Anton Vickerman, the Briton sentenced this week to four years in jail for running a website that linked to pirated US TV and film content, has launched an 18,000 word attack on the anti-piracy organisation that ran a private prosecution against him.
The 38-year-old from Gateshead complained about the evidence-gathering methods of the Federation Against Copyright Theft (Fact). Film-industry financed Fact filmed inside his home – with one of its agents posing as a prospective house buyer – and obtained evidence at a meeting where another Fact operative posed undercover as an investor in his website.
Vickerman, wrote: "By the time you read this I will be starting my new life behind bars." He claimed that Fact initially wrongly complained to police that he was criminally distributing DVDs from his home, and encouraged a police officer working at the body on secondment to try to get the police to tap his phone and internet connections.
On Wednesday Vickerman, who owned and ran the Surfthechannel website, was found guilty at Newcastle crown court of two counts of conspiracy to defraud. He had been successfully prosecuted by Fact after Surfthechannel was found to be carrying links to sites the organisation said infringed copyright on films, including newly released blockbusters.
Angry at the outcome of events, and the conduct of the eight week jury trial that led to him being found guilty, Vickerman said in his farewell blog: "If you were looking for an example of British justice in all its shining glory then you weren't going to find it here."
Surfthechannel was set up by Vickerman in 2007 and his "video search engine" rapidly became a prime destination online, growing from 40,000 links in April 2008 to more than 2m in August 2009, and was just outside the 500 most visited sites online, according to evidence presented at the trial.
Source: Charles Arthur, The Guardian