back to article TV-Links man: 'I'm no master criminal'

The man arrested as part of the investigation into the TV-Links website has spoken to his local newspaper about his arrest. In a story from thisisgloucestershire.co.uk, David Rock, a 26-year-old computer engineer from Cheltenham, says he didn't think what he was doing was illegal. Rock was arrested just over a week ago in …

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  1. Lloyd
    Thumb Down

    To be fair

    He wasn't hosting the content he was just providing links to the streams or downloads which any google search would have yielded eventually, hardly criminal activity.

  2. Mike
    Dead Vulture

    c'mon, really?

    hones' guv, I didnt know that I was doing nuffin wrong.

    I liked the site, but it was always gonna be short-lived. That defence will never stand up in court.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    @Lloyd

    That is true but the way FACT and their cronies played it led to front page headlines in the Saturday edition of the local news paper of "The Pirate of Hester's Way".

    They purposely leaked misleading information painting this man as some sort of Pirate Mastermind because they knew the gutter press (which the Gloucestershire Echo manages to be quite often) would pick up on headlines like that.

    FACT don't care what the truth is - they want headline grabbing stories to scare people and if they have to lie and make things up to get them then they will. Lets face it they claim that its Copyright Theft when it isn't

  4. Tawakalna

    and to be even fairer

    I'm sending him some cash, as a thank you for the many hours of entertainment that his site has provided me.

    He should sue for false arrest and wrongful imprisonment because he hasn't committed a criminal offence, and it remains to be seen if he's committed a civil offence. No need for the cops to be involved at all (but he'll never get his DNA sample back)

  5. Christopher Rogers
    Dead Vulture

    tough

    luck. If he had have been a 60+ old man or woman whose life rotates around gardening and the the internet became a side hobby, then "i didn't know" would have more impact. a 26 year old working in the IT sector would be much more savvy, either that or a great bullshitter to get his job...,..

  6. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    re: c'monm, really?

    "That defence will never stand up in court."

    It should if he hasn't done anything wrong. If he was silly enough to host it then fair enough, but as many people have stated, providing a link on the internet to another site is NOT illegal.

    The most I can see he has done is annoy some publishers who don't understand the problem and have set the dogs on the wrong people.

  8. Keith
    Thumb Down

    Who is next, google, ebay, amazon?

    Exactly how far can you take a stupid situation - who will FACT and Trading Standards try and prosecute next, Google? After all they make their money storing and returning links at a person's request and hold links to copyrighted material.

    I dread to think what precident this could set if this man is actually prosecuted...

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @c'mon really

    Yes as techie people we know that really he knew that he probably helping copyright infringement, but it is important to have an appropriate law for this or anyone will be arrested for anything!

    We have enough new legislation in this country to cover most things but there is no clear ruling on linking to content on the internet, or at least the current view is that you are not breaking the law otherwise the internet would break.

    This guy should fight it tooth and nail as he did he did what many others have done, but was an easy target for the feds.

    Its also worth noting here that FACT only acted on the instructions of americans.... good to see we are at their call anytime they want to apply a non-UK law in this country.

  10. Michael Compton

    I think i know this chap

    Went to Uni with a Dave Rocks, seemed a well enough balanced person to me but there you go you just can't know if thats some master criminal beside you.

    The world is so much safer now I'm sure, think of the copyrights after all, poor wee copyrights.

    I know lobby is a powerfully tool of the corprats but it amazes be how easily they can get governments to act. If only citizens could get their government to act to their needs as well.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Are you sure

    Are you sure providing links to copyrighted material is not illegal? Seems like we have one or two lawyers on the reg.. lucky us eh? Do you need an example... Napster perhaps? Didnt store anything on the servers except links to the appropriate p2p clients.

  12. James
    Pirate

    Bollocks!

    Providing links to pirated content is very different to hosting pirated content. Following this logic, google, yahoo, microsoft and probably every other search engine out there is guilty of piracy on a scale thousands of times bigger.

    eg. type "ed2k simpsons" into google and count the number of ed2k links that get returned to download the simpsons film or even tv episodes.

  13. Jonathan
    Stop

    Hasn't broken the law...

    I would like to mention that this chap hasn't broken the law in anyway.

    Section 92 is very clear that: (Thanks Reg)

    "A person does not commit an offence under this section unless- (a) the goods are goods in respect of which the trade mark is registered, or (b) the trade mark has a reputation in the United Kingdom and the use of the sign takes or would take unfair advantage of, or is or would be detrimental to, the distinctive character or the repute of the trade mark."

    This law that FACT claimed he has broken doesn't apply to context in which it was used. For instance links to sites aren't goods; if it were the case, Google would be guilty of it by indexing sites.

    Bottom line - they couldn't couldn't arrest him for intellectual property or copyright breach and tried to bend a trademark law to fit the situation.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    RE: Are you sure

    Seemingly you do not have any idea of jurisdiction (or perhaps geography).

