Trading Standards: Notable case

R v Vickerman (Anton) (2012)

Anton Vickerman, who set up and ran one of the world's most visited pirate websites "surfthechannel", attracting more than 400,000 visitors per day and generating advertising revenues of at least $50,000 per month, has been found guilty of Conspiracy to Defraud by "facilitating" the infringement of copyright at Newcastle Crown Court.  David Groome and Ari Alibhai acted as prosecution counsel on behalf of the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT).

At its peak was the 500th most visited website globally and provided access to more than 5,000 pirated films and TV programmes.

Members of the surfthechannel community were encouraged to find, check and add links, ensuring that surfthechannel was always one of the most up to date databases of pirated material anywhere on the internet.

Anton Vickerman, age 38, created surfthechannel. The website was controlled by Vickerman and run through a limited company, Scopelight Ltd, which funnelled profits to a bank account in Latvia.

Kieron Sharp, FACT Director General, said

"These landmark criminal convictions prove that those operating pirate websites are not outside the law but can be tracked down and brought to justice. Mr Vickerman set up surfthechannel with the aim of being one of the world's top destinations for pirated films and TV programmes and was making at least £35,000 a month from the site alone".

"This was a criminal conspiracy for criminal profit to fund a criminal lifestyle and Vickerman is now paying the price."

Anton Vickerman designed the 'front end' of the website and via the internet recruited programmers who ran the 'back end' functions of the site. These programmers were tasked to break the security on the third party sites that hosted infringing copies of films. As a result surfthechannel developed a sophisticated and vast index of films and TV programmes with the majority obtained illegally by the third party sites. Vickerman did not have permission from the producers/distributors of those films or TV programmes to show or distribute their content.

Lavinia Carey, Director General of the British Video Association said,

"Increasing numbers of British consumers are moving to legitimate online services the offer films and TV programmes in high quality for rental or sale. These businesses are relatively new and should not have to compete against pirate websites that do nothing reinvest in the production of new films and programmes. The verdict in this trial makes it evident to all that copyright theft will not be tolerated and that such sites are criminal operations."

Notable cases:

R v Vickerman (Anton) (2012)
Private Prosecution (on behalf of Federation Against Copyright Theft) of the most popular pirate film indexing site in the wo
David Groome | Ari Alibhai

Daanish Mulla (2011)
Brent & Harrow Trading Standards
Fraser Coxhill

R v Bell (2011)
Fraudulent Trading
Tom Broomfield

R v Peacock (2010)
Illegal activity arising from car clamping business
Tom Broomfield

R v South (2010)
Benefit Fraud

R v Swales (2010)
Successfull prosecution
Tom Broomfield

R v Khassal & Others (2010)
Unauthorised use of Trade Mark

R v Ghulaman & Sadiqi (2009)
Trading Standards' biggest ever “car clocking” fraud conspiracy.
Paul Raudnitz | Tom Broomfield

R v Sood (2009)
Unauthorised use of Trade Mark

R v Wendy Fairs Markets Ltd
Test case prosecution of market fair organiser
David Groome | Ari Alibhai


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Trading Standards Law and Practice Seminar - Wednesday 8th February 2012 -

On Wednesday 8th February 2012,
members of the QEB Hollis Whiteman Trading Standards team will be hosting a seminar to selected Trading Standards lawyers and investigating officers. For further details regarding this seminar, please email;

Trading Standards Law and Practice Seminar - Wednesday 21st March 2012 -

On Wednesday 21st March 2012,
members of the QEB Hollis Whiteman Trading Standards team will be hosting a seminar to selected Trading Standards lawyers and investigating officers. For further details regarding this seminar, please email;

Chambers Trading Standards Practice Group are pleased to offer in-house training on various subjects relating to Trading Standards. For further information with regards to in-house training please contact Chris Emmings in the first instance via email  or call him directly - 0207 933 8870.

For more information on crime-related matters, please contact the clerks on 020 7933 8855 or