UK Internet Pirate Goes to Jail for Long Time

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McMullen:

Sober Thal:
Damn right, send em to jail.

When will you people learn that you shouldn't make money from IP theft? Probably never.

1) Reread the second paragraph.

2) I think there's a bigger need to lock you up than him;

1) Why would I care what a piracy sympathizer (that has nothing to do with the case) has to say?

2) *see answer #1

Agow95:

Loop Stricken:
And yet, Google do the same thing, and no doubt profit far more from advertising whilst doing so.

Isn't Google a American company though? FACT is based in Britain, and it's most likely only capable of arresting sites based in the UK, like the one that got this British guy arrested, FACT trying to arrest the head of Google would be like the FBI launching a full-scale assault on a fat man in New Zealand.

". For those that are unaware FACT Ltd is the UK regional office of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA)". So really Google and Youtube should totally be liable, but they aren't because money talks.

Quote from what it now says on SurftheChannel.

Would anyone happen to know if/how to contact the guy? Just for support he needs, really.

alexbuckenham:
Can't help the feeling we're falling into a corporate run dystopian era

I felt it ever since the Tories got a majority in the commons on election night.

And here we are now. In a country where the people are ants, willing to be stepped on because of peer preasure and right wing politics. Another reason why I am considering moving to Canada when I can afford it.

CAPTCHA: Heartache.

How my heartaches at the fact our government is being twisted by the big businesses.

Most people on the Escapist use avatars which infringe copyright
The Escapist gets ad revenue
Ergo the Escapist should go jail?

Fuck no.

Issue's of IP and making money from website advertising aside. The real problem is all of this is a dramatically out-dated media struggling to maintain control.

In addition, our British justice system is far too keen on jailing people when it's not at all appropriate. We really need much higher use of things like long-lasting community service orders. This keeps people in the real world, potentially earning and contributing to society, while doing something practical to pay back their misdeed(s).
We have a shocking habit of releasing unprovoked violent murderers sometimes years early for good behaviour in jail, while non-life threatening tax and fraud related criminals get put away for years for no sensible reason.

Why is he going to jail when it is other people who are breaking the law?
Following this court case, if anyone who has a blog with ads or a website ever talks about any sites where there is legal and illegal content you will get fined and jailed.

That's awful. He just provided links that could be found on regular search engines. Besides, if his crime was making money off of it, why not just make him pay money? I don't think that he's a danger to society.

The Plunk:
Most people on the Escapist use avatars which infringe copyright
The Escapist gets ad revenue
Ergo the Escapist should go jail?

Fuck no.

The Escapist staff would remove any avatar if asked by the IP owner. Most of these sites that get in legal trouble refuse to remove stuff when requested by the IP owner/lawyers.

Okay, I'm staunchly anti-pirate. I think they're whiny dicks at best, and loathsome parasites at worst. Piracy *is* theft by any reasonable definition -- just like stealing a car is theft even after you return the car.

However, and this is a big however, *this guy wasn't a pirate*. Sure, he was profiting from those who were committing piracy, but that's like arresting a newspaper publisher for printing escort advertisements. It's arbitrary in application, useless in effect, and that makes it dangerous.

If anything, the authorities should have been using this guy's site as a great way to point them to people who actually *are* pirates, and arrest them.

You see though, the thing is it wasn't infringement. He wasn't actually copying the material.

Sober Thal:

McMullen:

Sober Thal:
Damn right, send em to jail.

When will you people learn that you shouldn't make money from IP theft? Probably never.

1) Reread the second paragraph.

2) I think there's a bigger need to lock you up than him;

1) Why would I care what a piracy sympathizer (that has nothing to do with the case) has to say?

I have had my work pirated. Do not call me a pirate sympathizer. Don't assume people who you don't know are criminals simply because they have different opinions. It's a big enough dick move that I considered reporting your post, but I made one as well by saying I'd prefer to see you locked up.

I once googled my own work and the first result was on a torrent site. I can assure you I am not a pirate sympathizer. But I am also not an advocate of destroying people's lives simply for being in the gray area between fair use and piracy. This guy was making a lot of money off advertising, sure. However, there was a grad student who made more than a million dollars once by posting a 1000x1000 pixel web page and selling ad space to companies at $1 a pixel, auctioning off the last thousand. He made money off advertising by simply posting a web page, and foolish marketing people bought it, and financed his education. It was all perfectly legal.

