City Of London Police Drove 200 Miles To Arrest And Jail 'Industrial' Level Pirate... Only To Have Case Fall Apart And All Charges Dropped

from the oops,-sorry-'bout-that dept

We've certainly questioned the efforts by the City of London Police to set themselves up as the legacy entertainment industry's private police force. Over the past year or so, the police operation (which, yes, represents just one square mile of London, but a square mile with lots of big important businesses), has demonstrated that it will be extremely aggressive, not in fighting criminal wrongdoing, but in protecting the private business interests of some legacy companies, often with little to no legal basis. It also appears that the City of London's famed Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) is not particularly technology savvy, and seems to just accept what big record labels, movie studios and the like tell it.

In the last few months, the City of London Police's PIPCU effort has even gone on a bit of an arresting spree, under questionable circumstances. We noted in August that they had arrested the operator of an anti-censorship proxy service, almost entirely based on the say so of the entertainment industry. In September, PIPCU took a 200+ mile drive up the road to arrest Zain Parvez to great fanfare. PIPCU insisted that Parvez was running a series of streaming sites related to sporting events, and was infringing on the rights of the Premier League (notorious copyright maximalists). PIPCU claimed it was an "industrial scale" operation, and tossed Parvez in jail.

Fast forward a few weeks and... all charges against Parvez have been dropped. Apparently, once the case reached the Manchester Crown Court and the Crown Prosecution Services looked at it, they realized how weak a case there was, and simply dropped the whole thing. Given PIPCU's previous statements and actions, this hardly seems surprising. PIPCU and the City of London Police appear to be the latest in an unfortunately long line of folks who think that copyright infringement is such a black-and-white/open-and-shut thing that you can just declare someone "guilty" based on some questionable assumptions and it's obvious for everyone to understand why.

Perhaps, the UK's Intellectual Property Office, rather than funding PIPCU to be the legacy industry's personal police force, should have spent those resources actually training them to understand technology, due process and such.

Filed Under: arrest, charges, city of london police, copyright, dropped, pipcu, zain parvez


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 14 Oct 2014 @ 11:51am

    Perhaps, the UK's Intellectual Property Office, rather than funding PIPCU to be the legacy industry's personal police force, should have spent those resources actually training them to understand technology, due process and such.

    For which the relevant quote would be:

    'It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.'

    -Upton Sinclair

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

    • icon
      techflaws (profile), 14 Oct 2014 @ 10:15pm

      Re:

      Not only that, they're spending all the money on indoctrinating children on their view of copyright, cause as we all know copyright infringement only happens out of ignorance.

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

  • icon
    silverscarcat (profile), 14 Oct 2014 @ 11:53am

    Well, shoot!

    I guess I owe Tim a glass of whiskey over this one then.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Oct 2014 @ 1:03pm

      Re: Well, shoot!

      Luckily, I downloaded a case of Scotch whisky from the Metropolitan Police's website last week.

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

      • identicon
        IronChef, 14 Oct 2014 @ 10:47pm

        Re: Re: Well, shoot!

        "Eight bolls of malt to Friar John Cor, by order of the King, wherewith to make aqua vitae."

        Not that it matters, but I'm commenting from Golden, Colorado and enjoying a well aged Glen Moray tonight.

        Stay safe my friends.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Oct 2014 @ 12:00pm

    How would PIPCUhave jurisdiction 200 miles outside their operations area? Can someone please enlighten me?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Oct 2014 @ 12:14pm

      Re:

      Isn't it obvious? Because imo people in their jurisdiction were affected!

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

    • icon
      wereisjessicahyde (profile), 14 Oct 2014 @ 12:49pm

      Re:

      Because in Britain all police officers have jurisdiction in the whole of the UK. It doesn't work like the US with state lines etc. Although British forces have an operations base area they still have full police powers anywhere they go.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 15 Oct 2014 @ 3:43am

        Re: Re:

        "Although British forces have an operations base area they still have full police powers anywhere they go."

        ....with the permission of the local force.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 18 Oct 2014 @ 6:05am

        Re: Re:

        They have police powers, but not necessarily spending powers. The special-purpose police forces (BTP, CNC, etc.) and certain parts of the Met and CoLP are responsible for investigating crimes nationwide, but most provincial forces are restricted in what they can spend money on by location.

