A man extradited to the United States for software piracy is due to be sentenced next month and is facing up to 10 years in jail.
Hew Griffiths, a Briton who had been living in Berkley Vale on the NSW Central Coast, was handed over to the US by former justice minister Chris Ellison in December last year.
Griffiths, 44, who had been living in Australia since the age of 10, led a group named Drink or Die, which cracked copy-protected software and media products, and distributed them for free via Drink or Die’s website.
Griffiths did not profit from his activities, but US companies claim his actions cost them an estimated US$50 ($60.7) million in legal sales.
His extradition has raised a few eyebrows, including those of NSW Chief Justice in Equity, Peter Young who expressed his concern in a recent article in the Australian Law Journal. While noting that international copyright violations were a great problem, Justice Young went on to say “a country must protect its nationals from being removed from their homeland to a foreign country merely because the commercial interests of that foreign country are claimed to have been affected by that person’s behaviour in Australia and the foreign country can exercise influence over Australia”.
Griffiths will be sentenced on 22 June.