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Live webchat with Julia O'Dwyer, mother of the British student Richard O'Dwyer who's facing extradition to the US, TODAY, Monday July 2, 1-2pm

(42 Posts)
RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 29-Jun-12 12:11:55

We're pleased to say that we'll be holding a webchat with Julia O'Dwyer, the mother of Richard O'Dwyer, on Monday July 2 at 1pm.

Richard O'Dwyer is a British student who faces extradition to the USA, and up to ten years in prison, because he set up a website (TVShack.net) that showed internet users where they could watch TV shows and movies online. The US authorities want to prosecute him for offences related to copyright infringement.

Several organisations (including Liberty) have taken up Richard's case. They claim that it illustrates the imperfections of the UK's extradition arrangements with the US, and that the US authorities are acting disproportionately in order to protect the business interests of media corporations. A petition launched by the Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has become the fastest-growing campaign on the UK version of the Change.org website.

Following on from a thread in which we asked Mumsnetters what they thought about the case of Eileen Clark (who is similarly threatened with extradition to the USA), many of you asked us to look into the extradition issue and make representations to the Home Secretary.

Julia O'Dwyer has spent much of the last 18 months campaigning on her son's behalf, and trying to raise awareness of the issues involved in the case. Do join us on Monday for the chat; if you can't make it, do please post up questions here in advance.

Thanks,
MNHQ

Betelguese Mon 02-Jul-12 14:18:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

JuliaOdwyer Mon 02-Jul-12 14:12:01

Thanks for having me I have enjoyed answering your questions please do sign Jimmy Wales petition at www.change.org and if you want to do more please write to your MP and in particular ask him or her to sign the Early Day Motion which Caroline Lucas MP has started on extradition.

JuliaOdwyer Mon 02-Jul-12 14:09:16

toothandnail

Hi Julia,
first off I'd like to wish you every success with your campaign, and have given it my support where possible.

I imagine that prior to Richard's current situation your life was relatively comfortable, mainstream and part of the status quo in a small way.

Over the last year or so you have come into contact with diverse communities and people whose religions, politics, and economics could be viewed as radical, extreme or just plain bonkers, as well as the very poor to the very rich either mainstream or alternative.

How, if at all has this affected your world view and approach to life?

This last year has been totally abnormal as you might expect but I'm sure in the future I will be able to say there have been some positives. One things for sure I have become much more educated and aware about what's going on in the world and more aware of human rights issues and politics as well as learning a lot about the corruption in world governments and how these affect people.

Clytaemnestra Mon 02-Jul-12 14:09:04

Hi Julia,

I've just read on another thread that the US government had shut down TV Shack once, and your son reopened it again immediately with no changes? Is that the case?

JuliaOdwyer Mon 02-Jul-12 14:06:17

HipHopOpotomus

Betelguese what makes you think a "download costs zero to make and cannot be sold". Very warped misguided view.

Hi Julia - just wanted to wish you and your son best of luck.

Thank you for your good wishes.

JuliaOdwyer Mon 02-Jul-12 14:05:08

Vesta2

Hallo Julia,

I've signed both petitions, written to my MP, The Home-Office, and the Gov't. As I write the #saverichard petition is approaching 205000 signatures.

My question is, who now can reverse the extradition and how?

Thank you for signing the petitions and writing those letters, this is what is required.

The government always say they have no power in this matter well what is the point of having a government with no power. Keith Vaz and other good MP's have already asked that pending extraditions to the US are stopped until the treaty is amended so that British citizens have the same protections as Americans.

Various government ministers Dominic Grieve, Damien Greene as well as David Cameron continue to state how difficult it would be to amend this law. It is they who are making it difficult and refusing to protect British citizens by giving them the same rights as Americans.

Not one American has been extradited to the UK under this treaty for an alleged crime committed whilst in America, Americans are protected by their constitution against such extradition and allowed due process in their own country. The UK does not seek extradition of Americans who have committed crimes in the US.

JuliaOdwyer Mon 02-Jul-12 13:57:48

Betelguese

Hi Julia, I have signed the petition, my son 22, and friends also did so, I emailed my MP and Councillor. I hope the best for you and Richard.
The Extradition Law needs amendment.

How did Richard get into building Websites in the First Place? Jimmy Wales said Richard could found the next Google. Do you share this? This idea of Jimmy is great and Richard can make it! I hope this case will never stop Richard going ahead to advance what he wants to do and I am sure you will stand on his side and support him.

My question is what are Richard?s plans for the future and how can you help him on that end?

Good luck

Thank you for signing the petition and writing those letters. This is what is needed and its much appreciated, Richard has been at college and university studying computer science for about 6 years and building websites is part of his course. He's always inventing new things so I hope Jimmy Wales is right about his predictions about him.

