Wikipedia founder launches campaign against extradition of student
Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, has today launched a campaign in conjuction with the Guardian on Change.org to stop the extradition to the US of Richard O’Dwyer, a 24-year-old student.
O’Dwyer faces extradition to the US and up to 10 years in prison for creating a website, TVShack.net, which linked to places to watch TV and movies online.
Wales’ petition calls on Home Secretary Theresa May to stop the extradition of O’Dwyer to the US on the grounds that “O'Dwyer is not a US citizen, he's lived in the UK all his life, his site was not hosted there, and most of his users were not from the US.”
Writing in the Guardian Jimmy Wales said: "When I met Richard, he struck me as a clean-cut, geeky kid. Still a university student, he is precisely the kind of person we can imagine launching the next big thing on the internet.
"Given the thin case against him, it is an outrage that he is being extradited to the US to face felony charges for something that he is not being prosecuted for here. No US citizen has ever been brought to the UK for alleged criminal activity that took place on US soil.
"From the beginning of the internet, we have seen a struggle between the interests of the "content industry" and the interests of the general public. Due to heavy lobbying and much money lavished on politicians, until very recently the content industry has won every battle.
"We, the users of the internet, handed them their first major defeat earlier this year with the epic Sopa/Pipa protests which culminated in a widespread internet blackout and 10 million people contacting the US Congress to voice their opposition.
"Together, we won the battle against Sopa and Pipa. Together, we can win this one too."
In an interview with the Guardian, O’Dwyer and his mother, Julia, tell of their experience with the US authorities
Signing the petition, Julia O’Dwyer said: “This is not only a matter of British national importance but of global importance too. We so appreciate Jimmy Wales launching this petition in support of Richard, to have such support and endorsement from such a knowledgeable and respected figure is fantastic. I hope many will follow Jimmy's lead.”