Feeds

TV-Links man was arrested under trademark laws

Curiouser and curiouser

The Power of One Brief: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

Gloucestershire police have confirmed that a 26-year-old Cheltenham man at the centre of an investigation into the website TV-Links was arrested under section 92 of the Trade Mark Act, on suspicion of supplying property with a registered trademark, without permission.

The man was taken into custody on Thursday last week after an investigation by the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) and the local trading standards office. Initial reports from FACT said he had been arrested for "offences relating to the facilitation of copyright infringement on the Internet".

TV-links, by all accounts, was (it is no more) a place where users could post links to content from TV shows, movies and so on, so that other web users could view them. The site didn't host the material directly, but did, according to reports, embed some video clips.

The man has not been charged with any offence, and has been released pending further investigation.

According to legal experts, the revelation that the 26 year-old was arrested under trademark law adds further uncertainty to an already cutting edge legal situation.

"I've never heard of using trademarks law for anything like this,"said Struan Robertson, legal eagle at Pinsent Masons, and editor of Out-Law.com.

"There are criminal provisions in the Trade Marks Act, but they are intended to catch the sale of counterfeit goods, not the supply of a service. I'd be surprised if the provision of links was found to be a criminal offence under the Trade Marks Act."

Indeed, section 92 is very clear that:

"A person does not commit an offence under this section unless- (a) the goods are goods in respect of which the trade mark is registered, or (b) the trade mark has a reputation in the United Kingdom and the use of the sign takes or would take unfair advantage of, or is or would be detrimental to, the distinctive character or the repute of the trade mark."

There has been no suggestion (so far) that TV-Links was involved in anything other than providing access, via web links, to copyrighted material.

Robertson speculated that they'd have a better chance of bringing a case for copyright offenses, but even that would be on new legal ground.

"They'd have to show that he was distributing or communicating copyrighted works. And that is a legal argument to be had between the prosecution and defence. It sounds like they are trying to crow-bar activity that looks wrong into laws that aren't really designed to deal with it," he told us.

We contacted the Federation Against Copyright Theft, but the organisation offered no further comment on what it describes as an ongoing investigation. ®

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

More from The Register

next story
Adam Afriyie MP: Smart meters are NOT so smart
Mega-costly gas 'n' 'leccy totting-up tech not worth it - Tory MP
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
'Blow it up': Plods pop round for chat with Commonwealth Games tweeter
You'd better not be talking about the council's housing plans
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
ONE EMAIL costs mining company $300 MEEELION
Environmental activist walks free after hoax sent share price over a cliff
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.