        Also, there are rules about informing local forces about operating in their areas, to reduce the risk of one force (or even a squad or division) blundering in on another's investigation, although they're not absolute.

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

  • identicon
    Glen, 14 Oct 2014 @ 12:03pm

    Is there any recourse for this guy to get back at these morons or is he screwed all the way around?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Oct 2014 @ 12:11pm

    That is just assumption but I guess the site was offline and/or the owner lost income because of it. If this assumption is correct, who pays for the lost money? Would be a shame if the UK public had to pay for it.

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

  • identicon
    spodula, 14 Oct 2014 @ 12:19pm

    Jurisdiction.

    "How would PIPCU have jurisdiction 200 miles outside their operations area? Can someone please enlighten me?"

    Because Jurisdiction doesn't work the same way in the UK. Any English Police officer can enforce the law in any police force area they want. Its traditional for them to ask for local help, but this is more for backup purposes, and they certainly don't have to.

    Also, some police forces have specialized departments which are shared. West Yorkshire have a very good specialist forensic team, City of London are allegedly a center of excellence for Financial Fraud and IT cases, although sometimes i wonder... But i digress.

    Point is If a Met police officer wants to arrest you in Manchester, S(he) can go and do it.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Oct 2014 @ 12:28pm

      Re: Jurisdiction.

      Well of course, the City of London PD are experts at committing financial fraud!

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Oct 2014 @ 12:42pm

      Re: Jurisdiction.

      They make a big deal about not being part of england though so they really don't have any authority.

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

      • icon
        wereisjessicahyde (profile), 14 Oct 2014 @ 12:51pm

        Re: Re: Jurisdiction.

        Huh?

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 18 Oct 2014 @ 6:13am

          Re: Re: Re: Jurisdiction.

          There's a funny little quirk in the status of the City of London. The rest of England and Wales is formed by a mixture of conquests, coups, and annexations of neighbouring kingdoms, but London was a protectorate of Wessex within Mercia when Mercia was annexed by Wessex, and was arguably never actually annexed into England. That's why the monarch asks permission of the Lord Mayor before entering the City formally.

          AIUI the understanding is that so long as the City acts on the "advice" of English judges and enacts all English laws (which occurs automatically), businesses there pay taxes, etc., and generally behaves as though it is part of England, England won't annex it. There are a few other quirks resulting from this, although they're gradually being whittled away (for example, stolen goods must be returned to their owner unless they've been sold within the City).

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

    • icon
      art guerrilla (profile), 14 Oct 2014 @ 1:53pm

      Re: Jurisdiction.

      ohhhh, so *THEY* uncovered all the huge financial fraud cases there ? ? ?
      no ? ? ?
      huh, that seems, um, odd...

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Oct 2014 @ 8:11pm

      Re: Jurisdiction.

      Funny thought... can you imagine how the Boston PD would react if the NYPD came up and took down a local business?

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

      • icon
        Eldakka (profile), 14 Oct 2014 @ 9:00pm

        Re: Re: Jurisdiction.

        Well yes, they'd be very surprised as the Boston PD doesn't have any jurisdiction in NY.

        England isn't a series of states and counties and cities that have their own police forces. There is no London Police force who only have jurisdiction in London. There is just the British Police force. When people talk about the Met or City of London Police, these are NOT police raised from and 'citizens' of London or the City of London or whoever. Each of these forces really are just precincts. Any NY Police officer has jurisdiction in all of NYCs 5 boroughs, however they are assigned to precincts who usually just deal with crime in those precincts, however if their suspect is in another precinct, they can still go and arrest them, as they are still within their jurisdiction.

