The man behind surfthechannel.com, a website that allowed users to watch TV Online for free whether legally or illegally, has been jailed for four years.
The website was seen as a criminal development designed solely for making money illegally through advertising revenue. It is said that in its peak the website reached 400,000 visitors a day, giving the owner a total of £35,000 a month in revenue.
Anton Vickerman from Gateshead is behind the development of the website, however he hired other people to do some of the backend work and source the material.
The website never hosted any files directly in order to defend itself from prosecution and to also save file space, however the site did link to other sources and promoted illegal copyright activity. The sites such as megavideo were linked to which hosted the files.
The Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) helped to secure conviction by hiring a private investigator to go to Anton’s house pretending to be interested in purchasing the property and taking pictures of his computer hardware. A month on, and his house is being raided.
He sent the money to a Latvian bank account to keep the money out of the UK.
His wife was not convicted, and was found not guilty.
Within two years, Surfthechannel became the biggest website for its use ever, reaching millions of visitors in total. It is being used as an example to deter others from going down the same route. This is obvious by the fact that other sites that do the exact same thing as surfthechannel yet remain completely active. Only sites that make a large amount of revenue and gain media coverage seem to be the ones that get investigated.