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TV Links Raided, Operator Arrested

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the there-goes-the-neighborhood dept.

Media 246

NetDanzr writes "TV Links, a Web site that provided links to hundreds of movies, documentaries, TV shows and cartoons hosted on streaming media sites such as Google Video and YouTube, has been raided by UK authorities. The site's operator was also arrested, The Guardian reports. Even though the site has not hosted any pirated content, it was a thorn in the side of movie and TV studios, thanks to having links to newest movies and TV shows. As the largest site of its kind, it showcased the power of user-driven Internet, with the site's visitors helping to keep links to content constantly updated."

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I didn't know this existed (5, Funny)

bit trollent (824666) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046631)

I didn't know this existed but now that I do I would really like to know what other websites have the same type of conent.

A little help?

Re:I didn't know this existed (5, Funny)

op12 (830015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046665)

Nice try, MPAA!

Re:I didn't know this existed (1)

sherms (15634) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046839)

I gave up cable to cut costs. Now I'm out many of my shows. Damn! Should have Mirrored.

Re:I didn't know this existed (3, Informative)

JediLow (831100) | more than 6 years ago | (#21047035)

http://tvrss.net [tvrss.net]

Re:I didn't know this existed (1)

sgholt (973993) | more than 6 years ago | (#21047171)

thank you I will check that out....i used tv-links.co.uk quite often when nothing was on cable :(

Re:I didn't know this existed (2, Funny)

flitty (981864) | more than 6 years ago | (#21047569)

In related news, TVRSS was shut down. Slashdot was also shut down for linking the linkers. CowboyNeal was quoted as saying "In soviet russia, Internet links you!"

Re:I didn't know this existed (3, Insightful)

megaditto (982598) | more than 6 years ago | (#21047741)

I gave up cable to cut costs. Now I'm out many of my shows. Damn! Should have Mirrored.
We all feel very sorry that the movie/TV studios are stealing your money that way, I am sure.

To compensate, try cutting the fuel costs by siphoning off the neighbours' gasoline.

Power Play (5, Insightful)

whackco (599646) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046743)

Yeah, although it existed, I dont' know what the law states in the EU as to linking to protected content. This might just be a power play by the studios to make an example of them. I have a feeling this is going to be similar to the raid that was done on the pirate bay servers, and in a few months they will drop the charges, after almost or completely bankrupting this poor sap.

Re:I didn't know this existed (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21046757)

What I don't understand is, why shut it down? I mean, here is a site, leveraging user content to provide the MPAA and such with direct links to content that is in violation. This seems like the perfect way to quickly and easily send massive amounts of DMCA takedown notices and such. The users of pirated content provide the latest, best links to pirated content for you to have taken down.

They might have just killed something they could have used as a great tool.

Re:I didn't know this existed (1)

Mouse42 (765369) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046941)

With the rate at which content was getting taken down, I thought that this was actually true.

Re:I didn't know this existed (5, Informative)

ravenspear (756059) | more than 6 years ago | (#21047147)

Most of the actual content was hosted on foreign servers in asia/europe, so a DMCA takedown notice would have done diddly squat to remove it.

Dont you get it yet? (4, Insightful)

PhreakOfTime (588141) | more than 6 years ago | (#21047561)

This is not about 'protecting' copyright.

This is about CONTROL.

What better way to avoid spending all the courts time issuing takedown notices than to SCARE those using this site, and OTHER sites to stop doing what they are doing?

Be very wary of those who go after the organizers of people, for their motives might not be something you can even imagine

wtf? (2, Interesting)

cliffski (65094) | more than 6 years ago | (#21047991)

Hang on to your tinfoil hat there a minute. Don't big this up into being some fascist state bullshit. this was not 'the organizers of people' it was not a radical anti-government organization encouraging political debate, or suggesting political change. it was a way for geeks to download copyrighted tv and movies. don't try and pretend it was anything more intellectual.

Re:wtf? (4, Interesting)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 6 years ago | (#21048219)

The MPAA is going after the organizers of people, not the people who are actually doing things illegal. Cue grandparent post.

Re:I didn't know this existed (1)

bi_boy (630968) | more than 6 years ago | (#21047621)

I'm sure they will do that, in addition to shutting down this site. Having your cake and eating it too.

Re:I didn't know this existed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21047829)

Why? Why? Why? To make people miserable. What more reason do you need?

With the bullies and tyrants of this world, I think people are forgetting that it isn't about the money or the power with these guys. After your second or third billion, how much more money can you even spend?

It's business for sadism's sake. At the end of the day, that's what they think about when they're masturbating: "I ruined a bunch of people's day today! Oh yes baby!"

Re:I didn't know this existed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21046805)

Because this, of course, would be the perfect spot to discuss such things. Knob.

Re:I didn't know this existed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21046837)

Another similar site is www.peek-vid.com or www.peekvids.com. The site is usually updated regularly.

caches (3, Informative)

objekt (232270) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046949)

Re:caches (2, Informative)

cstdenis (1118589) | more than 6 years ago | (#21047071)

Cache won't be useful for long with stuff constantly being taken down.

