Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Piracy The Internet United Kingdom Your Rights Online

'Pirate' Website Owner Sentenced To 4 Years In Prison 212

Posted by Soulskill
from the liable-for-your-hypertext dept.
Grumbleduke writes "Anton Vickerman, who owned SurfTheChannel.com, has been sentenced to 4 years in prison following his conviction last month for 'conspiracy to defraud.' This is the first successful prosecution of an individual in the UK for running a website merely linking to allegedly infringing content (several earlier cases collapsed or resulted in acquittals). Vickerman was prosecuted for the controversial offense of 'conspiracy to defraud' for 'facilitating copyright infringement,' rather than for copyright infringement itself, and it is worth noting that the relevant copyright offense carries a maximum prison sentence of only two years — half of what was given. FACT, the Hollywood-backed enforcement group who were heavily involved in the prosecution noted that the conviction 'should send a very strong message to those running similar sites that they can be found, arrested and end up in prison,' but it remains to be seen whether this will have any effect on pirate sites, or encourage development of the largely hopeless legal market for online film."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

'Pirate' Website Owner Sentenced To 4 Years In Prison

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 14, 2012 @03:09PM (#40988835)

    A snausages just for you, boy!! Who's a good U.S. lapdog? Yes, *you* are!!

  • Merely linking? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Havenwar (867124) on Tuesday August 14, 2012 @03:16PM (#40988945)

    While I'm a rather happy pirate and pirate supporter, I don't think you can quite count it as "merely linking" if you actively source pirated material to link to. The flimsy excuse the pirate bay has for instance is that it's "just an indexing site" and can just as happily be used for legal material... when you are going out and looking for pirated stuff to link to, "merely" leaves the table.

    Also I might just be tired, but the summary makes it seem like he got four years out of a maximum of two possible - that's not the case. He got 4 years out of a maximum of TEN possible according to the articles I've seen about it.

    And now I feel all dirty for having to take the wrong side in this argument. I wish people would understand that if we stopped using hyperbole and chest thumping tactics we'd win on default in the eyes of the public. With articles like this, misrepresenting facts, twisting words, transparent agendas... That's as low and useless as the *AA tactics we oppose.

    I need a shower, proceed with the discussion without me.

  • by cpu6502 (1960974) on Tuesday August 14, 2012 @03:34PM (#40989197)

    States are now puppets of the corporations. This is something I can't seem to make anarchist-capitalists understand. They don't comprehend that money == power. With a government the corporations may not exist, but the large companies and rich owners would still be in charge and writing the laws that make us all victims to their whims.

    ALSO: How can a judge enact a punishment that is double that proscribed by law? This looks like a stupid decision just waiting to be overturned by an appeals court.

  • by wild_quinine (998562) on Tuesday August 14, 2012 @03:44PM (#40989375) Homepage

    So when can we expect "conspiracy to defraud" cases to be initiated against, e.g., the suits in charge of RBS leading up to the 2008 financial crisis?

    No. Clearly not. Those people are important

    Actually though, the conspiracy to defraud bit is important. He can't be charged with Copyright Infringement, because he didn't do it. He can't be charged with contributory copyright infringement, because that's not even a crime. So instead he's been done on 'conspiracy to defraud', a law which is considered wobbly at the best of times.

    But it gets worse. The sentence handed down is double the maximum possible sentence for copyright infringement.

    We've done him worse than he would have been done for the crime he didn't even commit.

  • by xaxa (988988) on Tuesday August 14, 2012 @03:50PM (#40989447)

    Ya The guy deserves years in a federal pound you in the ass prison.

    Please not that on this side of the Atlantic, anal rape is not seen as an appropriate punishment.

  • by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Tuesday August 14, 2012 @03:58PM (#40989587) Homepage Journal

    He wasn't tried for a civil offense. You must be out of the loop since the TRIPS agreement maintained by WIPO introduced crimInal liability for copyright offenses years ago.

    Not at all, I just flat-out will not accept the re-assignment of a civil infraction into a criminal one, just because some corporate assholes paid off a couple politicians.

    Society should not allow people to be jailed and have their livelihoods stolen over goddamn entertainment media. It's sick, and I for one refuse to so much as acknowledge the idea.

