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back to article Cops pull plugs on TV-links, claim 'facilitation of infringement'

Last week's arrest of a 26-year-old Cheltenham man, and the related closure of the TV-links website, has prompted a flurry of speculation that the very foundations of the internet (linking to stuff) might be under threat. Although this might be a worry too far, legal eagles at Pinsent Masons say that it could be an important …

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Coat

"All our information..

...are belong to FACT". Sorry, couldn't resist.

On a side note, it's a bit appalling how Free Speech seemingly doesn't matter any more. I mean, I this bar where, if you really try, you can find all kinds of interesting stuff that fell off the back of a truck. But I should presumably just shut my gob or I could face jailtime. Neat. Problem solved. Or maybe not...

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Alert

Oh dear

God 'elp anyone who links to YouTube then

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Dead Vulture

chilling

"All our information is being coordinated by FACT" - so basically FACT get to tell trading standards what to do and they act without doing any investigation of their own.

Hopefully, this will get the due process it deserves and ends up in a courtroom with a judge who asks "whats a website?"

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waaa boohoo throw dummy out of pram

Bah waaa we cant catch the people posting the illegal content so we will go after people who post a link to it and sue them for every penny they have got as well.

After all there are so many more people linking to illegal content than there are posting it.

They will be taking out arrest warrants on google, yahoo, MSN and ask next as they link to millions times more illegal content than this person ever did.

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Bronze badge
Unhappy

net neutrality toasted?

In other news, your local ISP is about to announce a "Safe Links" package. For only UKP 500 per month, they will check the copyright on every link you post (and erase the link for you). For an extra UKP 1000 per month, they'll check the copyright claims on every link you download and block it if any one of 666,666 organizations has posted a claim, any claim, to the material in that link.

I never thought I'd see the day when even I would even for a second think that perhaps, just perhaps, we're seeing the beginning of the end for the "internet". Seems that the last 10 years of frenzied copyright law lobbying and changes by big-name "content owners" (not creators, owners) is finally paying off for them. They're starting to reclaim the place they lost when the London Company of Stationers failed to stop the Statute of Anne in 1710.

Would the last person left on the internet please turn out the lights?

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What about Google?

A Google search will bring up websites that link to copyrighted material.

Will the British bobbies be sent to Google HQ to arrest their top bods for something that they're not really sure of?

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Silver badge
Stop

Before everyone jumps up and down

maybe he was also hosting some of the links and pointing to his own sites.

However, if indead he only linking then that's just stoopid

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Dead Vulture

b*gger!

fascists. tv-links is/was great, I was watching Children of the Stones and The Tomorrow People.

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hmmm

Gloucestershire police could not confirm exactly what the 26-year-old was arrested on suspiscion of.

Isn't that in itself a breach of the law?

Someone post a link to his legal fund...

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Happy

RIAA == FACT

So is FACT going down the same road as RIAA and end up being the laughing stock of the world!?

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Laws

It is the sincere desire of all governments to pass enough laws that we are all criminals. Thus, whenever they think any individual needs a bit of suppressing, all they have to do is apply the appropriate law and the appropriate penalty. Problem solved: the annoying person is either in jail, or too poor to cause trouble.

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Anonymous Coward

"All our information is being coordinated by FACT"

... And FACT is the UK’s leading trade organisation established to protect and represent the interests of the film and broadcasting industry against copyright and trademark infringements.

Does it mean that GNU people (or their buddies) can be made in charge of EU against Microsoft? Now that'd be cool.

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Stop

FACT statment: Apologies to all, but the internet is closed due to copyright infringements.

www.google.com

www.youtube.com

Well, that's me in the clink :|

"Sites like TV Links contribute to and profit from copyright infringement."

Did TV Links actually make money from hosting links?

Bizarre - next we'll be told that it's illegal to own a modem or router - better still, a telephone line as that could potentially carry copyright material.

No, one better - Electricity... let's ban that to ensure that digital media cannot be copyright-infringed :P

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Oxymoron

I can't take seriously an organisation whose name is an oxymoron. We have copyright laws precisely *because* the offence *isn't* theft, otherwise copyright laws wouldn't be necessary.

When they change their name to Federation Against Copyright Infringement then I will listen to them.

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Bez

Real forward thinking

This is mind-boggling.

What we have (sorry, had) is a place where people can post links to sites which host copyrighted material. A seemingly popular site, at that. Can you see where we're going with this, kids?

Now, I may only have a brain the size of a melon, but I'd have thought that a site like that would have been a valuable thing to anyone looking to shut down copyright violators because, effectively, it's just a bulletin board for dobbing in the pirates.

So either Fact or plod have essentially taken the decision to just shoot the stool pigeon. Nice one, Ironside. You da man.

Is it just me? Wouldn't you leave it open and just let the public happily post up links to actual culprits, then pick them off as they come in?

It is, it's just me, isn't it. Oh well.

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Jim
Unhappy

Get a life UK p0olice

Bloody Filth..

Get round to aressting some real criminals you sad bunch of fachist pigs..

TV LINKS was a great site...

