7:51pm PT by Eriq Gardner
British Man Sentenced to Four Years in Jail for Linking to Pirated Content
A British man who ran a website that linked to pirated copies of films and TV shows has been sentenced to four years in prison.
Anton Vickerman ran surfchannel.com and was sentenced after an eight-week trial at a court in Newcastle. He's the first U.K. citizen sent to prison for linking to films and TV shows, reports The Guardian.
Vickerman wasn't charged with copyright theft but rather on conspiracy to defraud. Prosecutors in the case alleged that the defendant made £35,000 a month on advertising on the website. He was caught after an investigator posed as a prospective house buyer to capture Vickerman's computer equipment on film.
"This case conclusively shows that running a website that deliberately sets out to direct users to illegal copies of films and TV shows will result in a criminal conviction and a long jail sentence," said Kieron Sharp, director general of Federation Against Copyright Theft.
Another U.K. citizen, Richard O'Dwyer, who ran a similar website called TVShack, which linked to films and TV shows, was ordered to be extradited to the U.S. to face charges of copyright infringement. He's currently appealing the order.