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TV-Links Website Shut Down, Owner Arrested

Saturday, October 20th, 2007...3:58 am

TV-Links Website Shut Down, Owner Arrested


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The TV-Links website has been shut down and it’s 26-year-old operator arrested after a raid by Gloucestershire Police in cooperation with an anti-piracy group called Fact (Federation Against Copyright Theft).

What’s disturbing about this is TV-Links didn’t host any of the movies or shows themselves. All they did was link to videos on YouTube, Google Video, Stage6, and a whole bunch of Asian and Eastern European servers - none of which were owned or controlled by them. Arresting someone for linking to something shows a complete lack of understanding for how the Internet works. By their logic I should be arrested for linking to TV-Links and other sites like it.

The chances of a successful prosecution are negligible but this guy will probably be bankrupted in the process and that’s probably what they want to do to make an example of him. If they really wanted to crack down on web piracy they would go after the sites hosting the videos, but they aren’t such easy targets.

The arrest and the closure of the site - www.tv-links.co.uk - came during an operation by officers from Gloucestershire County Council trading standards in conjunction with investigators from Fact and Gloucestershire Police.

“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,” said a spokesman for Fact.

The group’s director general Kieron Sharp said TV Links was the first major target in a campaign to crackdown on web piracy. (source)

58 Comments

  • [...] TV Links Shut Down [...]

  • What a crock. As if the movie and tv people don’t have deep enough pockets. If I like a show enough, I buy it when I can, but I don’t see what the harm is linking to incredibly old shows especially, such as Are You Being Served. It’s a shame :-(. Might as well as arrest any and every person who has used the internet… next, the whole thing will be shut down, because making examples of people will never win their battle.

  • Wow. That’s just intelligent there, it is. No really, arresting someone for linking to these movies. Why, under that premise, they should take me off too, as well as the people I’ve told about it, and then the people that they’ve told about it, etc.. But that would result in one huge spiral that eventually shuts down all the internet users out there. So instead of going after a site that hosts it, they go after one that links to it. Did G.W. come up with that one, or what?

  • Jury Nullification… Your Sovereign Right!

    Jury nullification refers to a rendering of a verdict by a trial jury, disagreeing with the instructions by the judge concerning what is the law, or whether such law is applicable to the case, taking into account all of the evidence presented. Although a jury’s refusal relates only to the particular case before it, if a pattern of such verdicts develops, it can have the practical effect of disabling the enforcement of that position on what is the law or how it should be applied.Juries are reluctant to render a verdict contrary to law, but a conflict may emerge between what judges and the public from whom juries are drawn hold the law to be. A succession of such verdicts may signal an unwillingness by the public to accept the law given them and may render it a “dead-letter” or bring about its repeal.] The jury system was established because it was felt that a panel of citizens, drawn at random from the community, and serving for too short a time to be corrupted, would be more likely to render a just verdict than officials who may be unduly influenced. Jury nullification is a reminder that the right to trial by one’s peers affords the public an opportunity to take a dissenting view about the justness of a statute or official practices.

    Jury nullification is a de facto power of the jury, and is not normally disclosed to jurors by the system when they are instructed as to rights and duties. The power of jury nullification derives from an inherent quality of most modern common law systems—a general unwillingness to inquire into jurors’ motivations during or after deliberations. A jury’s ability to nullify the law is further supported by two common law precedents: the prohibition on punishing jury members for their verdict, and the prohibition on retrying criminal defendants after an acquittal i.e. ‘double jeapordy’

    In the 21st century, many discussions of jury nullification center around drug laws that some consider unjust either in principle or because they are seen to discriminate.

    A recent rise in hung juries (from an average of 5% to nearly 20% in recent years) is considered additional evidence that juries have begun to consider the validity or fairness of the laws themselves.

    During Prohibition, juries often nullified alcohol control laws, possibly as often as 60% of the time! This resistance is considered to have contributed to the adoption of the Twenty-first amendment repealing the Eighteenth amendment which established Prohibition.