I'm sure Richard will always want to work in technology and I look forward to seeing him being successful in a job that he enjoys in the future, once all this mess is sorted out. Meanwhile I continue to fight against his extradition.

JuliaOdwyer Mon 02-Jul-12 13:52:46

dinkystinky

Julia - Richard is clearly very bright and gifted with computers and I am so sorry that you and he are going through this awful experience. Could you share with us what your thoughts were when you heard he may be extradicted, how this has impacted on your lives and if the media or politicians have given you any support in any way during this whole awful process?

When we heard about extradition I suppose the immediate response was total disbelief and since then its taken over our lives mine mainly because I try to protect Richard and ensure that he can continue his university studies. The media have been very supportive all the way through so far. A number of MP's have been very helpful and supportive but there continues to be a wall of silence from the government on extradition and the only responses are the same canned, irrelevant statements as those being quoted in the press.

JuliaOdwyer Mon 02-Jul-12 13:48:13

CinnamonStix

Hello Julia, can you tell us when the appeal against the decision to extradite is likely to be heard?

We are awaiting a new date for the appeal as the original one was cancelled and expect that it will be in Oct or Nov this year.

JuliaOdwyer Mon 02-Jul-12 13:47:02

QWERTYmonster

TVShack was a very successful site in terms of traffic. Did Richard make any money from it?

Good luck with the campaign.

QWERTYmonster

TVShack was a very successful site in terms of traffic. Did Richard make any money from it?

Good luck with the campaign.

As reported Richard was approached by American advertising companies who asked to place an ad on his site. He took this offer up to help him pay for his server and maintenance costs. Due to the popularity of the site this snowballed somewhat and over 3 years he made £145,000 he did not charge people to use his site.

Thank you for your good wishes

JuliaOdwyer Mon 02-Jul-12 13:43:52

TheBlackShiksa

Which politicians have been helpful to you in your campaign - and are there any you'd like to name and shame as being unhelpful or having suddenly gone silent despite opposing the Extradition Treaty in Opposition?

Keith Vaz, Sir Menzies Campbell, Dominic Raab, Tim Farron have all spoken out and been quoted in the press about Richard. Keith Vaz has said he will write to Theresa May, David Cameron and the American ambassador. Unfortunately, Theresa May, David Cameron and Nick Clegg generally remain silent on the matter despite speaking out very publicly on the need for extradition reform and these are the very people who have the power to amend the law.

JuliaOdwyer Mon 02-Jul-12 13:39:20

Crumblemum

How do you find going from being a 'normal mum' to having to lead this kind of campaign? Has it been really hard work - how did you get Change.org on side or Jimmy Wiki? Have you had to do all the leg work yourself or are there others that help?

Do you think the campaign will work and how is Richard holding up?

At the outset I didn't set out to have a campaign , I just went on Twitter because I knew that other people in a similar position were on there and I thought might be able to get more knowledge about extradition and some support I started a petition on Go petition and Twitter helped to get 25,000 signatures. I didn't go to Jimmy Wales he came to us but I had seen on the internet that he had commented previously on Richards case so we are very pleased that he has got involved and that Change.org are supporting as well.
Yes I hope the campaign and the publicity around it will work, it will certainly increase pressure on the government who are supposed to be making a decision on what action they will be taking regarding the extradition law. This extradition law has already been shown many times over to be flawed and unfit for purpose.

Richard is trying to carry on with his university studies and tries not to dwell on this or even think about it unless forced to do so. He has a lot of support from his employer, fellow students and the tech community. I've had a lot of support from people in the film industry and copy right experts.

QWERTYmonster Mon 02-Jul-12 13:34:26

TVShack was a very successful site in terms of traffic. Did Richard make any money from it?

Good luck with the campaign.

JuliaOdwyer Mon 02-Jul-12 13:28:45

ginghamgiraffe

Hello Julia

I've read that you are a nurse working with terminally ill children, how has your work been affected by Richard's case - have you been able to continue?

Thanks for coming on and here's hoping the power of MN can help Richard.

It has been difficult for me to work I had the first 6 months off work but I'm back at work now. Researching about extradition, copyright laws, in the UK and the US has been extremely time consuming when someone is served with an extradition warrant they are given absolutely no information or explanation at all.It is difficult to keep focused on work as this is on my mind much of the time, and work is a bit of an inconvenience to be honest, but I do need to go to work obviously I need to make a living. I appreciate having Mumsnet behind us and hope it will help to increase the pressure on the government.

JuliaOdwyer Mon 02-Jul-12 13:20:53

NicholasTeakozy

Hello Julia.

