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UK student escapes U.S. extradition in copyright case

LONDON (Reuters) - A British university student who launched a website linking to TV shows and films online for free has reached an agreement to avoid extradition to the US and possible jail over copyright infringement allegations, the High Court heard on Wednesday.

A deal struck on Wednesday means Richard O'Dwyer, the 24-year-old creator of website TVShack, which helped people watch free films but did not host content itself, will travel to the United States to pay a small fine and will not be extradited.

O'Dwyer faced becoming the first Briton to be extradited for such an offence and his lawyers argued he would effectively become a test case for copyright law in the United States.

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales launched a petition in June against the possible extradition and called O'Dwyer "the human face of the battle between the content industry and the interests of the general public."

The court heard O'Dwyer, from Sheffield in northern England, is set to go to the United States within two weeks and pledge not to break copyright law again, the Press Association said.

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

In October, May blocked the extradition of computer hacker Gary McKinnon on charges of damaging U.S. military systems in a case campaigners said highlighted the unbalanced nature of Britain's extradition treaty with the United States.

(Reporting By Dasha Afanasieva; editing by Jason Webb)

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