  • Wow if there cracking down on people who are not really responsible, Then maybe they should stop the people who sell blank dvd, and recordable dvd players and arrest everyone in the world who burn dvd movies.

  • Am I missing something? How on earth can they do this? Out of all the scams, and illegal sites on the net, they pick out a guy who uses hyperlinks! I’m not condoning making copyright material available for free on the net, but, to arrest this guy is just silly.

  • Hi Dan,

    I guess the bigger sites have just acquired so much money that they are now above the law.

    It’s absolutely fine for YouTube to host illegal content, but the little guys like TVLinks can’t link to it. Pretty ludicrous really.

  • This will not stop it. It is very unfortunate for the owner and i am quite upset that this has happened BUT the MPAA WILL NOT WIN. They are fighting a losing battle and i would not be suprised if mirror sites based on tv-links start popping up everywhere. (it has already started anyway, they close 1 site down and 10 more will open!)

    Good Luck MPAA you will need it if you think you can stop us!

  • I really hate FACT now i loved Tv-Links i think it was one of the best websites ever.And its not like all teh ppl in hollywood arent well off anyway.FACT r wankers for takeing down that site ime gunna download even more movies and music and disribute them for FREE!!!!!HAHAHAHA!!

  • Sad news men..!! :( i really used Tv-Links… and it’s unfair, he wasn’t hosting, just linking… FYI that’s not illegal..!! it doesn’t matter… they wont stop us, there are lots of great sites with tv series, movies, music… right now i’m using http://www. sidereel.com i love it, you’ll do too… check it out..! also stage 6 and daily motion for instance.. can’t stop us ha ha ha

  • What gets me is this bit
    [quote]
    “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,? said a spokesman for Fact.[/quote]

    Em Factuallly wrong, only some sites do and they do so by carrying advertising. I have never seen an advert on TVlinks erego they could not have ‘Profited’ from the venture, so that means the statement by ‘FACT’ in itself makes this arrest unlawful and false.

    Talk about shooting yourself in the foot…

  • Man i didnt really care for the illegal content sa much as the old shows on this and old /jp anime

  • Terrible.

    We really need an advocate for digital rights that isn’t in the pocket of major media. This poor guy’s going to have his life ruined because he linked to entertainment that someone else “owns”. Suppose they start doing the same thing for word of mouth?

    “Hey Jim, check out this new band I just heard!”

    “No WAY! FACT might arrest us both!”

  • Ya right, next thing shut down google and youtube!

  • Who created Fact? Did the voting public believe we needed another arm for “Big Brother” ? Never in all the times I have voted, have I been given the chance to say Yea or Nay to the creation of any such organization. Problem is we the voting public elect politicians who say they represent us, yet as soon as they are in office they forget who elected them, and look around anyone who will pay them. The common people could care less if movies, music, etc. are being pirated. The only ones who do care are the big media corporations who are losing their long held monopoly on who listens to what and how they listen to it. The only people who should care about this are the artists and actors who created the programs in question. If I were to build a chair, and sell it to my next door neighbor, I no longer have the right to control how that chair is used. Just because you sell a tv show, or music, or what have you, it does not mean you own for all time. Copyrights are for creators, not distributors. Its time that these distibutors became innovators and found ways to provide content, and not ways to hamper it.

  • great. i was using it to find out what was worth buying dvd wise. bought four different anime and 1 tv series thanks to watching them on tv links

  • this is sooo stupid. anyway there are thousand of sites out there, but i cant tell u where to find them all in 1 place, u nvr know FACT might be watchin.

    (F.A.C.T there every where)

  • Oh my, that’s really a bad news. Too bad, I can’t see now my favorite TV shows :(

  • i miss my free movies.. :(

  • i was just about to watch RE Extinction and there gone. :(

  • They should close Google because it has links to “illegal” content from the web!! C’mon, give me a break.

