A computer science student from Sheffield is facing five years in a federal prison after a judge ruled he could be extradited to the US to face charges of copyright infringement.
Richard O'Dwyer, a 23-year-old student at Sheffield Hallam university, set up the TVShack.net web site nearly four years ago, offering users links to web sites where they could download copyrighted content including movies and TV programmes.
In a Westminster Magistrates Court ruling, it was revealed that the US government finally seized the URL in 2010, but that within a day, O'Dwyer had switched the site to TVShack.cc and "carried on as before".
The US government also claimed that the student made more than $230,000 from the site.
In his ruling, district judge Quentin Purdy dismissed the defence's arguments that too much time had passed since the crime and that O'Dwyer was innocent of copyright infringement because his site only posted links to other illegal download sites.
The case echoes that of NASA hacker Gary McKinnon who has fought a ten-year battle over extradition to the US, where he could face up to 70 years in a maximum security jail.
UK-US extradition laws have been widely criticised ever since former Labour prime minister Tony Blair signed up to them as part of the ill-fated war on terror in the wake of the attacks in September 2001.
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