TVShack's Richard O'Dwyer sent home with £20,000 fine
Richard O'Dwyer, the Briton who ran one of the world's most popular download links websites, must cough up £20,000 after avoiding extradition in a bargain with US authorities.
The GP's son will pay the sum under a "deferred prosecution agreement". He voluntarily flew out to New York from Blighty for his court hearing yesterday.
Prosecutors claimed O'Dwyer, now a student, earned $230,000 (£143k) from the TVShack website.
O'Dwyer set up TVShack.net in 2007, and provided links to video streams and online storage lockers at websites including DivxDen.com, NovaMov.com and VideoWeed.com. He encouraged users to contribute material, with a how-to guide, advising that “only full movies and full TV episodes are accepted”. No actual copyrighted content was hosted by his website.
After the TVShack domain was seized by the US authorities in June 2010, O'Dwyer set up again at TVShack.cc and carried on: the new site featured a photograph of NWA's Fuck the Police. He was arrested by City of London Police in November 2010 and the United States' extradition request to prosecute him stateside was granted in January this year.
O'Dwyer's supporters maintain he broke no UK criminal law.
For the UK to agree to extradition, a person must be accused of "an offence under the law of the relevant part of the United Kingdom punishable with imprisonment for a term of 12 months or a greater punishment”.
O'Dwyer told The Guardian newspaper, which campaigned on his behalf, that he had not done anything wrong. ®