Horrifying: Surfthechannel Criminal Conviction Driven By Hollywood Money -- Not The Government

from the a-broken-system dept

We've been following the Surfthechannel/Scopelight case since early on, and there have always been serious questions about it. More than three years ago, we were wondering why a private, Hollywood-financed anti-piracy operation called FACT wasn't just able to take part in the raid of Anton Vickerman's house, but also got to take the computers that were seized. A private party should never be able to get the computers of those that they're accusing in a criminal case. Soon after Vickerman was declared guilty, we discussed some anonymous courtroom notes that suggested extremely serious oddities with how the case was conducted -- including (again) FACT more or less running the show, and having trouble keeping important data.

Following Vickerman's sentencing last week, even more info came out about the case that raises incredibly important questions about its validity. Tim Lee over at Ars Technica has gone through the issue in great detail, highlighting how FACT didn't just take part in the raid, but it financed the government agency that did the investigation and then financed and ran the criminal prosecution against Vickerman.

Lee explains that this is an oddity/antiquity of UK law, in which private parties are actually allowed to bring criminal charges against other private parties, rather than (as in the US) needing the government to decide to bring charges. In fact, in this case, government prosecutors expressly refused to bring charges noting that they didn't think there was a case -- information that was kept from Vickerman. From the Crown Prosecution Service:
I understand from [Northumbria Detective Constable] Watkin that there have been no other successful prosecutions that he is aware of where we could point to this type of website being classified as amounting to "making available... by electronic transmission," the legal standard needed to find Vickerman guilty of copyright infringement. At present it appears uncertain if in fact what the suspect has done does infringe this particular legislation. Certainly on the evidence thus far provided it is impossible for me to determine if this is the case and therefore I cannot advise any prosecution on the evidence presented.
The CPS found the whole thing bizarre:
His 'crime' is to make it easier for others to find what is already there. This begs the rather obvious question of why he is being pursued rather than those who actually breach the copyright by displaying the material.
And yet, FACT went through with the case, because of an oddity in UK law that lets a private party pursue a criminal charge if they're willing to finance it. And FACT was more than willing to finance nearly ever aspect of this case, apparently. It did the original "investigation" in which it apparently recorded a key meeting. The two sides dispute what was said in that meeting... but FACT can't seem to find the recording (of course). The report also explains how FACT funded the Bedfordshire Trading Standards Financial Investigations Unit (BTSFIU), officially a government agency, but one that was directly funded by FACT to be its own private police force, and which apparently took the job gleefully.

Of course, you would think that some of this info would get out before a judge, but the judge seemed equally unconcerned with the law, as focused as he was on Vickerman apparently being arrogant. Even more bizarre, the judge didn't seem at all concerned about precedents that went the other way. For example, the TV-Links case, which was quite similar, ended up with an acquittal, so you might think that any reference to it would be in Vickerman's favor. Not in this judge's mind:
TV-Links had already engaged in a similar operation but you believed you could do better. You pressed on knowing that TV Links had been taken down following the intervention of FACT on the basis that what it had been doing was unlawful
Yes, you read that right. Even though TV Links was found to be lawful, in this judge's mind, the fact that it had been taken down by FACT (the same group prosecuting this case), should have been evidence to Vickerman that STC was illegal. Think about that for a second. It's almost mind-blowingly ridiculous. The mere accusation that another site was illegal, even though that later turned out to not be true was enough evidence for this judge that STC's actions were illegal. How does a judge who thinks that way keep his job?

The judge also does not seem to understand the nature of the internet or links, or how user generated content works. He seems to think that before anyone can post a link to a website, the owner of that website should need to contact a copyright holder to find out if the posting of that link and the underlying content it points to are legal. Seriously:
When it was suggested in cross examination that it was obvious that the films that you were posting links to were to links to recent films and that you were helping people to link to copyright infringing films, you insisted that you couldn’t know if it was infringing copyright, that the studious might have granted right holder licences to the films of which you had no knowledge. That was certainly true and bound to be true if you didn’t bother to check with the copyright owners and check you most certainly didn’t.
The judge also takes a movie studio exec at face value, when she tells the court that "piracy" means fewer blockbuster movies -- despite the fact that approximately four times as many movies were made last year than were made 15 years ago. Actual facts don't appear to be this judge's strong suit. He also uses the fact that since the movie industry pays taxes, if it struggles, fewer taxes are paid. But, if that's a crime, then any industry that is declining suddenly can implicate any upstart competition for those same reasons.

The whole thing is both bizarre and scary.

One hopes that, given these rather horrifying details, conflicts of interest and inconsistencies, it will be possible to revisit much of this on appeal.


Reader Comments (rss)

 
Usually when Mike writes pieces attacking the UK legal/political/justice system I tend to find myself coming to its defence, either as an apologist, or to point out the subtleties that may have been missed.

In this case...

Nope, the only thing missing are some of the even worse details alleged by Vickerman (such as alleged attempt by FACT to commit a crime as part of their "seizure" of his website, the repeated lies, the FACT (hah!) that they claimed to various people (his ISP, his utility providers) that he was selling counterfeit DVDs as a way of tricking(?) into handing over private information including nearly getting his ISP to tap his connection for them, that they got their pet trading standards organisation to freeze all his assets illegally (it was quickly overturned, but not before massive financial damage was done), how they refused to hand over the crucial CPS letter and were only made to by the judge after telling him that it helped their case, how they agreed not to present all their numbers on the level of damage done by copyright infringement during the trial (when Vickerman's team were prepared to rip it apart), but instead handed it in after the trial as part of the sentencing process, when it couldn't be challenged...).

Of course, all of these could be lies spread by a convicted criminal desperately trying to justify his actions, but some parts will be in the public record (if only we had a profession paid to investigate and report to the public on possible miscarriages of justice and other happenings in the public interest - but apparently all press reporting of this trial (other than a few specialist places) just parroted a FACT press briefing (in some cases, verbatim)...).

The judge repeatedly called him out in his sentencing remarks for being arrogant and showing no remorse - traits I imagine also exhibited by people who genuinely believe they are innocent and can't believe the treatment they are receiving.

Sadly (or perhaps for the best), Vickerman's full statement has disappeared from his website (along with the supporting documents; they were probably libellous, in breach of confidentiality and infringing copyright anyway), but not before a few people grabbed copies. Not sure whether it was FACT, the court or his lawyers who removed it.

One good thing; the statement revealed he is filing (or has filed?) an appeal, on 24 different grounds. I think that will be worth getting popcorn for.
—Duke

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    Jay (profile), Aug 20th, 2012 @ 8:20am

    Now I see how America rejected the East India Company and mercantilism. The concept of justice is incredibly distorted when corporations are involved.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2012 @ 8:35am

    Finally Mike Masnick admits it:

    Enforcement of simple copyright law is horrifying to him.


