British student Richard O'Dwyer has signed a deal to avoid extradition to the US over copyright infringement allegations, the High Court has been told.

The 24-year-old Sheffield Hallam University undergraduate was facing extradition after allegedly earning thousands of pounds through advertising on his TVShack website before it was closed down by the US authorities.

O'Dwyer's supporters argued that as the site, which linked to other sites that streamed pirated television programmes, did not host material itself he should not face any charges and should therefore not be extradited.

On Wednesday it emerged O'Dwyer had signed a draft agreement earlier this week, that involves him travelling to the US and paying compensation, but avoiding a trial and criminal record if found guilty.

The court heard that O'Dwyer is expected to travel to the US in the next 14 days to complete the agreement, pay a small sum in compensation and give undertakings not to infringe copyright laws again.

Richard's mother, Julia O'Dwyer, told the Huffington Post UK last week what a nightmare the threat of extradition had been.

"You would’t want extradition to happen to anybody. People need to be aware of it really, aware of the dangers of falling foul of America’s laws without even going there. I don’t even know how you can be careful because they have so many laws that are different to ours.

"Since they’re trying to claim jurisdiction of the whole internet, you know, you might not think you have a connection to America but they’ll find one.

"You might have a domain name which is American or you might have a server which is American - not that Richard did - but these are the examples where they will aggressively try and claim jurisdiction. People need to be very worried about that in business, or whether it’s leisure activities on the internet.

O'Dwyer could have faced up to 10 years in jail if convicted of the allegations, which were brought following a crackdown by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

However the student has signed a draft agreement in the last two days that involves him travelling to the US and paying compensation, but avoiding a trial and criminal record if found guilty.

Edward Fitzgerald QC, for O'Dwyer, told the court he had agreed to a "deferred prosecution agreement" and intended to honour it.

This meant O'Dwyer's pending application to challenge US moves to extradite him were no longer necessary.

Sir John Thomas, President of the Queen's Bench Division, said: "It is a very satisfactory outcome."


His extradition application is expected to return to the High Court in 15 days' time so it can formally be disposed of.

The judge said: "It would be very nice for everyone if this was resolved happily before Christmas."

Home Secretary Theresa May agreed to O'Dwyer's surrender after a court ruled in January that his extradition would be lawful.

O'Dwyer was facing the prospect of being the first British citizen to be extradited for such an alleged copyright offence and his lawyers argued he would effectively become a "guinea pig" for copyright law in the US.

The US authorities alleged that O'Dwyer received more than 230,000 US dollars (around £147,000) in advertising revenue since January 2008, until the site was shut down in 2010.

When he was arrested by City of London Police in November 2010, he accepted that he was earning approximately £15,000 per month from online advertisements.