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back to article TV-Links man was arrested under trademark laws

Gloucestershire police have confirmed that a 26-year-old Cheltenham man at the centre of an investigation into the website TV-Links was arrested under section 92 of the Trade Mark Act, on suspicion of supplying property with a registered trademark, without permission. The man was taken into custody on Thursday last week after …

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Anonymous Coward

FACT

Sounds like they've got a bit of an ego problem.. someone needs to tell them that they are NOT the police and this isn't, quite yet, a fascist/communist state

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Alert

Trademark Infringement?

So, if I tell you that you can buy Heinz beans at www.tesco.com is that an infringement?

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Anonymous Coward

Search engines online shops also illegal, then...

If this site is illegal then any site that displays links that features trademarked names (by anyone other than the trademark holder) is surely also illegal.

I suppose the next target will be sites and even magazines that actually dare show pictures of trademarked items!

'Shooting yourself in the foot' comes to mind...

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Where did all the coppers go

Now we know why they don't have time to investigate fraud anymore - they are moonlighting for FACT

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Boooo....

I was wondering where the site went....there were links to some pretty darn good documentaries and such. :(

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Dan

this will come to nothing

someone else will put the site back up, things will carry on as before.

meanwhile the investigation has cost £1000s and crack dealers walk the streets unmolested.

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Trademark Infringement?

So, are they defining a URL as a trademark?

Or is it the use of a logo which was acting as the link button?

Either way i really do see this as a complete nonsense to go after this particular website. As was commented after the original story, why didn't the authorities just use this site to track where the copyrighted material was actually hosted and take action agaist those sites?

Or is this an indication of the quality and knowledge of the law enforcement personnel?

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Coat

you are the weakest link...

hmm, what about "google cache" and "the internet archive" if they store details of sites that are taken offline, surely they are just as bad?

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Black Helicopters

So half the internet is infringing...

So anyone who links to trademarked material is breaking the law now? Given that just about every website has trade names, copyrighted material etc., than half the links on the web will be leading you to information that falls foul of that ridiculous interpretation.

Next they'll be locking you up if you dare to speak a trademarked name without prior permission... those street level CCTV cameras'll have microphones attached in no time, with FACT operatives ready to pounce if you dare to distribute such information as "I like Hovis bread, did you know you can buy it at Asda?"... just you watch.

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Anonymous Coward

THIS is why it's important El Reg gets its FACTs right

As I've said (anonymously :)) on previous occasions, it's important El Reg gets its FACTs right in cases like this, rather than just regurgitating FACT/RIAA/MS "anti-piracy" press briefings.

Because if the FACTs had been clear in the first instance here, it would have been *even more* embarrassing to the Police, to Trading Standards, and to FACT than this already is.

I don't mind FACT making themselves look daft, but htf have they persuaded Trading Standards and the fuzz to act as their heavy mob? I can't even get the cops to turn out when a bunch of mindless yobs are demolishing stuff in the local park - "we must prioritise risk to life and limb", they say. Where's the risk to life and limb here, Inspector Knacker?

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Alert

Feel sorry for people working at FACT

Probably because this is the first bit of work they have had for ages. Whenever I hear their name a mental image of an office with nobody doing any work springs to mind (or maybe playing with loads of counterfeit software).

Think I'll go Anon on this one, if they are bored they might decide to pick on me for no reason.

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Bronze badge

Busy day for the Met then!

Busy day for the Met what with OiNK being pulled down as well. Like the previous poster said, no wonder real crimes are not getting solved, the coppers are all sitting in unmarked cars outside torrent admin's homes waiting for "the call"!

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Pictures

Didn't the site have little pictures to go with the shows? Perhaps he was hosting them and a pic of Mickey Mouse (or something) got him nicked.

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g e
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Ahhh bless

The Fanatics Against Clarity and Truth just love it don't they.

Makes you wonder whose advice they took to go forward with this (currently) dodgy looking action. Maybe they figure they can coerce the guy into some kind of plea bargain thing - something else I've never understood. Just why would you admit lesser guilt to anything if you're innocent as though the courtroom was just some big poker table.

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title...

@ GettinSadda - you said "So, if I tell you that you can buy Heinz beans at www.tesco.com is that an infringement?"

No, that wouldn't be a crime, however advertising where there are a load of Heinz beans that have been stolen and are being given away for free would be. (Different crimes, obviously, but analagous)

It's a bit of an odd decision to go after this guy though, as the first people you think that would be getting a visit from FACT/The Rozzers would be Google, with their massive piracy backed search engine (YouTube/Google Search). Unless they want to get someone who can't really defend himself so that there is a precident for when they do Google...

