Feeds

SurfTheChannel site operator found guilty of conspiracy to defraud

First major UK decision against a links site

SANS - Survey on application security programs

A landmark legal case has ended with the operator of streaming links website SurfTheChannel.com being found guilty.

The case against the Gateshead couple who operated the venture was brought by the Federation against Copyright Theft (FACT) and the Motion Picture Ass. of America, the MPAA.

Anton Vickerman, 41, was found guilty at Newcastle Crown Court of conspiracy to defraud, court officials confirmed to the Register today. SurfTheChannel.com provided links to third-party sites where infringing content was hosted rather than hosting the content itself. Vickerman's wife Karen Vickerman was found not guilty on the same charges.

The conviction comes after British authorities declined to press criminal charges against Vickerman, and after a similar action against UK bittorrent tracker OiNK – also under conspiracy-to-defraud charges – failed in 2010. But the Vickerman case turned when a sysop who had been hired by SurfTheChannel agreed to co-operate with the prosecution. A civil action then followed.

While OiNK was a closed, invitation-only service, SurfTheChannel was hugely popular – one of the top 500 websites globally – and according to prosecutors, yielded at least £35,000 a month in revenue.

The case is significant for several reasons. Linking sites have previously won by arguing a technicality: that because they didn't host the infringing material, they were innocent. TV-Links successfully used this 'conduit' defence in 2010. However, last year's Newsbinz verdict changed the legal landscape. The Vickerman prosecution applies it to a UK site.

Sentencing will follow on 30 July. ®

Comments on this article have been disabled for legal reasons.

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
Edward Snowden on his Putin TV appearance: 'Why all the criticism?'
Denies Q&A cameo was meant to slam US, big-up Russia
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties
Companies want payout on recordings made before 1972
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Judge halts spread of zombie Nortel patents to Texas in Google trial
Epic Rockstar patent war to be waged in California
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.