A 22-year-old Nottingham man has been charged with fraud and the ‘conversion of criminal property’ by facilitating umbrella proxy access to torrent sites via a non-profit website he was running.
The proxies enabled users of the website to view and download content that had been labelled as pirated and put on a legal block list by UK internet service providers.
Callum Haywood was charged earlier this week, according to a statement from the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU), and faces six charges.
He was arrested in 2014 by police from PIPCU and the Federation Against Copyright Theft, and an investigation has been running ever since. Haywood is bailed and scheduled to appear in court on 21 April. He is accused of running proxies for The Pirate Bay KickassTorrents, but has denied any wrongdoing.
The arrest was heavily publicised at the time, and supporters of Haywood have pointed out that he did not make a profit from the website that he was running.
Haywood’s charging comes at a time when media companies and web streamers are trying to stop people ripping off their content and, in the case of Hollywood, getting in the way of milking money from past-their-prime action stars and creaky vehicles.
Proxy access to The Pirate Bay has also been a sideshow to the various ways that the torrent site gets around and away from the authorities. But it has long been a problem.
The UK Pirate Party got into trouble about this a couple of years ago. More recently, organisations like Netflix have announced that they will prevent proxy access to their international wares in order to segment markets.
Even HBO, which was once thought to be a tacit backer of the power of piracy as a means of generating interest, has made greater efforts to make sure that popular entertainment show Game of Thrones will be kept as far away from the internet as possible before launch. So far, they appear to have done a good job.
Last time, of course, four episodes leaked early and people were able to get their fix of dragons and swords early.