UK film industry requisitions cops for massive raid on suspected pirate, get to question him at police station

In the UK, the movie industry's lobby group gets to requisition huge numbers of police officers to raid peoples' houses, solely on their say-so. Here's the story of one man who was raided by ten cops, who arrived in five cars, along with representatives from FACT (the horribly named Federation Against Copyright Theft). The FACT agents directed the arrest of a 24-year-old man, along with the seizure of all his computers and storage media, on the basis of an "emergency" search-warrant. The FACT agents conducted the bulk of his questioning at the police station, with the cops acting as stenographers. When the man was bailed, the bail sheet specified that he had been arrested for a "miscellaneous offense." He has been banned from entering any cinemas in England or Wales as a condition of bail.

As TorrentFreak notes, FACT offers cash bounties to cinema workers who disrupt people thought to be "cammers" who are recording movies in cinemas. They paid more than a dozen such bounties last year, but did not have a single successful prosecution.

“This morning I was arrested at my home under suspicion of recording and distributing Fast and Furious 6 and a few other titles,” the arrested man told TorrentFreak. Mp> After seizing numerous items including three servers, a desktop computer, blank hard drives and blank media, police detained the 24-year-old and transported him to a nearby police station. Despite the ‘emergency’ nature of the raid, no movie recording equipment was found.

“At the police station I was interviewed by the police together with FACT (Federation Against Copyright and Theft). During questioning they asked me about Fast and Furious 6, where I obtained a copy from and if I was the one who went and recorded it at the cinema.”

Despite police involvement, as in previous cases it appears they were only present in order to gain access to the victim’s property, sit on the sidelines taking notes, and for their powers when it comes to presenting crimes for prosecution.

“I was detained for 3 hrs 12 minutes, out of that I was questioned for approximately 40 minutes. One police officer and two FACT officers conducted the interview. The police officer sat back and let FACT do all the questioning, so FACT were running the show,” the man reports.

Five Undercover Police Cars Sent To Arrest Single Alleged Movie Pirate [Andy/TorentFreak]


  1. In America it might be possible for him to sue for false arrest; in fact it might even be possible even if he was guilty as hell. Is this not possible in the UK?


    The Federation Against Copyright Theft is the UK’s leading trade organisation established to protect and represent the interests of its members’ Intellectual Property (IP).

    I’m a little confused about how a trade organisation is allowed to interview a suspect in police custody.  That’s pretty suss in itself.  My work is blocking the link – did he have a lawyer present?

      1. So it does!  Well, I never!  I suppose I’d read the phrase in the papers, but never really paid attention.

        The CPS [Crown Prosecution Service] can also prevent a private prosecution from continuing by taking
        it over and then discontinuing it. The CPS will do this only where
        there is not enough evidence to make a proper case or where a
        prosecution is against the public interest or where a prosecution could
        cause an injustice
        . In reaching this decision, it must balance the
        public good against a duty to preserve an individual’s right to
        prosecute under the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985.

        The could cause an injustice bit is interesting.  This 24 year old could lobby the CPS to shut it down on that basis.

        Still hard to see how you can use public police resource to prosecute a private prosecution (starting to sound like Monty Python).

        The right to bring private prosecutions is preserved by section 6(1) Prosecution of Offences Act, 1985

        Used a lot by the RSPCA (bless them) and … media companies.

        1. O holy hell! We don’t have private prosecution in USA yet. Shhh, nobody tell the 1%.

        2. The RSPCA is the most notable user source of Daily Mail articles about private prosecution.

  3. Anything that might encourage more people to actually see the movies in the Fast and Furious franchise is an emergency.   Not in the copyright sense, though.  More like public health.

  4. I half-expected Robert Vaughn to be heading up this task force, but the plot doesn’t quite fit.

  5. Ha! This guy isn’t allowed to go to a movie theater under the conditions of his bail? Look at the picture included with the post. So now his only recourse is to wait till a DVD release or …. pirate movies..? How can someone be denied going to a public business?  It’s like someone convicted of creating a copyrighted 3D-printed meal and not being allowed to go to the grocery.  Well, almost.

