A SHEFFIELD Hallam University student wanted in the US for alleged copyright offences should not face extradition because he was providing the same service as Google and the Radio Times, a court heard.
Richard O’Dwyer, aged 23, is accused of conspiring to infringe copyright for his role in running the TVShack.net website, which provided hyperlinks to pirated films and TV programmes.
The Sheffield Hallam University undergraduate, originally from Chesterfield, faces five years in jail in America if convicted.
O’Dwyer, who is said to have made more than $230,000 in advertising revenue, is fighting extradition.
He says his conduct does not amount to a criminal offence because the site did not host any copyright material.
His barrister, Ben Cooper, told Westminster Magistrates’ Court a similar case relating to the TV-Links.co.uk website supported their case.
He said: “The key point is that his website essentially linked its users to other websites in the same way as Google and Yahoo.
“Google, like TVShack, does not have the content on its server. It enables members of the public to access material that is pre-existing online.”
Mr Cooper added: “TVShack did nothing at all to broadcast the material in question, but it was a business generating income from advertising revenue, similar to the Radio Times, in that it told people where programmes and material were to be found.”
But John Jones, for the US government said: “It was not simply a search engine.”
District Judge Quentin Purdy reserved judgement.