I don't see much difference between what the guy in this article did and the grad student. They had ideas for sites that would make lots of ad money for very little work. One was based on traffic passing through on the way to youtube videos, the other made money off the stupidity of marketers. If the latter example was legal, what's so bad about the former that it requires 1/7th of a person's life expectancy instead of a simple fine?

My, what wonderfully broad strokes we're tarring people with these days. "You tell people of the existence of illegal filesharing? May the forces of good smash you with hammers!"

Kwil:
If anything, the authorities should have been using this guy's site as a great way to point them to people who actually *are* pirates, and arrest them.

Perfectly put. But y'know, we shoot messengers these days. They get in the way of our righteousness.

McMullen:

Sober Thal:

McMullen:

1) Reread the second paragraph.

2) I think there's a bigger need to lock you up than him;

1) Why would I care what a piracy sympathizer (that has nothing to do with the case) has to say?

I have had my work pirated. Do not call me a pirate sympathizer. Don't assume people who you don't know are criminals simply because they have different opinions. It's a big enough dick move that I considered reporting your post, but I made one as well by saying I'd prefer to see you locked up.

I once googled my own work and the first result was on a torrent site. I can assure you I am not a pirate sympathizer. But I am also not an advocate of destroying people's lives simply for being in the gray area between fair use and piracy. This guy was making a lot of money off advertising, sure. However, there was a grad student who made more than a million dollars once by posting a 1000x1000 pixel web page and selling ad space to companies at $1 a pixel, auctioning off the last thousand. He made money off advertising by simply posting a web page, and foolish marketing people bought it, and financed his education. It was all perfectly legal.

I don't see much difference between what the guy in this article did and the grad student. They had ideas for sites that would make lots of ad money for very little work. One was based on traffic passing through on the way to youtube videos, the other made money off the stupidity of marketers. If the latter example was legal, what's so bad about the former that it requires 1/7th of a person's life expectancy instead of a simple fine?

I was gunna reply (the first time) with more discussion value, but you had to ad that I should be in jail, and now you wanna report me? For what? Thinking you sympathize with ip pirates? *Sympathy doesn't equal criminal btw

Also:

One was convicted of two counts of conspiracy to defraud, they other legally sold ad space.

You can't see that difference? Don't answer that. You have already made yourself clear. Also, up to 4 years in prison isn't 1/7 of your life.

The guy was making money out of theft even if he wasn't stealing, but 4 years is excessive. A big fine and maybe a month or two in jail would have sent the same message without appearing so draconian that he turns into yet another pirates martyr.

Sober Thal:

You can't see that difference? Don't answer that. You have already made yourself clear. Also, up to 4 years in prison isn't 1/7 of your life.

Maybe a sandman got to him.

-|-:
The guy was making money out of theft even if he wasn't stealing, but 4 years is excessive. A big fine and maybe a month or two in jail would have sent the same message without appearing so draconian that he turns into yet another pirates martyr.

Not sure how the system works over there, but I foresee parole rather quick for the dude.

As for 'Pirate Martyr'... Seems that way. (making $50,000 a fucking month. Boo Hoo)

EDIT: Judge Evans branded the defendant the most arrogant he had encountered in his career, said Vickerman knew full well what he was doing was unlawful, despite his protestations of innocence.

He sought legal advice from top lawyers which consistently warned that his site was operating contrary to the law, the judge said.

It was also seven week trial.

Just sayin.

Oh yeah, and his wife was originally charged too, but the judge believed, had he told his wife about what he was doing, she would have done her best to stop him.

Also, google is stepping up a bit: http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/aug/10/google-algorithm-hollywood-lobbyists-copyright

Loop Stricken:
And yet, Google do the same thing, and no doubt profit far more from advertising whilst doing so.

Good point.

You did noticed that the reseach engine warns you that "[...]results have been blocked due to the Millenium Act."

Still. Excellent point. Google isn't spotless.