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Link warning

How about a website that posts links to copyright material for the purpose of telling people what links they shouldn't, under any circumstances, have on their own web pages?

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Pin

I was wondering where it had gone.

Perhaps it got in trouble because it would display the clip (tv, film, etc) inside a frame which was hosted by tv-links. Not sure if there was a banner ad or anything displayed in the frame though (ABP for the win).

Still I'll miss it even though many of the links seemed to be dead.

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Gold badge

Re: Oxymoron

How about Federation Against Copyright Infringement and Licence Evasion?

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Joke

Better shut youselves down

I'm quite sure the Reg has linked in the past to some material that someone, somewhere will claim is infringing copyright... so you better own up and shut yourself down immediately... to protect the children of course

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Anonymous Coward

Corrupt and lazy

Nowadays the police are not just corrupt they are lazy ,and blame that laziness on loads of alleged paperwork. Fact of the matter is that they cannot be arsed to try and shut down Google, You Tube or the like, instead TV Links will be just as good and an easy target.

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Anonymous Coward

OMG DUDES

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NzopAG_mc7Y&mode=related&search=

A illegal youtube link, el reg is going down!!!

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Title

So when the guardian linked to it and alluc and so on was it facilitating piracy?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguide/features/story/0,,2018909,00.html

it certainly encouraged it.

And how about me linking to them linking to it not to mention the register hosting this depravity?

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Stop

Cached ?

Does this mean that The Wayback Machine is also in trouble ? Or anybody that linked to the links ?

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Pirate

I've heard ...

... that it's apparently quite easy to buy cannabis in many of the pubs and clubs in Brixton.

So, does that make me guilty of "facilitating" a drug deal? If somebody's getting beaten up in a dark alley way, and I point and shout "Look, over there" does that make me guilty of assault?

What a bunch of crap. It'll be a sad day for law, justice, free speech and democracy all in one if this "talking about something is the same as doing it" attitude is allowed to prevail. FACT and the RIAA can bang on about intellectual property rights all they like but until they stop trying to deprive me of my physical property rights over my own computing equipment they're no better than a bunch of muggers in a dark alley and I will continue to steal (back) as much as I possibly can from them at every opportunity.

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J
Coat

Title

"We don't have a simple offence of facilitating infringement in the UK"

Er...so why was the guy arrested then? Ah, the beauties of a third world country...

"People are quite willingly trying to circumvent the law."

Duh... I wonder how many people would obey the speed limit (and other traffic laws) if they knew for sure there were no cops, speed cameras, etc. around...

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Pirate

Re: Oxymoron

> When they change their name to Federation Against Copyright Infringement then I will listen to them.

or "Federation Unaccepting Copyright Theft" has a better-pronounced acronym ;-)

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obeying speed laws

"I wonder how many people would obey the speed limit "

in Arizona, for a while speed limits became unenforceable by the police... the accident rate dropped, people didn't drive like loonies.

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When we are younger

we are told to share, but when we grow up the corperation control the law and we get raggled from behind while the CEO holds onto our ears.......

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Uh...

"Gloucestershire police could not confirm exactly what the 26-year-old was arrested on suspiscion of, saying that the case had most likely now been handed over to trading standards officers.

Gloucestershire Trading Standards confirmed that it was involved in the investigation, but declined to elaborate on what the owner of the site had been arrested for, beyond saying it was "offences under the Copyright Act"."

Does 'Mr. TV-Links' actually know what he's been arrested for himself? Or are they keeping him in the dark as well?

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Re: Oxymoron

Or how about Federation of Entertainment Copyright Enforcement Stooges?

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Stop

Riddle me this

If Microsoft steals some code from the Ly-nux kernel, the whole world goes up it arms about infringements on the GNU and open-source code etc...

But if the cops shut down a site that links to material that is illegally made available, then we dump on the 'man' and the 'system' for violating our god-given freedom to pirate video content?

As far as i'm concerned, they are both stealing... so why is one 'right' and the other is 'wrong'?

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Alert

This is a load of rubbish

TV links was a great idea, due to the job i do, i'm not able to always be around to watch my favourite shows every week, also i can't afford to have Sky or Virgin. So TV-links was brilliant as I could watch my favourite shows and catch up with anything I have missed! Surely this website is a tribute to any show that is featured on there, as it shows that there is a demand for them. The producers should be amazed that their show would be available to ANYBODY in the world!

Its funny how Gun crime in the UK is at an all-time high, with young children being shot and killed, and the police decided they want to arrest someone who just wants to be able help people find their fave shows...only providing links and not even streaming them himself!

So I would like to say Well Done and Congrats to the Police and Trading Standards for destroying something so beautiful...I hope you rot in hell

Big Stu

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oh bugger..

...They get me through uni. Oh well back to alluc

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Black Helicopters

FACT in the riASSofa

There is a certain English language site hosted in Russia – a sort of a “TV Underground” one might say, were there are highly illegal links to highly illegal content, not paedophilia, mind you, or anything like that – much more illegal, links to the 1963 doctor Who!