    Napster case == USA

    Gloucestershire != USA

  15. Mike
    Happy

    not illegal

    It's not illegal in your country yet. napster is a example of American law at work.. currently the only country in the free world were linking is illegal.

    however this British Chap has had his rights infringed on. he has the right to post information (all he did was categorize links providing a simple means to access Information) as long as it is not harmful to others. (a rule FACT has sidlind to trash his name) there is no example in the commonwealth of linking being harmful other than kid porn witch is illegal everywhere. and rightly so the only person his links infringed on were Corps.

    in the minds of the FACT peeps, this is alot like a gun crime. who actualy killed the person? the shooter? the parents of the shooter. the guy who sold the gun or the company that makes the guns?

    problem is this is not a gun crime. and big company's like the studios need to realize the information is out there. and if their going to peruse legal action they need to go after the people who produce this stuff not the guys who make it easy to access tv links went down i switched to another site. im not missing anything except the ease of tv links. witch is a hindrance but now that the best went down it won't be long till three more pop up looking just like it. take napster for an example. went down and when it was out fifty more sprung up and now they pay for offshore servers so gov can't touch em. use peer to peer only.

    FACT did nothing and will accomplish nothing.If tv links comes back up ill pay. because before there loss i took it for granted that it was there. now i will help it to my fullest extent keep it going im not paying 58 dollers to get cable a month.

    well thats my view.

  16. Farai

    Yup Yup

    I like the comparison with the gun killings and the gun manufacturers, and also the power of the corporate lobby versus the people's lobby (which in theory put the politicians into power in the first place)...

    I would go on to sue the ISP who allowed him to access his website, as well as the PC maker who made the pc he used to edit the website, and the power company who supplied the electricity, for without all these things there would have been no copyright infringement hahaha...

  17. Tom Haczewski
    Thumb Up

    I still don't get this.

    Surely he's done nothing illegal. Technically speaking.

    If you were walking down the street and asked a pedestrian "where's that chap that sells pirate DVDs?" and the pedestrian answers "over there, in that alley" then surely he's done nothing wrong. You couldn't nick the bloke - he's just pointed to somewhere else. He's not provided any dodgy content himself.

    The same applies here. He provided LINKS, and that alone - no actual hosted content.

    I reckon he'll get away with it.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    theft

    Did they take his computers/server away because that may be theft if FACT/trading standards have it. If not and he has not been charged the police should return it and he can go back on line in the clear .

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    FACT

    Have always been way OTT, from what I remember being written before it is mainly consisted of ex-plod. They did some heavy handed raids about 9 years ago on dvd suppliers that were holding region 1 dvds (back in the days when there was about 2 uk dvds and they were both crap)

    Quite how just having a trade organisation can basically buy real police time to bust people on tenuous grounds. I mean nothing will probably happen but it sends out the message "we know we haven't got anything but we will bust your arse"

    Lot of effort over multinationals, yet I don't see extra plod on the street after a 90 year old was beaten up last week.

  20. Tim Lake

    @ Rik

    No, compiling lists of expensive goods and when the owners are out is not illegal either (except maybe on grounds of privacy etc).

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If they get a conviction

    Then I think I will set up a site for people to donate money for a private prosecution of all the major search engines after a prosecution of FACT for the lies they have spread to the press regarding this case which is beyond any shadow of a doubt attempting to pervert the course of justice, I will have to speak to a QC to find out if those companies that back to FACT can also be prosecuted.

  22. Edward Pearson
    Thumb Down

    Hogwash.

    I once read about a case of a (sick, twisted) man who owned a website, which linked to various illegal child porn sites (are there any other kind?).

    This man got off scot free, because he had none of the offending images/movies on his HD and was merely linking to these sites.

    A total bastard like that still stalks our streets and isn't listed in the Sex offenders register.

    Am I to derive from this article that the powers that be are now taking a harder line on copyright infringement than they do on child abuse? Thats the logical conclusion one can draw from this. I'm left feeling shocked and sickened.

    If this isn't the case, its hard to see what point they're trying to make by dragging this poor chap through the courts and having him humiliated by the local press.

  23. tfewster Silver badge
    Pirate

    Maybe he _is_ the _master_ criminal

    I suspect that FACT might try to use the UK conspiracy law against him, or at least aiding and abetting. Making it easy to find "illegal" content is a level above what Google does.

    Just look at the first (real) result returned by

    http://www.google.com/search?complete=1&hl=en&q=uk+conspiracy+law&btnG=Google+Search

    and who owns that site...

    Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed TV-Links to watch stuff that will never be available in the UK** but I bet they'll try to make an example of him

    **Though why not? I thought that the "long tail" theory meant that just a few paying viewers would repay the cost of making existing material available

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    Hmm... I'm not sure

    There was a Big Issue seller in Peterborough. Met Prince Charles at one point. Anyway he was sent down for putting people in touch with drug dealers. Didn't get his hands dirty himself, just told people where to go and got occasional backhanders.

    Oh, and he sold the big issue for about 5 years in the centre of town which nobody thought was odd.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    you can get nicked in the UK for stuff that isn't illegal

    or you could, a little while back.

    Trespass isn't a (or wasn't) a criminal offence, but "conspiracy to trespass" was the offence a number of folks were tried for (can't remember the end result. "Prompt please"?).

  26. Nìall Tracey

    To all who say...

    ..."what about Yahoo!? What about Google?"

