Magazine article Screen International

UK Man Jailed for Four Years for Online Piracy

Magazine article Screen International

UK Man Jailed for Four Years for Online Piracy

Article excerpt

A website owner who created and ran one of the world's most popular pirate websites has been sentenced to four years imprisonment in the UK.

Anton Vickerman, creator of website surfthechannel, has been sentenced to four years in prison for hosting illegal copies of films and TV programmes.

He was found guilty at Newcastle Crown Court of conspiracy to defraud by "facilitating" the infringement of copyright on 27th June 2012 after an eight week trial.

The website attracted more than 400,000 visitors per day, ranking among the top 500 websites globally.

Vickerman ran surfthechannel as a business through a limited company, Scopelight Ltd, and was generating income of over £300,000 per year. Profits from the company were funnelled to a bank account in Latvia operated by an offshore company based in Dominica.

According to the UK's Federation Against Copyright (FACT) Vickerman targeted pirated films, including those not yet released at the cinema, which he and his staff secretly and anonymously uploaded to third party sites before linking to them via surfthechannel. …

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