    1. “How can someone be denied going to a public business?”
      the same way a sex offender can be denied going near a school or a stalker from going within 500 feet of the stalked.
      not to say this is anywhere near the same situation, only the same authority.

      1.  First off, he’s not a sex offender or stalker.  That’s a completely different case of circumstances.  Schools aren’t inherently ‘public’ in that you, most likely, have to have a reason to go there, like having a child that attends one or giving a presentation.  If you have a restraining order against you, you’re simply forbidden from being in a certain proximity from a certain person… you can still go to public places; you just have to hope you’re not going to be in the same place as that person.

         This guy hasn’t even been charged with anything except “Miscellaneous Offense” –an extremely vague charge! If they really wanted to make a scene, they probably could have said he couldn’t access the internet, which, would be like saying you can’t have electricity or water.  Some countries have already claimed that internet access is a daily necessity for conducting daily business.

      2. Restraining orders/ ASBOs were a good idea for violent spouses that are now being issued like they were parking tickets.

  6. So let me get this straight- Banks steal millions of dollars from old ladies retirement funds, and no one is arrested. A kid downloads a movie, and 10 cops come to his house. Hmnnn….

    1.  Exactly.  Society seems to have its priorities completely backwards. I was upset at seeing many friends’ parent’s houses STOLEN from them by banks performing extremely questionable acts, like the robo-signing of documents. Those homes were simply snatched up by VCs to be rented at exorbitant rates… Pathetic.

      1.  So they swooped in with no warning whatsoever while your friends’ parents were not in default on their mortgage and were in fact completely up to date on payments? Astounding

        Just want to be sure so I can help you curse the right people.

        (It’s amazing how many people think it’s OK to break the rules on their end (non-payment of a loan without any penalty or compensation to those who loaned them a few hundred thousand dollars) but think the other side should be crucified when they break the rules.

        1. You want to help…  curse… wait…  what the hell? You want to support the poor oppressed banks is what. I hate to break it to you, but they’re doing just fine without your help.

  7. Maybe someone needs to allege that FACT is misusing monies it has collected and start a private prosecution… for the children of course.

  8. FACT are the software police too. They are the kind of people who say, “Nice place you got here. Shame if anything should happen to it.” Then they offer to sell you software to catalogue your software licences, and to sell you insurance to protect yourself in case someone alleges you have infringed copyright [wink, wink]. You have to show them faux respect and confer faux legitimacy on the shakedown. 

    It’s not that they are actually a criminal gang in the conventional sense. But they treat everyone as a criminal and they have enormous power, which lends a certain aggressive and authoritarian tone to the proceedings. 

    But if you are extremely polite and courteous and faux earnest enough, you will be fine. You can decide, after much sincere deliberation, that you would not benefit from any of their products at this point in time, and you will be fine. Your business will not be destroyed, and they may never call again. 

    And then, on reflection you will conclude the whole point of the meetings and auditing process was simply to put the fear of god and copyright in you. It is important you have a visceral, emotional reaction to copyright infringement. That’s the important thing. That’s why they have to be so stern and shake people down. Otherwise society as we know it will collapse.

  9. I’ve worked in more than one cinema (in nearly every department, including projection) so I can categorically state that most cinema employees don’t give a shit about FACT or people taking ropey phone-cam video of movies.

    As a projectionist, with every other release (even the obscure ones) we’d get a FACT “warning” telling us how vulnerable the release was and that we should be extra vigilant against piracy! We even had night-vision goggles to help us catch such miscreants! Did we bother with any of it? Hell no!

    Trouble is, most cinemas are understaffed, which means the workers never have time to stand around and watch out for people in stripey “I am a criminal” shirts bearing cameras. They just don’t care!

    Real issue here is a private organisation abusing public servants, i.e. FACT co-opting the police for their own ends. Maybe if the cops took a leaf out of the cinema employees “Yeah, right!” handbook and told FACT to go get a life, a lot more serious crimes might get resolved.

    I mean, seriously, is there nothing better for the police to do with their time?

  10. I not sure how I would feel being questioned – under caution I guess (I too can’t read the original article at work) – by some suit from a trade organisation, I do know that I would give their questions as much importance as ones coming from any other random person.

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