With TV-Links being raided and shut down in a blaze of glory, it leaves us to ponder the question, who is next?
This weekend, TV-Links.co.uk was closed down in a joint operation between multiple European police forces, FACT, Trading Standards and other government agencies, for being an intermediary to copyright theft.
Whilst “Sin”, from Cheltenham, Gloucs, owner and creator of the website, was spending his weekend at Her Majesty’s pleasure, police in the Netherlands were pulling plugs on servers hosting the site and coppers in Ireland were busy arresting forum moderators on the same charge, aiding copyright theft, all the while, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, the google billionaires who are hosting the material, were undoubtedly sat around drinking cold brewskies in their multi-million dollar mansions, left to only guess what was going on across the pond.
TV-Links.co.uk was a site where you could get an alphabetised list of television shows and movies with links to free video hosting websites where you could watch said content. The TV-Links website did not actually host any of this content itself, merely linked to it at Youtube, Stage6, et al. However, these links have landed its owners in deep water.
This begs the question, if they can be taken down for showing us where this content is, why are those who are actually hosting the copyrighted material getting away with it, apparently scott free, and, what does this mean for almost the entire internet community who habitually link to videos on Youtube and others? Could my door be broken down at any moment?
I would have to be sat in the ‘Linking is not illegal’ camp that is gradually forming, the petition for the release of ‘Sin’ and the reinstatement of TV-Links is now at almost 1800 signatures in just two days. I do have admit though, there are some other, more sinister questions raised by this, which once again throws the whole ‘Deep Linking‘ debate back into the limelight.
If you just link to something illegal, are you really not breaking the law? What if TV-Links was harbouring links to child pornography? Because they were just linking to it, would that abstain them from any blame or make them completely innocent? Would anybody be fighting their corner then? I can guess this would be a whole different story then.
How this story will play out is left to anyone’s guess at the moment, as this is undoubtedly a unprecedented move FACT and not something that has gone through the British legal system, not of this level of profile anyway. We shall just have to wait and see.