It’s a blow for us on the right side of the “copyright war” – FACT (Federation Against Copyright Theft) have won a case against Anton Vickerman, the owner of Surfthechannel.com, and he has been imprisoned for 4 years! This was the result of a private prosecution launched by FACT after the Crown Prosecution Service declined to prosecute the case. And this is after sites like TVLinks and Newzbin have succeeded in winning cases brought against them under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act (CDPA), and after the CPS declined to prosecute Richard O’Dwyer who ran tvshack.net, another links site.
A FACT spokesperson
These links sites don’t host content themselves – instead they tell users where they may be able to find content (TV shows, movies etc). Usually these sites also operate on a policy where they will take down a link if the copyright owner tells them of possible violation.
FACT don’t like links sites because they allegedly lost between £52m and £198m of lost revenues, based on the provision of access to the top 50 films over the indictment period, tallied with the idea that 55% of those who went to the site would have bought the film in some way instead. Which is a complete load of crap, as many other users of links sites will tell you. I often watch movies or TV shows through links sites that I would never pay to watch. And if I do see something I like, I will usually buy it on a DVD as legitimate DVDs are usually far superior in quality than the online “pirated” (Grrr I hate that term) versions.
If you want to know how the case of Surfthechannel.com turned out this way when so many other sites have prevailed, look here. Otherwise, just take in the fact: a links site owner has been sent to prison for four years! Something needs to be done about FACT (a disgusting monster of an organization funded by the TV and film industries. What legal action can we take? I guess we could send emails to our MPs and other democratically elected representatives… or wecould join the Pirate Party and stand for election under their banner. Otherwise… well, don’t go breaking any laws, m’kay?