Apparently, the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) succeeded in their “first closure of a major UK-based pirate site”, http://www.tv-links.co.uk/, according to news released by the Guardian. The closure and arrest was made possible through a joint collaboration between the UK police and FACT.
The FACT alleges that sites like these “contribute to and profit from copyright infringement by identifying, posting, organizing, and indexing links to infringing content found on the internet that users can then view on demand by visiting these illegal sites”. In addition, Roger Marles, from Trading Standards stated that, “people are potentially evading licence fees, subscription fees to digital services or the cost of purchase or admittance to cinemas to view the films”. In other words, it is considered illegal per se for sites to have links to content or hotlink to content that is proclaimed illegal.
These efforts could be attributed to the fact that copyright holders are having difficulty putting forth successful lawsuits against huge corporations likeYouTube. Furthermore, users of these social-networking sites hold responsibility for submitted content, creating a rather tricky case for allegations against the site holder on the basis of absolute onus.
This indirect approach of copyright holders illustrates a lack of understanding of how the World Wide Web operates. Hence, the piracy solution arrives in the form of intimidating smaller parties that are merely providing a link to content that is illegally uploaded on sites like YouTube. These small sites act as messengers, but are taking the heat as if they are the actual senders. Rather, copyright holders should confront larger corporations at the source for hosting such illegal content. In addition, UK tax payers have been forced to finance these unjust anti-piracy efforts carried out by their local police officers. These piracy concerns are of a commercial nature and should be dealt accordingly with a civil lawsuit and are not tax payer responsibility.
Nevertheless, there are countless sites that provide pirate content linking to illegal sites and will continue to exist. As such, efforts to centralize attention on the closure of these sites is a lost cause. Rather, copyright holders should focus on legitimizing content on their own sites by providing media streams of TV shows, but with better quality or perhaps focus on legitimizing the upload of copyright content on larger source sites. Regardless, there is bound to be more forceful closures on sites that support illegal streaming media. And surprisingly, it seems that social networking sites appear to have the upper hand in handling such allegations of illegal content than sites that upload the content themselves.