Fate of student to be decided today

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A SHEFFIELD Hallam University student will find out today whether he is to be extradited to the US to stand trial over alleged copyright infringement.

Richard O’Dwyer, aged 23, who lives in student accommodation on Shoreham Street in the city centre, is accused of operating a website that offered free downloading and streaming of thousands of films and television programmes without permission from copyright holders.

The computer science undergraduate is alleged to have earned money through hosting advertisements on the TVShack website, allegedly receiving around £147,000 in advertising revenue since January 2008, according to the US authorities.

His lawyer, Ben Cooper, is fighting the case ion the basis that the site did not store any copyright material but merely pointed users to other sites where they could download films and TV shows.

He said the website linked to other sites in the same way as Google and Yahoo operate, and people were not able to view a film from TVShack directly.

Mr Cooper claims his client would be the first British citizen to be extradited for such an offence and would become a ‘guinea pig’ for copyright law in the US.

The decision on whether to extradite Mr O’Dwyer to stand trial is to be made today when the case is heard at Westminster Magistrates’ Court at 2pm.