Another good one (4, Interesting)

ravenspear (756059) | more than 6 years ago | (#21047049)

Alluc.org [alluc.org]

Re:I didn't know this existed (0, Offtopic)

yokolucu (1168685) | more than 6 years ago | (#21047521)

I'm so excited... (4, Interesting)

creativeHavoc (1052138) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046685)

I just got my first ever "Nothing for you to see here. Please move along." Anyways... it would be interesting to see what happens with this. Taking it to the real life examples... many shops that sell pipes and other drug-use paraphernalia have many run-ins with the laws, and yet they are still in operation to this day, and the only time actual legal repercussions are brought to the managers of these stores is usually through another issue, that it technically unrelated to their shop. This should be the same issue. I would not be surprised if it is treated differently however.

The obvious question.... (4, Insightful)

King_TJ (85913) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046705)

How is anything this site did remotely "illegal"?

This sounds to me like it simply amounts to harassment by legal authorities, after having pressure put on them to "do something" by the movie and/or TV studios.

I know here in the United States, "search and seizure" is a popular law-enforcement tool for the purpose of slowing/stopping activities they can't really find sufficient evidence to prosecute. (All you need is a judge's signature saying it's ok to proceed with a search and seizure, and they can waltz in with the warrant in hand, seizing the "offending" property. Then just lock it away in an evidence locker for a few years, sitting on it and depriving the owner of it. Eventually, sure, they'll probably just return it, claiming "insufficient evidence" to make a case against them - but they accomplished what they were really after.)

Power Play (4, Insightful)

whackco (599646) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046789)

That is exactly what this is. A power play by big studios to make an example out of this guy. After nearly or completely bankrupting him, they will drop all the charges, and he will be off on his way. Anyone know what sort of SLAPP provisions the UK has?

Re:Power Play (4, Informative)

rhombic (140326) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046969)

Anyone know what sort of SLAPP provisions the UK has?

Doesn't matter, this wouldn't fall under it. Likewise if this had happened in the US. SLAPP laws apply to civil actions, this was a police action (according to the FA, police plus "officers from Gloucestershire County Council trading standards"). You might be able to make a case against them for some kind of wrongful prosecution, but SLAPP limitations won't apply.

Re:Power Play (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21047481)

I thought some of these actions, like tickets, *were civil actions*, which is why they fell under a lower burden of proof.

Re:The obvious question.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21046885)

What are you talking about? In this country there is zero injustice and every law is applied fairly and justly. I'm sure they will just let him go, issue an official apology and even compensate him for his losses just like the millions they award to those rare few who are accidently jailed.

Re:The obvious question.... (5, Insightful)

Yer Mum (570034) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046977)

In Spain, a judge has found that a similar site which holds links to films or music is not illegal, saying that they did not host any material and .

http://www.20minutos.es/noticia/293205/0/enlaces/descargas/sharemule/ [20minutos.es]

(in Spanish, Babelfish may help if you don't speak it)

Re:The obvious question.... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21047023)

Napster didn't host any content either.

Apparently, helping people to find illegal content is illegal.

I suppose the bottom line is this: there are several rich and powerful people in the world who want the free flow of information to stop . So this sort of thing will keep happening.

Re:The obvious question.... (1)

zcat_NZ (267672) | more than 6 years ago | (#21048137)

"Apparently, helping people to find illegal content is illegal."

http://www.google.com/search?q=iso+file%3Atorrent [google.com]

Mind you they're making grief for Gootube already.. it's only a matter of time before Google is forced to filter ordinary search results for 'infringing content'.

Re:The obvious question.... (2, Interesting)

OriginalArlen (726444) | more than 6 years ago | (#21047209)

Yes, you're are spot on. Evilcopyrightmafiascumspawn are the same all over the world.

Until recently we would have had to rely on the Register as the only UK-based organisation that would get it on this sort of thing; however we now have the Open Rights Group [openrightsgroup.org] , who I hope will be saying something about this at least, which might merit an inch or two below the fold on p22 of one or two of the broadsheets in the next week or so.

Re:The obvious question.... (2, Informative)

msblack (191749) | more than 6 years ago | (#21047247)

A genius named King_TJ wrote:

How is anything this site did remotely "illegal"?
The answers to all your questions can be found in the original article.

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.
Please note this statement will be subject to legal challenge when the case comes to court. In the meantime, feel free to rant and rave about the big hand of media conglomerates smashing content viewers who wish to avoid paying fees for their activities.

NOTE: This post does not argue any point of view and merely points out very obvious facts. When it gets modded down as redundant or flamebait or troll, that will speak volumes for the crowd that moderates postings.

Re:The obvious question.... (1, Insightful)

d34thm0nk3y (653414) | more than 6 years ago | (#21047777)

NOTE: This post does not argue any point of view and merely points out very obvious facts. When it gets modded down as redundant or flamebait or troll, that will speak volumes for the crowd that moderates postings.