    C'mon Mike, don't stop now, keep tilting at those windmills...

     

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      Jeff (profile), Aug 20th, 2012 @ 8:39am

      Re:

      if copyright law is simple then you *must* be absolutely brilliant then - your understanding of the law *must* be on another plane of existence to be able to understand such a *simple* law...

      strap your tinfoil back on fool...

       

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      Wally (profile), Aug 20th, 2012 @ 8:41am

      Re:

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2012 @ 9:46am

        Re: Re:

        Idiot. The poster you're responding to is not me. Believe it or not, more than one person can tell that Mike Masnick is not a good person. He is a liar and manipulator who thinks that piracy *is* OK. Clearly. Why else would he be horrified that a pirate got busted?

        Mike, if piracy is not OK, then why are you so upset that a pirate is going to jail for ripping off artists? Oh yeah, because you really think piracy is perfectly OK.

         

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          calicojones (profile), Aug 20th, 2012 @ 10:07am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Because it's possible to separate the two?

          That's the problem with shills. ANY argument against their goal, even the methods used to achieve that goal, means that you are "the enemy".

          Until you realize that no one is arguing "for" piracy but, instead, arguing "against" idiots making things worse for everyone just for their own personal gain, you'll never win.

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2012 @ 11:44am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Not even the court in this very case thought he was a copyright violator.

           

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          G Thompson (profile), Aug 20th, 2012 @ 7:04pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Idiot. The poster you're responding to is not me.

          If the shoe fits.....

           

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          Wally (profile), Aug 20th, 2012 @ 10:59pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          You have a lovely use of proxy networks, but you fail to resize that the writing language looks all the same. So you have a bunch of sock puppets running around for you to do your work.

           

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        Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2012 @ 12:04pm

        Re: Re:

         

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          Wally (profile), Aug 20th, 2012 @ 10:54pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Poor little you reacting so violently and stupidly over so little as his own misunderstanding. I smelled your troll breath a mile away and trust me, it stank worse than hard boiled rotten eggs.

           

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          Wally (profile), Aug 20th, 2012 @ 11:07pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Also, that link shows that:

          1. You're paranoid as bat shit crazy can get.
          2. You assume that because Mike likes Google, he was paid by them.
          3. You may or may not work for Oracle systems.
          4. You haven't made a clame about how that article is on any way connected to Mike Mansick himself and cannot back your claims up properly because you're only in grade school trying to be a big man.
          5. That by your logic, EVERYONE should have to pay for using Javasript to make a profit (I cite Minecraft as an example that you can for free)

          You're a sock puppet.

           

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      Ed C., Aug 20th, 2012 @ 8:50am

      Re:

      Except when the enforcement is outside what the law actually states. It's not about enforcing the law, as stated, it's about enforcing what the media cartels want the law to state. And yes, they keep trying to bring those two inline, but that doesn't stop them from trying before they get the laws they want anyway. They simply use the judgements that were outside of the current laws as precedent for changing the laws to make their past actions legal.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2012 @ 12:07pm

        Re: Re:

        @ Ed C., so you guys don't support any legislation that protects creators rights, you don't support any cooperative agreements between companies (like google's new infringing sites rank dropping policy) and you don't like it when there's actual enforcement of the law.

        So you are a freehadist maximalist... uhm, ok... not a lot of ground to find solutions there WITH you...

         

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      PaulT (profile), Aug 20th, 2012 @ 8:50am

      Re:

      It's amazing how little you understand the points written about in these articles. What's particularly pathetic is that you probably believe your own distorted fiction, even as everybody else can see the real opinions displayed in the article. You're not even lying about a link nobody will click on - you're lying directly beneath the original article!

       

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      silverscarcat (profile), Aug 20th, 2012 @ 8:52am

      Re:

      How copyright law is handled by courts and government should be horrifying to anyone.

      It's being used to stifle free speech, human rights and interferes with people's right to pursue happiness.

      You know, like how the Banks robbed several trillion dollars from both Americans and Europeans in 2008, none of them went to prison and got bailed out.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2012 @ 12:05pm

        Re: Re:

        @ silvercat - you seem to confuse free speech with free beer. if you're worried about free speech what are you doing for pussy riot?

         

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          PaulT (profile), Aug 20th, 2012 @ 12:15pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          ""@ silvercat - you seem to confuse free speech with free beer

          What do you base this on, other that the idiot assumption that anyone critical of copyright law must be involved in piracy?

          "if you're worried about free speech what are you doing for pussy riot?"

          So, nobody can be concerned about free speech in their own country if they're not also protesting Russian law?

           

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          silverscarcat (profile), Aug 20th, 2012 @ 1:03pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Freedom is the right of all sentient beings, AC.

           

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      The eejit (profile), Aug 20th, 2012 @ 8:54am

      Re:

      Wow, you are a moron.

      The only reason this went ahead was because a private entity was fully permitted to seize property they had no legal right to (CAVEAT: it is illegal in the UK unless with a full court order mandating the turnover of the "evidence" form the police to the private entity - which seemingly didn't happen here) and then fully finance the prosecution from an overseas company (also potentially illegal, depending on the circumstances).

      /dons tinfoil

      Perhaps this might be because the MPAA and its ilk really needed a win at any cost in order to extort monies from other people, such as Google and Spotify.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2012 @ 9:08am

        Re: Re:

        hey dumbass, it still went to trial and they LOST.

        You're as silly and willfully blind as this Paul T goofball.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2012 @ 9:25am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Someone sounds mad for being called out.

           

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          Rikuo (profile), Aug 20th, 2012 @ 10:21am

          Re: Re: Re:

          That's your response? Several people point out major problems with a case...and all you can say in support of your arguments is "It went to trial and they lost".

          Yes. They lost. In a case where the prosecution got away with everything short of murder. At the absolute least, the case should have been thrown out for corruption of evidence given that FACT were given the computers belonging to the people they were charging.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2012 @ 10:38am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Oh yes, of course, they did nothing wrong. It's the courts that got it all wrong. Copyright infringement is actually ok.

            Fuck off and die, you moron.

             

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              Rikuo (profile), Aug 20th, 2012 @ 10:53am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Yes, the courts did get it wrong. The guys accusing the other party of a crime are NOT supposed to handle the evidence. Ever.

              And why should I die? Go on, give us a reason. Otherwise, you are clearly just a monster. I hate copyright law, yes I admit it, but I don't call for the deaths of copyright law maximilists. I just want their poisonous influence to end and for copyright to be repealed.
              Is holding that belief deserving of death?

