Site owner gets 4 years in prison for unauthorized video sharing

By on August 17, 2012, 5:30 PM

Surfthechannel.com owner Anton Vickerman has landed himself a stiff four-year prison sentence after running a website which hosted links to unauthorized video content. That's substantially less than the maximum of 10 years he faced, but almost certainly more than he had hoped for.

Before the sentencing, Vickerman posted a lengthy document -- over 18,000 words -- to the website, describing his ordeal in great detail. Although surfthechannel.com has since been taken offline, this Google Cache copy (may disappear at any time) is one possible way to still read the document. His memo is titled, "A Very British Miscarriage Of Justice".

Vickerman, in the open letter, confesses linking to popular destinations like YouTube, Veoh and BBC. However, Cnet notes Vickerman had also linked to content found on MegaUpload and possibly other less-virtuous cloud storage services.

Evidence presented during the case suggested that Vickerman had even uploaded some of the content himself, invoking a particularly harsh sentence due to deliberate, hands-on involvement. While Vickerman wasn't charged for copyright infringement directly, the jury found him guilty of conspiring to facilitate copyright infringement. 

His almost certainly distressed wife, Kelly Vickerman, was also charged on similar counts. However, she was cleared of any wrong doing in June.

According to Vickerman, the website had been in operation since 2007. During peak times, the 38-year-old Briton managed to generate over $55,000 per month in revenue from his video-sharing operation. Revenue was brought in by advertising, like most other illicit file sharing destinations. In 2008 Vickerman raked in roughly $160,000 in profit. 2008 is the same year he attempted to sell his cash cow for about $250,000, but he was unable to find a suitor.




User Comments: 17

Got something to say? Post a comment
Tygerstrike said:

Now this case will set a precident. A ruling has come down and thats going to effect every copyright case currently active. Some Judges will defer to the punishment in this case to hand out their rulings. Glad to see he didnt get the 10 years they were going after.

Guest said:

God bless America. :/

Matt12345170 Matt12345170 said:

Based on the title of his memo "A Very British Miscarriage Of Justice", this wont set any sort of precedent in law outside of Britain.

spydercanopus spydercanopus said:

This is going to turn out like the war on drugs but will be the war on sharing information. Like the game Mirror's Edge, you'll have to be careful what links you use and share, could be a nazi!

ramonsterns said:

I can't wait to be put on the electric chair for posting a video of my kids singing happy birthday in the future!

P.S. Happy Birthday is copyrighted, using it in a video is against the law. Hurray for freedom!

Guest said:

"And with a straight face, you're gonna sit there and tell students that America is so star-spangled awesome that we're the only ones in the world who have freedom? Canada has freedom. Japan has freedom. The U.K. France. Italy. Germany. Spain. Australia. BELGIUM has freedom. Two hundred and seven sovereign states in the world, like, a hundred and eighty of them have freedom.

And you, Sorority Girl, just in case you accidentally wander into a voting booth one day, there's some things you should know. One of them is there's absolutely no evidence to support the statement that we're the greatest country in the world. We're seventh in literacy. Twenty-seventh in math. Twenty-second in science. Forty-ninth in life expectancy. A hundred and seventy-eighth in infant mortality. Third in median household income. Number four in labor force and number four in exports. We lead the world in only three categories: Number of incarcerated citizens per capita, number of adults who believe angels are real, and defense spending, where we spend more than the next twenty-six countries combined, twenty-five of whom are allies. Now none of this is the fault of a twenty-year-old college student, but you nonetheless are without a doubt a member of the worst, period, generation, period, ever, period. So when you ask what makes us the greatest country in the world, I dunno what the **** you're talkin' about." - Newsroom

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

That's funny, most of those countries have freedom because American soldiers died to provide it. - me

Guest said:

This sentence is a violation of the spirit and soul of anything good. I am disgusted to the very core of my being. If I were able to cry, I would.

Doctor John Doctor John said:

This sentence is a violation of the spirit and soul of anything good. I am disgusted to the very core of my being. If I were able to cry, I would.

Why did you type it then?

fimbles fimbles said:

"Evidence presented during the case suggested that Vickerman had even uploaded some of the content himself"

What a boob..

Guest said:

4 years is still too much for this. 3 months max plus a big fine should suffice.

Guest said:

@gwailo247: The rest of that quote:

"Sure used to be. We stood up for what was right. We fought for moral reasons. We passed laws, struck down laws, for moral reasons. We waged wars on poverty, not poor people. We sacrificed. We cared about our neighbors. We put our money where our mouths were. And we never beat our chest.

We built great big things, made ungodly technological advances, explored the universe, cured diseases, and we cultivated the world's greatest artists and the world's greatest economy. We reached for the stars. Acted like men.

We aspired to intelligence. We didn't belittle it---it didn't make us feel inferior.

We didn't identify ourselves by who we voted for in the last election, and we didn't, oh, we didn't scare so easy. Ha. We were able to be all these things and do all these things because we were informed. By great men. Men who were revered. First step in solving any problem is recognizing there is one. America is not the greatest country in the world anymore. Enough?" -Newsroom

treetops treetops said:

4 years is crazy, the entertainment industry must set these laws, stories like this make me want to pirate

Tygerstrike said:

@treetops.

No unfortunatly it wasnt the entertainment industry that gives out the jailtime. If it was the poor guy would have been taken to a movie studio and shot on the filming lot as a objective lesson. No that time was given by the judge. Many ppl have complained that Judges give FAR too much time in jail. The time a person must serve for ANY crime is always way more then the person deserves.

Im wondering if everyone who pirated/hosted got atleast 4yrs, would that be what stops ppl from doing those actions??

killeriii said:

4 years is still too much for this. 3 months max plus a big fine should suffice.

Agreed!

He'll be worse when he comes out.

Guest said:

So, most people find that this guy doesn't deserve to get 4 years in jail. This makes me wonder: Why is the justice system in conflict with most people's beliefs?

treetops treetops said:

@tyger I meant in context that they buy the politicians (lobbying) who make the laws\penalties and therefore are direct result of the jail time sentenced

Load all comments...

Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...
Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.