Major pirate website shut down
Friday October 19, 2007
The site allowed users to illegally download shows like Heroes
One of the world's most-used pirate film websites has been closed after providing links to illegal versions of major Hollywood hits and TV shows.
The first closure of a major UK-based pirate site was also accompanied by raids and an arrest, the anti-piracy group Federation Against Copyright Theft (Fact) said today.
A 26-year-old man from Cheltenham was arrested on Thursday in connection with offences relating to the facilitation of copyright infringement on the internet, Fact said.
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.
Fact claims that tv-links.co.uk was providing links to illegal film content that had been camcorder recorded from cinemas and then uploaded to the internet. The site also provided links to TV shows that were being illegally distributed.
Visitors to the site could get access to major feature films, sometimes within days of their initial cinema release. Recent links took users to illegal versions of the Disney/Pixar animation sensation Ratatouille as well as to most of this summer's blockbusters.
"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.
"The theft and distribution of films harms the livelihoods of those working in the UK film industry and in ancillary industries, as well as damaging the economy," he said.
Roger Marles, from Trading Standards said sites such as TV Links allowed people to break UK copyright law.
"The 'users' are potentially evading licence fees, subscription fees to digital services or the cost of purchase or admittance to cinemas to view the films," he added.
The British Video Association estimates that at least £459m was lost to the video, film and TV industries due to piracy in 2006.