               

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                Ninja (profile), Aug 20th, 2012 @ 11:07am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Reasoning with those people is useless. They don't see an issue with human right abuses, lack of due process, corruption and abuse of the judicial system as long as copyright wins (even if there's no copyright issue). They don't care if students have their lives destroyed, moms are fined for millions, youngsters are crushed under the economical power of anti-piracy outfits, as long as copyright, right or wrong, prevails. They are sore excuses of human beings.

                 

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              Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2012 @ 11:46am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              You seemed to have mixed this up with a case about copyright infringement.

              You moron.

               

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              silverscarcat (profile), Aug 20th, 2012 @ 3:17pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "Copyright infringement is actually ok."

              Talk to some anime fans sometime.

              Ask them how many of them have pirated their anime.

              I bet over 90% of them have.

               

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              Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2012 @ 6:11pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              You're cute. I'd take you home and put you in a cage any day.

               

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2012 @ 11:42am

      Re:

      What copyright enforcement? No one was charged with any kind of copyright violation here.

       

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    Yogi, Aug 20th, 2012 @ 8:37am

    Britian is going down

    Really, nothing will surprise about me about Britain anymore, except the fact that it continues to exist as a coherent nation and country. From what I am reading about the country, England will be the first to descend into the delightful regime called Idiocracy.

     

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      DOlz, Aug 20th, 2012 @ 8:48am

      Re: Britian is going down

      Nah, remember WERE NUMBER ONE, WERE NEMBER ONE!*

      *Please note this should be repeated until believed any contradictory facts should be ignored or dismissed as non Faux News propaganda.

       

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      PaulT (profile), Aug 20th, 2012 @ 8:51am

      Re: Britian is going down

      "From what I am reading about the country"

      You probably need better sources, for domestic and for international news.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 22nd, 2012 @ 4:28am

      Re: Britian is going down

      Before you cite idiocy, try learning the difference between Britain and England.

       

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    Ed C., Aug 20th, 2012 @ 8:39am

    How does a judge who thinks that way keep his job?

    The same as the other public officials who support "the cause", they don't don't care about their public positions one bit. They've already have been given assurances of six-figure contracts.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2012 @ 8:40am

    Actually, this is a very good example of the government / law enforcement just not understanding what is happening online, and not being able to properly prosecute what is going on.

    Think of the case in simple terms. If you opened a storefront called "Located Crack Dealers" and charged people to connect them with crack dealers, you would very likely be arrested and charged with criminal facilitation or a similar type offense.

    Why is suddenly adding "on the internet" support to make it legal?

    Put another way: Having the illegal content up with no way to find it would be a meaningless act. In order for a true copyright violation to occur there has to be distribution. Without these sorts of sites, there wouldn't be anyone finding the links and seeing the content.

    It's pretty much straight criminal conspiracy, if you like. Left hand and right hand working together to further a common goal.

    Law enforcement is often narrowly focused on the actions of a single party, and not the large conspiracy. It's why a local constable might write this off without a thought, yet standing back and looking at the bigger picture, you can see the illegal activity going on and the significant role that this website played in the infringement.

    The courts got it right. The guy broke the law, plain and simple.

     

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      Jeff (profile), Aug 20th, 2012 @ 8:45am

      Re:

      No they didn't. It is not up to *private* individuals to bring criminal charges against other *private* individuals - the end result would be anarchy.

      In this particular case - a private organization, with enormously deep pockets, prosecuted another private individual with evidence the *state* thought was non-existent.

       

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        Niall (profile), Aug 21st, 2012 @ 2:35am

        Re: Re:

        Basically, it's a SLAPP situation, made doubly extra bad because I don't think we have anti-SLAPP laws in the UK, and this allows someone with lots of money to *criminally* prosecute anyone they feel like, especially with a judge who is acting like he was totally bought. Sorry, this reads like a 17th/18th Century *actual* pirate trial.

         

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      Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Aug 20th, 2012 @ 8:54am

      Re:

      You assume, incorrectly, that all links were to illegal content and that was the entire intent of the site. You cannot truthfully claim that.

      A better analogy would be the phone book giving numbers to escorts. Chances are "escorts" is just a fancy word for prostitute, but the phone company doesn't know that and won't be held liable for prostitution.

      And yes, I'm making an assumption about the number of illegal escorts vs. legal ones, but so is AC when he's talking about links.

       

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      JamesF (profile), Aug 20th, 2012 @ 8:57am

      Re:

      Just because you could be, does not mean you should be. Your not committing the offence yourself, you are point people to those who will. Its lazy and frankly just another sign of our ever more oppressive government.

      But hey, the laws the law, so I guess you win, huh? Although, thinking about it, it does make you wonder why they keep pushing for SOPA etc.

       

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      silverscarcat (profile), Aug 20th, 2012 @ 8:59am

      Re:

      You seem to have got some typos in your post.

      Let me fix.

      Actually, this is a very good example of the government / law enforcement just not understanding what is happening online, and not being able to properly prosecute what is going on.

      Think of the case in simple terms. If you gave someone music or a movie or a tv series without making them pay the distributors, it's obviously infringement, and should be punished, even if no one thinks that.

      Why is suddenly adding "on the internet" support to make it illegal?

      Put another way: Having the content up with no way to find it would be a meaningless act that the RIAA and MPAA would still try to convict you over. It's quite obvious that such businesses should be left to rot, but they pour so much money into the government that they always get what they want.

      It's pretty much straight criminal conspiracy, if you like. Left hand and right hand working together to further a common goal.

      Law enforcement is often narrowly focused on the actions of a single party, and not the large conspiracy. It's why a local constable might write this off without a thought, yet standing back and looking at the bigger picture, you can see the illegal activity going on and the significant role that the RIAA and MPAA play in politics.

      The courts got it wrong. The guy did not break the law, plain and simple.

       

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        Geeker - former admin of Filesoup (profile), Aug 21st, 2012 @ 9:36am

        Surfthechannel Criminal Conviction Driven By Hollywood Money

        The case against SurfTheChannel and Anton Vickerman, almost the same in my own case FACT Vs Filesoup, was without doubt a Conspiracy to Pervert the Course of Justice on the part of everyone involved with and leading up to the prosecution.

        One thing really sickens me, they have the arrogance of crying conspiracy to defraud at anyone who is stupid enough to listen and believe their manipulated reports and lies!

        From my own personal experience of having to fight FACT and the Police through 18 months of hell, there is no doubt in my mind that many aspects of FACT's so-called case, were nothing more than trumped up lies, manipulation as well as the withholding of selected evidence, resulting in a fiasco of a kangaroo trial and a complete miscarriage of justice.

        The fact that they can continue to get away with such dirty underhanded tactics, over and over again, progressively getting more devious and underhanded, case after case and without ever being questioned about the legality of their methods and actions, let alone being held accountable for their wrong-doing, is totally unbelievable.

        Cases such as these should make everyone ask, just how far up the ladder does this corruption go? Example... I know for sure that the Attorney General was involved in the FACT Vs Filesoup case!.