A question I'd like an answer to is why is HM Government extraditing a young man for something that is not a crime in this country? Hosting content is one thing, providing links to other websites is another.

Good luck with the campaign.

Yes I'd like to know the answer to that question as well, but unfortunately the extradition process allows very little opportunity to prove that especially when we are dealing with judges who are not technically knowledgeable.

Vesta2 Mon 02-Jul-12 13:19:54

What is it that's happening on July 3rd re questions to Theresa May?

JuliaOdwyer Mon 02-Jul-12 13:18:33

ThatGhastlyWoman

No question, specifically, but I want to wish you the best of luck with this.

I also wanted to alert anyone who might try Googling 'TVShack' that there are several 'lookalikes' out there, most probably full of malware. Please don't visit them.

Thank you for your good wishes and yes TVShack definitely does not exist anymore.

JuliaOdwyer Mon 02-Jul-12 13:17:30

LineRunner

I've got to work tomorrow so unfortunately I'll miss the live element of this, but I'll read it when I get home.

Following on from the question from cocolepew, - can I also ask, have the Lib Dems in Government been of any help at all? I would like to know if Clegg, Cable and Hughes think this is fair.

Good luck.

I and a number of supporters have received positive responses from Nick Clegg and Vince Cable in addition, Tim Farron, Sir Menzies Campbell and Julian Huppert have been supportive the Lib Dems are against this extradition law in its present form but after 8 years action is needed not words.

JuliaOdwyer Mon 02-Jul-12 13:14:15

fiftieshousewife

Hi Julia,

What sort of response has the Save Richard campaign had in the USA? Has the Obama administration made any sort of statement on it, or have you had any private indications of what they think?

There was a question posed to the president in a recent Google hangout about Richard but the president's response was that he really doesn't get involved with these matters. I haven't had any kind of indications from anywhere else in the US, but there has been some publicity about the Save Richard campaign and I have spoken on a New York radio show called Off the Hook.

fiftieshousewife Mon 02-Jul-12 13:11:43

Hi Julia,

What sort of response has the Save Richard campaign had in the USA? Has the Obama administration made any sort of statement on it, or have you had any private indications of what they think?

JuliaOdwyer Mon 02-Jul-12 13:11:39

TheStandard

Hi Julia,

While I have a lot of sympathy for you as a mother, and I know this must be extraordinarily stressful and painful for you, I wonder what your thoughts are about the rights of copyright holders? I know that TVShack didn't itself host copyright-busting material, but its purpose was plainly to direct internet users to places where they could see copyrighted material without paying.

It's not that I think imprisoning Richard for ten years in a US jail is an appropriate response to this, because I don't - but I do find it a bit irritating when internet warriors essentially say 'copyright is dead, get over it'. I think that attitude could have some serious consequences for the ability of niche and unestablished artists to make careers for themselves - how are they supposed to make a living without copyright? We can't all be funded by Google AdWords.

All that said, I wish you the best of luck with your campaign.

Yes, this extremely stressful and terrifying. I would not condone copyright infringement creators need to be able to make a living. Having said that, business models must modernise to keep up with the modern world especially with regards to the internet and what that enables its users to do. With regard to Richard he is an avid movie fan and has publicly stated that it is much better to watch better to watch a film at the cinema and he still goes to the cinema at least twice a week. We are not actually fighting a crime here, we are fighting the extradition law and our own government, if Richard has committed any crime he should be prosecuted in this country where he was at all times.

JuliaOdwyer Mon 02-Jul-12 13:04:48

LineRunner

Julia

What do you need people to do?

I am sure that there will be many MNers willing to help and offer their support.

I hope you are holding up ok.

Most importantly, I need people to write to their MP's, sign the petition and spread the word. So any support like this is much appreciated and helps to put pressure on the government. I'm trying to be strong and I think I'm driven by the intense anger this has generated about the terrible injustice and disproportionate use of extradition to deal with such a matter.

JuliaOdwyer Mon 02-Jul-12 13:02:04

cocolepew

Hi Julia I was wondering if you have heard from the Home Secretary personally?

I have signed the petition and hope there is a positive outcome for your family.

The only correspondence I have had from Theresa May was the extradition order which amounted to four lines of a standard template with a rubber stamp and her signature, and that wasn't to me that was to Richard, she hasn't responded to the one letter that I wrote to her. Thank you for signing the petition and your good wishes.

JuliaOdwyer Mon 02-Jul-12 12:59:54

Hello everyone, I'm very pleased to be here and thanks to Mumsnet for inviting me along. I hope I can answer all your questions.

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 02-Jul-12 12:57:40

Delighted to say that Julia is with us and will start answering questions shortly. Do join in and spread the word that's she's here.
Thanks

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