Surfthechannel founder gets four years prison time for piracy

After making nearly $55,000 per month with Surfthechannel, Anton Vickerman is convicted of two counts of conspiracy to facilitate copyright infringement.

In the continuing fight against copyright infringement, U.K. authorities sentenced the owner of Surfthechannel.com to four years in prison today.

Anton Vickerman, 38, who founded Surfthechannel -- a Web site that offered users links to streaming pirated material -- was convicted of two counts of conspiracy to facilitate copyright infringement, according to the Guardian. The sentencing came after an eight-week trial in June.

The way Surfthechannel worked was it let users search for movies or TV shows and then provided them with a list of links to both legal and pirated material. Essentially, the site acted like a middleman that pointed users in the direction of where they could find copyrighted material for free. This is different from sites like the Pirate Bay or Megaupload , which actually hosted the pirated material.

According to the Guardian, Vickerman founded Surfthechannel in 2007 and was eventually earning nearly $55,000 per month. The site had roughly 400,000 users per day.

"This case conclusively shows that running a website that deliberately sets out to direct users to illegal copies of films and TV shows will result in a criminal conviction and a long jail sentence," Kieron Sharp, director general of the English anti-piracy lobby group Federation Against Copyright Theft, told the Guardian.

Sharp also pointed out that Surfthechannel was different from search engines like Google or Bing, because these sites weren't "created specifically to make money from criminal activity."

U.S. groups, actors, and musicians have been rallying to get Google to stop showing pirated links in its searches. In May, the search giant said that it acknowledges piracy and copyright infringement are growing exponentially and it complies with 1.2 million URL removal requests per month.

About the author

Dara Kerr, a freelance journalist based in the Bay Area, is fascinated by robots, supercomputers and Internet memes. When not writing about technology and modernity, she likes to travel to far-off countries.

 

Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Don't Miss
Hot Products
Trending on CNET

HOT ON CNET

Still taking notes with pen and paper?

Bump up your grades and school supplies with these laptops, desktops, and tablets!