McMullen:

Sober Thal:
Damn right, send em to jail.

When will you people learn that you shouldn't make money from IP theft? Probably never.

Reread the second paragraph. He got ten years for posting links to youtube videos, not to torrent sites. They could send the administrators of Tvtropes and this site to prison for the same thing.

Piracy is wrong, but hamhanded prosecution of IP laws is also wrong, and that's what's happening here.

Do you really think it's fair to send a person to jail for 10 years for posting links to youtube videos? I think there's a bigger need to lock you up than him; he's not advocating destruction of people's lives over trivial things, you are.

BBC news told me:
- That 10 years was the maximum gaol time for his crimes, but instead he was chucked in for 4 years.
- That he linked to sites such as Megaupload and China's Toudu, not just Youtube.
- STN was at one point the UK's most popular site for finding full TV and Movie uploads.
- He had all it's revenue go to his private limited company, which held bank accounts in Latvia (despite him and his business being British). Why would he do that?
- It's difficult to be prosecuted under this law as it's too vague, and previous attempts to prosecute sites and their owners, such as "Oink" and "TV-Links.co.uk", have failed in the past. He must have had some damning evidence against him if this prosecution succeeded.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-19253359

These people create sites to index pirated material, because they're smart enough to know there's a market for leading traffic to illegal material, but not smart enough to dodge the law. Law enforcement's smart enough to catch them, but not smart enough to change the law to fill in loopholes and make prosecution more easier.

pyrokin:

Loop Stricken:
And yet, Google do the same thing, and no doubt profit far more from advertising whilst doing so.

Yes, but Google is much too powerful. Lobbying groups and businesses like this pick on the little guys that can't afford the top lawyers and favors in court.

As someone who actually saw Surfthechannel before it went down, it was anything but a "little guy".

The site was indexing thousands of links to television shows and movies, often the day it's released. That's bad enough, but the fact that he was making a killing in ad revenue off copyright material is likely what set this off. It wasn't Youtube videos - he was linking to other video sharing sites that were skirting legality by allowing users to post copyrighted material and keep them up for weeks or months at a time.

It was one of the biggest media indexing sites besides Megaupload (which also got shut down) and TVLinks (which is still operational). I don't buy this guy's sob story about how he wasn't doing anything wrong. He was profiting off copyrighted works to a massive degree - as far as I'm concerned, justice was served.

Legion:
Good old British justice system.

Guy provides links to movies and such, gets four years in jail, while not actually hosting any illegal content themselves.

Yet adults who have sex with under 13's get told to go on a register, but otherwise get little more than a slap on the wrist.

As for the above comment, there are seriously countless similar stories of other serious crimes getting little to no punishment, mainly (although they won't admit it) due to the overcrowded prisons. Normally people who commit assault, theft or other such crimes that actually directly affect people.

It just shows that money is more important than people when it comes to the eyes of the law.

If you on the registry, the authorities will be notified of your prescene where ever you go. No place will hire you and you are expressedly banned from being near hospitals/schools.

And the only thing that people will take away from this?

Ģ35.000 a month! I need to get some of that action!

Baldr:

The Plunk:
Most people on the Escapist use avatars which infringe copyright
The Escapist gets ad revenue
Ergo the Escapist should go jail?

Fuck no.

The Escapist staff would remove any avatar if asked by the IP owner. Most of these sites that get in legal trouble refuse to remove stuff when requested by the IP owner/lawyers.

You have no way of knowing whether or not this man would have removed any links if asked to by the rightful IP owners.

The guy was putting adverts on his site that he knows no savvy browser isn't going to see anyway, because it's pretty much the only way to make money off of a website. I'm assuming he didn't have a particularly large site, so the options of what he advertised were probably pretty limited. I'd imagine porn sites and torrent searchers would be the only ones willing to pay for a small site to advertise for them. He said legal streaming and downloading places too, but I don't really know who he means by them. Apple or BBC maybe, although that seems highly unlikely?

The point is this is the little guy gets fucked over because the people enforcing the laws are impotent. They can't go after the people are the route cause of the problem so they go after whatever they can to tick boxes and justify their salaries.