Having said that, it was pretty stupid for this guy to embed stuff, that's probably what done for him in the end.

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Flame

Mislabeled package

perhaps a better acronym for this copyright organization would be FICTION, or even FANTASY (this case certainly seems whimsical enough).

the F would stand for "fools", the I for "idiots", C for "cretins", T for "tools", A for "arseholes", S for "sheetheads" (ee:=i, but the filter doesn't know that), etc. Y is, of course, "youth" (all catchy acronyms have this).

and while i'm throwing stones, i don't suppose the police still serve their intended purpose, to protect and serve society? truly, they find so many ways to transcend their founding principle, it gives new meaning to "scope creep".

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Spongers

Good, it's about time the law was enforced with regard to all these parasites that seem to think that they're free to nick what they want provided it's online.

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Anonymous Coward

DMCA

The copyright owners could have used DMCA take-down notices for the actual content, but they didn't, perhaps to investigate the possibility of making money from this kind of distribution, though ad revenue or however.

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surely...

..embeding and hosting are totally different? the vids were still hosted on youtube/google video/veoh/stage 6/tututoo many other sites to list and he clearly stated where these were located.

p.s. is the wayback machine (google it) also infringing copyright?

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Paris Hilton

Trade mark law...

This isn't the first time trademark law has been brought in as a "we're gonna get him for something measure".

I remember a few years ago when some motorcycle dealers took to bringing in new bikes from over the channel, then changing the speedo and lights to UK spec and then selling them at a great saving over the official bikes. The big Japanese manufacturers tried to get them for various things, most of which were thrown out due to the free movement of goods laws of the EU, and they eventually resorted to persecuting, sorry prosecuting the dealer for use of their trademark without permission.

It seems to be used in the same way that anti-terror laws get abused left right and centre.

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Not really analogous

I don't think this situation is like saying you can get Heinz baked beans at www.tesco.com since Heinz gives Tesco permission to sell their beans.

A better analogy might be that it's like telling people you can get flawless copies of Heinz baked beans without paying Heinz (or anyone) from www.allurbeans.com.

Ditto with Hovis ;)

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pfft

I wonder if FACT got permission from GNR before using a photo with one of their monitors in it (trade marked logo visible) on their front page.

This sort of thing is a saddening waste of resources, why don't they turn FACT into something useful like .. err...... Forcefully Acting on Clitoris Terrorism? (sorry couldn't think of anything)

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Anonymous Coward

uk.gov

uk.gov has no interest in protecting the citizenry from yobs, theives, crack heads, chavs, etc. It is interested in protecting foreign companies copyright though.

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Anonymous Coward

@DMCA

No such thing this side of the pond, but aspects of the EUCD are similar. Don't know what the takedown or safe harbour provisions are though...

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Unhappy

The Americans have the RIAA

We have FACT.

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@Fraser

They have arrested him for trademark infringement. The law on trademarks makes no distinction between items that are stolen and items that aren't (but I believe it does make a distinction between items that are genuine and items that are fake).

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Coat

They got the name wrong....

I thought it was "Federation Against Royalties Theft" or....

oh nevermind...

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Alien

Bittorent usage

blizzard uses bittorrent to download patches to it's games

a LOT of open source projects use bittorrent to save bandwidth for downloading the CDs (gentoo, ubuntu, etc)

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Anonymous Coward

Link bouncing...

A thought: if you used a service like tinyurl to bounce the links through... What then? Does FACT go after tinyurl, or the maker of the tinyurl link?

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@JonB

Oh please. Don't even start that crap. Like many other people I watch Yank TV shows by downloading/streaming them, not because I'm a dirty little parasite, but because I won't be able to buy the DVD for at least a year after it shows in the states.

And you'll never believe this, WHEN it comes out on DVD I tend to buy it (providing it's reasonably priced) and delete the file on my PC to save space.

Yes I know, shocking isn't it.

Get a clue.

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Flame

Bring it back/on!

i dont see why we cant still have tv shows up there, i can understand newly released films being a problem, but surely the so called "free to air" programs arnt such a big deal! i say we get a petiton going!! haha

anyway the way i see it, is that its likely some big corporate company has seen an opertunity, to "cash in" on this and will probly set something up very similar in the near future, with a supscription charge ect ect... but first the competition has to be removed!

p.s did anyone make an offline copy of the site with all the links?

peace out

A

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Anonymous Coward

Money

Money and property. That's all the police & CPS are interested in dealing with - as in protecting it for those who pay the current govt's bills (party political bills). How else to explain thousands of police "protecting" Heathrow (owned by a Spanish company) from all those dangerous citizens/subjects this year?

