'Dwyer's mother Julia O'Dwyer

O'Dwyer stuck deal with US to avoid extradition

Richard O'Dwyer's deal with the US is "a first" in extradition cases, his lawyer has said.

Under the agreement, O'Dwyer must pay US authorities £20,000 and not break any US laws, "associate only with law abiding people" and work regularly in a lawful occupation.

So far as we know this is a first in extradition cases - and a sensible solution for UK defendants faced with an ever-growing extra-territorial reach of US prosecutions.

I expect this mechanism will be used by UK defendants in future US extradition cases now the precedent has been established and at least until the Government introduces the promised forum amendment into the Extradition Act 2003.

– Mr O'Dwyer's lawyer, Ben Cooper

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Pirate site student pays US £20,000

A student who ran a website where users could stream pirated films has "avoided a conviction" after paying £20,000 to US authorities, his lawyer has said.

Richard O'Dwyer will pay £20,000 to US authorities Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Richard O'Dwyer, from Sheffield, ran the TVShack website hosting links to pirated films and TV programmes.

But after a court hearing in New York, the 24-year-old avoided extradition and conviction by signing a Deferred Prosecution Agreement.

As a result he paid £20,000 to the authorities, representing the profits he made from TVShack between December 2007 and November 2009.

The money will be distributed among victims whose copyrights were infringed by TVShack.

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