Richard O’Dwyer, the university student who created the TVShack website which linked to TV shows and films online for free, has reached an agreement to avoid extradition to the US over copyright infringement allegations, the high court has been told.
The 24-year-old Sheffield Hallam undergraduate has signed a draft “deferred prosecution” agreement in the past two days which requires him to travel to the US and pay a small sum of compensation but will mean he will not face a trial or criminal record, the court was told. Sir John Thomas, president of the Queen’s Bench Division and the third most senior judge in England and Wales, said the deal was a “very satisfactory outcome” to the long-running and highly controversial case.
O’Dwyer’s supporters have always argued that, if his online venture constituted an offence, it was one committed on British soil and one which therefore should be dealt with in British courts.
More than 253,000 people have signed a petition started in June by the Wikipedia founder, Jimmy Wales, calling on the home secretary to block O’Dwyer’s extradition to the US on charges that could have carried a sentence of up to 10 years in jail.
The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency, which pursued the case against him, claims his website earned more than $ 230,000 (£147,000) in advertising revenue before US authorities shut it down in 2010.
More details soon …