Be careful what you link to online, because you may get jailed for it. 38-year-old Anton Vickerman has been sentenced to four years in prison after linking to illegal television shows and films on his website, SurfTheChannel.com.
According to the Guardian, Vickerman is the first British man to be jailed for a website linking to illegal films and television shows.
The Englishman reportedly earned $392,000 from the site he established in 2007 through advertisements.
The case didn’t weigh so heavily on the fact Vickerman was linking out to these television shows. Rather, the court focused on him profiting from the links.
Vickerman was convicted on two counts of conspiracy to defraud, not copyright infringement.
Those who link out to free television streams recreationally here and there can breathe a sigh of relief; however, anyone who runs similar sites to Vickerman’s may want to reconsider.
“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,” Keiron Sharp, director-general of FACT (Federation Against Copyright Theft) told the Guardian.
Vickerman isn’t the first person to be accused of hyperlinking to illegal material online for money. Alan Elis, operator of former music-sharing site Oink, was acquitted last year of conspiracy to defraud,
Though these cases have followed those profiting off of illegal video streams, the sentencing may make Internet users think before they link.
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