         

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      PaulT (profile), Aug 20th, 2012 @ 8:59am

      Re:

      "If you opened a storefront called "Located Crack Dealers" and charged people to connect them with crack dealers, you would very likely be arrested and charged with criminal facilitation or a similar type offense."

      By the police, who will then take the case to the Crown prosecution Service, who will then press forward with the case on behalf of the government if the case is sound.

      Did you miss the part of the article that discussed that this didn't happen, and why? If the case you propose was rejected by the CPS because no illegal activity was found, would you then support the local pharmacy sending them to jail instead because they didn't like business practices that were "stealing" medication sales from them?

      "Why is suddenly adding "on the internet" support to make it legal?"

      Why does telling people where the crackhouse is (the closest your silly analogy will ever get the the reality of the situation) suddenly land you in jail for 3 years just because it is on the internet?

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2012 @ 9:11am

        Re: Re:

        "Did you miss the part of the article that discussed that this didn't happen, and why?"

        Paul, you assume I can't read. I read the story carefully and I understand the points being made. However, if the British legal system allows for this type of prosecution, then so be it. If that is the law, then work with it.

        Remember, it's not a slam dunk. They still had to make a case (one that the prosecutors thought too weak) and provde it in court. They did that. There was no free pass.

        Did you actually read the story, or did you just skip along with Mike's moral outrage?

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2012 @ 9:33am

          Re: Re: Re:

          This post was not about working within British law, it was about doubting the consistency of it in this case.

          Saying, matter of factly, that this is the law and there's nothing you can do about it is not conducive to discussion, hence the criticism aimed at your comments.

           

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          Ninja (profile), Aug 20th, 2012 @ 10:16am

          Re: Re: Re:

          It's about a private entity using its economic power to crush an innocent.

          It is unfortunate that the site is down (www.surfthechannel.com) it had plenty of information on how the system was abused to destroy his life. That FACT withheld information from the defense that should have been disclosed, how judge Evans was clearly biased towards the FACT points.

          The UK is a shame of a country that cares little to nothing about fairness and due process. It has become even clearer with Assange now.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2012 @ 10:30am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "It's about a private entity using its economic power to crush an innocent."

            Yes, a guy who was "innocently" making a living off of linking to pirated feeds.

            Yup, seems innocent to me, snow white, absolutely nothing wrong here.

            If you can't see anything wrong, then well, it's hard to have a discussion.

             

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              Rikuo (profile), Aug 20th, 2012 @ 10:56am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              What this article is about is how one-sided the case was. Surfthechannel could have been the most evil site imaginable, but the case should have been thrown out once the private party making the accusations got their hands on the computers.

              That is what has myself and the others here in an uproar. The complete miscarriage of justice. Not just the sentencing, but in how it was arrived at.

               

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              Ninja (profile), Aug 20th, 2012 @ 11:03am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Yes, a guy who was "innocently" making a living off of linking to pirated feeds.

              If you were better informed you'll notice he had COMMERCIAL partnerships with Discovery A&E and others. And that Aiplex (that ddos Indian anti-piracy outfit) posted over a million infringing links to his site. Among other absurds, some of which are cited in the article.

              I'll make your words mine: If you can't see anything wrong, then well, it's hard to have a discussion.

               

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              silverscarcat (profile), Aug 20th, 2012 @ 3:18pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "Yes, a guy who was "innocently" making a living off of linking to pirated feeds."

              Are you talking about Cary Sherman here?

               

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          DogBreath, Aug 20th, 2012 @ 11:10am

          Re: Re: Re:

          There was no free pass.

          Finally, words that speak the truth. Yes, there was no free pass to get this unjust verdict. They had to "buy" it, lock, stock, and barrel.

           

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          PaulT (profile), Aug 20th, 2012 @ 12:09pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Paul, you assume I can't read. I read the story carefully and I understand the points being made. "

          Yet, you somehow translated (to paraphrase) "it makes me feel very uncomfortable that a corporation can bring a criminal prosecution and guide the judge's verdict" into something completely different.

          "I read the story carefully and I understand the points being made. "

          Yet, at minimum, your comments imply that you somehow missed the point that the police/CPS were not the ones bringing the charges. That this happens to be the entire focus of the article you're criticising can't go unnoticed.

          "If that is the law, then work with it."

          Why do you always seem to forget the "it's possible to be critical of the law while still following it" option? According to you, we should all blindly and silently follow any law that's dreamed up and never criticise it. Sorry, but I still hail from a free country despite corporate interests among others trying to corrupt it. Criticism is both valid and allowed.

          "They still had to make a case (one that the prosecutors thought too weak) and provde it in court. They did that. There was no free pass."

          Maybe not, but there were definitely private interests involved. Being British, and generally critical of corporate influence on politics, that makes me particularly uncomfortable. I do not want my home nation to become a testing ground for this kind of action, especially since so many legitimate avenues that can be addressed without involving the courts still exist.

          "Did you actually read the story, or did you just skip along with Mike's moral outrage?"

          I'm very familiar with the case even without including the information I've read on Techdirt. A shame that you'd make this accusation, and yet not address a single one of the points in my comment.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2012 @ 7:25pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "your comments imply that you somehow missed the point that the police/CPS were not the ones bringing the charges."

            No, I understand that completely. My point is that the police /cps have a hard time in cases like this because they are use to dealing mostly with "obvious" crime, aka stolen car, broken window, theft of a solid object. Conspiracy type charges are MUCH harder for police to put together because they are unable to see the basic crime involved. Most conspiracies that are prosecuted at this level come because they investigated an underlying crime, and "found" the conspiracy.

            More than anything, you should take from this case the simple conclusion that, while the police were unable to "make" the case, the music industry people followed it up and forced the issue, and were able to make the case in front of the courts. This sort of shows that law enforcement are not well equipped to deal with this sort of economic crime.

            "I'm very familiar with the case even without including the information I've read on Techdirt. "

            I would say then that you are reading the same stuff as Mike, and drawing the same conclusion (evil music industry buying justice) rather than perhaps seeing that there is a difference between what the police see as crime and what the courts understand as crime.

            Moral outrage is easy. Thinking about the full story is harder, you may want to try it. You need to remove your blinders and read both sides, not just the side you like.

             

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              PaulT (profile), Aug 21st, 2012 @ 3:47am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "No, I understand that completely"

              Then why did your silly analogy to crack houses specifically state that the police brought charges, when that wasn't the case here? If you're going to be making such stupid stories up, at least make them consistent with the truth.

