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Pirate film site man found guilty
A man who ran a website allowing users to illegally download films and TV programmes has been convicted of conspiracy to defraud
An organisation which fights online copyright piracy has claimed a "landmark victory" after a man who allowed 400,000 visitors a day to illegally download films and TV programmes was convicted.
Anton Vickerman, 38, could be jailed when he is sentenced next month after setting up surfthechannel.com, which was so popular he made over £30,000 a month in advertising.
Following an eight week trial at Newcastle Crown Court, he was convicted of two counts of conspiracy to defraud by facilitating the infringement of copyright, said the Federation Against Copyright Theft (Fact).
His wife Kelly, 39, was cleared of the same charges.
At its peak www.surfthechannel.com was the 500th most visited website globally and provided access to more than 5,000 pirated films and TV programmes.
He employed programmers around the world to source pirated material elsewhere on the web and find the codes needed to gain access to what had already been illegally copied.
Vickerman, from Gateshead, set up and controlled the site which he ran through a limited company, Scopelight Ltd, and the profits were funnelled into a bank account in Latvia.
Fact said the conviction was a warning to others.
Director general Kieron Sharp said: "These are landmark criminal convictions proving that those operating pirate websites are not outside the law but can be tracked down and brought to justice."
Vickerman will be sentenced on July 30.