• SurfTheChannel Owner Found Guilty of Conspiracy to Defraud

    The owner of TV streaming links site SurfTheChannel has been found guilty of conspiracy to defraud at Newcastle Crown Court today for “facilitating” copyright infringement . The landmark case follows a sting operation by the MPAA, who partnered with the Federation Against Copyright Theft to obtain evidence against site operator Anton Vickerman. He will be sentenced next month and faces up to 10 years in jail.

    At its height in 2010, SurfTheChannel.com was among the most-visited streaming link websites on the Internet with more than 400,000 visitors a day. This popularity didn’t go unnoticed by the UK and US entertainment industries, who went to extremes to bring the site down.
    Aside from the use of an undercover agent to gain access to the defendants’ house under false pretenses, the case also witnessed the unprecedented involvement of US authorities in a UK court case, in which a defendant in the US was offered a deal after agreeing to cooperate and testify in a trial overseas.
    Initially, it appeared that a criminal prosecution wouldn’t be progressed, but eventually the case went ahead after all. The trial against SurfTheChannel owner Anton Vickerman and his wife Kelly started at the Newcastle Crown Court last month and came to a conclusion today.

    The Court found owner Mr. Vickerman guilty of conspiracy to defraud by “facilitating” copyright infringement. Mrs. Vickerman faced the same changes but was found not guilty.

    Today’s landmark ruling is the first in which the owner of a linking website was found guilty of conspiracy to defraud the entertainment industry.
    A previous attempt at making the same charge stick with the prosecution of the owner of the OiNK BitTorrent tracker failed during 2010.
    Although SurfTheChannel did not store any copyrighted material itself, the site did organize links to copyrighted streams on third-party sites. According to the prosecution, the website was making at least £35,000 a month.
    Comments 2 Comments
    1. mjmacky's Avatar
      mjmacky -
      Open for comments
    1. Kryatle's Avatar
      Kryatle -
      I wonder what his sentence will actually be once he's back for sentencing. I can't see him getting the 10 years, but i'm also sure he won't be getting a slap on the hand for it. I'll say 5 years, plus some other conditions. Though I think he'd get released early (probably after 2 years)