More than 160,000 people have signed a petition launched by the founder of internet encyclopaedia Wikipedia to block the extradition of a Sheffield student to the United States on copyright charges.
Jimmy Wales, aged 45, came out in support of 24-year-old Sheffield Hallam University student Richard O’Dwyer, who lives in Sheffield city centre and 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 TV shows, 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, of Bolsover, said: “This support from around the world has made politicians take note of Richard’s case.”