THE UK AUTHORITIES AND COPYRIGHT CARTELS have got guilty pleas out of three men for the running of a piracy site that made the lead dude a cool £500,000.
The trio got suspended sentences on convictions of Conspiracy to Defraud the entertainment industry, with the leader taking on a 24-month-long seat on a stay out of trouble step, and the other pair, Mark Valentine, 44, from Manchester, and Craig Lloyd, 33, from Wolverhampton, accepting 12-month suspended sentences each.
The case, which was settled on Monday, started in 2012 when the leader Eric Brooks, 43, from Bolton got an unexpected knock on his front door from the City of London Police and the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT).
Investigations following the arrest included a call to PayPal who revealed that at least one account had had £500,000 flushed through it over an eight-year period, and the discovery of a spreadsheet full of user details.
"The success of this investigation is a result of coordinated joint working between the City of London Police and FACT. Brooks, Valentine and Lloyd all thought that they were operating under the radar and doing something which they thought was beyond the controls of law enforcement," said investigation lead officer Detective Constable Chris Glover.
"However what today has shown is that activity of this kind is illegal and most definitely has its consequences. The actions of Brooks, Valentine and Lloyd and the result should act as a deterrent for anyone else who is enticed by abusing the internet to the detriment of the entertainment industry."
FACT, which will probably have a small party to celebrate all the millions that this has saved the movie industry, is also glad with the result. It thanked the police for tagging along.
"These individuals exploited the works of the creative industries for their own financial gain, pocketing hundreds of thousands of pounds. However, the harm to the industry was far greater as it reached the millions. There are so many people behind the scenes of our favourite films and shows such as set designers, make-up artists and electricians. If we let intellectual property crimes like this continue, the livelihoods and future of these people's careers could be in jeopardy," said Kieron Sharp, Chief Executive of FACT, before we had a chance to start going on about The Expendables movies.
"We would like to extend our thanks to the City of London Police for partnering with us in this investigation and commend the hard work by their officers in achieving today's successful result." µ
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