    Well, maybe that's the point. If they can squeeze this case through existing legislation, or use it as a lever in lobbying for a change in the law, what about Google?

    If this guy goes down, Google will have to rethink, replan and find a way to keep warez off the results page....

  27. Lloyd
    Paris Hilton

    The burglary analogy is flawed

    The information was already in the public domain so a better analogy would be to say that if a newspaper were to mention that Kate Moss (listing her address) was away on a photo shoot and someone wrote the pertinent information down and then distributed it in the form of a flyer, then were Ms Moss' property to be burgled who would be liable? The newspaper or the flyer distributor or simply just the burglar? The information was already in the public domain via the newspaper so the distributor feasibly shouldn't be liable as you could never say where the information came from without catching the burglars and asking them. Even then it would be almost impossible to bring a successful prosecution against the leaflet distributor.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As a matterless FACT

    Hey people. Try this. Pick a link, any link. I opted for this one

    (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/10/29/no_master_criminal/)

    however you may prefer to opt for one of your own choosing. Navigate to the page and.. ta da.. Copyrighted material..

    (bottom right in my choice)

    I hope you are all ashamed of yourselves. I know I am.

    PS. Some particular aspects of the Creative Commons license are exempt from the above.

  29. Brett

    Another uniformed comment

    So sounds like this chap is guilty of manuly doing a process that google et al do automatically.

    Is that the problem? Not the link but the intent. I am against this procecution but perpaps the charge could have been aiding and abeting.... Helping someone comit a crime is a crime. However google could do the "Whoops look what people have SOMEHOW managed to add to our database. We try to find these....."

    Now if google was paid by a warez hoster for top billing THAT would be a crime as they are making a profit.

    PS I don't live in the UK or USA but AUS so I really don't know what I'm talking about :)

  30. JC
    Black Helicopters

    What IF

    What if this guy is a master criminal pretending to be a normal person pretending to be several different people who rip these shows pretending to individually share and host the content pretending not to be the one normal person, to obfuscate things by linking to his own sites to throw people off even further when he claims to be an IT person instead of claiming complete ignorance of all things technical?

    I'm fairly sure you won't even be able to get me to agree that this chameleon exists at all! We all know web links are self-propigating.

  31. Gower
    Pirate

    @ hogwash

    unfortunately some fat cat isn't losing out on his cream when it comes to exploitation of our children so they don't give a shit, whereas something that is potentially going to hinder them getting another Jag or Ferrari well it simply must be stopped!!!

    I think if they pooled they're efforts into making file sharing Piracy a perfectly above board activity I think it would go some way to stopping other most heinous activities from being conducted, but then again who gives a shit about each other anymore lets make some MONEY!!! or to those of you who think it is "criminal" or "theft" to rip and file share lets make other people MONEY!!!

  32. Mike
    Happy

    Google

    google will never have to worry nor will yahoo. there publicly traded company's. they have lobbies t. they have money. and last but not least they tow the line.

    do you remember a few years back when google and yahoo agree to turn over there logs to the govs that requested them? so they could better track people who were planing crimes or looking at child porn?

    point being i hear people saying google will have to watch there backs. we all know that won't happen cause mony counts in the world of piracy. what is the diffrence between a privateer and a pirite? the queen backs one and not the other.

    the states and brits back google and yahoo. why because they tow the company line

    Again only my feelings

  33. Nick Ryan Silver badge
    Joke

    Re: Hogwash.

    Of course copyright "theft" is *much* more important than tracking and prosecuting murderers, kiddie fiddlers, gang crime and (these days) "unimportant" stuff like muggings and burglaries. None of these people pay much to get results, whereas the industry cartels have lots of cash and are therefore much more important. It's simple economics.

    Ruining one man's livelihood is much easier than actually doing any police work and there's less paperwork to fill out as well.

  34. Andy Worth

    But Google DO make a profit from piracy......

    At least in a round-about way. They have people who pay them for top billing on particular searches for a start, and other advertising that they make money from. Now it is fair to say that Google would not BE what they are without the search engine, which people CAN use to search for illegal links, or sites hosting illegal links. So lets say that for example, 10% of Google searches are to find illegal content, given how much money the company makes now that's quite a bit of money that Google make from piracy isn't it?

    Of course they'll claim that their search engine allows you to search for ANYTHING and it is not only for pirated material, but then I would say that they've done almost nothing to actually prevent the pirate searches.

    Of course, they won't attack Google, they have too much money and can afford big lawyers. Instead the RIAA/MPAA/FACT like to pick on the little people who they know cannot afford a decent defense.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As far as I recall...

    The original article, that I can't be arsed to look up, said that the guy embedded some of the video on his web page. Links or no, this would probably be enough to allow FACT to get a warrant for a search and IMO was pretty stupid. I really don't think that he would have been done for just links, a cease and disist maybe, but I doubt a raid.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    FACT are a bunch of clowns

    i know this guy personally, and can vouch that he had sought legal advice and had been told that he WAS NOT breaking any current UK law (and that came from a professional solicitor). It genuinely was a hobby and not some master plan to take over the world!!!