              "More than anything, you should take from this case the simple conclusion that, while the police were unable to "make" the case, the music industry people followed it up and forced the issue"

              ...which is the exact point being criticised. Nobody actually committing a crime was prosecuted, the industry just managed to get an easy prosecution for someone who not only wasn't hosting any infringing material, he had links to perfectly legal services under contract. It achieves nothing, stops nothing, has serious implications for otherwise perfectly legal services and other possible unintended consequences. Why you think that such a dangerous precedent that does absolutely nothing positive is a good thing is beyond me.

              You seem to be saying that the police are incapable of identifying a conspiracy, so your corporation have to come in and point it out for them. Not only is that ridiculous, but it's also dangerous if a real defense is not allowed and followed through (as seems to be the case here).

              "I would say then that you are reading the same stuff as Mike, and drawing the same conclusion (evil music industry buying justice)"

              You'd "say", but you'd be wrong, hence your regular strawman attacks. You're not honest enough to work out why, though.

              "You need to remove your blinders and read both sides, not just the side you like."

              You first. Try addressing my actual words for starters, instead of assuming that everyone here is a hive mind copying Mike rather than stating their own honestly held opinions. Your regular lies about me and distortions of my positions don't help with your claims that you're doing anything other than attacking and/or trolling.

               

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        Niall (profile), Aug 21st, 2012 @ 2:39am

        Re: Re:

        Wow, so now we officially have "Felony Interference with a Business Model"?

         

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        Niall (profile), Aug 21st, 2012 @ 2:39am

        Re: Re:

        Wow, so now we officially have "Felony Interference with a Business Model"?

         

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        Niall (profile), Aug 21st, 2012 @ 2:42am

        Re: Re:

        Wow, so now we officially have "Felony Interference with a Business Model"?

         

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      Wally (profile), Aug 20th, 2012 @ 9:01am

      Re:

      So the fact that a private corporation seized computers and not the police makes no difference to you ? Or did you notice the simple fact that the website only provided links to addresses for streaming videos? I guess it's illegal to point to a Netflix-like sight in your eyes. But I'm sure that given your lengthy paragraph you may just be trying to sound intelligent on the matter and the one thing that gives you away as a troll/sock puppet is your last scentance. If not, it's that you may just be highly misinformed.


      Now to combat your crack dealers bit. This is quite different than connecting with crack dealers as you put it. The fact of the matter is even if it was illegal, a website was taken out without due process by an organization financing the operation to do so. The UK law allowing such "financing" is considered bribery in most countries.

      Now given that, I have never heard of a case of local law enforcement in the US ever arresting someone (mind you local, state, and sheriff's office) because someone financed the operation. Anyone who would have done that would have been arrested for bribery and scentances to jail or even prison for 20 years given the amount. In the US, it is illegal to even attempt to bribe local law enforcement.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2012 @ 9:05am

      Re:

      I opened up a storefront: locate a doctor. Some of those doctors are legitimate players, some are script doctors. Am I liable for the ones that are script doctors? You short sighted, non thinking, corporate phallus sucking little troll.

       

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      Fin Hennigan, Aug 20th, 2012 @ 9:26am

      Re:

      I have to say you present an interesting argument.

      In the UK if you opened a drug locator stall then it implies you have consorted with the drug dealers and you would quite rightly be charged with aiding and abetting.

      The reason you are aiding and abetting is because the actual act of selling drugs is a crime.

      Copyright Infringement is 9/10 a civil matter, apart from when businesses are profiting from copyright infringement.

      The people uploading content are not committing a criminal offence (for the most part) therefore the linking sites can not aide or abet. So really this is all a bit of a loop hole (assuming linking sites can be held responsible for what there users post)

      To be honest compared to other loop holes in the law, especially around tax, this ain't high on my list of priorities to fix.

      I agree that no one should be able to profit from making an exact copy of other peoples works without the original artists permissions, but then non profit copyright infringement should stay a civil matter.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2012 @ 9:38am

      Re:

      Your analogy is seriously flawed. He did not as such encourage illegal sharing. The site had links to HULU, iTunes and several other sites where I would assume the rightholders has a compensation mechanism.

      You assume that he is the god of his site and knows every deal having been cut between any site his users link to with any rightholder. From my point of view that is pertty presumtuous. How are you ever going to get a computer with all the software you want without assuming that the place you buy it has the correct license, the key you get is legal and the version you get is appropriately licensed for the upgrades you need? EULAs can be tampered with...

      The way it works on other services is different: Most sites have a takedown policy where you as a rightholder can demand something being taken off a site. IIRC Surfthechannel had something like that too...

      When it comes to enforcement I only see some clear legal rights in the physical world. In the digital world it is a different game. Don't tell me that publishers have lowered their price to accomodate the digital markets. I know for a fact that the compensations from libraries to rightholders on digital copies are so high (a lot higher than on books!) that the libraries are putting restrictions on how much they can lend users on the web.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2012 @ 9:56am

      Re:

      Clearly the dude's just upset that someone interrupted his crack supply chain.

       

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      DannyB (profile), Aug 20th, 2012 @ 10:23am

      Re:

      > Why is suddenly adding "on the internet" support to make it legal?

      It might not make it legal, but it will drive it underground.

      The comparison to prohibition is spot on because of the willful
      blindness to adapt to reality.



      > Actually, this is a very good example of the government / law enforcement
      > just not understanding what is happening online,
      > and not being able to properly prosecute what is going on.

      Actually, this is a very good example of the government / law enforcement
      just not understanding what is happening with prohibition,
      and not being able to properly prosecute what is going on.



      > Think of the case in simple terms.
      > If you opened a storefront called "Located Crack Dealers"
      > and charged people to connect them with crack dealers, you would
      > very likely be arrested and charged with criminal facilitation
      > or a similar type offense.

      Think of the case in simple terms.
      If you opened a storefront called "Located Speakeasy and Drinking"
      and charged people to connect them with alcohol, you would
      very likely be arrested and charged with criminal facilitation
      or a similar type offense.



      > Put another way: Having the illegal content up with no way
      > to find it would be a meaningless act.
      > In order for a true copyright violation
      > to occur there has to be distribution. Without these sorts of sites,
      > there wouldn't be anyone finding the links
      > and seeing the content.

      Put another way: Having the illegal alcohol available with no way
      to find it would be a meaningless act.
      In order for a true prohibition violation
      to occur there has to be distribution. Without these sorts of sites,
      there wouldn't be anyone finding the speakeasy
      and drinking the alcohol.




      > It's pretty much straight criminal conspiracy, if you like.
      > Left hand and right hand working together to further a common goal.

      Yep, just like prohibition. And we all see how that ended up.




      > The courts got it right. The guy broke the law, plain and simple.

      Yep. Low court justice vs. High Court justice.

      Don't worry, the wheel will turn.

      What do you think happens to a society when injustice and bribery run rampant, when High court and Low court justice is brazen and obvious, when society begins to divide into the very rich and the very poor? Just wondering.

      Look how prohibition worked out.

