Editor’s Note: I just received this communication. The cause seems just, the demand for support indispensable. We’re happy to help spread the word. Help by passing this PSA along to your friends. We all depend on a free Internet and a powerful Wikipedia. The original alert is HERE.—PG
Hi, I am Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, and if you care about justice and the future of the Internet freedom, Demand Progress and I need your help.
This will only take a few seconds, but you can really help us change things for the better.
Richard O’Dwyer is a 24 year old British student at Sheffield Hallam University in the UK. He is facing extradition to the USA and up to ten years in prison, for creating a website – TVShack.net – which linked (similarly to a search-engine) to places to watch TV and movies online.
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. America is trying to prosecute a UK citizen for an alleged crime which took place on UK soil.
The Internet as a whole must not tolerate censorship in response to mere allegations of copyright infringement. As citizens we must stand up for our rights online.
When operating his site, Richard O’Dwyer always did his best to play by the rules: on the few occasions he received requests to remove content from copyright holders, he complied. His site hosted links, not copyrighted content, and these were submitted by users.
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 does not mean that we should abandon time-honored moral and legal principles to allow endless encroachments on our civil liberties in the interests of the moguls of Hollywood.
This is but one of several recent attempts by the US government and Hollywood to expand the definition of copyright infringement to include those who simply link to other sites that are accused of housing infringing content.
Those who are being prosecuted face huge fines, and multiple years in prison. These actions represent an unacceptable attack on Internet freedom — and one of questionable legality.
Congress should act to reign in US prosecutors and protect Internet freedom — and the UK should refuse to extradite O’Dwyer.
Richard O’Dwyer is the human face of the battle between the content industry and the interests of the general public.
Earlier this year, in the fight against SOPA and PIPA, the public won its first big victory. This could be our second.
This is why I am petitioning the UK’s Home Secretary Theresa May to stop the extradition of Richard O’Dwyer, and asking the United States to end his prosecution.
- Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia founder
PS- We’ll only win if we get as many people as possible to pressure the authorities. Please forward this email or use these links to get your friends involved:
If you’re already on Facebook, click here to share with your friends.
If you’re already on Twitter, click here to tweet about the campaign: Tweet
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