Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
file sharing, forum, uk


Entertainment Industry Decides FileSoup Doesn't Have Enough Publicity; Has Owner Arrested

from the forums-are-bad,-m'kay? dept

A bunch of people have been submitting variations on the story that a guy who runs a site called FileSoup has been arrested. FileSoup apparently was a tracker site for a while, but for the past few years has actually just been a forum where people post links -- many of which, one assumes, were for unauthorized content. It's a little unclear what he was arrested for. At times they quizzed him about FileSoup (and didn't seem to fully understand the technology). But on the form they gave him, it said he was arrested for downloading movies (to which he wonders why that's not a civil offense). It'll be worth watching as more details come out, but it's a bit troubling when someone is arrested for running a forum, when the real concern is the actions of the people in the forum, rather than the forum host (admittedly, they may have evidence of direct infringement by him as well, but the questioning seemed to cover the operation of FileSoup itself).

Either way, you do have to wonder what good this does the entertainment industry or anti-piracy organization FACT (who many believe is closely involved in the investigation -- though that has not been confirmed). Frankly, I'd never heard of FileSoup, and having the name in headlines all over is likely to only give it that much more attention. The same thing has happened in the past multiple times, including with sites like The Pirate Bay, which most people had never heard of prior to it being raided by the government. So, as long as the site remains up, more people find out about it. If the site goes down, the users quickly scatter to alternative sites. What has the entertainment industry accomplished? Not much useful.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Big Al, Aug 6th, 2009 @ 3:24am

    What is more worrying...

    ...If you read the Register, it states that the police confiscated his computers and the HANDED THEM OVER TO 'FACT' for 'forensic analysis'. I'm willing to bet that they'll 'find' a hell of a lot of infringing content on the machines and probably some child pornography as well just to spice up the mix.
    I'm surprised that he hasn't filed theft charges, and any lawyer worth his salt should be able to have any 'evidence' dismissed since the machines were out of police hands and in the possession of a private company inimical to the defendant.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2009 @ 5:42am

    Re: What is more worrying...

    Indeed. This seems to have been handled in every wrong way possible. He better get a competent lawyer, he doesn't even need a stellar one. Already I can think of 3-4 arguments that can save his ass and possibly get him damages. If its argued eloquently enough...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. icon
    Cyanid Pontifex (profile), Aug 6th, 2009 @ 6:08am

    Re: What is more worrying...

    Well, that's good. Even a competent lawyer and a half-honest judge would bar that evidence from court. Hell, if anything is found on there, they might be able to get FACT on Tampering charges.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. icon
    Bubba Gump (profile), Aug 6th, 2009 @ 6:10am

    Now, you all know that's not going to happen

    FACT is NEVER going to get in trouble for any of this activity. This whole situation is just going to get worse over the years.

    The real question is, where do we all move when the US is so full of idiots that we can't even breathe? (Who is John Galt?)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. icon
    stat_insig (profile), Aug 6th, 2009 @ 6:24am

    Totally misleading title!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Curious Bystander, Aug 6th, 2009 @ 6:56am


    This all seems like Gestapo tactics to me. "Ve shall arrest you, and discover all da necessary evidence. If we can't find da evidence, ve shall create da evidence!" Gee, what is we all banned together and decided to boycott one of the blokbustr, not a spelling error-just wanted to avoid copyright infringement, summer movies! Hmmm, not a bad idea.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2009 @ 7:12am

    It is a bit worrying that you never heard of FileSoup. Says something about your age?

    The claimant, Scopelight Limited, ran a website ( with a video search engine with thousands of links to third-party website videos. The Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) represents the interests of the audiovisual industry.
    Investigations by FACT suggested the claimant company and its owners, Anton Benjamin Vickerman and Kelly-Anne Vickerman,a married couple from Gateshead, were hosting internet sites from which copyrighted material was being downloaded. Northumbria Police applied for a section 8 warrant under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) to search the claimants' premises, resulting in 31 items of property being seized, including the computer towers and servers. The force handed some items to FACT.
    By 12 December 2008, the Crown Prosecution Service had decided not to prosecute. The force notified the claimants of this, indicating that the property could be returned.All property subsequently came into FACT's possession. Following the CPS decision, FACT decided to bring a private criminal prosecution.
    On 22 January 2009, the claimants began proceedings for return of the property and damages for conversion. A day later, FACT alerted the force of its decision to bring a private prosecution. On 28 January, the claimant applied for an interim order for delivery of the property, which Mrs Justice Sharp granted. On 12 February, FACT began the private prosecution.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2009 @ 7:31am

    Re: Totally misleading title!

    not really, it is a dig at how the actions of the industry does nothing to stop the infringement, but only draws attention to those that they target

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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