Jimmy Wales has pledged his support for university student Richard O’Dwyer who currently faces extradition to the US over copyright infringement charges.
O’Dwyer’s website TVShack was deemed to be in breach of copyright by US authorities by hosting links to copyrighted films and TV programmes.
The Wikipedia founder has started an online petition that aims to block the extradition of the Sheffield Hallam student.
A statement by Mr Wales on the petition’s website reads: “Copyright is an important institution, serving a beneficial moral and economic purpose. But that does not mean that copyright can or should be unlimited.”
It continues: “Richard O’Dwyer is the human face of the battle between the content industry and the interests of the general public.”
Mr O’Dwyer’s mother, Julia, has praised the support, branding it a “huge boost”. She said: “It is obviously quite significant to have Jimmy Wales’ support. He didn’t do that lightly. He spent a lot of time talking to Richard.”
Mr Wales’ support follows the approval of Mr O’Dwyer’s extradition by Home Secretary Theresa May back in January and the news that his appeal against the decision, which was scheduled to take place at the High Court in July, would be delayed.
The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency claims that O’Dwyer’s TVShack.net website generated over £147,000 in advertising revenue before a warrant was obtained and the domain seized back in June 2010.
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