  • by JaredOfEuropa (526365) on Tuesday August 14, 2012 @04:15PM (#40989817) Journal
    Corporations undeniably have considerable power and influence, but that's a far cry from being the state's puppet masters. The problem is: on difficult issues like IP, which most voters are soft on, politicians are open to be swayed either way. By their advisers, who are most likely lobbyists for corporations. That is the big advantage they have over the general populace: not control over politicians; in this case merely having their ear is enough. The politicians do not understand the issue and are happy to be "properly" informed, and most voters do not give a damn.

    In the USA, the situation is slightly worse perhaps: you guys are a nation of lawyers, or at least it is them who are in control. With the president reiterating that IP is the key to the future of American economics, and lawyers having a vested interest in endless IP-related litigation, you can forget about patent or copyright laws ever being reformed. That is, unless politicians and lawmakers with a conscience, and with a decent understanding of the issue, take office. Fat chance of that.

    In the Netherlands, national politics is utterly boned. The largest parties are either socialists who stick to their ideology but unfortunately have the wrong one, and the liberals (= moderate right wing) who have a good ideology but seem to have forgotten it completely. I think my vote might go to the Pirate Party this time.
  • by Afecks (899057) on Tuesday August 14, 2012 @04:22PM (#40989897)

    With a government the corporations may not exist, but the large companies and rich owners would still be in charge and writing the laws that make us all victims to their whims.

    You clearly don't understand anarcho-capitalism. There would be only one law: Keep your hands off other people and their property without their permission.

    Obviously, a definition of what counts as "people", "property" and "permission" need to go along with that single law but it's fairly intuitive. Anything capable of asserting itself as a person is one. You can claim unowned property by marking it as yours and taking an interest in it. No you can't claim the moon when you've never been there. No you can't claim an entire continent by planting a flag on a beach. Permission requires non-fraudulent consent. Knowing all that, how on earth do you get the idea that following these ideas can end up with the "rich" stuffing poor people into meat grinders for their amusement?

    The only way anyone could get rich is by serving wants of the masses with lower priced higher quality goods and services than the competition. In a free market, if we all want Nike shoes and McDonald's hamburgers, Adidas and Wendy's are going broke and there's nothing they can do about it. The "poor" decide who becomes "rich". Consumers have the ultimate power, not producers. With services like Urbanspoon, Yelp, etc, you can't even claim much of an asymmetry of information. If your product sucks, a few people might experience it firsthand but word will spread quickly and you'll be out of business in no time. With government intervention, Wendy's could claim that McDonald's has a monopoly and get subsidized, etc, etc. Even though everyone wants McDonald's, Wendy's can play political favors to waste time and money giving us what we don't want.

    If you want to then argue that popular taste sucks, you're just being a snob. We each are the judge of what we like best. If you think that because your opinion is a minority that you'll be left out in the cold, you're wrong again. It's the government that necessarily reduces variety with regulations and market intervention. In a free market, if you want something bad enough and willing to pay for it, you'll get it, even if it's raw milk or fish pedicures.

    For more insight, I recommend that you read "The Machinery of Freedom" by David Friedman.

  • by Hatta (162192) on Tuesday August 14, 2012 @04:39PM (#40990047) Journal

    You clearly don't understand anarcho-capitalism. There would be only one law: Keep your hands off other people and their property without their permission.

    When the entire city, including the roadways, police, education system is owned by a private corporation, how does one live a lawful life without selling oneself to the corporation?

    Knowing all that, how on earth do you get the idea that following these ideas can end up with the "rich" stuffing poor people into meat grinders for their amusement?

    The gilded age. There but for government regulations won by a strong labor movement go we.

    The only way anyone could get rich is by serving wants of the masses with lower priced higher quality goods and services than the competition.

    Yes, and because of economies of scale the rich can provide higher quality goods and services than the poor can. The consequence of this is wealth concentrating in fewer and fewer hands. Money makes money faster than labor does. Without specific provisions(like say, government regulation) to stop this, inequality will rule until the poor rise up and slaughter everyone. Is that what you want?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 14, 2012 @04:58PM (#40990263)

    Then how about they charge him with something concrete?

    Maybe he found a loophole in the law just like the banks, corps and traders have been doing for decades. If he was making REAL money, he wouldn't be found guilty. Just ask the real neuveau riche

"Why can't we ever attempt to solve a problem in this country without having a 'War' on it?" -- Rich Thomson, talk.politics.misc

Working...