Or, maybe, by not arguing a point of view and only pointing out obvious facts you have added very little to the discussion...

Re:The obvious question.... (2, Interesting)

kalel666 (587116) | more than 6 years ago | (#21047959)

Or, maybe, by not arguing a point of view and only pointing out obvious facts you have added very little to the discussion...


Only on Slashdot could that be a bad thing.

Scientific method? Pffft. Whatever.

Re:The obvious question.... (1)

mikael (484) | more than 6 years ago | (#21048207)

Please note this statement will be subject to legal challenge when the case comes to court. In the meantime, feel free to rant and rave about the big hand of media conglomerates smashing content viewers who wish to avoid paying fees for their activities.


That is so funny. I used to pay for premium channels on cable TV UNTIL Rupert Murdoch and Richard Branson had their squabble over Sky One and Sky News.

After that, a good many VirginMedia customers admitted that they were now visiting bootleg sights in order to get their fix of current series. Fortunately, there is now Joost which provides re-runs of a few series like Lexx.

Re:The obvious question.... (2, Informative)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 6 years ago | (#21047259)

How is anything this site did remotely "illegal"?

It's hard to say; the article doesn't give enough detail. The relevant UK law is, I believe, the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988 [opsi.gov.uk] .

I suppose if the site hosted torrents, that would fall under "an article specifically designed or adapted for making copies of that work, knowing or having reason to believe that it is to be used to make infringing copies.".

Alternatively, if the site merely hosted links, it might be classified as "permitting use of premises for infringing performance", but that's a bit of a stretch.

Re:The obvious question.... (2, Informative)

spiritraveller (641174) | more than 6 years ago | (#21047443)

It doesn't apply to the UK, but for an American context, the Grokster decision says that "one who distributes a device with the object of promoting its use to infringe copyright, as shown by clear expression or other affirmative steps taken to foster infringement, is liable for the resulting acts of infringement by third parties."

It's not much of a reach to call a web page, website, or html link a "device".

The question then is whether the distribution of this particular link, site, or page is shown by clear expression or ather affirmative steps to be for the object of promoting its use to infringe copyright.

Obviously it is. The link points directly to copyrighted content being distributed by an infringing third party.

Re:The obvious question.... (1)

Aram Fingal (576822) | more than 6 years ago | (#21048339)

I know here in the United States, "search and seizure" is a popular law-enforcement tool for the purpose of slowing/stopping activities they can't really find sufficient evidence to prosecute. (All you need is a judge's signature saying it's ok to proceed with a search and seizure, and they can waltz in with the warrant in hand, seizing the "offending" property. Then just lock it away in an evidence locker for a few years, sitting on it and depriving the owner of it. Eventually, sure, they'll probably just return it, claiming "insufficient evidence" to make a case against them - but they accomplished what they were really after.)

I would say that this is something to consider when you do Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Planning. Loss of equipment due to this kind of issue is not that different from loss due to a fire or flood. That is, assuming that you don't also have some kind of cease and desist order.

hmmm (4, Interesting)

User 956 (568564) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046717)

Even though the site has not hosted any pirated content, it was a thorn in the side of movie and TV studios, thanks to having links to newest movies and TV shows.

Any bets on how long until ThePirateBay snaps up the domain name and re-opens the site?

Re:hmmm (1)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 6 years ago | (#21047573)

Not gonna happen. That'd essentially be advertising for the competition. As TPB is funded by advertisements on its torrent search pages, it doesn't want you watching video online, it wants you using its torrents.

HuH?! (3, Insightful)

imstanny (722685) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046729)

Since when is it illegal to tell others where a certain thing (legal or illegal) is occurring? Is it then illegal to for me to link to his site? ...This is a dangerous slippery slope. While he maybe contributing to illegal activity, but so is modern technology in the production and distribution of illegal drugs - that doesn't make planes and needles illegal.

Re:HuH?! (1)

xtracto (837672) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046807)

Crap, I think the movie companies should be *glad* that Tv-links existed! it can help them to easly see where the materials are being distributed (stage6, tudou, etc, etc...) its like if some guy in a magazine shop has a front door list with addresses where people sell mariguana or coca, if there is someone with the balls to do that... they should be given a prize, not arrested...

Re:HuH?! (1)

Smordnys s'regrepsA (1160895) | more than 6 years ago | (#21047031)

Most of the content is hosted on sites that I assume the MAFIAA-like organizations would have trouble going after.

I'm not sure which countries have DMCA laws, but most of the videos have Spanish and Chinese subtitles.

Re:HuH?! (1)

kebes (861706) | more than 6 years ago | (#21047313)

I think the movie companies should be *glad* that Tv-links existed! it can help them to easly see where the materials are being distributed
True enough... but when it comes to copyright infringement, it is so widespread that the companies cannot ever hope to send Cease & Desist letters for each infringement. Nor are they really lacking for ways to find cases of infringement.