  • Well i really feel for this guy and everyone who enjoyed the site daily for all this time should do what they can to support him. I don’t know who set this up but sign in; http://www.petitiononline.com/21212594/petition.html\.
    I hope he gets cleared and can put the site back up but i doubt it. Oh and i read a comment about how it “like holding the door open for a robber” how is it like this all he did was see links on the internet and told other people like i think everyone whoever saw a video on tv-links and showed it to a friend should therefore be arrested because we are sharing links in the exact same way.

  • Scary stuff, be prudent with your linking.

  • I’m gutted … TVLinks was brill for old movies/series like “Allo Allo” and it just shows how little, organisations like FACT, actually understand about the Internet. This is just picking on some poor guy. Besides , I discovered House MD through TVlinks and have bought the DVD BoxSets for first 2 seasons. Without TVlinks I would have never bought them.

  • be carefull. maybe youll be the next. hahaha

  • well, that REALLY sucks for that kid. yeah, they might be cracking down on illegal downloads or whatever, but honestly, the government is FFFAAARRRRR worse than all of that… just my opinion.

    Jay
    DatCurious.com

  • Here’s what bugs me.

    Yes, they didn’t host any content that was illegal, but think of this…….

    The whole methodology of their site is to provide the public with links to TV shows - TV shows which, for the most part, are being illegally hosted. All they have to do is put up a disclaimer “I’m not responsible for the content of links I provide”, and bingo, people believe that it’s okay to pass out links to illegal content.

    Bottom line, linking to illegal content should be just as illegal as hosting it. In all practicality, it’s the same damn thing.

  • DUMB! all i can say is that the people who arrested the genius behind tv-links are all DUMB!
    1st… all are links to “BIG SITES” (not to mention that these sites are the ones HOSTING the video’s!)…
    2nd… links are links… they cant even get NUDE sites in which are more to be considered as ILLEGAL “SITES”!
    3rd… MR TV-LINKS IS NOT GUILTY! he’s not guilty at all.

  • Ime 100% with you on that!!

  • All they are doing is forcing multiple people to make their own websites to fill in the gap now left by the shutting down of tv links, iddiots

  • tv links was also a great site because it introduced me (and i am sure many other people) to all this free content that I would have never found, and actually have purchased a couple movies after previewing them on tv links but due to horrible quality I wouldn’t watch them all the time, I now also am a fan of several tv shows that I would have never had time to watch on tv

  • If he loses the lawsuit, it would be very bad for any website owner that uses RSS feeds from news sites. They should also file a case against the search engines who also have links to those sites.

  • I can’t believe that they shut down a site like that. It just makes it so obvious that these agencies don’t have the power to go after the big sites that host these links, so instead they target a decent person who runs a site that all it does is tell you where the content is!
    I am completely outraged and it just makes me LESS inclined to go out and buy dvds and content from these people.

  • Tv-links was a great site, shame to see it go.

    If FACT can shut it down for just linking copywrited material, they should shut down google too. Also I was under the impression that copyright infringement is a civil matter between both parties?

    I’m still looking for a decent replacement, but it looks like they’re all being shut down.

  • What the heck. I loved tv-links and now where in the hell am i going to watch the new series of lost when it comes out CRAP! stupid fact

  • Geez, I guess that we need to be careful in whatever you do..

    I have people being sued in my country just because of a blog post!

  • “What the heck. I loved tv-links and now where in the hell am i going to watch the new series of lost when it comes out CRAP!” …. Perhaps on TV??

  • I find this actually very funny!!!
    Can you imagine what the inside of the court room would be like, ahhahaha, a freaking gong show man. Seriously. the trial would go like this.
    prosecution: how long hav you been maintainign your servers with pirated videos?
    Defendant: Um I dont have any servers I use the youtube embedd code NA NA NA boo boo (takes of his shirt and swings it around in circles like a hooligan at old trafford stadium during a manchester and chelsea match after rooney scores the winning goal)
    Seriously how insane and ignorant are the people doing these sorts of “crackdowns”

  • Dang, i can’t believe they shut our site down.