        So this isn't the equivalent of Boston PD coming to NY, it's the equivalent of the officers from the 9th Precinct (Manhattan South) going and arresting someone in 77th Precinct (Brooklyn North)

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Oct 2014 @ 12:21pm

    It wouldn't surprise if FACT now file for a private civil prosecution against this guy as that is what they usually do when charges in a criminal case get dropped without an actual court case.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Oct 2014 @ 12:40pm

    There is nothing in the linked article that talks about why the case is not being prosecuted, so why you say someone realized it was weak is merely a guess that has no evidentiary support.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Oct 2014 @ 1:28pm

      Re:

      Exactly. This article is ridiculous. More details are necessary and what is the name of the alleged site.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 14 Oct 2014 @ 4:48pm

        Re: Re:

        Yes we should clearly trust the police despite the facts they keep getting caught lying and breaking their own laws.

        Solely because they are police and we should blindly trust them right?

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 15 Oct 2014 @ 3:50am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Funny thing is: yes! That should be enough...

          The police should have a reputation so spotless that the public would automatically trust their judgement!

          Unfortunately, because of this and previous ****ups we have come to distrust them.

          I wonder if they will ever earn back that unconditional trust...

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 14 Oct 2014 @ 1:37pm

      Re:

      And why else do you suppose they would drop the case and not prosecute?

      I suppose it's possible they may have threatened him with all sorts of 'possible' fines and jail sentences, and he folded under the threats, but other than that, 'They realized they'd never convince a judge to convict him based upon the evidence they had' is quite likely the reason.

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

    • icon
      wereisjessicahyde (profile), 14 Oct 2014 @ 1:37pm

      Re:

      Because the CPS never give those kind of details.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Oct 2014 @ 12:44pm

    Oink, Filesoup and other bogus busts serve a purpose

    It seems the entertainment industry failed in not following up and successfully lobbying the prosecutor's office to press charges. Consider that in several other "piracy"-related busts and subsequent prosecutions in the UK, such as Oink and Filesoup, the defendants ended up walking free, but chose not to open their sites back up.

    So although the entertainment industries suffered a 'technical' failure, they enjoyed a de facto win. This has been a winning strategy for Hollywood for a long time, as few site owners have the will to stand up for their rights and keep on fighting after an ordeal such as being the target of a wrongful criminal prosecution.

    This is how "order" is maintained in the UK, not by purely legal means, but by thuggery and intimidation designed to scare people from continuing an activity that a court has judged to be legal.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Oct 2014 @ 7:33am

      Re: Oink, Filesoup and other bogus busts serve a purpose

      Didn't that the Oink admin get to keep hundreds of thousands of pounds that was sitting in one of his accounts? I bet the FACT/BPI count that as a severe loss.

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

  • icon
    CK20XX (profile), 14 Oct 2014 @ 12:47pm

    Given debacles like this, is it any wonder that there's so much skepticism around the Megaupload case?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Oct 2014 @ 12:50pm

    'Perhaps the UK's Intellectual Property Office, rather than funding PIPCU to be the legacy industry's personal police force, should have spent those resources actually training them to understand technology, due process and such.'

    even better would have been to spend those resources on educating the industries, so that they actually gave the customers what they keep asking, even begging for! the problem is, there are none so deaf as those that wont listen and none so blind as those that wont look!

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

  • icon
    DannyB (profile), 14 Oct 2014 @ 1:22pm

    Some simple reasoning is required here

    We noted in August that they had arrested the operator of an anti-censorship proxy service, almost entirely based on the say so of the entertainment industry.

    Look, you're not following their chain of 'reasoning'.
    1. Copyright IS Censorship. [Axiom]
    2. Therefore an Anti-Censorship site is an Anti-Copyright site. [From step 1.]
    3. Anti-Copyright == Piracy! (and Terrorism!). [Copyright maximalist sacred scrolls, ch.666 v.42]
    4. Therefore an Anti-Copyright site is a Piracy site. [From step 3.]
    5. Therefore an Anti-Censorship site is a Piracy site. [From step 2 followed by 4.]
    I rest my case.. The operators of an Anti-Censorship site should be subject to capital punishment. See how simple that was?

    Since terrorism and piracy is involved [From step 3.] no expense should be spared. No laws, facts or common sense should stand in the way.

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

  • icon
    Anon E. Mous (profile), 14 Oct 2014 @ 2:55pm

    FACT has their hand so far up the PIPCU backside that they can move their lips. Does anyone really take ANYTHING that the PIPCU puts out in their press releases seriously?