Trying to stop each case of infringement is impossible, since a large fraction of the population is willfully infringing. So they try to attack the "convenience websites" (like TV-links and torrent trackers) that help users quickly and easily locate the content they want. They hope by making it inconvenient to find the content, infringement will decrease (and legitimate purchases will increase?).

Their strategy is not really sustainable. If anything, it creates ever-greater pressure for the community to develop distributed and redundant solutions to these problems. It used to be that content was hosted on central FTP servers. Then that was decentralized so each person becomes a node (the Napster model). Then file distribution becomes fragmented, so the network is ephemeral (the BitTorrent model). Nowadays, torrent trackers (like The Pirate Bay) have learned to have redundant servers ready in different countries. Ultimately, we may end up with fully distributed trackers, too. (Or perhaps trackers that exist only in a TOR network, not addressed on the "normal" Internet...)

Re:HuH?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21046909)

Contributing to copyright infringement is illegal in many EU countries. Providing links to torrents or the torrents themselves may be considered contribution.

Pointing to illegal content = conspiracy! (?!?) (1)

lpq (583377) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046975)

Apparently you haven't visited the United States of Amerika lately.... It is illegal to give information to someone else knowing that they are going to use the information in committing a crime.

It falls under the "way" big, and "way" vague heading of "conspiracy".

By providing you links to infringing material, they are conspiring with both those that provide the material illegally, AND those that conspire to obtain the material illegally.

"Conspiracy" is the most "bogus", anti-free-speech charge cooked up by the US justice system -- since they can get nearly anyone who aids in any illegal activity.

In essence, you are not allowed to actually "aid" someone in committing a "crime" without also being considered guilty of that crime.

Giving "aid" is a slippery slope -- since giving "information" is one interpretation of giving "aid".

Currently, in the US, if you knowingly sell (or give?) materials (or information?) to someone that you know, who plans to use your product(s) in the commission of a crime, then you can also be charged with "conspiracy" and qualify for the same sentence as if you had committed the crime.

So much for free speech or freedom of expression. That's now "trumped" by "intent of use" of the information. ;^/

But this is only in the US....other nations have less supposed protections for freedom of expression than in the US, so they have even more (slippery) ground to base such prosecutions on.

Re:Pointing to illegal content = conspiracy! (?!?) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21047153)

America. With a C.

Re:Pointing to illegal content = conspiracy! (?!?) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21047631)

Wow. I hope someone shoots you in the head.

Re:Pointing to illegal content = conspiracy! (?!?) (2, Insightful)

Gregb05 (754217) | more than 6 years ago | (#21048009)

When defining a concept, for instance, "Truthiness" you only need to put quotation marks around the new term once. Thereafter, it is understood that you are referring to the previously defined term.

Furthermore, HTML has mechanisms for emphasizing certain parts of expressions, such as bold, underline, or italic. There's also several commonly accepted non-HTML standards for doing so, such as *stars*, _lines_ or CAPITAL LETTERS.

As for the content, Conspiracy applies to two or more people entering an agreement to break the law at the same time, knowingly aiding someone committing a crime, may cause the breaking of more laws; For instance, evading police after a bank robbery.

Freedom of speech protections end at most destructive, non-political messages, such as shouting "fire" in a theater when no fire is present, or falsely defaming a person or their business. Most courts would rightly consider freedom of expression ended when it concerns illegal acts; Should someone be caught attempting to sell drugs to a police officer, they would most likely not be successful claiming a freedom of speech defense, even though he or she may not have possessed controlled substances at the time.

Finally, the law in question isn't American, so any precedent or legislation in the American legal system doesn't matter as far as this article is concerned.

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer.

Re:HuH?! (3, Interesting)

cliffski (65094) | more than 6 years ago | (#21047081)

well i reckon if i ran a business where people knocked on my door and asked me where to buy some cocaine, and i told them which address and what time to go to, and they gave me $1 for my time, then I'd be in a cell right away, despite not physically having any cocaine or selling it.
No doubt this site made money from ads, and to pretend the business model of the site was not designed around leeching money indirectly from copyrighted material is just naive.
People are always so keen to argue the finer points and wording of the law if it lets them carry on taking other peoples stuff for free, but when your house gets burgled, and the guy gets off with a technicality, are you equally anal about defining guilt?
It seems obvious to me that if you run a site that provides easy access to copyrighted content, you are breaking the law, especially if you do not remove that content when the copyright holder alerts you to it.

Re:HuH?! (1)

WarwickRyan (780794) | more than 6 years ago | (#21047349)

> well i reckon if i ran a business where people knocked
>on my door and asked me where to buy some cocaine, and
>i told them which address and what time to go to, and
>they gave me $1 for my time, then I'd be in a cell right
>away, despite not physically having any cocaine or selling it.

No way, you'd be headhunted by the RIAA and MPAA and paid millions for you're irreplacable skills.