    FACT have just cobbled some trumped up charges because they can't actually use any real law. They are simply using this for publicity, I bet this will never get to court but it wont stop the self-important-too-fat-and-saggy-for-real-duties ex filth from getting huge fat boners (and tugging each other off) over their "major bust".

    The fact (no pun intended) of the matter is they haven't got the balls or ability to go after those hosting the content (like youtube and google video) so they picked on a small fry so they could tell the wife they "still got it".

    I'll wager that the orificers of FUCT all had their batman costumes on that weekend as the celebratory spanking paddle was passed around the sty.

    Whilst mentioning the sack of crap that is the Glos Echo, it's funny to see they've devoted a page story about how hard the life of a family of drug dealers have been. Plus a word of advise, NEVER put your email address into their site as they sell it to other parties and you will get spammed.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fair Trial?

    Surely the biased statements by FACT and their gutter-press co-conspirators will make any legal proceedings null and void?

    From the description:

    "The TV-Links site allowed users to share links to various sites that host content from TV programmes and films."

    it sounds more like a Facebook for IP-violators than a Google/Amazon/Yahoo!. Has anyone gone after Facebook for posting links to stuff like this?

  38. Henry
    Boffin

    obfuscation

    dear world, without meaning to be a killjoy, surely you gotta wonder why he went to such elaborate lengths to anonymise his involvement with the site and obfuscate the hell out of the links he was providing. at least google lets you request takedowns.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Section 92

    The issue would be part b (edited for emphasis):-

    "(b) the trade mark has a reputation in the United Kingdom and the use of the sign takes or would take unfair advantage of (...) the trade mark."

    I think it's fair to say that the various copyright holders mentioned on the site have a reputation in the UK, and that using their mark to point ot stolen content would be taking unfair advantage of said mark.

    It seems very extreme to arrest him without simply requesting he take down the site beforehand though. It would also be hard for them to demonstrate that it's actually "taking advantage" since he didn't make any money from the site.

    It's good to see the lad hasn't been charged for such trivia, and won't be "dragged through the courts" at all.

    @Gower

    > lets make some MONEY!!!

    > (...) or to those of you who think it is "criminal" or "theft" to rip and file

    > share lets make other people MONEY!!!

    Isn't the whole thing avoiding spending your MONEY!!! though?

    So when it's someone elses money, that's bad money, but when it's yours that's good money is it?

    @Tim Lake

    Regarding the rather bad burglary analogy, while it's true that this isn't illegal, surely you can see it's immoral?

    The police have more extensive powers of arrest than other people and only need a vague hint that there might be an offence committed, the trespass thing is "aggravated trespass" which is an offence.

  40. Cameron Colley

    Re: Another uniformed comment

    One of the issues here is that here in the UK it is not an offence to aid and abet "copyright theft" -- so this guy has been charged with some kind of trademark infringement -- basically so that they have something to prosecute him for.

    It's marvellous living in a country where the justice system thinks it's acceptable to cause GBH to a pensioner, but completely unacceptable to perhaps allow someone to see something which may mean that they don't pay someone some money, which they may not have paid anyhow.

    The moral of this story, and similar (Mr modchip, for example), is that if you want to see a movie, listen to some music, or play a video game -- beat a few old people to death and steal their money. The UK legal system approves of that.

  41. Paul Charters

    Oh come on!

    As much as it isn't technically illegal to link to copyrighted material, face the reality that if you are providing the public with a direct link to the data you are complicit in the spread of copyrighted material.

    I'm no fan of some copyright laws and the allowances given to distributors for limiting use of a product you buy such as a DVD or CD, and I believe all advertising of alternate products on such DVDs should be banned. However, I'm intelligent enough to recognise that if I'm searching out illegal material, and my very living is that of a technical engineer, I wouldn't really have much of a defence.

    In this case, technically thanks to the LETTER of the law rather than the SPIRIT of the law, he will probably get away with it - but it will be used as a rallying cry by the industry to tighten up the laws and punishments.

    Of course, once the laws are tightened up there is more of a chance that the authorities will go after companies like youtube and google. They'd need a very very solid case to go after companies that can hire lawyers en masse. The Chewbacca Defence (South Park reference) has saved murderers before, if the law isn't stricter then the authorities will not waste their money defeating it.

  42. Daniel
    Unhappy

    @ Edward Pearson

    Thats all well and good, but if they took down the sites which included the illegal stuff then people wouldnt be able to link to anything.

    Its easier to create a page with links, than to maintain a server full of illegal content (Cost+Time). For every server of illegal goods, there are dozens of webpages linking to them.

    TBH they [FACT,USA,ETC] should prosecute the hosts and not the people linking, but that means big money and big lawyers (which probably scares them). They seem to think its best to spent money on frying one or two little fish.

  43. Rob Aley
    Unhappy

    Not theft

    An AC spoke : "Did they take his computers/server away because that may be theft if FACT/trading standards have it. If not and he has not been charged the police should return it and he can go back on line in the clear"

    Unfortunately it wouldn't be theft, as among other things to you need to prove the following points for theft :

    - Dishonesty : The plods that took it can say that based on the information they received they had reasonable grounds to think that the computers may have evidence of a crime on them. Thus there is no (legal, anyway) dishonesty on their part.

