Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 1 October 2014

160,000 back student in legal fight

Thousands of people have signed a petition in support of TVShack owner Richard O'Dwyer

More than 160,000 people have signed a petition launched by the founder of internet encyclopaedia Wikipedia to block the extradition of a British student to the US on copyright charges.

Jimmy Wales, 45, came out in support of Richard O'Dwyer, 24, who faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of charges relating to his website, TVShack.net.

Some 164,000 people have signed the online petition in just five days.

O'Dwyer's supporters argue that as the site, which linked to other sites that streamed pirated television programmes, did not host material itself he should not face any charges and should therefore not be extradited.

Mr Wales called on Home Secretary Theresa May to stop the extradition, calling the interactive media and animation student "the human face of the battle between the content industry and the interests of the general public".

O'Dwyer's mother Julia said: "I'm blown away by the response to Jimmy's petition.

"It's been a tough year campaigning for my son but this outpouring of support from around the world has really made politicians sit up and take note of Richard's case.

"Now it's time for Theresa May to do the right thing by Richard."

Earlier this year, Wikipedia blacked out the English language version of its website in protest at anti-piracy laws being considered by the US government.

Latest News

Latest Sport

Latest Showbiz