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IP Crime Unit charges web-block proxy provider with fraud

By | Published on Wednesday 23 March 2016

City Of London Police

This goes out to all the magnificent web-block proxy makers of Great Britain. See you in court! And not the easy-going good-time courts of civil concerns. No, the big bad criminal courts. You know, the ones with a direct chute to your local prison.

The City Of London Police’s IP Crime Unit have charged a man for operating services that enable British file-sharers to more easily circumvent the web-block injunctions that have been issued by the UK courts.

These injunctions, of course, force internet service providers to block access to copyright infringing websites like The Pirate Bay and KickassTorrents, though as soon as blockades are put in place proxies spring up that help any user with the ability to type ‘The Pirate Bay’ or ‘Kickass’ into Google search to access the blocked sites.

Content owners have been seeking ways of combating the proxy makers, in order to make web-blocks a more efficient anti-piracy tool, albeit with limited success. But perhaps the state could intervene. To that end, the City Of London Police’s IP Crime Unit arrested one such proxy maker – Callum Haywood – two years ago and have been investigating his involvement in various web-block circumvention services ever since.

According to Torrentfreak, the policing unit has now decided to press charges in what could be a landmark criminal prosecution, because Haywood wasn’t actually operating a copyright infringing website himself, but rather was helping others to evade a court order. Police are charging him with one count of converting/transferring criminal property and six of possessing an article for use in fraud.

The charges could result in a lengthy prison sentence if Haywood is convicted. For his part, he denies any wrongdoing. He is due to appear Nottingham Magistrates’ Court on 21 Apr for a preliminary hearing.