Re:HuH?! (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 6 years ago | (#21047767)

Isn't Google hosting this content? Can't I find the content by searching Google? Why aren't Google in jail?

oh right! Because if it's an individual you're responsible for your actions but if you're part of an organisation you were just following orders.

Re:HuH?! (4, Interesting)

imstanny (722685) | more than 6 years ago | (#21047385)

I would have to respectfully dissent. You either break the law or you don't. Take Radar detector manufactureres. They manufacture and sell a product designed to assist breaking the law. We (and the companies of these detectors) can safely assume that most of the customers are or will be committing a crime, and will be assisted by the radar detector they are selling for a profit. Yet, these companies aren't being raided by the FBI. Why? Because it is not a crime to make a radar detector. It is a crime to speed on the high way. Not being able to distinguish between the 2 sets up a very dangerous slippery slope that I spoke about in my OP.

Re:HuH?! (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 6 years ago | (#21047695)

Actually, NO, you would NOT be in jail.

Instead you would have a thriving business of informing to the police.

No, telling people where copyrighted content is not illegal, in part because it may not be illegal for them to access it.

There are such things as fair use laws. Some countries have strict ones, some have loose ones. I can put a 5 second clip of Mickey Mouse in my documentary about Disney and guess what, Disney can not sue me. (Well, they can always sue, but they won't win.)

Re:HuH?! (1)

cliffski (65094) | more than 6 years ago | (#21047835)

So you think its OK for (in my example) someone to make a living acting as the local phone directory for drug dealers?
what has fair use got to do with linking to torrents of full tv series?

Re:HuH?! (1)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | more than 6 years ago | (#21047945)

well i reckon if i ran a business where people knocked on my door and asked me where to buy some cocaine, and i told them which address and what time to go to, and they gave me $1 for my time, then I'd be in a cell right away

Why do you reckon this? Just because you assume something is illegal does not make it so. If I knew the guy down the street was a coke dealer and someone asked me who the coke dealers in my neighborhood are, exactly why should it be illegal for me to tell them, and take $1 for my time?

Re:HuH?! (2, Funny)

Monstard (855195) | more than 6 years ago | (#21047967)

Great, so now watching TV is equivalent to snorting cocaine?

Re:HuH?! (1)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 6 years ago | (#21048157)

People are always so keen to argue the finer points and wording of the law if it lets them carry on taking other peoples stuff for free,

This is especially true of the /. crowd, from what I've seen. A lot of the people here don't seem to realize that if you actually take the time to read, say, SCOTUS opinions, they attempt to provide some solid reasoning, and to strike a just and equitable balance in general. Judges are not metaphysicians - they don't give a damn about the "true" nature of information and whether it wants to be free or not. They're more concerned with making sure people are compensated for work under the system that we have. That's not to say there aren't judges out there who are completely off the wall, though.

Your example isn't a bad one, and it's something I've wondered about myself, too - if I told anyone who asked where to buy their coke, is that illegal? Will I get in trouble? Should I? I have a feeling I'd get in trouble, but I'd probably be prosecuted with something very vague, like disturbing the peace. Then again, can we really compare purchasing coke with copyright infringement?

Re:HuH?! (2, Insightful)

steelfood (895457) | more than 6 years ago | (#21048215)

especially if you do not remove that content when the copyright holder alerts you to it.

I thnk you're confusing things. The site doesn't own the content; it just links to it. There's no law that states site operators have to remove links when requested. The laws only apply to the sites hosting the content itself.

I'm not particularly against this action, however foolish and pointless it might seem. But I am against using law enforcement resources for such a trivial thing when there are rape and murder cases that remain unsolved. What this shows is that the priorities of said law enforcement agency and hence the government that runs the agency are not where they ought to be.

Re:HuH?! (2, Interesting)

Artifakt (700173) | more than 6 years ago | (#21048263)

"People are always so keen to argue the finer points and wording of the law if it lets them carry on taking other peoples stuff for free, but when your house gets burgled, and the guy gets off with a technicality, are you equally anal about defining guilt?"