Have any of you considered what CROWN Prosecution Service means and how it operates? Perhaps you should. Perhaps you should all think about the fact that England & Wales DID once have grand juries, where citizens/subjects (you pick) decided which cases should be prosecuted and which shouldn't.

The "great and the good" decided that was more than a little inconvienent and abolished them. Now we have an agency which acts in the interests of the Crown (govt) while being funded by us.

Constitution? England has heard of it.

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Pirate

@JonB

You will notice that no one who actually put up any of the dodgy material on to the intarwebs is getting their wrists slapped here... Neither is any of the countless people who accessed these links... so um, I don't really see how the law (or even WHAT law) is actually being enforced here.

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What if...

Just wondering whether TV-Links linked to content on Google Video or YouTube. Considering lots of companies have a presence on there, it would be an interesting argument to say that TV Links can't link to video X which is ours, but can link to video Y on the same site, because it is ours.

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Happy

For the police...

Perhaps if he put in,

"Here is my website, which links to copyright material (which is hosted on a number of Large companies servers), that i'm compiling for the authorities"

I'm sure thats a good way around it.

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Also...

1) We pay a Tv Licence

2) Most of the things we watch on the net will be shown on Digital TV.

So in theory they will get the money eventually.

Unless you can get a Region 0 (zero), some shows/films are never shown/sold outside the US, so they wont be losing any revenue.

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Anonymous Coward

Was this action legal?

Now lets read this bit again: "The man has not been charged with any offence, and has been released pending further investigation."

So a few questions if i may...

So are we saying here, the trademark and copyright laws are incompatible with this particular situation because the material was not hosted on tv-links servers?

Is it likely that F.A.C.T maybe "elaborated" on its findings to get the site down in the first place?

If the answers to the questions above are "Yes", wouldn't this mean that the facilitators at F.A.C.T could be charged with purgery along with wasting police time and resources?

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Alert

He should sue Gloucester Police and FACT

They can wish the law said something different all they like, but they have a duty to enforce the laws as they stand. At the very least he should file a complaint with the police complaints authority and his local MP.

I know the fashion in the UK is for the police to drive the law making with their demands, but this is one step beyond that.

FACT = Federation against copyright *THEFT*, even though there is not such thing as copyright theft, it's copyright infringement. So already you can see that group plays fast and loose with reality, so they claimed it was a copyright raid when it wasn't.

I also hope FACT weren't present during the raid, there was a problem with BSA attending software copyright raids, as the complainant they gained the opportunity to plant evidence by physically being involved in the raid. If FACT were present I think the raid is tainted by their presence. They are after-all liars, copyright infringement is not theft.

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Acrimonious Acronym

Maybe FACT means False Accusations Cost Thousands

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@ Analogies

Can we please have a new piccy meaning something like "really crap analogy follows" - currently it is a bit like having lots of ice cream flavours to choose from but none of them come with a big choccy stick.

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IT Crowd

Reminds me of the Anti-Piracy Ad from start of The IT Crowd (Series 2, Episode 3) which you can see right h... oh wait

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This post has been deleted by its author

Anonymous Coward

Various AC's and Daniel

>And you'll never believe this, WHEN it comes out on DVD I tend to buy it [at least a year later]

Nah, I don't and "tend" suggests you don't always?

>no one who actually put up any of the dodgy material

No, but the point is they got the one they could get hold of (who is facilitating the theft) thus preventing the theft (temporarily).

Actually it occurs to me that FACT are using TV-Links trademarks without permission in a manner that is damaging their reputation.

>1) We pay a Tv Licence

That doesn't give you total rights to anything that's put on telly though.

>2) Most of the things we watch on the net will be shown on Digital TV.

Paid for by companies selling the advertising space, if the adverts are bypassed, or if an advertiser thinks that a later showing will not actually get watched then the advertsing space is devalued and money is lost.

>so called "free to air" programs

You mean paid for by advertising? Or by the licence fee?

Advertsing revenues get diluted as described loosely above.

The licence fee produced stuff actually gets sold abroad, by sticking it online for free that also erodes the value of it and so costs money.

It's not the cost of the thing it's the value of the rights to the thing.

>its likely some big corporate company has seen an opertunity, to "cash in"

You mean the owner of something wants to make money out of it?

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J
Black Helicopters

Great...

