There’s a good case to argue that the UK’s Federation Against Copyright (FACT) Theft is the most aggressive anti-piracy group operating in the West today.
While the MPAA softens its approach and becomes friendly on its home turf, FACT – a unit funded by Hollywood – is acting as a proxy overseas in the United Kingdom.
Later this year FACT will take another private prosecution to a criminal court in the UK. According to a press release issued yesterday, five men will face charges that they coordinated to action the unauthorized online distribution of recently released films.
Other than noting that the men were arrested in 2013, FACT provided no other details and due to legal reasons declined further comment. However, TorrentFreak has been able to confirm the following.
Following an investigation into the “sourcing and supply” of pirated films on the Internet, February last year FACT and police from the economic crime unit targeted four addresses in the West Midlands.
Image from the raid
Four men, then aged 20, 22, 23 and 31, were arrested on suspicion of offenses committed under the Copyright Act, but exactly who they were was never made public.
However, TF discovered that the men were members of a pair of P2P movie release groups known as 26K and RemixHD, a former admin of UnleashTheNet (the site run by busted US-based release group IMAGiNE) and an individual from torrent site The Resistance.
The image below shows the final movie releases of RemixHD, the last taking place on January 29, 2013. The raids took place on February 1, 2013.
FACT now report that five men, one more than originally reported, will face charges at Wolverhampton Crown Court later this year. While men from the two release groups are set to appear, it is unclear whether the former torrent site admins are still in the frame, although it is possible that FACT are referring to them collectively as a release group.
Aside from the fact that this will be the first time that a release group case has ever gone to court in the UK, the case is notable in two other respects.
Firstly, FACT – not the police – are prosecuting the case. Second, nowhere does FACT mention that the five will face charges of copyright infringement – it appears that the main charge now is conspiracy to defraud.