    - Intent to permanently deprive : Even if they could be proved to be dishonest, there is no intent to permanently deprive the owner of the property, as the Police will state that their intention is to return the property at the end of their invesitgation. This may be a LONG time from now, as even though the chap was released without charge (or was he just given Police Bail?) the invesitgation may last much longer (and of course the Police may decide to charge him at a later date if they discover any actual evidence of crime).

    Of course, if it turns out in due course that the Police didn't have sufficient grounds for the arrest/search/seizure in the first place, then their actions after that will most likely be illegal and he would have grounds to complain/sue. However an arrest just has to be based on "reasonableness" rather than absolute guilt, otherwise you couldn't arrest someone until they had been found guilty by a court! This all seems unreasonable to us, but the Police have got away with a lot worse than this under the banner of what is reasonable.

    As an aside, I'm an ex-plod, and crap like this (particularly in the area of IT related crime) was one of the reasons that I quit the force.

  44. Chris Neale
    Stop

    Guilty of a different offence maybe?

    Lots of people are saying he's not guilty of copyright infringement. I'd agree with that. But one reader said if you pass on info about a dodgy dvd seller that's not a crime.

    Well in this case his website was basically advertising the location of copyright infringements so others could take advantage of it. So he was aware of a crime being commited by not one, but multiple other individuals...and did not report it.

    I'm sure the sentence for "failing to report a crime" is pretty low and doesn't grab as many headlines but they should add that to the list of charges if they want to be sure of a convinction on *some* reasonable grounds.

  45. Duncan
    Thumb Down

    Hardly the head of a pirate ring

    Common I don't think it is actually illegal to provide links to content on the internet, if that is the case then we need to dig further and bust anyone who ever linked to tv-links which in-turn linked to illegal content. I think trading standards made a bit of a booboo here and I for one hope they get there sorry asses kicked for it as they should have a better understanding especially if they plan to bust down peoples doors.

    Bet the register has linked to dodgy sites before in articles so watch out!

    Maybe good will come out of this in clearly establishing that this kind of activity simply isn’t illegal.

    Also this was a pretty good site and I miss it, although I never downloaded anything I just liked the design a lot, honest!

  46. Dave

    @JonB

    I think you'll find that the law considers "taking advantage", whether fair or unfair, to imply some pecuniary benefit to the alleged offender. If he was doing it for free then I don't think this one will stick. Of course, if he's hosting ads on the site then it gets more difficult.

  47. Chris Cheale

    Napster and Betamax

    ----

    Are you sure providing links to copyrighted material is not illegal? Seems like we have one or two lawyers on the reg.. lucky us eh? Do you need an example... Napster perhaps?

    ----

    Technically Napster were done for inducing copyright infringement, not copyright infringement itself. The argument being that the vast majority of Napster users were using it to share copyrighted material (music). Napster was generating advertising revenue based on the back of a user-base that wouldn't exist without that copyrighted music - basically if it was all garage-bands giving their music freely Napster would have had significantly fewer users, advertisers and income.

    What this guy did was exactly the same (although I've no idea whether he was selling advertising) - inducing copyright infringement.

    Google/YouTube and all the other search engines do something similar, but they have an important get-out clause - the technology has a large legitimate user-base. It's the Sony defence from the Betamax days. Yes the technology _could_ be used for copyright infringement (and therefore is) but there's a lot of non-infringing use going on as well. The defence failed for Napster because, compared to infringing usage, there really wasn't a whole lot of legitimate usage going on (and the biz was out to nail them).

    It can work if the controls are in place (which is very, very difficult with P2P) look at garageband.com or download.com (the music section) - mostly unsigned bands with some bigger artists putting music up for streaming - or iLike where it's (mostly) just snippets. The distributor (cnet for instance) can control what material is being distributed and how.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    I used TV-Links to watch Red Dwarf....

    ...Red Dwarf I watched years ago on BBC2, I've ssen it and recorded half of it on VHS. Needless to say I still have the videos but dare not place them in my video player as they'll probably stretch! So I watched them on TV-Links.... Was I comiting a crime?

    In short:

    * I have a copy of the show, recorded from TV

    * I watched it from an internet link I didn't pay for

    * Result: ?

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Go

    re: Guilty of a different offence maybe?

    OK, how about this for a theory then. I was known to watch episodes of Stargate Atantis through TV Links (content hosted on various servers around the internet). At no point did any of those episodes state they were copyrighted material.

    So how exactly IN THE EYES OF THE LAW was he able to "report a crime" when there was no clear evidence that any crime had been committed?!

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Chris Neale

    Actually, Both Copyright and Trademark infringement are civil matters in the UK, so not criminal offences, so therefore I can't see how he can be done for Aiding and Abetting a Criminal Offence, to use the full title

  51. Stephen Gray

    Bunch of arse

    I'm gutted its gone, used to catch up with stuff I've missed, I've even purchased entire series on DVD after watching so screw the studios, from now on I'm going fully illegal and downloading as much content as possible.

  52. Lucky
    Thumb Up

    Sad

    Sorry to see the site go, it has been great company for me since my Dad died and I spent many hours glued to it... Respect to the man that ran it, he truly showed all the TV companies how it should be done... I hope they let you off mate!