"The man has not been charged with any offence, and has been released pending further investigation."

Welcome to a fascist state! I hope you enjoy being arrested whenever some (rich) private party so wishes, even if you committed no offense.

This is just like the IRS does in the US, going after people who committed no crime -- the income tax is voluntary (except in case of for profit activities), according to the code, or so I've heard...

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Nil

tv links was a saviour for me

I travel a hell of a lot with my job and i always used to watch stuff from tv links abroad as a kind of home comfort thing. Plus the tv in other countries dont cut it for me.

There are companies that sell you hard disk recorders for the very purpose of recording tv programs for watching at a later date at your own leisure. In fact BT (brittish telecom) have a new service for their broadband customers that gives you a digital tv box with a built in hard disk recorder for recording difital tv. I obviously cannot bring this abroad with me so i liked to use this site to watch my fav shows when abroad.

Anyway the quality of the shows is generally failry terrible although wathcable and I doubt this site was causing anyone to loose money. People still buy dvd box sets of shows despite watching stuff on tv links.

I think its lame that this site is not available anymore. Ah well I guess I will now have to use one of the many other sites that provide a similar service.

Get a life JonB

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IT Angle

TV-Links help people to buy things

I appreciate what FACT is trying to get at, It is morally wrong to link the stuff but it is not illegal and the reason why much of the stuff was not taken down is probably to help sales. I will admit that I watched any CSI episodes I missed on TV at TV-Links and then I go and buy the DVD boxset at the end of the season.

I have also been watching anime like Bleach, Naruto and One Piece from there because a friend recommended it to me. I will tell you now that If I couldn't watch the episodes one after another in order then it would have pissed me off and that if I couldn't watch the 1st few episodes for free then I would not have started. I have bought loads of anime merchandise and I wouldn't have without TV-Links.

FACT should be after Stage 6/Veoh/Youtube

Stage 6 is unreliable and Veoh has an idiotic new system that doesn't work so just go for Youtube!!

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Couter-sue!

http://www.fact-uk.org.uk/index.htm

I wonder if he copyrited the TV-Links logo?! They've definately taken a copy. http://www.fact-uk.org.uk/images/tvlinks.jpg, though it's likely he signed permission whilst in handcuffs and a birght lamp in his face.

I all seriousness, will someone PLEASE stop this madness. He has done nothing other than provide links on a webpage - it's the people hosting the content and the people who posted it in the first place they need to go after.

If i were to post a link to www.coca-cola.com am I in violation of their copyright?? I have no doubt the term 'Coca-cola' (thats 2 violations- time to bend over) is copyrighted and I certainly didn't ask permission!

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Joke

@b Shubin - Mislabeled Package

Best post of the lot, had me falling off my chair.

F.I.C.T.I.O.N.

or

F.A.N.T.A.S.Y

or

the new Shubinism perhaps. we get

F.A.C.T.A.S.Y.

It sounds like something my wife experienced last night.

(To top it off, the acronym is made up of random abusive names and makes no sense.)

All hail Shubin!

Henceforth, I do declare, all truly terrible Acronyms should be known as a Shubin. The mark has been set.

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@JonB

Oh stop the hate. I admit some of the comments here are taking it a bit far - but lets look at this logically.

The shows that were on there were shown on public TV. Free to record for all. These same companies are giving us the means to record these shows direct from the TV even without being there into a digital content as opposed to analogue (VHS).

When this happened the distribution increase of said programs was imminent.

You say that Advertising pays for the 'free to air' programs. Well allthoug you are right there - you are taking it out of context. Unlike something like google adwords - the advertisers pay for the length of the advert (3 seconds to 75 seconds) and the price varies on the time slot. THUS they will get the money for that time slot whether the said TV programs are distributed freely on the net or not. Lets face it - WE use TV links - and by WE I mean the whole 1% of the population that knows what TV Links is.

Getting the drift yet? Let me put it simpler. I jsut sent a globl email @ work to over 5000 colleagues. Only 32 people knew what tv-links was and 3 of them didnt use it because of 1 reason or another.

The point im trying to make is - it is harmless and isnt loosing them any money whatsoever from ad revenue or any other type of revenue.

What is next - FACT coming into my house and confiscating my DVD recorder because I burnt someone @ work a DVD of a Planet Earth he missed?

Its been taken too far this time - and this guy deserves at least an apology

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Coat

I guess the whole thing is...

Flaunting Urls Creating Kneejerk Effect Dishedoutby Uk Police.

Now if only there was an acronym for that........

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