    The PIPCU is nothing more than a Hollywood paid for hand puppet.

    The more the PIPCU try to justify their branching out from parking tickets or whatever they were doing before FACT came along, the more they look like an inept law enforcement agency that got caught up in the excitement of doing something besides handing out parking tickets.

    The CPS basically looked at the case and the alleged evidence which was not provided by the PIPCU but by FACT which is a private entity and not a law enforcement agency.

    The idea that the PIPCU went on a 200 mile journey based on evidence provided to it by FACT, on an investigation carried out by FACT and then proceed to arrest and charge an individual based on a information gathered by a FACT screams stupidity.

    The PIPCU seems to be void of the ability to see that FACT and it's investigation and alleged evidence acquired are biased towards their own agenda.

    The CPS know damn well there would be more than a few questions of why is the PIPCU going way out of their jurisdiction to arrest someone based on a private entity's investigation and evidence.

    I would have to be of the belief that even a beginner law student could get a case like this thrown out of court just on the mere perception of bias on the Police & FACT partnership.

    I wonder how the UK citizens like the idea of FACT running around playing copyright cops with taxpayer dollars for private companies.

    The PIPCU head ought to be shuffled out the door permanently for his decision to cross the line from law enforcement to FACT's legal arm. What we still don't know is if the PIPCU are deriving a financial benefit from FACT for their enthusiastic copyright enforcemnt policies.

    It will be interesting to see if this fellow who was arrested decides to sue the PIPCU and FACT for malicious prosecution.

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

    • icon
      G Thompson (profile), 14 Oct 2014 @ 11:06pm

      Re:

      >The CPS know damn well there would be more than a few questions of why is the PIPCU going way out of their jurisdiction to arrest someone based on a private entity's investigation and evidence.

      As others have stated here.

      The 'London Police' are entirely within their bailiwick in this matter. In fact it's absolutely PIPCU's bailiwick.

      Also the CPS do not care one iota, nor do the courts, who arrested whom as long as they were arrested under lawful due process and upon a preponderance of evidence that had a likelihood of success if sent before a trier of facts.

      PIPCU most would not be held accountable for Mal Prosecution since that is very hard to prove since malicious intent specifically needs to be shown. Malfeasance on the other hand might be actionable since they allegedly have based their entire case including arrest upon the hearsay of one witness (FACT) without any other contributing factors and can be seen to be absolutely biased and inequitable.

      For FACt to be treated more than any other victim of a crime and actually provide without any chain of evidence structures information that is taken at face beggars belief. Though this absolutely seems to be the norm in these matters.

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

    • icon
      Stoatwblr (profile), 25 Oct 2014 @ 1:43pm

      Re:

      "I wonder how the UK citizens like the idea of FACT running around playing copyright cops with taxpayer dollars for private companies."

      My employer has recently made the decision to stop paying for FACT membership because they just keep jacking up the fees year upon year.

      The first thing FACT did was threaten raids and imply legal action if they didn't get a "closure meeting" - when we told them that all such meetings would be attended by lawyers and subject to audio/visual recordings which would be published on our websites they went very quiet.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Oct 2014 @ 4:45pm

    How could they have acted like the fascists they have always dreamed about then if they followed their own laws?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Oct 2014 @ 5:30pm

    The guy was streaming content , it doesn't take much to do so any thing can be streamed via screen capture with a cheap low memory pc and a host whether its a web cam or media player I used to run 3 consecutive movie streams .. I made zero dollars while doing it unless someone wanted to buy me a sandwich and chip in, It was a hobby and for friends who had cut the cord. ... It ain't rocket science .. and it's being done on sites like twitch as we speak.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Oct 2014 @ 9:59pm

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Oct 2014 @ 10:14pm

    I dont know, seems like their a bit out of their juristriction.......no!

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

  • identicon
    Jake, 16 Oct 2014 @ 8:06am

    What I don't get is why they drove there in person (paying US$2 a litre in petrol on the taxpayer's dime) instead of giving Greater Manchester Police a call and...

    Wait, never mind. It's Manchester; the local cops have probably got more pressing demands on their time than this bullshit.

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: Copying Is Not Theft
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.