  • Why did they not go after google?? they have tons of links to illegal content.

  • According to their logic YouTube creators is criminals, they should confiscate their 1.8 billion Google paid. Also, they should arrest Sergey Brin and Larry page for buying and distributing piracy production.

    You know… when cd’s replaced tape recorders and vinyl records companies who used to be in this business gave up and moved to another niche.

    Now all this record companies, DVD, CD distributors should understant that their time gone and all this fights for “privacy rights” remind me holy incvisition during middle ages.

  • I don’t see why they couldn’t have gone after the SE’s using this same logic…

  • There does seem to be a lack of understanding in how things in the online world work for sure. I feel bad for the kid.

  • Dan-
    Why no updated posts?

  • digitalnomad: I’ve been working on a couple of projects that have been chewing up my time, not to mention a big overhaul of this blog. Got a bunch of changes coming hopefully before the new year.

  • Welcome back. I guess you are back. I see a few December posts. It seems like many people have cut back on their blogging or quit.

    At least the blogs I was used to visiting.

  • Man That Site Was Awsome!!!!!!
    But now, since it shutdown i have nothing 2 do when i’m home, i rarely used to watch tv then but now i’m bored.
    I never new u can get in trouble for “Linking” videos from other sites…….Maybe because of the fact that the videos from the other site Was Pirated.

  • They say that TV Links is the major target for anti-piracy. Somehow, I’m not so sure I can believe them. It just looks like they were unable to go after the big dogs and just decided to sink their fangs on the easiest target.

  • this is absolutely rediculous, a bunch of hypocrites these people are. Is it really necessary to arrest someone for something they truthfully didn’t BENEFIT from financially? The LINKS went to pirated movies, videos, etc. but HE didn’t pirate them. And like I said, There was no charge for watching them either, so honestly, what harm is it doing? Law enforcement gets me sometimes, laws get me sometimes, but charging someone who is (in most people’s eyes) innocent, is IMMORAL, and UNLAWFUL. Please, give people a break, go find something else to do, you dirtbags.

  • MPAA are just cowards they are trying to hit us with as much as they can before eventually they will have to go for the big boys Google Inc which will in turn spell the end of this shit.

    MPAA know they will not beat Google because Google can afford the best lawyers to defend there case and once a judge says that google wins then the MPAA will have nothing to go on.

    So come on MPAA if you think you can win a lawsuit against Google,(after all most of the tvlinks videos are hosted there) then go for it and stop destroying peoples lives, people that dont have as much money as you do but you dont care anyway if someone has to pay fines of thousands of dollars for the rest of thier life as long as you get to rub their faces in shit.

  • If he loses the lawsuit, it would be very bad for any website owner that uses RSS feeds from news sites. They should also file a case against the search engines who also have links to those sites.

    Isn’t this illegal?

  • Its all about control and money. They arent lining their pockets with money, so arrest somebody out of spite, plus its the control factor. Arresting an innocent just because they can.

    You should have to deal with the control freaks in power we have in the USA. Course, thats the american commoner’s fault. As long as people vote liars and murders into office, the country will remain a nazi regime.

  • What is illegal by some is legal by others depending on who is accusing who. Tell me why no one is accusing Google of plagiarism, because what they basically do is take peoples materials in the guise of indexing and make billons of dollars every year from those materials without as much as acknowledging the owners. tvlinks is not guilty of any offence if you ask me.

  • Hey, This may be worst thing happened in internet history. Then why dont they close Google, yahoo and other search engines, Which are nothing but link collection.

  • Jury nullification is a de facto power of the jury, and is not normally disclosed to jurors by the system when they are instructed as to rights and duties.

  • I think they should just ban the site, no court case involved. btw tv-links is back!

    tv-links.cc

  • Hmmm… Maybe all the major search engines should be shut down because they surely have links to these sites containing these TV shows. :-)

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