  53. Igor Mozolevsky
    Gates Horns

    Huh?..

    I can't believe the industry is so thick to sue, instead of seeing it as an opportunity to jump in and offer a decent pay per view at a decent price - there's clearly a demand there!!!

    Clearly, let's sue to make an example instead of let's do proper business and actually fill a hole in the market thinking is at work here!

    When is the industry going to wake up to the fact that

    WE ARE SIMPLY TIRED OF WAITING FOR FILMS/SERIES TO BE RELEASED AT LEAST HALF A YEAR LATER AFTER THEY HAS BEEN RELEASED IN THE STATES???

    They're not losing money because of pirating, they're losing money because of idiocy and ignorance!

    /rant over

  54. AndyB
    Thumb Down

    Robin Hood Syndrome

    Whether or not this bloke has broken the law, FACT (as well as the RIAA, MPAA, etc) are continuing to shoot themselves in their own feet.

    The companies they represent continue to piss off their legitimate customers with DRM, forced trailers and anti-piracy messages (on DVDs) and various other methods that attempt to protect their interests (but do no more than annoy users).

    The upshot of this is that most of the music and movie buying public view the 'pirates' as being more like Robin Hood than Blackbeard.

    The ONLY way FACT will gain the upper hand in their fight against copyright 'theft' will be to get the consumer on-side. Taking the piss and backing it up with threats just won't work.

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    Kudos

    First off great site full of shows I saw as a kid plus good for seeing if shows are any good or not as well as seeing stuff i missed first time (dr who classic).

    Now I'm against piracy for profit as you don't know where the moneys going but we all lend dvds music etc to each other. So is this against the law? (not yet at any rate).

    I'm not a legel eagle but copyright is an issue I feel strongly about, so my understanding of the law is that it is ok to share as long as you are not making money out of it. So why not leave tv-links as it is but report any sites that are allowing downloads and charge people for viewing something more than once or adding advertising revenue. Also shows that i for one watch on there i am going to buy on dvd when available and affordable.

    But all in all the copyright laws need updating and making clearer not some annoying ad at the beginning of a dvd.

  56. jason
    Pirate

    The funny thing...

    The funny thing is that most of the content that was being LINKED to was actually being hosted by sites like you tube and google movies. It's a shame that someone can be arrested for shady allegations. I dont see anyone cracking down on google or you tube. Did anyone contact Mr Rock to ask him to remove any of the links? What about all the other thousand link sites i find who have links to the same content? And to the person who put up the directions to homes with things to steal, it wasnt directions to homes to steel, it was LINKS to websites that have illegal records of movies, links to google movies, you tume, youku, veoh, sites that are hosting the illegal content and not being arrested. SCAPEGOAT/EXAMPLE = DAVE ROCKS.

  57. Mark Wills
    Thumb Down

    Google aid piracy

    I typed "dvd clone" into google.co.uk and it came up with a SPONSORED (i.e. paid for) link for a program called... DVD Clone.

    So, using the same argument as FACT, Google should be prosecuted, because they provide a link to a site which provides software that permits the illegal copying of DVDs. See you court Google? Er, I think not...

  58. Damian Wheeler

    remember MP3s4Free?

    A case a few years ago in Aus (I know its not UK, but it isn't USA either) similar to this ended badly for the little guy. This guy ran a site dedicated to linking to illegal MP3's also under the excuse that links aren't illegal. He was also an ex-cop so thought he knew where he stood. Plug "mp3s4free case" into your favourite search engine.

    Most pages these days containing link also contain clickable ads to bring in funds to support hosting the page. If TV-links man had this arrangement then he could be profiting from providing the links (as that is the reason people visit his pages). That would also be bad for him.

  59. Thomas Jerome
    Pirate

    FACT Hunt - Scared of the Interweb

    Typical Hollywood studio reaction. Middlemen and bean counters only saw lost revenue and failed to see the potential of TV Links - many people I've spoke to about it have all said that they'd happily pay a small monthly fee, around £5 or an annual subscription or whatever, for full access to the site.

    The studios missed out on an opportunity here. This is pretty much Hollywood's Napster, only on a smaller scale.

    I was looking forwards to catching up on Heroes and taking a trip down memory lane with the Mysterious Cities of Gold (which you can't buy anywhere). Ho hum.

    Remember kids, Winners Never Use Drugs and Piracy Funds Terrorism.

  60. jimibe
    Coat

    wouldnt this make google illegal

    Im not sure, but as google links and hosts many of the videos they should be more responsible legaly than tv-links. also surely Google link to millions of illegal websites, so how do they get away with it?

  61. Ben Mortimer
    Pirate

    The real irony

    is that the popularity of programs such as Battlestar Galactica and Heroes is partially down to (indeed in the UK almost exclusively down to) sites like this. Let's face it, how many people from the UK watched shows through TV links, then told our mates about them?

    Why were Heroes, Dexter and Lost popular in the UK? Because of sites like this (this article http://www.mindjack.com/feature/piracy051305.html has a lot to say on the issue). Anyone who listens to radio one regularly could quite easily tell Edith Bowman had been watching hookie downloads of Heroes long before it came out, and she, like everyone else who had done the same thing raved about it to the less technologically savvy folk, who then watched it a few months down the line.