No, when my house was burgled, the perp sold one of my stereo components at a flea market, and I'm proud to say I did just what you advocate - I nagged the cops until they prosecuted the college student who bought it and it cost him so much he had to drop out. I agree with you totally, figuring he was probably just an innocent bystander would have been anal, and the only non-anal definition is "they're all guilty, castrate them all with a dull spoon!" We never caught the burglar, but we sent somebody elss to jail for something at least vaguely related, so justice was done, totally non-anally. Thank goodness hangin' judge Bob agreed with me.
      You just sincerely defined high standards for protecting innocent people as anal and used a tremendously fictitious example to support it (When was the last burglary case you actually heard of where the law let the criminal go free on a technicality? Burglary? It's a well established area of law, where several states have recently adopted laws letting you flat out kill the criminal in defense of your property - what are you claiming is a mere technicality?).
      I reckon the site might have made money on ads, and its business model definitely seems to have been to attract viewers with links to outside content. I don't yet know if they preferred copyrighted content or not, or if they just ignored copyright issues, or not, just as I don't know if they made a real effort to take down infringing links or made only a token effort. Things like that should come out at a trial.
      I also don't know if they broke a law yet or not. There's a real difference between providing easy access to (other people's) copyrighted content, and making a criminal's task easier merely as an inadvertent consequence. If I teach your burglar to drive, I've increased the number of houses he can get to - is that somehow accessory to burglary? Helping people find a local cocaine dealer for the purpose of buying his drugs is a conspiracy, but having taught that dealer's high school chemistry class isn't, and helping someone find him for some other reason isn't likely either, and that's not a technicality, it's common sense. It seems obvious to me that the law in question doesn't say "Providing easy access to copyrighted content is illegal." It probably runs several pages, at least. The "especially if you don't ..." part definitely isn't law - the DMCA says something more like "especially if you don't comply with the detailed take-down procedure when the owner follows it.", and the DMCA is definitely a lot longer than a paragraph - guess those extra 13 pages are all just technicalities. Or do you know for a fact that the British equivalent is a real short law with no 'technicalities' included?

Re:HuH?! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21047167)

Since when is it illegal to tell others where a certain thing (legal or illegal) is occurring?
Since the Napster case set a precedent that you are guilty of contributory infringement if your linking/indexing/aggregation is used primarily for infringing copyright and/or if your advertising encourages/promotes the fact that the service can be used for infringement.

I'm not saying I agree with that ruling, but the precedent has been set.

(Yes, I'm fully aware that the Napster case was in the U.S. and this current arrest is in the U.K. ... my point is that modern copyright laws, which are largely harmonized across countries that are signatories to the Berne convention, can indeed be used to attack people who willfully encourage or facilitate infringement.)

Re:HuH?! (2, Informative)

bubblah (1095629) | more than 6 years ago | (#21047795)

There is some precident in this if the copyright holder objects - http://www.news.com/2100-1030_3-6145744.html [news.com] from news.com, plus the issue of deep linking has always been contentious. However, agreed that TV links linked only to media, but they also wrapped the media in their own picture window. rather than taking you to the media directly, they did open it up in a popup window that was affiliated with TV Links. Not saying this is right or wrong, but it opens up the whole embedding of content issue. They really should go after the source, not the linking systems. But then some linking systems might be easier to take down. Another will take its place, that is the humor part of this, the whole hydra issue.

it was nice while it lasted (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21046741)

that's too bad. i ran across the site a while back and discovered there were episodes and, indeed, entire seasons of british television shows i was fond of but had never had the opportunity to see here in the states. after getting a chance to watch them, i tracked down the dvd sets (amazon.co.uk ftw) and bought them. this site was doing the industry a favor but, typically it seems, was viewed instead as some kind of threat. balls.

Re:it was nice while it lasted (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21046937)

I stopped watching TV for a while because I hate missing episodes and not being able to follow shows, and the idea of buying season DVDs seemed stupid to me. However, after I was able to watch a few shows from beginning to end, I realized that I might actually enjoying buying season DVDs instead of movies and that's what I promptly did even for shows I saw on the computer, I wanted to see them in much better quality.

Sounds like.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21046751)

the site would have been a useful tool for the Movie/TV studios as well. It would have made it easy for them to find offending material and generate their takedown notices.

Bastards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21046753)

This was one of the coolest sites on the internet. I used it all the time to check up on episodes of shows that I had missed, and it had a lot of cartoons that I saw when I was a child that I can't get nowadays.

Fuck the UK.

Re:Bastards (1)

oxidiser (1118877) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046997)

Agreed, I loved that site. I rarely watch TV but one show I don't miss is Heroes. I wouldn't even be watching that now if I hadn't seen the first few episodes from tv-links. Tv-links may have been safe for a while longer but they started linking to movies a couple of months ago. =/

Re:Bastards (1)

sumday (888112) | more than 6 years ago | (#21047257)

couple of months? a friend told me about the site in question way back in april and they were linking to movies then too.

Your Citizenship : ( +1, Helpful ) (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21046795)

has been revoked on orders from this thug [whitehouse.org] .

Have a Bush_Cheney_Rice_Reid_Pelosi-free weekend.

Cheers,
Kilgore Trout

By their logic... (5, Insightful)

Korveck (1145695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046817)

Google needs to be shut down for "facilitation of copyright infringement on the internet", or even "facilitation of terrorism on the internet".

Re:By their logic... (1)

Smordnys s'regrepsA (1160895) | more than 6 years ago | (#21047143)

Well, they aren't just linking to copyrighted material, now they have it in thier cache! http://72.14.253.104/search?q=cache:0T2TX0bv-usJ:www.cybertriallawyer.com/+http://www.cybertriallawyer.com&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=us&client=firefox-a/ [72.14.253.104]

If I was cybertriallawyer.com I would be jumping right on their electronic-asses!

