Back in July this year we reported HERE that tv-links.co.uk was one of the fastest growing websites on the internet blasting it’s way into the Alexa top 500 in a matter of months. This week unfortunately has seen the site being forced offline by officers from Gloucestershire County Council trading standards in conjunction with investigators from Fact and Gloucestershire Police the owner, a 26-year-old man from Cheltenham, UK, has been arrested along with others involved with the site.
The arrest and the closure of the site – www.tv-links.co.uk – came during an operation by officers from Gloucestershire County Council trading standards in conjunction with investigators from Fact and Gloucestershire Police.
Fact claims that tv-links.co.uk was providing links to illegal film content that had been camcorder recorded from cinemas and then uploaded to the internet. The site also provided links to TV shows that were being illegally distributed.
The legality of tv-links.co.uk had been questioned for months leading up to this raid but why go after a site merely linking to illegal content that is hosted on servers by the likes of Google, Youtube, Stage6divx? A Spanish court this week has already ruled that linking to content on P2P networks is not illegal.
The message we see being sent here is you cannot link a HTTP URL from your website to an illegal tv-show but it’s fine to host the video on your servers if you are a large corporation with unlimited cash resources for lawyers. If anything tv-links was actually providing a fantastic service to copyright holders of the material they linked too, if the copyright holders had stopped to think for a second they might have realized that tv-links actually provided them with a unrivaled way to track illegal uploads of their shows, and as the site was updated frequently is an easier option than trailing through video upload sites for their shows.
The copyright holders could easily have used tv-links to their advantage to track show uploads and send cease and desist letters to the video hosts who are sharing the content, no doubt this approach would save money and resources as always common sense and inventive thinking does not apply to the copyright holders, police or government.
It looks like this will be another one for the courts to decide whether linking to material on another website is illegal rather than being the content provider. If linking to another website can be seen as facilitating the internet will need to be closed down entirely to eradicate this issue.