      Here's a clue: adapt. evolve. Start thinking of this wonderful new technology as a way to make even more money rather than as a threat to an obsolete way of making money.

       

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      Mike (profile), Aug 20th, 2012 @ 11:39am

      Re:

      Umm, folks, while I don't agree with ANYTHING this post says, it does not deserve to be "reported". It is making the "counter" case and it deserves to be read and responded to.

      This is not an inflammatory name calling post. While his post may not change my mind, and the counter posts may not change his, this is the type of post from those I disagree with that I would like to read on techdirt.

      I am tempted to mark it as "insightful" because I think it should be read, but I can't quite do it because to me "insightful" just implies that I find the points made a reasonable interpretation of the facts, and I don't.

       

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        Wally (profile), Aug 20th, 2012 @ 11:25pm

        Re: Re:

        You had me fooled until you said this:

        "I am tempted to mark it as "insightful" because I think it should be read, but I can't quite do it because to me "insightful" just implies that I find the points made a reasonable interpretation of the facts, and I don't."

         

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        Wally (profile), Aug 21st, 2012 @ 4:54am

        Re: Re:

        You had me fooled until you said this:

        "I am tempted to mark it as "insightful" because I think it should be read, but I can't quite do it because to me "insightful" just implies that I find the points made a reasonable interpretation of the facts, and I don't."

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2012 @ 11:49am

      Re:

      If the guy broke the law, plain and simple, then why wasn't he charged with breaking the law, plain and simple, and was instead charge with 'conspiracy to defraud' in what you claim is a 'simple' copyright case?

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2012 @ 12:04pm

      Re:

      LOL! Dude, you just tried to justify this case by comparing it to what is probably the most f@c&ed-up, most highly-disrespected area of the law: drug prohibition. Classic stuff. Comedy gold. Do you have a newsletter that I can subscribe to?

       

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    Mesonoxian Eve (profile), Aug 20th, 2012 @ 8:49am

    If I'm to understand this, if FACT paid for everything, wouldn't this also include the judge's verdict?

     

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      The eejit (profile), Aug 20th, 2012 @ 8:56am

      Re:

      Nope. They only pay the legal costs for prosecuting the case. The rest fot he cost of the prosecution (incarceration etc.) is handled at Her Majesty's Pleasure.

       

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        Duke (profile), Aug 20th, 2012 @ 9:05am

        Re: Re:

        Actually, it seems that they may be able to recover their legal costs (from the State) for prosecuting the case because they won (thus justifying the prosecution or something)...

         

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          The eejit (profile), Aug 20th, 2012 @ 11:46am

          Re: Re: Re:

          There has been no case in the last 40 years that has successfully returned the legal fees to the prosecutor in a private prosecution. I would find it highly unorthodox and suspicious for it to happen here.

           

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      Lowestofthekeys (profile), Aug 20th, 2012 @ 8:57am

      Re:

      If it was anything like the Pirate Bay trail, they probably avoided paying anything and just found a judge that was part of a number of IP protection organizations.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2012 @ 8:56am

    What i'm understending it's that the case in itself is unimportant for them, what they want is a precedent, so that pro-copyright judges will have a case to point to in the future.

    And yes i think they also paid for the judge veredict

     

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    Cheeks, Aug 20th, 2012 @ 8:56am

    More info

    Did you guys read this : www.surfthechannel.com ?

     

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    Duke (profile), Aug 20th, 2012 @ 9:03am

    Usually when Mike writes pieces attacking the UK legal/political/justice system I tend to find myself coming to its defence, either as an apologist, or to point out the subtleties that may have been missed.

    In this case...

    Nope, the only thing missing are some of the even worse details alleged by Vickerman (such as alleged attempt by FACT to commit a crime as part of their "seizure" of his website, the repeated lies, the FACT (hah!) that they claimed to various people (his ISP, his utility providers) that he was selling counterfeit DVDs as a way of tricking(?) into handing over private information including nearly getting his ISP to tap his connection for them, that they got their pet trading standards organisation to freeze all his assets illegally (it was quickly overturned, but not before massive financial damage was done), how they refused to hand over the crucial CPS letter and were only made to by the judge after telling him that it helped their case, how they agreed not to present all their numbers on the level of damage done by copyright infringement during the trial (when Vickerman's team were prepared to rip it apart), but instead handed it in after the trial as part of the sentencing process, when it couldn't be challenged...).

    Of course, all of these could be lies spread by a convicted criminal desperately trying to justify his actions, but some parts will be in the public record (if only we had a profession paid to investigate and report to the public on possible miscarriages of justice and other happenings in the public interest - but apparently all press reporting of this trial (other than a few specialist places) just parroted a FACT press briefing (in some cases, verbatim)...).

    The judge repeatedly called him out in his sentencing remarks for being arrogant and showing no remorse - traits I imagine also exhibited by people who genuinely believe they are innocent and can't believe the treatment they are receiving.

    Sadly (or perhaps for the best), Vickerman's full statement has disappeared from his website (along with the supporting documents; they were probably libellous, in breach of confidentiality and infringing copyright anyway), but not before a few people grabbed copies. Not sure whether it was FACT, the court or his lawyers who removed it.

    One good thing; the statement revealed he is filing (or has filed?) an appeal, on 24 different grounds. I think that will be worth getting popcorn for.

     

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    Titania Bonham-Smythe (profile), Aug 20th, 2012 @ 9:04am

    My problem when reading the sentencing remarks was that the whole thing seemed so one-sided:

    http://www.judiciary.gov.uk/Resources/JCO/Documents/Judgments/anton-vickerman-sentenci ng-remarks-14082012.pdf

    It seemed that the judge had entirely bought into the FACT version of events, the Copyright Math taken on face value. The need to defend Hollywood revenue or face the nightmare prospect of fewer films.

    I wondered whether Vickerman had the same quality of robust defence team enjoyed by Paul Chambers?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2012 @ 9:07am

    His 'crime' is to make it easier for others to find what is already there. This begs the rather obvious question of why he is being pursued rather than those who actually breach the copyright by displaying the material.

    Oh, so he works like a pimp. Nothing wrong with that....

     

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      Nathan F (profile), Aug 20th, 2012 @ 9:09am

      Re:

      Only if your pimp was pimping employees who were legal as well as illegal (though he has no way of knowing if said employee was illegal without going to court first).

       

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    Nathan F (profile), Aug 20th, 2012 @ 9:07am

    I'm actually looking forward to reading the scathing rebuke that I am almost sure the Appeals Court is going to hand down on such matters as Chain of Custody on the computer, previous precedent and the seeming bias of the judge.

    Anyone know how long it usually takes an Appeals hearing to go through in the UK?

     

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      Duke (profile), Aug 20th, 2012 @ 9:33am

      Re:

      As far as I know, it's pretty random, and hard to get details on how and when appeals happen.