    Even more ironic is the fact that I will STILL watch repeats of shows on TV despite having seen them online.

    And if I'm wrong, why is it that pilots for Pushing Daisies; The Bionic Woman and The Sarah Connor Chronicles have been flying around the internet for months if not to build up publicity for shows. It's not like they've been put online by anyone other than studio marketing execs to do the same job as preview screenings for a lot less money.

    I can understand studios being a bit narked about links to brand new films being posted, on the site, but even in this case most people who watch these will STILL go out and watch the film. If you don't believe me look at the increase in box office take this year over previous years, despite the increase in piracy.

    Let's be totally honest here, the prosecution of David Rock isn't about money (I can't imagine he made a great deal from TV links), and it wasn't about posting copyrighted content freely available online (all the major TV studios are now posting episodes of their shows on their own websites). It was entirely to do with a fear on the part of the studios of a loss of control. Control over release dates, schedules and of course territorial screening rights.

    The irony is, of course that by fighting people like Rock the studios are shooting themselves in the foot. As has been said before, if you take down one site a new one will spring up. If you beat one technology a more anonymous one will be created. What these studios, and also companies like Sky and the BBC should be doing is working with people like David Rock to work out some way of turning a profit from these services. It wouldn't even be hard: TV-links pays a premium for the UK linking & hosting rights, and then gets to cover their site in banner ads. Or perhaps a 30 second commercial before every screening (as already happens on the sites of the US TV networks)

    At the end of the day a lack of patience with the vast gaps between US and UK air dates and a desire for viewing convenience are the main reason for sites like this, not an unwillingness to pay a small fee (and I stress SMALL, and monthly, not pay per view) and this is in no way funding other crimes (ironic that an organisation named FACT can be so wrong). If these concerns were addressed properly and in a reasonable fashion then this whole ridiculous situation would never have needed happen in the first place

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Alien

    Making a Martyr and Spreading Fear How Stupid Do They Think We Are????

    This is nothing more than Fear Tactics and making a Martyr out of Rock, like everyone knows if it wasnt Rock it would have been someone else because there is a market for sites like this........We have all been controlled and puppeteered, I think the people these days are more switched on, and like someone else said why should we pay to watch hrs of pathetic advertisements with all that subliminal bullshit. I hope the fat cats get hit right in the pocket.People will just find a way around it anyway, I think if anyone is scared its the fat cats, loss of control ha ha, but what really is control Everyone knows there will just be another 3 sites in its place, so we will just see what they try and throw at Rock, but they should be careful because it could infringe on Google and a list of other high profile sites and hosts

  63. Nick
    Thumb Down

    I Say - people searching to squeeze pennys from purses.

    TV links utilized the technology that was already freely available to the public wrapped in a no mess site layout - it gave the community exactly what most sites have failed to.

  64. Dafydd Jones

    a product of their own laziness

    Lets be honest, if the industry had got its act together years ago and provided a reasonable alternative to sites like tv-links then none of this would have had to have happened. Instead they were too busy worrying about DRM and even now they've got it sorted they still go about it the wrong way. If i want to watch channel 4 programs i have to load up 4OD and type in my user name and password, same goes for the bbc iplayer. I don't know about you but I dont want to be typing in my username and password everytime i want to watch an episode of hollyoaks then have to load another application and type them in again when i want to watch eastenders.

    Sites like tv links give you everything you need all in one place and the industry should be taking a similar approach, why don't they all sign up and get themselves on Joost or create something similar?

    Quote:

    "I'll wager that the orificers of FUCT all had their batman costumes on that weekend as the celebratory spanking paddle was passed around the sty."

    ...Genius

  65. Fred McCoy
    Flame

    The wrong idea (reposted to be re-read)

    I was a fan of the tv-links website, and I enjoyed watching the rerun shows that were posted there. In my opinion, these "Media Industry" people have the wrong idea. Instead of shutting down the site(s), they should collect money from the "sponsors" of the site, or a tv-movie-music studio should sponsor it themselves, inserting commercials when appropriate, just like a television network.

    Take for example, the classic tv show M*A*S*H, provided by 20th Century Fox, shown on CBS back in the 70's, for free. All you needed was rabbit ears and electricity for your tv set. Today, anyone with cable television can see it several times a day on several networks, all for the cost of a monthly cable tv fee. But, for some reason, you are not allowed to watch it from a website, even though you pay a monthly internet fee.

    The reason is because FOX doesn't allow it, because FOX isn't being paid for it when you watch it online. So, the solution is, to have a sponsor pay for it, with commercials and website sponsors who pay the royalties, fees, etc, to FOX; just like television networks do, and collect a small percentage from broadband internet providers that allow access to that media server.

    Perhaps even better, is to have Fox themselves host the show on their media server, and sponsor the show themselves, with FOX movie trailers, links to events, shows, etc, as if it were a new tv-network. After all, what is the difference between a tv network and an internet data server?