Re:By their logic... (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 6 years ago | (#21047755)

They're working on that.

Re:By their logic... (1)

Genjurosan (601032) | more than 6 years ago | (#21047803)

The internet needs to be shutdown for the same reasons by the logic of the thought police.

According to the law, we are all criminals just waiting to be caught breaking a law, or we are just waiting to have a law applied to us that allows them to catch us.

close to the bone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21046825)

I live & work in the Gloucester / Cheltenham area, and this is really not the sort of reason I want to see home on the front page of Slashdot*. I am mightily pissed off about this. These morons need to be taught a lesson. I suggest that what's needed is an un-suppressable database of such links, and I suggest PirateBay are the people to host it. Can I get a Seconder?

(* No! our near-brush with the biggest disaster in Europe since the war [google.co.uk] a couple of months back, and a popular film about the local police [hotfuzz.com] , are far better advertisements for my home county... though personally, I rather regret missing the chance of a lifetime to witness the evacuation of 2,000,000 people at gunpoint under martial law when most the army running round sand dunes way out east, but that's just me.)

Re:close to the bone (1)

orangesunglasses (1140459) | more than 6 years ago | (#21047847)

c'mon, not much else exciting happens around here!.

TV links was great though, I watched quite a lot of hignfy with it. FACT are a bunch of tw*ts, it's because of them that I can't skip through a dvd, to watch content that I have actually paid for.

Re:close to the bone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21048163)

FACT are a bunch of tw*ts, it's because of them that I can't skip through a dvd, to watch content that I have actually paid for.

Twat. Twat twat twat! Did you know that you can swear here on Slashdot? There's no need to censor yourself, you only make yourself look stupid. If you don't want to use that word, use a different word. Don't make yourself seem like you're some sort of super cussing badass who is being censored by The Man.

Re:close to the bone (1)

fohat (168135) | more than 6 years ago | (#21048277)

IANABP*, but I think he meant Twit, not Twat.

*I Am Not A British Person

Let me get this straight... (2, Interesting)

Dekortage (697532) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046945)

There is a web site that provides links to CRIMINALS, and the police pull down the web site? Why not leave the site up and use it to help track down the people actually creating and hosting the pirated content? Heck, I'm surprised the police were not operating the site themselves as a sting operation.

Whether piracy is Right or Wrong, it is presently against The Law, so this site could have been a useful tool for investigations.

Re:Let me get this straight... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21047201)

Wow, this would make a brilliant defence stratagy:

Your honor (or whatever they call judges in the UK), I was simply gathering a list of criminals to turn over to the proper authorities.....

Re:Let me get this straight... (1)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 6 years ago | (#21047479)

If I stuck up a website that told people where to score some crack, I'd be arrested too, even if I had never met a dealer personally. This guy linked to the content, and like it or not, in England the copyright enforcers are almost as anal as those in America and Japan, so he's screwed.

I shouldn't think for a moment he's surprised though. I'm pretty certain he made money from the site too.

Re:Let me get this straight... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21047781)

A criminal is someone who commits a crime. I hate to tell you but "piracy" as you use it is actually a civil offense. Civil offenses are not crimes. So these people are not criminals. in fact due to the nature of the offense, investigations are not even legally supposed to be conducted by the government. The burden of proof lies on those holding the copyrighted material.

You have a lot to learn. Why not stop pretending to be an armchair-lawyer and actually read something? That, or just stop posting.

Sounds Familiar... (1)

FalleStar (847778) | more than 6 years ago | (#21047005)

Sounds like another case of what happened to The Pirate Bay to me. Since their servers weren't actually hosting the pirated content they weren't doing anything illegal. This event is nothing more than the same old scare tactics we've seen them do in the past.

Re:Sounds Familiar... (1)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 6 years ago | (#21047329)

yeah,
Its another case where those making and enforcing the law don't have a clue about the technology in common use by modern society.
To be honest, I always thought the UK authorities were generally more in-touch on this than the US authorities, but it seems not.

Coincidence (3, Funny)

Neon Aardvark (967388) | more than 6 years ago | (#21047029)

Coincidentally, I just tried to visit that site. It's of course down.

And then I went here to slashdot and saw this story.

But now I must be moving on again, in my travels across the intertubes.

Re:Coincidence (1)

mgblst (80109) | more than 6 years ago | (#21047515)

Make sure you come back sometime, and tell us some more about your travels.

Fascinating stuff really, almost as exciting and relevant to anything as this post.

Give me Piracy or give me Open Source (1)

HartDev (1155203) | more than 6 years ago | (#21047269)

Here is what is gonna happen guys, not every one in every stage stage of their life will be able to afford a thousand DVD's nor would that be a good investment in any way shape or form. So we are all gonna view where ever we can, if we are cut off we will revert to podcast and youtube, the more and more things are cut off the more and more we will be pushed to something else. And I PREDICT that sells of media will do down, because less and less will be viewed and people won't know if something is worth buying. This act against TV Links has inspired me to go cancel my netflix and find more torrents to get avi files to play on my hacked out xbox. Thanks for the push in the right direction!

