TV-Links man was arrested under trademark laws
Curiouser and curiouser
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. ®
Hooray for the Stazi!
Well done! Now the guy responsible for TV Links has been arrested for "deep linking", maybe they can show how brave they are by doing the same to the owners of Google for hosting films and music videos! Or don't they dare tackle multi-billionares and only go after little fish?
And after that, they really need to do someting about these really cheeky people who put these REALLY annoying adverts about film piracy at the start of DVDs (which override DVD player menu options)with a soundtrack that sounds awfully similar to the character selection screen music in Tekken 3...they go by the name of FACT or something... :)
I did read the other week, of which I am still looking to find again, but YouTube (and I think Google - as they're basically the same thing now) are protected by some law or something, to stop them getting sued anymore. The reason being because they host "too much content for humans to filter through". To be honest though, how hard can it be to just type in "Leona Lewis" and remove all that content??
Welcome to UK law
This is ridiculous,. Why are they not arresting google? This is typical of UK law now. The police are so impotent they arrest the "little guy" and leave the big businesses -who actually host the stuff- alone. Can anyone say cash for honours?
This is the equivalent of arresting you for being approached by the local Chinese "you wan' DVD" guy..
Perhaps they are going to "crack down" on the import of drugs by arresting the addicts? "Oh we WOULD arrest the suppliers but they have a lot of money and quite frankly the paper work would be too much."
Typical of UK law. Welcome to the Soviet socialist republik of Britain.