It's a pretty good analogue for the war on drugs. Guy sells a bit of weed to his mate. Criminal record and no chance of a decent future. Guy runs an organised crime syndicate halfway across the word. Has a pool big enough to race Yachts in and a villa the size of Disney Land.

Bvenged:

McMullen:

Sober Thal:
Damn right, send em to jail.

When will you people learn that you shouldn't make money from IP theft? Probably never.

Reread the second paragraph. He got ten years for posting links to youtube videos, not to torrent sites. They could send the administrators of Tvtropes and this site to prison for the same thing.

Piracy is wrong, but hamhanded prosecution of IP laws is also wrong, and that's what's happening here.

Do you really think it's fair to send a person to jail for 10 years for posting links to youtube videos? I think there's a bigger need to lock you up than him; he's not advocating destruction of people's lives over trivial things, you are.

BBC news told me:
- That 10 years was the maximum gaol time for his crimes, but instead he was chucked in for 4 years.
- That he linked to sites such as Megaupload and China's Toudu, not just Youtube.
- STN was at one point the UK's most popular site for finding full TV and Movie uploads.
- He had all it's revenue go to his private limited company, which held bank accounts in Latvia (despite him and his business being British). Why would he do that?
- It's difficult to be prosecuted under this law as it's too vague, and previous attempts to prosecute sites and their owners, such as "Oink" and "TV-Links.co.uk", have failed in the past. He must have had some damning evidence against him if this prosecution succeeded.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-19253359

These people create sites to index pirated material, because they're smart enough to know there's a market for leading traffic to illegal material, but not smart enough to dodge the law. Law enforcement's smart enough to catch them, but not smart enough to change the law to fill in loopholes and make prosecution more easier.

Ah, that's different then.

gyrobot:

Legion:
Good old British justice system.

Guy provides links to movies and such, gets four years in jail, while not actually hosting any illegal content themselves.

Yet adults who have sex with under 13's get told to go on a register, but otherwise get little more than a slap on the wrist.

As for the above comment, there are seriously countless similar stories of other serious crimes getting little to no punishment, mainly (although they won't admit it) due to the overcrowded prisons. Normally people who commit assault, theft or other such crimes that actually directly affect people.

It just shows that money is more important than people when it comes to the eyes of the law.

If you on the registry, the authorities will be notified of your presence where ever you go. No place will hire you and you are expressly banned from being near hospitals/schools.

I am not suggesting that convicted paedophiles receive no punishment, I am saying that the contrast in punishment for the two crimes mentioned, is vastly out of proportion.

A person receiving payment for providing information on where to obtain free movies illegally is not more worthy of being locked up in prison than a person who raped a child. Imprisonment is not meant as a deterrent, it is meant to protect the public from people who pose a danger to society.

Yet people who commit financial crimes seem to receive much harsher punishments than those who commit crimes that directly hurt people.

I'd think you'd want to use the site to follow the links and shut down illegal websites, but whatever. Also, If the guy's wife left him then that's his problem, It's not like the law said 'raw, I'm taking your marriage!'

Sober Thal:

-|-:
The guy was making money out of theft even if he wasn't stealing, but 4 years is excessive. A big fine and maybe a month or two in jail would have sent the same message without appearing so draconian that he turns into yet another pirates martyr.

Not sure how the system works over there, but I foresee parole rather quick for the dude.

As for 'Pirate Martyr'... Seems that way. (making $50,000 a fucking month. Boo Hoo)

EDIT: Judge Evans branded the defendant the most arrogant he had encountered in his career, said Vickerman knew full well what he was doing was unlawful, despite his protestations of innocence.

He sought legal advice from top lawyers which consistently warned that his site was operating contrary to the law, the judge said.

It was also seven week trial.

Just sayin.

Oh yeah, and his wife was originally charged too, but the judge believed, had he told his wife about what he was doing, she would have done her best to stop him.

Also, google is stepping up a bit: http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/aug/10/google-algorithm-hollywood-lobbyists-copyright

Do you mind reading this http://surfthechannel.com/?
Just y'know, to get the other side of the story. Thanks.

putowtin:
And the only thing that people will take away from this?

Ģ35.000 a month! I need to get some of that action!

