Anton Vickerman (founder of surfthechannel.com) has become the first person in Britain to be jailed for running a site containing links to pirated material (namely illegally uploaded films and television programmes). In a private prosecution brought by the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT), Vickerman was tried under the criminal charge of conspiracy to defraud. It was shown that Vickerman had collaborated with other parties to put the pirated material online, thereby depriving film producers and TV companies of an estimated £98m in lost revenues.
This conviction represents a milestone in the ongoing ‘content wars’ between the websites who provide links to pirated material, and the owners of that content who naturally want to prevent illegal access to it. FACT’s victory may well have a deterrent effect, discouraging people from setting up websites that provide illegally uploaded content.