      However, looking at the times between sentencing/conviction and appeal verdict of the last 10 or so reported cases, it seems to be of the order of 12-18 months (with a couple of outliers at 5 months, and one at 4 years).

       

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      The eejit (profile), Aug 20th, 2012 @ 11:50am

      Re:

      Around the same time for a criminal trial, AIUI. However, I suspect that this would be dealt with swiftly and viciously, either way.

       

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    Vic, Aug 20th, 2012 @ 9:18am

    Well, what can I say?

    It's quite obvious that judge's robe (mantle? or what's it called) fits clowns as well... There must have been a sale on those robes at a closest Sam's Club.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2012 @ 9:20am

    So, a private citizen can file criminal charges against ANY individual if they pay for it?

    Well then... I think I know a few thousand politicians who I'd like to charge with corruption and insider trading... If they don't change the law first...

     

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      ltlw0lf (profile), Aug 20th, 2012 @ 10:06am

      Re:

      So, a private citizen can file criminal charges against ANY individual if they pay for it?

      In England, yes. Not in the United States of America. At least not until the MAFIAA gets Congress to change the laws here and make them a private police force, which may happen once the Department of Homeland Security gets thoroughly reamed by the courts.

      Well then... I think I know a few thousand politicians who I'd like to charge with corruption and insider trading... If they don't change the law first...

      I wish, but they can just claim privilege of office. The best way to deal with them is vote them out of office, but that is equally difficult to do.

       

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    Beech, Aug 20th, 2012 @ 9:20am

    Crack

    Why would it be illegal to tell people where crack dens are? "hey, neighbor. See that house on the corner? It's a crack house. Best to stay away." did I just break the law? Or how about, "Good day, Constable. I feel obligated to let you know there is a crack house nearby." would the cop then arrest me for conspiracy, facilitation, etc etc?

    Or is it only illegal if I'm telling crack addicts? Do I now have to give a urine test to anyone I want to discuss the crack house with? Isn't the mere suggestion that starting a service to tell people where things are a violation of free speech?

    And, as is the case here, why would the cops arrest the location service instead of USING IT TO FIND THE CRACK HOUSES?! Just ask them where they are! Once you disband all the crack houses the location service will go out of business anyway because they have nothing left to link to!

     

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      Duke (profile), Aug 20th, 2012 @ 11:07am

      Re: Crack

      Actually, this would be even more remote than pointing to a crack den. It would be like...

      Hmm, I tried to come up with an analogy involving crack houses, maps, signposts and so on, but I think it's simpler to just go to the facts:

      It would be like setting up a platform where people could tell other people how to find stuff in other places, and being locked up because some of those people were telling people how to get to stuff that might be illegal for some of them to view.

      Do we really need analogies to show how silly this is?

       

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        The eejit (profile), Aug 20th, 2012 @ 11:51am

        Re: Re: Crack

        It would be like having a massive sign post to the nearest secret nuclear bunker, then arrasting the people paid to put up signposts.

         

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          Duke (profile), Aug 20th, 2012 @ 12:44pm

          Re: Re: Re: Crack

          Of course, signposts to secret nuclear bunkers aren't all that rare in the UK (here's one) but that's another story.

           

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            G Thompson (profile), Aug 20th, 2012 @ 7:31pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Crack

            Watch it, you'll get a D notice placed on your comments ;)

            Hmmm.. maybe that's what TD needs, a D notice for trolls.

            I'll let you decide what the D stands for in that case. Something to do with a protuberance of the male species was my first thought

             

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    identicon
    Howard the Duck, Aug 20th, 2012 @ 9:24am

    Judge Luddite

    Enough said

     

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    Overcast (profile), Aug 20th, 2012 @ 9:30am

    I guess the corporations are just wanting to skip the 'middleman' - aka politicians - and just start being tyrants directly.

    After all; there's no doubt that buying politicians gets expensive! And right now, with all the piracy out-right DESTROYING the bottom lines of their blessed companies - they need to pinch every dime!

    Praise be the almighty dollar! I wonder how much longer before we are expected to show up at a corporation on Sundays to worship them?

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2012 @ 9:30am

    Why is suddenly adding "on the internet" support to make it illegal?

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2012 @ 10:54am

      Re:

      Because four digit binary values are more readily expressed as a HEXadecimal digit, and we should not suffer a witch to live.

       

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      •  
        identicon
        DogBreath, Aug 20th, 2012 @ 12:23pm

        Re: Re:

        I wouldn't be surprised to find that the judge told the jury that Vickerman weighed the same as a duck.



        Jury instructions found in the official transcript:


        How to tell he is a witch and/or a copyright violator?:

        Judge Evans: There are ways of telling whether he is a witch and/or a copyright violator.
        Jury: Are there? Oh well, tell us.
        Judge Evans: Tell me. What do you do with witches and/or a copyright violators?
        Jury: Burn them.
        Judge Evans: And what do you burn, apart from witches and/or a copyright violators?
        Jury: More witches and/or a copyright violators.
        Jury: Wood.
        Judge Evans: Good. Now, why do witches and/or a copyright violators burn?
        Jury: ...because they're made of... wood?
        Judge Evans: Good. So how do you tell whether he is made of wood?
        Jury: Build a bridge out of him.
        Judge Evans: But can you not also build bridges out of stone?
        Jury: Oh yeah.
        Judge Evans: Does wood sink in water?
        Jury: No, no, it floats!... It floats! Throw him into the pond!
        Judge Evans: No, no. What else floats in water?
        Jury: Bread.
        Jury: Apples.
        Jury: Very small rocks.
        Jury: Cider.
        Jury: Gravy.
        Jury: Cherries.
        Jury: Mud.
        Jury: Churches.
        Jury: Lead! Lead!
        Jury: A Duck.
        Judge Evans: ...Exactly. So, logically...
        Jury: If he weighed the same as a duck... he's made of wood.
        Judge Evans: And therefore...
        Jury: ...A witch and/or a copyright violator!



        Sad to say, but this is how I imagine it went down, just not as funny when the verdict came out.

        They say justice is blind, but it can also be deaf (at least when the defense is speaking), in this case.

         

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        •  
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          G Thompson (profile), Aug 20th, 2012 @ 7:34pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          The knights of Ni will haunt you for your violation of their copyright, and especially since you didn't present them with a shrubbery first as recompense.

           

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            identicon
            DogBreath, Aug 21st, 2012 @ 11:18am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Oh I did that, but they now they are the Knights who say, "IKKI IKKI IKKI PATAING DOOO BOOOING boing boing". For posting this reply to you, they want me to get them another shrubbery and also cut down the mightiest tree in the forest with a herring. I told them "It" can't be done and they covered their ears and ran away.

