Social Media Matters: Owner of pirated content website jailed

Social Media MattersSocial Media Matters
By Brian Cormier
Moncton Times & Transcript
Friday, Aug. 17, 2012
Metro section

Owner of pirated content website jailed

If you’ve ever visited surfthechannel.com to watch pirated versions of movies and television shows, those days are over. Site owner Anton Vickerman has been sent to jail for four years in the U.K. after being found guilty of two counts of conspiracy to commit fraud.

Surfthechannel.com homepage
Surfthechannel.com homepage

At its peak, the website had 400,000 users and was raking in more than $54,000 per month, according to an Aug. 14 news article published in the U.K. newspaper The Guardian.

According to the article by Josh Halliday, 38-year-old Vickerman “is the first British man to be jailed in the U.K. for a website linked to illegal copies of films and TV shows.” The website was originally founded in 2007.

According to Kieron Sharp, director general of FACT (Federation Against Copyright Theft), the U.K.’s leading trade organization established to protect and represent the interests of its members’ intellectual property (IP), “This case conclusively shows that running a website that deliberately sets out to direct users to illegal copies of films and TV shows will result in a criminal conviction and a long jail sentence.”

A similar U.K. website, TVshack.net, was closed down in November 2010 for linking to similar pirated content. Its owner, Richard O’Dwyer, faces extradition to the U.S. and up to 10 years in jail. That site had 300,000 users per month.

What were you thinking?

Dewayne Powers
Dewayne Powers

Sometimes, someone does something online so blatantly dumb that they pay for it with their job. In Georgia, jail deputy Dewayne Powers found out the hard way that sending a Facebook friend request to a female prisoner is a big no-no.

According to an Associated Press story published on Aug. 14 in the Huffington Post, Powers was fired and another resigned after it was discovered they had each sent separate Facebook friend requests to a 23-year-old female inmate. According to the article, “Oconee County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Lee Weems said that both deputies also had face-to-face conversations of a sexual nature” with the woman.

Top sites on the web

AlexaAlexa ranks the most popular websites based on a number of metrics, including analyzing the online usage of Alexa Toolbar users and data obtained from a number of other traffic data sources. These rankings are updated on a regular basis.

Currently, the top websites in Canada are: 1) Google.ca; 2) Facebook.com; 3) Google.com; 4) You-Tube.com; 5) Yahoo.com; 6) Live.com (Windows Live); 7) Wikipedia. org; 8) Twitter.com; 9) LinkedIn.com; 10) Kijiji.ca.

The top websites in the U.S. are: 1) Google.com; 2) Facebook.com; 3) YouTube.com; 4) Yahoo.com; 5) Amazon.com; 6) eBay.com; 7) Wikipedia.org; 8) Craigslist.com; 9) Twitter.com; 10) Live.com (Windows Live).

Internationally, the top websites are: 1) Facebook.com; 2) Google.com; 3) YouTube.com; 4) Yahoo.com; 5) Baidu.com (most popular Chinese search engine); 6) Wikipedia.org; 7) Live.com (Windows Live); 8) Twitter.com; 9) QQ.com (China’s largest and most popular Internet usage portal); 10) Amazon.com.

This week’s featured YouTube channels

Every week, I feature three YouTube channels for you to check out. Have a favourite channel? Let me know about it and I may feature it here! Statistics are current to Aug. 14.

1) Virtual Canada eBook (1,722 subscribers): This You-Tube channel features a variety of travel-related videos from throughout Canada, including the Quebec Winter Carnival, Ukrainian museums in Saskatchewan, potato farming on P.E.I. and the National Acadian Day parade in Caraquet.

The channel’s 119 videos have a total of more than 3.4 million views. The videos are part of a virtual travel e-book available at www.virtualcanada.tv. Many of the videos are a bit dated, but the overall content seems to be reasonably accurate for travel purposes. (Most popular video: Toronto -Capital of Province of Ontario, Canada – 658,600 views.)

2) Canadian Tourism (2,727 subscribers): This is the official YouTube channel for the Canadian Tourism Commission and provides an assortment of travel videos from across the country, according to its channel description.

The channel’s huge bank of 445 videos has been viewed a total of nearly 2.7 million times and is divided into 51 playlists, including Aboriginal Canada, Royally Curious, Montreal Jazz Festival 2010, Nunavut, New Brunswick (and every other province), Sustainable Living and Other Eco-friendly Sites in Canada, and Culture, to name but a few. (Most popular video: We Are More by Shane Koyczan – 172,397 views.)

3) LeCDENE’s channel (6 subscribers): This is the official YouTube channel for the Conseil de développement économique de la Nouvelle-Écosse (or “CDÉNÉ” – a francophone economic development agency in Nova Scotia). The non-profit org anization’s is committed to improving the economic well-being and quality of life for Nova Scotia Acadians and francophones. The channel hosts 12 videos that have been viewed a total of 5,224 times. (Most popular video: Nova Scotia Acadian Tourism – Clare – 2,166 views.)

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