Braaaains (1, Insightful)

damburger (981828) | more than 6 years ago | (#21047321)

Worse than the shut down of this excellent site, is the Grauniads zombie-like reproduction of the copyright-nazis statements. There is no suggestion that there might be two sides to this debate. There is nothing beyond 'this man is a criminal and the authorities have now arrested him. Lets hear from the authorities'

Despite this infuriating self censorship, I know this is a very popular site amongst non-technical types, so its closure might help raise awareness of this kind of injustice.

Damn... (1)

Bwana Geek (1033040) | more than 6 years ago | (#21047405)

This is rather upsetting. I don't own a TV... I more or less jumped ship when the reality shows started popping up all over the place. But occasionally I do want to catch an episode of one of the few decent series' on the air, and TVlinks is always my first stop. Sure, there are other sites out there, but -- as far as I've seen -- this one is by far the best of the bunch. There's always torrents of the shows I want to catch, but I really like the convenience of streaming media.

A better site (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21047509)

http://www.alluc.org/ [alluc.org]
Or an alternate, at least. (I'd never heard of tvlinks)

No offense, but any site that links mainly to google video is a noob. Their quality sucks ass compared to stage6 (god bless divx) and their features are far behind sites like todou (thank you foreign site hosting US movies/tv shows). This makes perfect sense when you consider US download speed is far behind other countries -- there's a much larger market and more demanding consumer base for high quality sites.

Even though I don't speak whatever language todou is in, the playlist features and plethora of awesome content beat sites like youtube hands down. I've been watching Stargate SG-1, which really isn't worth my time, but it's free so why not?
As to the new "free" daily show site. 2 minute clips followed by 30 second commercials isn't a high enough return on my time. They need 10-15 minute clips for me to even consider watching them.

Thats what the TV execs dont get...if you produce high quality shows, people will pay either cash or by accepting advertising if it's convenient. Otherwise we'll tune out and consult private/subscription lists of movies and tv shows with random names that they won't be able to track on video sites. This has already been very effective for sites like alluc and tvlinks, but shutting them down won't change that--we'll just come up with other methods of obfuscation that slightly raise the cost of finding free movies/shows. And the longer the execs take to understand that, the more likely the average user is going to realize what they could be getting--as an example, alluc shows friends episodes as some of the most watched. Friends!!! Soon the average user will be as biased against 2-5 minute clips as I am.

Re:A better site (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21047985)

If you never heard it, how can you say one is better than the other? FYI, what TV-link does is actually providing you with a Flash player (except for stage6 and megavideo) and then use its database to link you to the material so that users don't see the location of the material, only the server name (the video sites includes stage6 and the rest you mentioned and many more you didn't). AllUC links to the web pages so that everyone can see the owners of user accounts and the exact URL of the material, thus makes them easy to be identified and be taken down.

Called it (1)

The Mu (1133913) | more than 6 years ago | (#21047591)

I knew this was too good to last anyway. Although it's weird that they would pull this and neglect to deal with the sites that it links to.

Power of the People...fails again (1)

torkus (1133985) | more than 6 years ago | (#21047607)

How sad.

Obviously this is something the general public like and want.

Obviously big business > the public. As usual.

Big business fails to provide, public finds elsewhere. Big business thorws a hissy fit. Someone gets arrested. People lose what they want, big business goes one step further towards hell.

Status quo, nothing to see here. Moving along...

well there's always... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21047865)

greatstufftv.com FTW!

Deep linking - still legit? (1)

Maxmin (921568) | more than 6 years ago | (#21047891)

Is deep linking still legal? That seems to be what this site's based on.

Another, similar site, bought out and operated by a major American service provider (AOL): singingfish.com [singingfish.com] . Now gone, last of one of the more comprehensive MP3 search engines.

But only gone because AOL took it down and now redirects the domain to video.aol.com.

Nu Labour (0, Flamebait)

threaded (89367) | more than 6 years ago | (#21048127)

Well them suckers in the UK voted for that shower of sh1t they call a government. They can just lay back and wallow in it now.

Google does the same. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21048153)

Far worse illegal activities can be found, being linked to by google, after a simple search

Aggressive tactics (1)

damburger (981828) | more than 6 years ago | (#21048185)

One thing has just struck me on re-reading the article - the police raided the site and arrested the guy. That is the level of force they use when going after Islamic extremists. Apparantly, the corporate elite that controls, well, the entire fucking planet, thinks that people who provide links to copyrighted content (without hosting it themselves) need to be dealt with in the same way as those who commute with C4.

This is the world we live in. Profit is valued at least as much, if not more, than human life.

Agriculture sector (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21048253)

"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,"

There are still a lot of jobs in the agriculture sector in the UK. Anyone with harmed livelihoods can feel free to join in.
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