And since it is hosted in Russia, a country well known for its record on caring about highly illegal *linking*, I think that it will be a safe bet that it will stay up for a while.

P.S. I think that I will host a site, that I know is at least in some way is bound to attract attention from the authorities. Hmm, let’s see, were should I host such a site? – I know! I will do it in such a way, that my secret identity will be known, in a country that tries to emulate the “FAC*T common sense” of the America, nothing will ever happen to me, for sure!

Come on people, do not bend over and be FACT in the riASSofa

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Black Helicopters

That's half the net?

So lets see, linking or displaying copyrighted content...

Well lets start simple, you tube, my space, facebook, every search engine on earth, ever, now then characters names and logos are copyrighted along with there appearance (also the word drow) so any website with mentioning of the word drow, character names, images of characters, logos, or any websites that link to websites with above mentioned information...Well done we just lost most of the internet all that's left is maddox, OH NOOOOOO!

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Anonymous Coward

evil laugh

No this isn't right they stupidly fucked up if it stands they are still wrong.The reason they don't shut down Google is that Google can buy your little Island and kick you off of it (made the Queen an offer).

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Steal This Comment (apologies to A. Hoffman)

"When they change their name to Federation Against Copyright Infringement then I will listen to them."

How about Federation Against Stolen Copyright Infringement, So There, Suckers!

Or, to save space, the abbreviation:

F.A.S.C.I.S.T.S.

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Anonymous Coward

@ Dr.Elllen

Very well put. You are are spot on! I was compelled to say so....sad as it all is.

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Flame

Hey! I was watching that!

Bugger. They had [links to] all the old One Foot in the Grave episodes on there and this grumpy git was watching them.

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IDK

Law infringement?

"We don't have a simple offence of facilitating infringement in the UK"

"People are quite willingly trying to circumvent the law."

So... people are willingly trying to circumvent something for which there is no simple offence? Or, to put it another way, they're trying not to break laws that don't exist? Sounds like doublespeak to me...

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Anonymous Coward

Tor

if content 'links pages' are being closed , then one is tempted to fire up the obfuscated/encrypted kTorrent (or similar) with an "the onion ring" enabled system?

not sure what throughput one gets nowadays, but with torrents' , overnight downloads of tomorrows entertainment seems the rule.

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Anonymous Coward

How can it be?

How can it be an offence to give directions, for that is what a link is. It is not the material itself.

If you decide to drive in the M1 at 150mph (these were the days) and you get caught and find yourself in court. Am I guilty of an offence because I gave you directions to the M1?

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bar stewards

i reckon he should get a mirror of the site up on the piratebay's new domain "IFPI.com"

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@evil laugh

Don't be an idiot.

Google market capitalisation stands at around $190 billion.

GDP of the UK for 2006 was $1.93 trillion

It will be interesting to watch this story develop and see what the charges actually are.

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Flame

WTF?

How in the name of baelzebub can they arrest and charge someone for a crime that doesn't exist? Or are they just making it up as they go along these days? Or am I just being extraordinarily obtuse here?

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Stop

why is the site down then?

If the police can't say what he's been arrested for AND it has not yet went to court to be proven that indeed anything illegal has taken place...

the ISP bending over I suppose...

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Who makes the laws in this country?

Am i missing something here, or are Gloucester Police working for Trading Standards, who are working for FACT? So, the Police now report to corporation-owned propaganda machines other than the government now? Can I expect a visit from the police if I get into a dispute with a a mechanic over a repair on my car because he happens to be a member of a trade association?

What the hell is going on here? Why are we paying for police to be used as thugs to bully people on behalf of a trade syndicate?

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Stop

I'm sorry, but I'm with the pigs.

Consider the drugs world:

A) A white-van-man who takes a crate of cocaine up the M9 is a criminal.

B) A National Express coach driver who takes a passenger carrying a suitcase of cocaine up the M9 is not.

The difference?

The van driver made the trip to get the cocaine to his contacts. The coach driver was performing a legal, legitimate service and someone else abused that service, presumably without his knowledge.

TV-Links was part of the supply-chain of infringing content. Unlike Google, it's main purpose was to supply links to infringing content.

***********

@Morten:

"On a side note, it's a bit appalling how Free Speech seemingly doesn't matter any more. I mean, I this bar where, if you really try, you can find all kinds of interesting stuff that fell off the back of a truck. But I should presumably just shut my gob or I could face jailtime. Neat. Problem solved. Or maybe not..."

That's always been illegal in the UK. It's called being "an accessory to crime". If you know where someone fences goods, you're supposed to tell the police, not drum up business!

The question here is whether copyright law enables prosecution as an accessory. If it doesn't, the man shouldn't be in custody, but if it doesn't, it needs changed.

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Even if

* Even if the chap is found to be innocent,

* even if, in the cold light of day, charges are not brought,

let us not forget that this man has now had his fingerprints taken and his DNA sampled, and placed on the national databases where criminal records are kept,

and that he will now be a suspect in every crime committed in the UK until he is 100,

even if he has inconveniently died before then!

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