And they forget that he lost it in legal fees, and was unable to charge the private company that was prosecuting him for fraud in the appeals court. It seems a pretty clearcut case, they witheld a letter and lied in an appeals court. But because the guy didn't have enough money he couldn't call them out on it.

Some people, eh?

Abandon4093:

Baldr:

The Plunk:
Most people on the Escapist use avatars which infringe copyright
The Escapist gets ad revenue
Ergo the Escapist should go jail?

Fuck no.

The Escapist staff would remove any avatar if asked by the IP owner. Most of these sites that get in legal trouble refuse to remove stuff when requested by the IP owner/lawyers.

You have no way of knowing whether or not this man would have removed any links if asked to by the rightful IP owners.

The guy was putting adverts on his site that he knows no savvy browser isn't going to see anyway, because it's pretty much the only way to make money off of a website. I'm assuming he didn't have a particularly large site, so the options of what he advertised were probably pretty limited. I'd imagine porn sites and torrent searchers would be the only ones willing to pay for a small site to advertise for them. He said legal streaming and downloading places too, but I don't really know who he means by them. Apple or BBC maybe, although that seems highly unlikely?

The point is this is the little guy gets fucked over because the people enforcing the laws are impotent. They can't go after the people are the route cause of the problem so they go after whatever they can to tick boxes and justify their salaries.

It's a pretty good analogue for the war on drugs. Guy sells a bit of weed to his mate. Criminal record and no chance of a decent future. Guy runs an organised crime syndicate halfway across the word. Has a pool big enough to race Yachts in and a villa the size of Disney Land.

Actually it was a big website, it was well known and had several requests by media companies in court records to remove the links to pirated stuff, his company refused.

Baldr:

Abandon4093:

Baldr:

The Escapist staff would remove any avatar if asked by the IP owner. Most of these sites that get in legal trouble refuse to remove stuff when requested by the IP owner/lawyers.

You have no way of knowing whether or not this man would have removed any links if asked to by the rightful IP owners.

The guy was putting adverts on his site that he knows no savvy browser isn't going to see anyway, because it's pretty much the only way to make money off of a website. I'm assuming he didn't have a particularly large site, so the options of what he advertised were probably pretty limited. I'd imagine porn sites and torrent searchers would be the only ones willing to pay for a small site to advertise for them. He said legal streaming and downloading places too, but I don't really know who he means by them. Apple or BBC maybe, although that seems highly unlikely?

The point is this is the little guy gets fucked over because the people enforcing the laws are impotent. They can't go after the people are the route cause of the problem so they go after whatever they can to tick boxes and justify their salaries.

It's a pretty good analogue for the war on drugs. Guy sells a bit of weed to his mate. Criminal record and no chance of a decent future. Guy runs an organised crime syndicate halfway across the word. Has a pool big enough to race Yachts in and a villa the size of Disney Land.

Actually it was a big website, it was well known and had several requests by media companies in court records to remove the links to pirated stuff, his company refused.

Source?

That's not mentioned in the article or anything I'd read on it.

The justice system works. What better way to craft a modern society than to let the "intellectual property" squad bully everyone into submission

Ledan:

Sober Thal:

-|-:
The guy was making money out of theft even if he wasn't stealing, but 4 years is excessive. A big fine and maybe a month or two in jail would have sent the same message without appearing so draconian that he turns into yet another pirates martyr.

Not sure how the system works over there, but I foresee parole rather quick for the dude.

As for 'Pirate Martyr'... Seems that way. (making $50,000 a fucking month. Boo Hoo)

EDIT: Judge Evans branded the defendant the most arrogant he had encountered in his career, said Vickerman knew full well what he was doing was unlawful, despite his protestations of innocence.

He sought legal advice from top lawyers which consistently warned that his site was operating contrary to the law, the judge said.

It was also seven week trial.

Just sayin.

Oh yeah, and his wife was originally charged too, but the judge believed, had he told his wife about what he was doing, she would have done her best to stop him.

Also, google is stepping up a bit: http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/aug/10/google-algorithm-hollywood-lobbyists-copyright

Do you mind reading this http://surfthechannel.com/?
Just y'know, to get the other side of the story. Thanks.

