Vickerman ran surfthechannel through a limited company, Scopelight, which generated income of over £300,000 a year. Profits were channelled to a bank account in Latvia, operated by an offshore company based in the Caribbean island of Dominica.
Over two years the site, run via the former DJ and BT employee’s firm Scopelight, turned over £1m and made £250,000 profit.
Judge Evans said Vickerman’s obsession with the website had contributed to his marriage failing.
The conspiracy charges covered the period February 2007 to November 2009 and ended with a seven-week trial.
Within 24 hours of the Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull’s release in cinemas in May 2008, it was available on Vickerman’s website, the court heard.
And the Chronicle of Narnia, which was in cinemas in June 2008, could be downloaded a month before.
Judge Evans branded the defendant the most arrogant he had encountered in his career, said Vickerman knew full well what he was doing was unlawful, despite his protestations of innocence. (See also: Suspect 2.0 Not Easily Intimidated: MegaUpload’s Kim Dotcom To Launch Megabox Service , You must appreciate the 90s depiction of the hacker, when the stereotype was a cunning scofflaw with a Marlboro hanging from his lips and Judges Facing New Types Of Crimes, New Types (And Levels) Of Damage, New Types Of Suspects? (MegaUpload) )
Even after he was arrested, he continued to run the site, obtaining a computer within hours of his arrest. The judge said this carried on up to the eve of the trial.
It was only this week that Google decided it would relegate the results of pirate sites. Had Google done that a decade ago, it might not have been worthwhile for Vickerman to set up his site at all
Vickerman employed programmers around the world to source pirated material elsewhere on the web. They then found the codes needed, to gain access to what had already been illegally copied.
The private investigator posed as a prospective house buyer and filmed computer equipment in Vickerman’s home. Other private eyes had already obtained detailed information about his bank accounts, cars and telephone records, the court was told. His wife, Kelly Vickerman, was also arrested and cleared in June of charges of conspiracy to defraud.
Vickerman “targeted pirated films including those not yet released at the cinema” (impressive work, that) and – more to the point – “anonymously uploaded” them to third-party sites