Largest TV Piracy Site Shut Down, Staff Arrested
TV-Links.co.uk rankled the media industry for long enough according to British authorities
Marking the first closure of its kind against a UK-based piracy site, TV-Links.co.uk was raided and shut down by British authorities late last week. According to the United Kingdom (FACT), the raid also culminated with the arrests of the site’s 26-year-old webmaster and part of the site’s moderation staff. The raid was carried out through a coordinated effort involving investigators from FACT and the local police.
TV-Links.co.uk provided links to TV shows posted on various video-sharing websites, like YouTube or Google Video. The site didn’t in actually host any copyrighted content – a fact that forum posters throughout the internet have pointed out – and oftentimes the sites that TV-Links linked to did nothing to remove infringing content.
According to FACT, “sites such as TV-Links contribute to and profit from copyright infringement by identifying, posting, organising, and indexing links to infringing content found on the internet that users can then view on demand by visiting these illegal sites.” Kieron Sharp, director general for FACT said that TV-Links is only the first target in a larger “crackdown” on web piracy.
“It’s a pity the Gloucestershire Police started with such small fry. There are a couple of multibillionaires called Larry Page and Sergey Brin — the founders of Google — who provide vast numbers of links to content that is being illegally distributed,” wrote Jack Schofield, a blogger and commentator for The Guardian. “Indeed … they actually host plenty of illegal content on their own video site, YouTube, which has a UK operation.”
“This effectively makes the entire internet illegal,” wrote ‘Rich’ of The New Freedom. “A man is now in prison because he runs a site where other people can link to low-resolution TV shows, hosted by Google. FACT did not raid Google, they raided a site which merely links to TV shows.”