    They do much the same thing: provide information and entertainment. In fact, this could the perfect time to go ahead, and have all the tv networks (or cable networks) provide access to the classic shows online, (WITH SPONSORS) so people can enjoy high quality classic tv shows WHEN THEY WANT TO. I do not mind watching commercials on the tv, why would I mind them on the computer screen? (as long as they dont hijack my browser and try to sell me levitra, or block 9/10ths of my screen with flashing noisemakers while I am trying to watch the show).

    TV Shows are segmented to include commercials anyhow, so PUT commercials IN THERE. If it's a Sitcom, like "Married with Children" then have Fox sponsor it with fox shows, movies, events, etc. Or, if it's a drama, like ER, then have NBC sponsor it, etc. My point is, it takes so MUCH to stop it, but so little to help it.

    They've done all the hard work: collecting the shows and server space and bandwidth. All you have to do is tell the proprietor that you must sponsor it for it to be legal, then you can feature your shows and events on HIS server with HIS bandwidth, and if he dont like it, buy the site, improve the content, and administer it yourselves. I do not see any reason why the big tv networks dont go ahead and start providing access to their shows over a broadband connection, with appropriate commercials as sponsors.

    The movies are a different subject though. If a movie can be seen on tv, then it should be viewable on the internet with commercials between segments. but in the case of the cam-corder piratings, those are wrong and the people responsible for their creation and distribution should be busted. But they are usually from China so there isn't anything that can be done. For example, I was browsing the movies and I noticed Transformers. I know the dvd was not yet out, so I knew it was likely a pirated copy, and I did not watch it.

    I DID however, watch Andromeda because I was never able to catch it when it was on (it was syndicated so I could never find it on at a decent hour). But, thanks to tv-links, I was able to catch it, from the first show, thru the first season, and I have become a fan of it. Now, if the show had been sponsored, that would have been fine. But it was not, so somehow it was considered illegal, even though, it's an old rerun show, that was only "legal" for me to watch at 2 am on some UHF channel from another town.

    My point is, that the internet is a new "tv channel" and someone is going to get in on it and make a lot of money, and please MANY people with high-speed connections. The PC will become the new Tivo. PC's are getting faster and more flexible, it is only a matter of time. Stop thinking Old fashioned and make ready the NEW tv-channel, on your start menu.

    You hear all this talk about the recording artists trying to crack down on people for having illegal copies. But isn't is true that if you buy the media, (song, tv-show, movie) you have access to it? How long do you have access to it? Until you sell it? What if you lost it? What if I have seen it already? Am I not allowed to remember seeing it without paying a fee?

    I am a big Aerosmith fan. I have bought several albums: many of which have the same songs on them. If I want to hear "walk this way", even though I have it on the "Aerosmith classics LIVE" cd, as well as "big ones", do I have to pay to put it on my computer, or to play the MP3? What if there is a compilation album, with say 2/3 of the songs are from albums I already own, does that mean I already own 2/3rds of that album? Shouldn't I be able to pay 1/3rd of the compilation album's cost to buy the songs I DO NOT own? Do I have to buy stuff I already have to get stuff I do not have? What if I go to a concert and hear the other 1/3rd of the songs on the aforementioned album, do I now get the ablbum free, because I own 2/3rds of the media already, and I have a concert ticket that granted me access to the other missing 1/3rd?

    Now, what if I had went to a theater and saw Transformers? Once I bought the ticket, do I not have rights to view the intellectual property? Am I supposed to forget it once I leave? Sure, if I want to see it again, I have to buy another ticket, but that is to pay the movie theater for the service. (the seat, the screen, the speakers).

    I already have access to the intellectual property, because it was given to me when it was shown. I'm not allowed to duplicate it to make money, but I am allowed to remember it and mention it to my friends. Now, once I got home, since I had already SEEN the movie, do I not have the ability to see it online? What if I could prove I saw the movie already. Do I get to watch it online? Do I get a copy of the dvd for free, since I've already seen it? Or, do I get the dvd at a discount, just to cover the cost of producing the dvd disc, since I have already been granted access to the intellectual property when I bought a ticket?

    What if i bought the dvd? Could I THEN watch it online? Could I download it and watch it on someone elses computer, since I own the dvd? If not, whats the difference if I took MY dvd over to his house and let him watch it? I am curious how this works. If I am not trying to sell it or make money off its distribution, shouldn't I have unlimited access to it, once I buy the media?

    It is a sad SAD world when you have unlimited access to sodomy, rape, incest, beastiality, pedophilia and murder, but you arent allowed to watch "I love lucy" without getting arrested... BUT, that's the bean counter for you. He doesn't care about you or your happiness, just your money, and he will spend every waking moment trying to nickle and dime you to death.

    Windows 98 was the beginning of turning your computer into a media platform. That was 10 years ago. Why hasn't the entertainment industry caught up with Windows 98? WE NOW HAVE the hardware, and the bandwidth, it can happen. TV has to go digital in the USA in 2009 or 2010, so WHY NOT go ahead, and make it stream thru a PC? Why not have a tv-links?

    IMO, tv-links was before its time, and had to rely on poor quality choices. But, I am sure that there is a tv or cable network out there that is going to make this happen, and mark my words, it is coming. TV-links shouldn't be punished: it should be SUPPORTED AND IMPROVED AND MADE LEGAL WITH SPONSORED CONTENT.

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