After skimming the 21 page blog of a guy going to prison, I take away from this that other pirates turned him in.

And??

Both sides had weeks in court. Tin Foil hats aside, you wanna tell me what I should glean from his 'final day of freedom' blog?

He's trying to cry about 'server locations' as his defense. Trying to dodge his fault by a technicality.

"if I have got the law wrong then donīt worry ladies and gentlemen of the jury, because a higher court than me will put that right". - da juj

EDIT: After reading more, I wouldn't be surprised if he got more time for slandering a judge.

Sober Thal:

Ledan:

Sober Thal:
Not sure how the system works over there, but I foresee parole rather quick for the dude.

As for 'Pirate Martyr'... Seems that way. (making $50,000 a fucking month. Boo Hoo)

EDIT: Judge Evans branded the defendant the most arrogant he had encountered in his career, said Vickerman knew full well what he was doing was unlawful, despite his protestations of innocence.

He sought legal advice from top lawyers which consistently warned that his site was operating contrary to the law, the judge said.

It was also seven week trial.

Just sayin.

Oh yeah, and his wife was originally charged too, but the judge believed, had he told his wife about what he was doing, she would have done her best to stop him.

Also, google is stepping up a bit: http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/aug/10/google-algorithm-hollywood-lobbyists-copyright

Do you mind reading this http://surfthechannel.com/?
Just y'know, to get the other side of the story. Thanks.

After skimming the 21 page blog of a guy going to prison, I take away from this that other pirates turned him in.

And??

Both sides had weeks in court. Tin Foil hats aside, you wanna tell me what I should glean from his 'final day of freedom' blog?

He's trying to cry about 'server locations' as his defense. Trying to dodge his fault by a technicality.

"if I have got the law wrong then donīt worry ladies and gentlemen of the jury, because a higher court than me will put that right". - da juj

Well if you actually read it you'll find that he thought the court case was unfair. The judge was not impartial. FACT Ltd committed fraud in an appeals court, but due to a lack of funds he was unable to call them on it.
How was he at fault? He had a website that was a search engine. You put in "The Avengers" and there was a link to another site, where someone else had uploaded that content. Like Google. You put in "DJ Earworm- Summer 2010" and you get a link to several perfectly legal torrents.

The UK courts had previously ruled that the location of the servers does matter. I'm guessing from your other posts that you have already decided that he is a heinous criminal that deserves what he gets, and anything presented otherwise you would probably call lies. Read through it and you find that FACT Ltd openly "lost" important documents, admitted to bribing a witness, and used several dirty tricks.

Yup, I really hope that a higher court looks into this. An open and impartial one.

Seriously though, this guy's life was ruined because he made a search engine. How in the world is that fair?

This is enraging. Yes, some people have said that he was profiting from piracy, but I disagree fully with this being a punishable method.

See, the reason profits from piracy is bad is because it takes a customer away from EVER buying a product. They have a "close enough" copy of the original work, and the artist never gets to see a dime of that transaction. Even if the copy is shit, the customer isn't going to feel the need to buy it again unless they REALLY want it. Getting someone to buy something once is hard enough, getting them to buy it twice is very rare.

In this case, the guy wasn't taking money from IP holders. He was just being more or less gifted money by people that wanted to get their own names out too. Any potential customers that went through him could still see value in buying a product they saw through his service. He didn't take their money, and if they wanted to spend it, they still had it.

Sober Thal:

McMullen:

Sober Thal:
Damn right, send em to jail.

When will you people learn that you shouldn't make money from IP theft? Probably never.

1) Reread the second paragraph.

2) I think there's a bigger need to lock you up than him;

1) Why would I care what a piracy sympathizer (that has nothing to do with the case) has to say?

2) *see answer #1

I hate the way people fucking think that if you find there are punishments for a crime that are too harsh than you're a sympathizer. No, I'm not a fucking robbery sympathizer because I think the death penalty is too harsh for stealing a twix. This is everything that is wrong with peoples' attitudes towards criminal justice. What he did was possibly a financial crime, one with not that much impact on anyone he should be fined. Jail time should not even be on the table.

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