13/01/2012 12:21 GMT | Updated 14/03/2012 09:12 GMT

Copyright Infringement Trial: Student Richard O'Dwyer To Learn Whether He Faces Extradition To US

A student will learn today whether he is to be extradited to the US to stand trial over alleged infringement of copyright.

Richard O'Dwyer, 23, is accused of operating a website that offered free downloading and streaming of thousands of copyright films and television programmes without permission from copyright holders.

The Sheffield Hallam University undergraduate earned money through hosting advertisements on the TVShack website, allegedly receiving more than 230,000 US dollars (around £147,000) in advertising revenue since January 2008, according to the US authorities.

His lawyer, Ben Cooper, argued that the site did not store any copyright material but merely pointed users to other sites where they could download films and TV shows.

He said the website linked to other sites in the same way as Google and Yahoo operate, and people were not able to view a film from TVShack directly.

Mr Cooper added that his client would be the first British citizen to be extradited for such an offence and he would effectively become a "guinea pig" for copyright law in the US.

John Jones, for the US authorities, said the victims of the alleged offences included the film studios. He said that the website highlighted the savings that could be made in cinema tickets in the US.

The decision on whether to extradite Mr O'Dwyer to stand trial on charges of copyright infringement and conspiracy to infringe a copyright will be made today when the case is heard at Westminster Magistrates' Court at 2pm