            Maybe we should start sending letters and emails to MPAA/RIAA/FACT types saying only "It" over and over again, and they will fade into history along with all the other past snake oil salesmen and flimflammers too.

             

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2012 @ 10:20am

    the judge in this case had obviously had a conversation with the guy that oversaw TPB spectrial. in fact, there may well have been a tree-way video conference with FACT being included. what is more frightening is that the sentence for Grievous Bodily Harm, Robbery etc is less than this guy got. how ridiculous is that? i read that there is to be an appeal. i hope it is successful, that the judge is fired for being biased, not having sufficient knowledge of the internet and ignoring the previous rulings. FACT and the Bedfordshire Trading Standards Financial Investigations Unit needs to be tried and then disbanded. how can any privately funded unit not be seen to be biased when supposedly investigating court cases?

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2012 @ 11:06am

    the judge is the one main issue that wants revisiting! his conduct was atrocious and inexcusable! i wonder how he was enticed into ruling the way he did and whether he anticipated the backlash that is sure to come

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2012 @ 11:45am

    He also uses the fact that since the movie industry pays taxes, if it struggles, fewer taxes are paid.

    Fewer taxes would be paid by them. The taxes would instead be paid by other industries, because if people don't have to spend money on one thing, they'll spend it on something else instead.
    Claiming that the movie industry is the only business that pays taxes is either intellectually dishonest or incredibly stupid.

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2012 @ 1:53pm

      Re:

      Yes, robber barons like Google can take the money and then avoid paying taxes by using offshore tax dodges.

      Awesome solution, dude.

       

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  •  
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    Bergman (profile), Aug 20th, 2012 @ 12:21pm

    Private Prosecutions

    Private prosecutions are not a UK oddity, they're a staple of British Common Law...which is the basis of the legal system in the U.S. too.

    Yes, that's right. Though the option isn't often pursued, we have private prosecution over here too.

     

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    Miff (profile), Aug 20th, 2012 @ 12:23pm

    > Lee explains that this is an oddity/antiquity of UK law, in which private parties are actually allowed to bring criminal charges against other private parties, rather than (as in the US) needing the government to decide to bring charges.

    I actually think this is a positive. Imagine what we could do if we the people could bring perjury charges against the *IAAs for all the false DMCA takedowns they send.

     

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    identicon
    Concerned Netizen, Aug 20th, 2012 @ 2:17pm

    Documents from SurfTheChannel

    I grabbed a copy of the documentation posted by the victim on the day he was to be hauled off to prison. Unfortunately I do NOT have a copy of the text Vickerman posted relating the events according to his point of view.

    I don't know how long they'll last up there, but I've posted a copy of the files online here: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/12006183/misc762.zip
    (7.5 mb Zip, non encrypted)

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2012 @ 2:43pm

    Thank God nothing like this can happen in the USA, oh wait, Megaupload!

     

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    identicon
    Androgynous Cowherd, Aug 20th, 2012 @ 3:29pm

    Taxes don't drop due to "piracy".

    He also uses the fact that since the movie industry pays taxes, if it struggles, fewer taxes are paid.


    But the money gets spent elsewhere and taxes get paid on that activity.

    Only three things actually cause less overall taxes to be paid. One is an explicit tax cut. Another is explicit tax evasion. The third is a contraction of the economy.

    Taxes are paid on most economic activity, absent tax evasion, so for taxes to shrink overall requires the economy to shrink overall or the tax rate to shrink. It's simple math.

     

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    identicon
    FACT, Aug 20th, 2012 @ 4:01pm

    Thank you to all our supporters

    We at FACT wish to express our gratitude to everyone who helped fund this case. If you subscribe to cable or online television, purchase films or patronise theatres, or recommend our content to your friends, this is your victory too. Know that we're grateful and we couldn't have done it without you.

    It can cost hundreds of thousands of pounds to prosecute an infringer, especially in cases such as this where the crown refuses to prosecute. With your continued support, we pledge to lobby the parliament and courts to recognise copyright theft as a crime; and until they do, we will protect creators by prosecuting these criminals on other legal grounds and in other legal jurisdictions.

    While our actions have a few vocal opponents, sales figures make it clear that the vast majority of people are on our side. Your backing will ensure our future success.

    Cheers,
    FACT.

     

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      icon
      silverscarcat (profile), Aug 20th, 2012 @ 4:09pm

      Re: Thank you to all our supporters

      I know that this has to be a parody, but still...

      "While our actions have a few vocal opponents, sales figures make it clear that the vast majority of people are on our side. Your backing will ensure our future success."

      What sales figures? Don't your own reports say that you lose TRILLIONS of dollars/pounds/euros every year?

      How can you afford this?

       

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      Corby (profile), Aug 20th, 2012 @ 6:27pm

      Re: Thank you to all our supporters

      "It can cost hundreds of thousands of pounds to prosecute an infringer, especially in cases such as this where the crown refuses to prosecute."

      That sentance really made me laugh. According to the MPAA piracy costs them Millions. So to prosecute someone would only cost tens of thousands of pounds and yet they still loose millions. So money is still lost to the MPAA even when they do prosecute lol

       

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 21st, 2012 @ 3:45am

    I have a website supporting the ripping off of artists.

    Mike Masnick

     

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    •  
      icon
      The eejit (profile), Aug 21st, 2012 @ 4:35am

      Re:

      I am anonymous because I don't like being called out.

      Anonymous Coward.

       

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    •  
      icon
      ethorad (profile), Aug 21st, 2012 @ 5:05am

      Re:

      Did you know you have the same name as the guy who runs Techdirt? Must be awkward when people mistake you for someone else with diametrically opposite views!

       

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    •  
      identicon
      DogBreath, Aug 21st, 2012 @ 11:28am

      Re:

      I think you made a typical cut-and-paste error, here is what you should have posted:



      I have a website supporting the ripping off of artists.

      RIAA.COM

      and

      MPAA.ORG




      FTFY

       

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    icon
    Rapnel (profile), Aug 21st, 2012 @ 7:00am

    Anything Wrong?

    "Horrifying" is a horrifyingly understated description.

    If there are truly some folks around that "support" this event I applaud you as you are grotesque, disingenuous, blatantly one-sided ("my side" as it were) and a blatant threat the the rule of law, any law, the actual rule of the actual law. This example is a mind numbing assault on said rule bearing with it potentially disastrous consequences.

    If this is how you choose to represent your interests, much less actual artists, then you, truly, deserve the loss of your heads.

    Judge Evans? You do dishonor, in the highest degree, to your stated profession. Aggravated dishonor even.

    This little event is kind of the frosting for me I think.
    Fuck copyright.
    Fuck the artist's "representation".
    Fuck the extra-legal systems.
    and if you support or are enthusiastic about this travesty of justice then.. fuck you.

     

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


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